Ghana's No. 1

Racism puts black players off managing - Wilson

Published on: 16 March 2023

Newcastle striker Callum Wilson discuss reasons for the lack of black managers in the Footballer's Football Podcast.

Newcastle striker Callum Wilson has suggested that some black footballers in England may be put off going into management by their experiences of racism as players.

"For me, racism is still a very present thing in football," said Wilson, in this week's The Footballer's Football Podcast.

"That is probably what puts a lot of black players off, to be honest.

"Only this week, someone's been banned for being racist to Ivan Toney."

On Tuesday, a man who racially abused Brentford striker Toney on social media was banned from every football ground in the United Kingdom for three years.

Wilson added: "Now and again, throughout their journeys through the leagues, they [players] might have experienced some form of racism from fans, so it's almost like, 'why am I going to put myself in the firing line again?'"

Wilson, 31, was discussing the lack of black managers in the English top flight, alongside West Ham striker Michail Antonio.

A 2022 report showed that while 43% of Premier League and 34% of English Football League players are black, only 4.4% of managers are black.

14% of those with top coaching qualifications - a Uefa pro licence - are black. Of those in executive, leadership and ownership positions in football, only 1.6% are black.

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira, who is the only black manager in charge of a club in the top flight of men's or women's football in England, spoke recently about lack of representation.

"It troubles me a lot. It's difficult for me to understand it," said Viera, after being named on the Football Black List.

"I think it just shows there's still a long way to go."

Antonio, 32, cites Vieira as an example when arguing that black managers in England are not afforded the same opportunities as their white counterparts.

Last season Palace finished 12th in the Premier League under the former Arsenal, Inter Milan and Manchester City midfielder.

"If you look at Vieira, how well he did last year at Crystal Palace - there were links to other clubs and stuff," he said in the podcast.

"But not once was it mentioned that he could move on to a bigger club and bigger opportunity."

Antonio also mentioned Chris Hughton, who currently manages the Ghana national team.

"He was quality, but some of the sackings that he got, I thought were quite harsh," added Antonio.

Hughton, 64, has guided two clubs - Newcastle and Brighton - to promotion back into the Premier League during his career. There was widespread condemnation and fan protests when he was sacked by Newcastle in December 2010.

Wilson has completed coaching badges and worked with younger players at Newcastle's academy, but he said: "For me, at the minute, coaching's probably not something I'd go into."

Antonio, also, does not seem interested by the prospect of a future in management.

"Football's stressful enough in itself, all the politics you have to deal with," said the Jamaica international.

"By the time I retire, it's going to be 17 years I've been playing football for. I don't want to go back into more politics and stress!"

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