Newcastle United forward Callum Wilson has elaborated on the challenges facing black players in football management in England.
The world has turned its attention to issues of racism in football with FIFA weighing heavily into the challenge with full force.
Efforts on eradicating incidents of racial abuses targeted at black players seems to have been skewed towards bucking live incidents of racial abuse and remarks targeting players in action on the pitch.
Newcastle forward and England international has narrated the subtle and pernicious consequences of racial structures on black players in England.
Narrating his experience in English football, Wilson elaborated on how racism has impacted the progress of black players in English football.
Despite the systems evolved by local and global football administrators to tame the tides of racism, Wilson contends racism is an ever-present phenomenon whose overarching impacts are at best underestimated by authorities.
According to him, “racism is still a very present thing in football,” and its impact on black players cannot be overemphasized because it puts a lot of black players off.”
Citing the Ivan Toney incident, Callum Wilson said black players have been through a lot at various stages of their career, trying to navigate through the thorny tentacles of racism.
Wilson maintained scenarios typical of Ivan Toney’s are existential threats to black players who may be intent on pursuing managerial careers in football beyond their playing career.
In his words, black players may not want to put themselves in the firing line after escaping missiles of racial slurs lobbed like mortar bombs at various stages of their careers.
What do statistics say?
While the narrative of Callum Wilson on the impacts of racism on black players could be taken at face value by skeptics, statistics seemed to have vindicated the Newcastle forward.
A statistical report released in 2022 revealed black players are underrepresented in the coaching cadre in football.
The report showed an astonishing disparity between the ratio of black players and black managers in English football.
From the report, 43% (almost half) of the players in the Premier League were black while 34% (over one-third) of the English national team players were black.
On the managerial cadre, it was a pretty an upturned reality. Only 4.4% of the managers in English football were blacks.
The stats also showed only 14% of black managers have UEFA Pro License compared to the 86% of their white counterparts.
What do black managers say?
Callum Wilson is not the only voice on the subtle and systemic racial prejudices that have impacted the place of black football professionals across board in English football.
Former Crystal Palace manager and former France international Patrick Vieira has voiced out the institutionalized marginalization of black footballers.
Vieria was named in the football black list – a program founded in 2008, supported by major football stakeholders, to help push black professionals in football.
Speaking after being named in the list in 2022, the Crystal Palace boss said he is still worried about depleted opportunities for black professionals in football and the world still has a long way to go to buck the trend.
“It troubles me a lot. It’s difficult for me to understand it”, he said. “I think it just shows there’s still a long way to go.”
Patrick Vieira is the only black manager in English topflight football across men and women categories
Former Newcastle manager and Ghana national team coach, Hughton, 64, was cited as an example of a black manager who struggled on the peripheries of the game despite a sterling spell with the Magpies.
Racial bias is said to have contributed to his sack which was protested by the fans of the club.
Callum Wilson on taking on a prospective coaching career
Despite currently playing as a striker for Newcastle, Callum Wilson is said to have completed his coaching badges and is working with younger talents at Newcastle.
However, he has reclined from taking up coaching duties in the future apparently due to the impact of systemic racism.
“For me, at the minute, coaching’s probably not something I’d go into,” he said.