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English Premier League

‘Rooney Rule’ is not the answer for English football



Many see the lack of black and ethnic minority managers in English football as one of the biggest problems in our game. Currently, there are seven managers that are black, Asian or from minority ethnic groups, or BAME managers, in the 72 Football League clubs and, following QPR’s relegation under Chris Ramsey, none in the Premier League. With the issue of racism and institutional racism rife not just in football but in society as a whole, people are looking for answers and solutions.

One of the suggested solutions is the implementation of the ‘Rooney Rule’ or something to a similar effect. In fact, The Football League has agreed to implement regulations similar to the ‘Rooney Rule’ to increase the amount of BAME coaches and managers in English football. But what exactly is the ‘Rooney Rule’?

The ‘Rooney Rule’ was an initiative introduced by the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dan Rooney, in 2003. It requires NFL teams to interview at least one candidate from a minority background for every head coach and senior football role. The Football League has set a target of between 10% and 20% of all youth coach roles being filled by BAME individuals by 2019. Rooney says that the rule has seriously benefited the NFL and is encouraged to see other sports in other countries take inspiration from the legislation that he introduced. So with “unanimous recommendation” from The Football League and the support of the clubs, is the ‘Rooney Rule’ the solution to our problems?

For me, no. There is definitely a shortage of BAME managers in our leagues and that is certainly something that needs addressing. But, with the ‘Rooney Rule’ requiring at least one BAME individual to be involved in the interview process is nothing short of putting a tick in a box. Any manager wants to be recognised for what they can do on the touchline and on the training ground, not because a club is obliged to approach them. Isn’t this process just excluding them even more?

I’d like to think managers were appointed based on merit and experience alone, not the colour of their skin or the country that they come from. However, this obviously is a very idealistic view when it is inevitable that some owners may hold racial prejudices. But the ‘Rooney Rule’ will not help this if a candidate is being interviewed because the owner ‘has to’ rather than the owner ‘wanting to’.

The English game doesn’t just need more BAME managers, it needs more young, hungry managers regardless of ethnicity, nationality, sexuality or anything else. Our game needs more Garry Monks and Eddie Howes. But shortlisting and interviewing BAME managers because it’s mandatory is not the right message to send.

The trust QPR have shown in Chris Ramsey to give him a three year contract despite relegation and the impressive season Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink had with Burton Albion are all positive strides in the right direction. These success stories should not just encourage more BAME managers to have the confidence to work in football management but should deter any possible institutional racism in the boardrooms of our clubs.

Burton Albion manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink took his side to the League Two title last season

Burton Albion manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink took his side to the League Two title last season

Even BAME managers such as Hasselbaink believe that the ‘Rooney Rule’ isn’t the answer. “I think you should appoint someone because they are the right person, not because they are black or white. I wouldn’t want to be waiting for an interview thinking they only asked me because I was black. I want to know they asked me because they think I can do the job.” (Independent)

Hasselbaink’s view is echoed by Chris Ramsey who insists he just wants to be judged on his managerial merits. “I just want to be a manager or a coach. I don’t want my ethnic group to have any bearing on what happens to me in the future.” (Daily Mail).

Doesn’t that say a lot? Two of the country’s most high profile BAME managers and exciting young managers just want to be judged and appointed because of their capabilities as a manager or a coach, ­­­­­­­­not just tokens in the ‘Rooney Rule’ process.

The box ticking ‘Rooney Rule’ is definitely not the solution. Nothing that football’s governing bodies do will provide the solution. The solution is out of the hands of football. The solution is down to society. Society needs to do a better job to educate about racism and stamp it out completely. Legislation in football isn’t the solution, education in society is.

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Dan is a Journalism student at UWE and is an aspiring football journalist. His first ever football match was Southampton's 3-2 win over Leeds in 2003 and he has been a Saints fan ever since.


Jack Wilshere’s injury shows why Arsenal shouldn’t renew his contract

The 26-year-old has been struck down by yet another injury.

Jake Jackman



Photo: Getty Images

Jack Wilshere will be pleased with the progress that he has made since returning to Arsenal from his loan spell at Bournemouth.

He was initially nothing more than a squad player that was out in the cold at international level too, but the midfielder worked hard to gain more game-time in North London.

Across all competitions, he has played more than 30 matches and his form earned him a call-up to the England squad.

It looked like he was getting a once-promising career back on track, but almost like clockwork, he has suffered an injury to set him back once again.

Gareth Southgate confirmed that he wouldn’t be travelling to the Netherlands for Friday’s match and the quotes were reported by Sky Sports.

“It is not a specific injury and over time they flare up and they need to settle down over a couple of days.

“We are hopeful it will settle down pretty quickly. It’s an ongoing problem and it’s not something new for him. He’s very disappointed not to be involved in the game.

“He’s trained well though but if you think about the journey he’s had in the last two years and his big injuries then he’s progressing really well.”

Although it is encouraging that it isn’t a serious injury, it is a reminder that Jack Wilshere remains a risk for both club and country.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

It is difficult to build a team around a player that is susceptible to miss matches and the quote from Southgate is a worry as he refers to an ongoing problem.

Arsenal have had a difficult campaign and they will be planning a rebuild over the next 48 months as they transition away from the Arsene Wenger era.

They will have to make tough decisions on many players at the club and Wilshere’s future will be brought into focus over the next few weeks as his contract expires at the end of the season.

There have been numerous reports regarding contract talks between the two parties and there is hesitancy on both sides.

