Paul Ince: The regurgitation of same old managers is so frustrating

The former Blackburn, Blackpool and MK Dons boss has hit out at English football’s culture of appointing the same old managers...


There’s so much money in the Premier League now that, when their teams are in trouble, owners are looking for the managers with the most experience to get them out of it.

That’s why you see the same old names being appointed – Big Sam, Pardew, Hodgson, Moyesie.

Though I understand where these owners are coming from, it’s so frustrating – every time a job comes up, the same managers get regurgitated. It’s always the same names, and there’s now a generation of British coaches who are being missed out.

Managers like myself, Tim Sherwood, Chris Powell and Ryan Giggs. All of us have managed in the Premier League, and done good jobs in our careers, but we’re being skipped.

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Same old names getting jobs

I understand that Big Sam has had massive experience, more than me, but it’s not like I’m wet behind the ears – I’ve had more than 35 years in football, across all four leagues.

I’ve galvanised every team I’ve been at. Every time I’ve gone into a club, we’ve hit the ground running.

I know how to get a team going and playing, to rediscover that fight and desire, which these struggling Premier League teams are missing. It’s something I’m good at. I could go to a Palace or West Brom and do a good job, but I don’t get that opportunity because owners want to take the ‘safe’ route, even though experience doesn’t guarantee you anything.

I want to get back on the ladder.

I know I’ve had bad times in my career, but so has Moyesie and Pardew – they get second chances and other opportunities, people like myself and Tim don’t.

Opportunities are being blocked

We’re in an era where owners are looking for massive experience or a foreign manager, and that’s not just the Premier League, it’s feeding down into the Championship and League One.

It’s something we, as a nation, need to look at. There’s no point telling all these players who are approaching the ends of their careers to go on a coaching course if there isn’t an avenue to coach in their own country. It’s being blocked by foreign and experienced coaches.

If I were to go back into management, I doubt it’ll be in the Premier League – but it’s still tough finding a gap in the Championship or League One.

Look at Tim Sherwood. He knows the game inside out, he could be a top manager, but he can’t get a job. That can’t be right for someone of his knowledge and what he’s done in the game.

The same way that English kids are being blocked by foreign kids, the same thing is happening with English coaches.

Rooney Rule: Less talk, more action

People are talking about the Rooney Rule again. Well, they were last year – and that lasted a week before they lost interest.

If the powers that be truly want to do something about it, then we can’t just keep talking about it. It’s time do something. Everyone can see the impact it’s had in the NFL, and it’s something we need in English football.

It doesn’t mean that a black candidate will suddenly get a job, it just means that they’ll get an interview – and an opportunity to sit in front of people and put their ideas across. What it means, though, is that by giving BAME candidates this opportunity, some boards might be surprised.

Eventually, a black manager will get a job, and then it’ll have a domino effect.

If you look at black managers, so many of us have good track-records. Keith Alexander, god rest his soul, was followed by the likes of Chrissy Hughton, who’s taken several teams up; Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who got Burton promoted; Keith Curle, who’s doing a great job at Mansfield; and I got promotion with MK Dons.

When given jobs, these black managers have done well.

But it’s not just about me, and these guys, it’s about the next generation coming through. People like Rio Ferdinand, for example.

He’s got vast experience, was a top player working with great managers, and has a superb knowledge of football. He’s in punditry when he could probably be a very good manager, but obviously felt there’s too many obstacles for him to do that.

Then there’s the generation behind him, like my son Thomas, who’s 25. In a few years, he’s going to have to start thinking about what he wants to do once his playing career is over.

But what’s the point for all these players sitting down for three or four years to do their badges if they’re not going to even get an opportunity to speak to clubs?

We’re going to lose these people from the game if nothing is done.

It’s not just about saying ‘I’m not getting the job because of the colour of my skin’, because you have to have your qualifications, to be equipped, to sit in front of the board and give them no excuses.

But black managers need that to have that opportunity first – and that’s why I hope English football brings in the Rooney Rule.

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