It’s been proven time and again that the best footballers don’t often make the best managers. After all, if there was a correlation, how do you explain Bryan Robson’s miserable managerial record, or how Arsene Wenger went from being a modest player to a tactical genius?
Ex-Liverpool player John Barnes certainly falls into the former category. He thrilled Reds fans for several seasons with his jinking runs and spectacular goals, while he also featured for England during their 1986 and 1990 World Cup campaigns. However, when given an opportunity to manage a football team (Celtic no less), Barnes fell flat on his face and has been on the managerial scrapheap ever since.
You might think it’s a good thing that he’s not returned to embarrass himself again, yet the BBC report that the 44-year-old is bemoaning the fact that he’s not been given a second bite of the cherry. While he’s pleased that Paul Ince has become the first Black English manager in the Premier League, he doesn’t understand why his applications have been ignored.
“I’ve applied for numerous jobs and sometimes I haven’t even had the courtesy of a reply to my application letter,” Barnes told BBC Sport.
“Perhaps I could understand it if I was applying for jobs at the top level but these were clubs in League One.
“There aren’t many managers who have never made mistakes, especially early on in their careers,” said Barnes.
“You learn from your mistakes and come back stronger and better from them. There are also plenty of managers who keep failing but continue to get employed.
“I’m passionate about football and management and am willing to make my way up from the bottom but I’m not getting any opportunities.”
While there might be a case that black football managers have it tough on the managerial merry-go-round, surely the issue of race doesn’t come into it with Barnes? After all, there are probably stacks of people who apply for vacant manager’s position, black and white, and only one person can be appointed. Would you want John Barnes managing your team?