This latest injury suffered by Wilshere and the comments from Southgate referring to an ongoing problem show why it is Arsenal who need to end this association.

Wilshere can’t be relied on to stay fit and to feature prominently in a busy schedule. Arsenal will have ambitions of challenging at the very top of the game and will likely be involved in European competition every season. They need to have a squad of players that are reliable and the 26-year-old isn’t that.

Aside from that, Wilshere represents what Arsenal have become over the last decade. He is a player that had a lot of potential, but he has failed to fulfil it and been very inconsistent at the highest level. Of course, he isn’t to blame for the club’s problems, but he is also unlikely to offer the solutions.

This season has been a nice farewell campaign for him. It would have been sad if his Gunners’ career had ended after being shipped out on loan to Bournemouth.

He has returned to earn some of his credibility back, but the club need to move on and progress if they are to get back to the top of the English game.

A lot of contentious decisions will need to be made and the first should be the release of Jack Wilshere this summer.

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Manchester United

Why Jose Mourinho’s treatment of Luke Shaw has crossed the line

The Portuguese manager has been highly critical of Luke Shaw this season.

Rob Meech



Luke Shaw
Photo: Getty Images

The fractious relationship between Jose Mourinho and Luke Shaw plumbed new depths when the left-back was substituted at half-time in Manchester United’s FA Cup victory over Brighton & Hove Albion. The 22-year-old had been handed a rare opportunity to impress at Old Trafford but lasted only 45 minutes.

Speaking about Shaw in his post-match interview, Mourinho said: “Luke, in the first half, every time they came in his corridor, the cross came in and a dangerous situation was coming. I was not happy with his performance.”

The differences between the pair now appear to be irreconcilable. Shaw, who was signed by Louis van Gaal in the summer of 2014, has been used sparingly by Mourinho. The former Southampton starlet has made just 18 Premier League appearances under the Portuguese in a career that has been blighted by injuries.

Being substituted at half-time is almost as embarrassing as it gets for a player and Shaw’s mood will not have improved after being publicly criticised by his manager. It’s certainly not the first time Mourinho has chosen to talk candidly to the media about his concerns with the 22-year-old.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Some players require an arm around the shoulder to perform at their peak, while for others it takes a kick up the backside. Mourinho, opting for the latter, does nothing without reason and has clearly tried to spark a reaction from Shaw, without success.

From being one of English football’s brightest prospects after making his World Cup debut aged just 18, Shaw, who has seven England caps to his name, is in danger of not fulfilling the potential that convinced United to spend what was then a world-record fee for a teenager.

Mourinho’s tactic of singling out individuals who have not met his standards is in stark contrast to Sir Alex Ferguson, who never blamed his players in public. It has divided opinion among pundits, with Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier claiming the United manager is ‘destroying’ Shaw.

Mourinho is an expert at using smokescreens to distract from his side’s unconvincing performances. And this latest controversy has moved the narrative on from United’s shock Champions League exit at the hands of Sevilla.

(Photo by Lindsey Parnaby/Getty Images)

Tough love is one thing, but the sustained, public attack on Shaw is unacceptable. If Mourinho genuinely believes he is not good enough to represent United, then fair enough. But to continually vilify the youngster’s performances is a step too far and one that could irreparably damage Shaw’s confidence.

This is not to say that Shaw is a completely innocent bystander. Mourinho’s predecessor, Louis van Gaal, also questioned his desire and general conditioning when he joined United four years ago. Indeed, the Dutchman signed Shaw up to a tailored exercise regime in an effort to improve his fitness.

But while van Gaal’s treatment had the desired effect, Mourinho’s has done the opposite. Being publicly humiliated on a routine basis does neither party any favours.

In all likelihood, Shaw’s disappointing United career will come to an end this summer. A fresh start away from the toxicity under Mourinho is exactly what he needs.

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English Premier League

Keanan Bennetts has perfect opportunity to impress Mauricio Pochettino this week

The left-sided star has a chance to impress in first-team training during the international break.



Photo: Getty Images

With the international week in full flow, plenty of teams in the Premier League have seen their squads diminished by call-ups to national teams.

Tottenham Hotspur are one such side. Nonetheless, with most of the first-team squad away with their respective nations, work continues at Hotspur Way.

In order for Spurs to have a full complement in training, plenty of young talent needs to be pulled in to the ranks.

Mauricio Pochettino will, therefore,e get a chance to see some of his young players training with regular first-team players such as Fernando Llorente, Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

One player who will be training with the first-team this week is talented wide-man Keanan Bennetts, according to London Live.

The 19-year-old left-winger has been catching the eye for the club’s youth team in recent weeks, making the news after scoring a fantastic goal for the under-19s against Monaco in the UEFA Youth League last month.

Bennetts has also been attracting interest for his positional dexterity. The wide-man has played at left-back in recent times and it could be that is his future best position.

This week he will be up against some excellent players such as Lamela and Moura, who did not receive selection to the Argentina and Brazil national teams, respectively.

If he can prove himself with this calibre of player, Pochettino will have to take notice.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

It is coming to a point in his Tottenham career when Bennetts has to make such an impact. The teenager is out of contract at Spurs in the summer and needs to ensure he is kept on for at least one more season.

Tottenham fans who follow the youth teams are certain he is deserving of such a chance. If he can show Pochettino what he is capable of this week, then a new deal will surely be in the pipeline for the talented wide-man.

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