Chris Powell looking to inspire future black coaches
Chris Powell is hoping that he can make a success of his Charlton managerial career – and open the door for more black coaches to have an impact in the English game.
There have been calls for the Rooney Rule – a regulation introduced in the NFL in America which means ethnic minorities must be considered for high-level coaching positions – to be brought in over here.
The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) is already examining the measure, established by Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney.
And Powell, 41, believes he can play a part by making a positive impact with Charlton, his first managerial appointment after initially moving into the coaching set-up at Leicester.
“The best way for me to help other black coaches is to be a success,” he said.
“I know a lot of eyes are on me. Hopefully I can motivate some people. I know there are a lot of black coaches in non league, like Gavin Rose at Dulwich. Hopefully more will say ‘I’d like to push myself and do it’.
“I was given the chance by Nigel Pearson. He saw colour as no barrier – he just saw me as a football man who could coach and manage in the future. You do need that window of opportunity.
“If the Rooney Rule helps then that is great but I can’t see it happening for quite a while. It’s going to be a long process. To see it implemented here would take a lot of talking between the major stakeholders in the game – the PFA, the Football League and the government.
“Chris Hughton and I are the only black managers out of 92. Regardless of colour it should be the best man for the job.
“There are plenty who wanted to coach that have coached. There is Terry O’Connor at Wolves, Richard Shaw at Millwall, Chris Ramsey and Les Ferdinand are both with Tottenham. Alex Dyer was at West Ham and has come over with me to Charlton.
“The Rooney Rule might put people from a minority background in a better position of being interviewed. There are plenty of black and Asian coaches who want to manage but everyone has to be happy and agreed on it. It worked in America over time but that country has a history of black coaches in American football and basketball. I suppose it was always going to happen there.”
Rose has led Hamlet to the top of Ryman Division One South after a perfect start to the season. He has also developed talent like striker Paul McCallum and midfielder Quade Taylor, who moved to West Ham and Crystal Palace respectively.
He said: “My ambition is to follow someone like Chris Powell into the professional game and be successful. That’s down to my ability as well as the powers that be.
“I speak to black ex-professionals – they are a little sceptical and don’t feel they get the chance. But my attitude is we should put that to the test rather than give the opportunity up. If you’ve got the desire then why not keep applying – so you can say you’ve tried, these are the facts and I’ve not got the opportunity – rather than not give it a go. There could be a positive outcome.”