John Barnes says black football managers are unfairly treated

‘If Frank Lampard was black he would not have got the same opportunities’: John Barnes says black football managers are unfairly treated in a remarkable comment on race, with a spotlight on Steven Gerrard’s record

  • In a new podcast, John Barnes has said black managers are treated poorly 
  • He noted his win record at Celtic was better than Steven Gerrard’s at Rangers 
  • The former Liverpool legend hit out at opportunities for upcoming black bosses 

John Barnes has hit out at opportunities for black managers in football, saying they are treated poorly when compared to other candidates.

The former Liverpool legend turned to management after his playing days were over, with spells at Celtic and Tranmere Rovers, as well as Jamaica.

But while his time at Celtic lasted just eight months, the 59-year-old believes that the early dismissal came because of a lack of faith in black leaders on the touchline – especially when a similar performance for Steven Gerrard at Rangers was hailed as a success, and saw him recruited to Premier League Aston Villa.

Barnes told William Hill’s Up Front with Simon Jordan: ‘What would you say if I told you that I had a better win percentage than Steven Gerrard at Rangers? So, why wasn’t I given longer [at Celtic]?

‘Apparently my 65 percent [win ratio at Celtic] is not great, but Steven Gerrard’s 64 [win ratio at Rangers] is great and that’s why he got the Aston Villa job. Regardless of experience and whether he should or shouldn’t have got the job, it’s amazing people say that’s not bad.’

John Barnes has hit out at the number of job opportunities for black managers in football

Barnes told a podcast that his win record at Celtic was better than Steven Gerrard’s at Rangers

The ex-England winger brought up the disparity during a podcast conversation, while also weighing in on a similar name in management circles, Frank Lampard. 

‘I love Frank [Lampard] but do you really think with Frank Lampard’s record, that if he was black, he would have been given the same opportunities?’ Barnes asked.

Former Crystal Palace owner Jordan, who hosts the podcast, is known for his outspoken views, but Barnes believes that there could never be a black equivalent.  

Barnes said: ‘Black people have to have humility. I don’t think there could be a black Simon Jordan because you’re too opinionated – if you were black, you would get slaughtered more than you get slaughtered now. Society would not except a black Simon Jordan.’

Barnes also said that the character of white men is judged in a different way to that of black people, or women, and that applies across sport – but politics too, citing the recent differences between Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump in the Oval office.    

‘You tell me that if Obama had the character of Trump he would have survived?’ Barnes told the podcast. ‘White men are given longer and therefore leeway to be arrogant and be whatever they want. They are go-getters and if you’re black or female, you can’t be that way.

‘In football terms, chairman don’t sack managers, fans sack managers. Why are fans quicker to lose faith in black managers than white managers? It’s because of the perception of a black person’s ability to lead.’

Barnes says black men with Frank Lampard’s record would not get the same opportunities

Vincent Kompany, who manages Burnley, is one of just a few black bosses in the game

Last month, Jermaine Defoe said he had doubts about his managerial ambitions after becoming a coach at Tottenham, because of the lack of black peers. 

Statistics from the Black Football Partnership in March revealed only 4.4% of management-related positions were held by black employees. 

Two of those managers, Patrick Vieira and Paul Ince, have since lost their management jobs at Crystal Palace and Reading respectively.

There are no black managers currently in the top-flight of English football, although Vincent Kompany is in charge at Burnley, who were promoted to next season’s Premier League campaign. 

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