It’s never easy to see our society fail, but sometimes it can be easier than others. A recent report revealed that football has the highest rate of managerial appointments for Black people in professional soccer – only 3% of all managers are black. Although this is a frustrating statistic, I’m glad there are some positive changes on the way and will still try my luck with football management eventually
Despite the recent amount of work that has gone into improving diversity in football, Black managers still face prejudice. However, this reluctance to give opportunities to black people is not stopping me from trying my luck at management.
The “institutional discrimination” is still present in football, but it won’t put me off trying.
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“One of the major concerns is this. In certain sectors, people are not doing enough to prevent, eliminate, and educate. There still seems to be a belief that firms will behave only in response to a certain occurrence.”
The issue of race was brought up again at the end of the summer, when the England team’s decision to take a knee during their Euro 2020 matches was not unanimously applauded, prompting criticism from certain conservative MPs.
“I’m not sure why that’s being questioned,” Euell replied. “Perhaps the current schism in the nation, with many unable to listen to the rationale for what is being done.” I’m not sure how much clearer it can get. For those who continue to oppose, those are the discussions we’ve been advocating for.
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“It was about understanding that there weren’t that many Black players representing myself and other Black players when I was growing up wanting to be a footballer.” After watching the likes of Brendon Batson, John Barnes, Cyrille Regis, and a slew of other greats do it, my ambition was to follow in their footsteps.
“When I first began playing, I wanted to do all I could to inspire the next generation.” Now that I’m on the other side of the line, I’ve watched Keith Alexander, Chris Powell, Chris Hughton, and Darren Moore do their thing, and I want to get into the coaching business because of them.
“When the time comes, I’d want to be doing something similar for the next generation. So I’ll keep doing what I’m doing in the hopes of affecting change not just for myself but also for others.”
However, many people find that battle exhausting. Barnes, a former Liverpool and England winger, is largely considered one of the best players of his time, although he has not managed since a four-month spell at Tranmere Rovers in 2009. The 57-year-old expressed his intention to return to management in an interview with the Sunday Times earlier this month, saying, “I know I won’t be given a chance until the perception of a Black manager’s value in proportion to a white manager’s worth is fairer.”
So, does this deter Euell from continuing in the game?
He said, “No, not at all.” “It’s also not something that irritates me any longer. But I can be a voice and utilize my position to help educate people and demonstrate that it doesn’t matter what color my skin is, I’ll still do everything I can to improve things and generate better players. That is my responsibility.”
Euell has had numerous problems in his life, including losing a baby in a stillbirth in 2001 and being declared bankrupt in 2011 after his funds were “mishandled” during a real estate transaction. Given the difficulty that Black coaches confront, Euell’s empathy is clear in his desire to assist the next generation.
Euell, who has aided the careers of Liverpool defender Joe Gomez, Fulham winger Ademola Lookman, and Aston Villa defender Ezri Konsa, among others, adds, “I was always excellent at having that relationship with younger individuals and simply understanding them, trying to put yourself in their shoes.”
“That was a simple transfer from my playing days. You happen to be with them at a critical juncture in their life. That was a huge responsibility for me, so I made it a point to get to know them and their parents so that we can work together to reach their academic and professional goals.”
Euell started his coaching qualifications during the 2006-07 season, but his progress was sporadic until he returned to Charlton in 2011 and picked up the thread properly. He started a part-time position with the club’s under-16s after his last season as a player at the age of 35, before complementing that work with assisting under-18 coaches Paul Hart and Steve Avery.
Euell thereafter spent three years at St George’s Park, England’s training center for coaches and national teams of all ages, working on his Advanced Youth Award and A license, which led to his Pro Licence and a career with the England set-up. He has applied for managerial positions in the Championship, League One, and League Two thus far.
“There have been a few of interviews when I didn’t get a call-back, and on a couple of times, it was the [lack of] experience reason why I wasn’t given it,” he added. “If you aren’t given the chance, how can you get experience? It’s easy to fall for someone who thinks, “We know what he’s about,” since they’ve already worked 15 jobs.”
So, how high does Euell want to set his sights now?
He said, “There is no such thing as a perfect job.” “It’s more like, ‘Can I move to the greatest level of coaching or management?’” As a player, I set that goal for myself and achieved it. Now I’d want to do it as a coach or manager.
“I’m not sure what the route looks like. The immediate concern for me is that Charlton want to get promoted, and I need to do all in my power to ensure that happens before the end of the season. That’s where my day-to-day activities are focused; being away with England is all about maintaining the continuity of playing and improving on the field, as well as assisting them along their own paths. Also, to continue to grow as a person.”
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