The English Premier League is one of the best football leagues in the world. But, far from the entertaining football and banter that comes along, there’s a glaring problem that has plagued the league throughout its existence; the lack of black managers.
Whilst there’s excitement about managers like Jose Mourinho and the emergence of a new breed, how come having a black coach in English football is such a rarity?
So, how many black managers have coached the premier league clubs?
Currently, there’s no black manager in the premier league. Patrick Vierra was the only one until Crystal Palace sacked him after a run of poor performances.
In the league’s 31 years, there have only been nine black premier league managers. The low rates are down to a lack of representation as a report by the Black Footballers Representation indicates that the lack of role models leads to potential managers not pursuing managerial jobs.
BFP data shows that between 2014 and 2020, 23 per cent of black coaches earned their professional badges. And this defeats the argument that they aren’t qualified for the job. The organisation points to a lack of engagement on the part of the clubs in considering them for a role.
With that in mind, let’s look at the ten black managers who’ve worked in the premier league.
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1. Patrick Vierra
We know him all too well for his iconic performances on the field during his time at Arsenal. After his retirement, he transitioned into coaching and worked with three clubs – Manchester City EDS, New York City FC and Nice – before he was appointed Crystal Palace manager in 2021.
He only lasted in the top flight for 20 months and was relieved of his duties as Palace faced relegation. He left them in 12th position just three points from the drop zone.
2. Ruud Gullit
The Dutch legend was the first black manager to work in the premier league when he worked as a player-manager during his days at Chelsea in 1996. He won the FA Cup Final with the team the following year.
The Blues wasn’t the only team he coached. He also managed Newcastle United between the 1998 and 1999 football seasons.
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3. Chris Houghton
Houghton is probably one of the most vivid black managers in the EPL having managed a couple of clubs – Norwich City, Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion. He also worked at Tottenham Hotspur as an interim coach before the turn of the century.
4. Paul Ince
When Paul Ince took over Blackburn Rovers in 2008, he became the first black manager in the premier league. Whilst that didn’t last the longest, he went on and managed Notts County, Blackpool and MK Dons.
5. Jean Tigana
Tigana led Fulham back into the premier league and joined the number of black coaches in the league after winning the second division in 2000. They went on and finished in the 13th position in their first season. Unfortunately, even though Fulham was doing well, he was suddenly sacked.
The club later took him to court for allegedly overpricing certain players. He won the case and took Fulham to court and won the case.
6. Daren Moore
He joined West Brom in 2018 as a caretaker manager and went on and secured a full-time job. This was his first job in management and it ended badly as he was sacked the following year due to poor performances.
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7. Terry Connor
Connor was the acting manager at Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2012. He oversaw the club for 13 games as his contract only lasted until the end of the season. He worked under Mick McCarthy who was fired after a run of poor games. Conor was at Wolves from 1999 and stepped up into assistant manager in 2008.
8. Nuno Espirito Santo
With a black African grandfather, Nuno Espirito Santo is a Portuguese international who helped Wolves achieve premier league status in 2018. And he went on and managed the club until 2021 when he was sacked.
He did amazing things with the team keeping them up throughout whilst playing exciting counter-attacking football.
9. Hayden Mullins
He only secured interim managerial positions at Watford. Mullins came in when the club was battling relegation and despite his best efforts, Watford got relegated in that season.
In 2021, he secured a managerial job at Colchester but left the following year after a series of bad performances.
10. Chris Ramsey
Chris Ramsey coached Queens Park Rangers (QPR) in the 2014/2015 season. He went on and signed a three-year deal as a full-time manager but was sacked as the threat of relegation faced the club.
Those are the 10 black managers who’ve worked in the premier league. What do you think can be done to increase the numbers in premier league dugouts?
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