Is Snobbery Being Shown Towards Foreign Football Managers?
Posted by Matt Walters | Published on October 4, 2016
Swansea City have hired Bob Bradley as their new manager, replacing Francesco Guidolin. The American has decades of experience, getting the United States to their best ever World Cup finish, almost achieving World Cup football with Egypt despite a civil war at the time and – alongside Bruce Arena – is seen as the managerial pioneer of US football. However in the eyes of British media, he has one distinctive flaw; that he was not born in the United Kingdom. It is the same sort of bias that sees players like Kelechi Iheanacho underrated by the media simply because he opted to play for Nigeria over England.
“Is Bob Bradley better qualified than Steve Bruce and Ryan Giggs to get this job? I don’t think so” The BBC published this quote from Chris Sutton earlier today, pointing out that Bruce and Giggs – a Welshman and an Englishman – are better choices to manage a Premier League club. He even uses the word “qualified” as a reason to justify Ryan Giggs getting the job. Despite his doubtless talent as a player, his managerial career spans a mighty 4 games as interim player-manager of Manchester United where he picked up a staggering 50% win ratio and carried the previous season’s champions to the lofty heights of 7th.
Former Welsh international Robbie Savage also tweeted saying Giggs is the sort of manager you don’t need to interview. Despite his advice, Huw Jenkins decided an interview was needed and – according to reports – the interview was a huge failure.
As for Steve Bruce; he is a man with doubtless experience as a manager, what is a doubt is his ability. Despite only being relegated twice as a manager, he has never really being particularly impressive and his greatest achievement as a manager was his Hull team becoming FA Cup runners up.
Another quote from Sutton came as he tweeted “So even if you think Giggs should have to earn the right what about Bruce, Michael O’Neill, Chris Coleman” The appointment of Chris Coleman would be one of mixed feelings. Chris Coleman is a local of Swansea and – given that Swansea is a small city – is known well to most people of his generation, as are many Swansea-born footballers such as John Hartson and Dean Saunders. On the other hand, his success with the Welsh national team has made him well respected by all of Wales. It would be nice to have Coleman as Swansea manager but not at the cost of Wales’ success.
As for Michael O’Neill, he was a huge success for Northern Ireland but his managerial career before that goes from the Scottish minnows Brechin City to Irish club Shamrock Rovers. This is not a qualified Premier League manager.
Back to Bradley, this is a man with experience of success on a small budget, who was named as the 24th best manager in the world by FourFourTwo magazine in 2014 and is rated by just about every American I have asked. Mauricio Pochettino was victim of this when he replaced Nigel Adkins at Southampton and then Tim Sherwood at Spurs. He was a success at both. The media agenda against foreign coaches who are quite clearly more qualified than their British counterparts boils down to small-minded xenophobia at the heart of British journalism.