Yeas, Cole Campbell, Racism Exists In English Football But In Italy And Spain It’s The Norm
FORMER Arsenal, Spurs and England player Sol Campbell bemoans the lack of black managers in the professional football leagues. There are, at the time of writing, just two: Chris Hughton at Birmingham City and Charlton Athletic’s Chris Powell.
Campbell cites the example of Paul Ince, the former Manchester United firebrand who became the first black manger of Premier League club when he took over at Blackburn Rovers only to be sacked after 177 days in charge:
“Why the hell is Paul not in work? What? Have you looked at his career? It’s scary. If he had the same career in Spain or Italy, he’d be a manager now. Come on, it’s pathetic.”
Does racism exist in the game? Yes. It exists in all areas of society; to suppose that the presence of skilled black footballers in every Premier League first XI makes the sport immune to bigotry would be wishful thinking. But to compare the UK with Italy and Spain is wrong. This is Spain, where the country’s fans made monkey chants at England’s black players when the country’s met in 2004. In Italy, racist fans chant at black players born in Italy: “There are no black Italians.” In 2009, Juventus were forced to play a game behind closed doors on Monday after fans racially abused Inter Milan striker Mario Balotelli. In Spain, Samuel Eto’o walked off the pitch in disgust as Real made ape noises every time he touched the ball.
Could a black player – and Paul Ince played for Inter Milan – manage a top Italian club? No. Racism in those countries is rife, institutionalised and ignored.
Racism exits in the English game but at least it is exposed and an attempt made to censure the bigots. Campbell is right to highlight the lack of black mangers in English football. But he might care to look beyond Ince to the lower leagues for black leaders. Why anyone who made millions as a young player would want to manage a football club is beyond us…