Former Tottenham and St Albans City defender talks about the challenge of English coaches breaking through

Jose Mourinho is one of many foreign managers working in England: Action Images

Jose Mourinho is one of many foreign managers working in England: Action Images

First published in Local Sport by

At a time where ownership of football clubs in England has gone mad, I ask are foreign investors or owners having a detrimental effect on the game in this country as a whole and on young English managers or coaches getting jobs?

There is a protocol in place where the prospective new football club owners have to go through a Football League fit and proper persons check to see if they are suitable and legal, and have appropriate funds.

A scary fact is that over half of the Premier League teams in the last ten years have been taken over by foreign owners, almost a dozen have taken over clubs in the Championship and less than a handful in League 1.

But is all this having an effect on not only the football clubs themselves but our English coaches as well?

My question is what are the motives of the people who are coming into these clubs, is it their love of the game or is it the £100.000,000 that is potentially on offer to get into the Premiership and four years of £25.000,000 a year parachute payments if they were to get relegated?

Should the rules be looked at where people own more than one football club, although in different countries?

We have started to see in our game where owners of two clubs are trading players from club to club, should this be allowed?

An issue that comes with foreign owners is foreign coaches, more and more are coming into our game. I believe that this is having a detrimental affect on English managers and coaches and leaving less room for English coaches to get jobs.

I believe that, as a country, we should embrace the best foreign coaches and players coming into our football because we have to always be looking to learn and improve, but we are more and more, employing managers who the every day person has never really really heard of.

Discount Mr Mourinho and Mr Wenger, have the foreign coaches done that much better than a British coach could have done?

Recently, look at Cardiff; my friend Malky Mackay, replaced by Solksjaer, hasn’t worked, not yet anyway. Steve Clarke replaced by Mel, not worked, yet.

A young coach in Gary Monk has replaced Laudrup at Swansea and has done well, so we’re not all bad in this country!

But Gary is a young coach with all his qualifications, knows the city and the philosophy of the club he is working at, I think these things have helped him.

It is my opinion that whatever country in which you coach, you need to know and embrace the culture of that country, and you need to be aware of the philosophy and history of that club.

Speaking the language is imperative to make a real success of the job and fitting in. Our system in this country is overloaded with good managers and coaches that are out of work. I heard Jose Mourinho talk in an interview saying that us English coaches should do what the foreign coaches do and go abroad to coach.

Speaking as an ambitious and hungry young coach I’d love to work and experience coaching abroad, but where do these opportunities arise?

English owners do not exist abroad. So, unless you have very good contacts abroad, or are extremely successful in this country first, I do not believe these opportunities are there.

I believe more and more foreign owners will enter the English game over the coming years, chasing the dream of the £100.000,000, which I believe will keep going up.

We have the richest league in the world and the pot of gold at the end is a very tempting carrot to chase, but you just have to look at Portsmouth to realise that any kind of financial mismanagement can have catastrophic repercussions.

Some suggestions I would make to the rules to owners of clubs would be:

1. No owner can own more than one club home or abroad. If it is to be allowed then there can be no trading players club to club.

2. A prospective new owner needs to prove they have the funds in a bank account to fund that club for the next five years based on that club's last years accounts.

3. When employing a manager or head coach he must already hold the Uefa Pro Licence. I will go into my thoughts on this in my next article.


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