Jobs for the boys

Lack of interviews means lack of opportunities, says Ferdinand

Last Updated: 11/09/11 5:59pm

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Les Ferdinand insists that coaching in English football is a closed shop - for black and white former players alike.

"We all know football's about giving jobs to your mates."Would I get an opportunity at Tottenham? Would I get an opportunity at QPR? At Newcastle. No. It's just the way it's been."
Les Ferdinand Quotes of the week

The former QPR, Newcastle and Tottenham striker is currently taking his coaching badges and readily admits that he wants to become a manager.

But at the end of a week in which equal opportunites in football has been a major talking point, he believes the way our game works prevents everybody getting a fair crack of the whip - regardless of colour.

"I understand this Rooney Rule and you've got to interview at least one ethnic minortiy in the interviewing process but let's be totally; when a club in the Premier League wants a manager, they usually know who that manager is before they do any interview so they're not going to interview four or five different people," he told Goals on Sunday.

"Nine times out of 10 they know the manager they want so they go and pay compensation for him and they go and get him. Now when they bring him in to the club he brings who he knows and who he likes; he brings in his own team.

"Let's be honest; I got an opportunity at Tottenham because Harry Redknapp saw a niche and felt players like myself and Tim Sherwood were being wasted, going out of the game when we could bring something back to it.

"We've got a coach at Tottenham, Chris Ramsey, who works with the development squad and is one of the best coaches I've ever seen, but he'll never get an opportunity because he's not anyone's mate. We all know football's about giving jobs to your mates.

"Would I get an opportunity at Tottenham? Would I get an opportunity at QPR? At Newcastle? No. It's just the way it's been."

Ferdinand also agreed that black players do drift away from the game because of the limited chances of making it into coaching.

Only two, Chris Hughton at Birmingham and Chris Powell at Charlton, of the 92 managers in this country are black.

Opportunity

And he believes the introduction of the NFL's Rooney Rule, where franchis have to interview candidates from an ethnic background for senior positions, is one way that can change - but only if football clubs start to follow the sort of hiring procedure that the rest of the business world follows.

"It's happened in the NFL but in the NFL whenever there's a job available they interview; they go through the process, interview four, five, six candidates," he said. "They don't do that in the Premier League.

"I know there's a number of black players that have got all the badges you need and are not working in football any more.

"I know black players that have come out of football and won't take the badges because they say 'I'm not going to spend four or five years getting the badges because there's not going to be an opportunity at the end of it' and they go onto other things.

"That's why you're not getting any black players doing these badges because they don't believe there's an opportunity at the end of it."

Ferninand also revealed that the Football Association are hardly helping him speed through his coaching course, either.

Both he and former team-mate Tim Sherwood have been working as part of Harry Redknapp's staff since he took the Tottenham job and both are currently trying to take their A licence, which will entitle them to become full-time managers.

Difficult

But while it might be their everyday job, they are still being asked to leave the Tottenham training ground to attend sessions and complete the course, when Ferdinand feels the FA could make their lives a lot easier.

"I'm enjoying it and hopefully the next stage is to get my A badge and become a manager," he said.

"It's just making it very difficult; we're at Spurs and it would be easy for them to send people there and us to get our badges done, but there's all this red tape you have to go through.

"For instance, when we did the B badge, we were told we had to wait 12 weeks to be assessed. But we said we're in here every day, you could have this done in two weeks.

"They said we've got to wait 12 weeks so really we're doing one hour's coaching a week to be assessed when really we're doing two or three hours a day.

"At the end of the season we were told we had to go to Reading for 12 days or 13 days. We have players at San Jose, we've got players all over the place, who we wanted to go and check their progress, so just didn't have time to do it. When you're at a club they could make it a little bit more flexible."

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