Ryan Giggs and British managers aren't being overlooked, if anything they're a protected species 5 years ago

Ryan Giggs and British managers aren't being overlooked, if anything they're a protected species

Why can't Ryan Giggs catch a break? No sooner had he - a man with no managerial experience - been overlooked for the manager's job at one of the biggest clubs in the world than he has to deal with the ignominy of being interviewed but failing to secure the position at Swansea, which has gone instead to Bob Bradley, a vastly experienced manager.

This decision has been seen by some as inexplicable. Other appear to see it as part of some grander plot to undermine the British football man.

Advertisement

These are tough times for the British football man, so perhaps it is understandable that Robbie Savage, Danny Mills and Chris Sutton are among those making the case for Ryan Giggs, while seemingly dismayed that the rigorous interviewing process Swansea employed seems to have resulted in the wrong man getting the job.

Advertisement

Savage, in his righteous fury, seemed to take against interviews themselves and who could blame him? When the credentials of a football man like Giggs were so obvious that it seems like an act of self-sabotage for Swansea to deny themselves the chance of appointing him by embarking on an interview process, then there is clearly something wrong with interviews themselves. 

But interviews were only the symptom of a greater problem, the problem of overlooking British managers, a trend which would be worrying if it were not for the fact that British managers tend not to be overlooked at all.

Advertisement

“Is the fact that a British coach cannot get the Swansea job, is that not a snobbery against British managers?” Sutton asked on Five Live on Monday, but it may be an acknowledgement of reality, a reality that is often painfully learned.

Savage and Sutton both gave the example of Remi Garde as a manager who came from abroad and was given a chance without too much Premier League experience.

Advertisement

Remi Garde at Aston Villa will always be helpful in proving whatever point is the opposite of Remi Garde at Aston Villa. But it can easily be forgotten that before Garde was doing what he did at Aston Villa, Tim Sherwood was at Aston Villa. Sherwood took on a Premier League job without any experience and then took on another without appearing to learn too much from his brief experience the first time round.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 24: Tim Sherwood Manager of Aston Villa looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Swansea City at Villa Park on October 24, 2015 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

And, unlike Tim Sherwood, nobody is suggesting that Remi Garde should be reappointed at Villa.

Those who insist that the British manager is being discriminated against often forget that the British manager has been given plenty of opportunities in recent years.

Brendan Rodgers was at Liverpool with mixed results but he wasn't denied an opportunity. A couple of years before Rodgers in 2010, Roy Hodgson was appointed Liverpool's manager, something which was seen by many as a deserved promotion after years of quiet service. Hodgson was spectacularly unsuccessful in that job, but it didn't prevent the FA giving him the England job when they needed a good man in 2012.

Advertisement

David Moyes took over from Alex Ferguson in 2013, although that failure is rarely mentioned when it is suggested that British managers don't get a break.

BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - JANUARY 05: Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson shows his dejection during the Barclays Premier League match between Blackburn Rovers and Liverpool at Ewood park on January 5, 2011 in Blackburn, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The FA is a special case and there are valid reasons why the manager of the national team should be English. These special reasons are the only explanation for the fact that Alan Shearer, for example, is 33/1 to succeed Sam Allardyce on a permanent basis. And even then, nobody is excited about the English candidates, understandable perhaps given that the man who made the loudest noises about British managers being overlooked only last 67 days in the job, while his predecessor lost to Iceland.

Premier League clubs happily are under no obligation to promote British managers but still, as in the case of Hodgson at Liverpool and Moyes at United, there are some who feel this is the thing to do, as they embrace fuzzy concepts like the idea that a British manager will understand the players better or put his arm around them, something which is alien to the non-British football man.

Smarter clubs see things differently. They seem to think that a manager who has experience of working in other countries may be better equipped to manage a dressing room that is multi-cultural rather than a manager who hasn't coached outside the UK.

Of course, the British manager has worked in multi-cultural dressing rooms too, but only rarely does he have the experience of being a stranger in a strange land which others have.

Doomed as it was, Gary Neville should be commended for going to Valencia and experiencing a job abroad. Until other British managers do that and manage it better than, say, Chris Coleman at Real Sociedad, there will be understandable reasons for a club thinking a manager like Bradley, who has endured quite a lot in his management career, is a better bet than Giggs.

VALENCIA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 09: Gary Neville manager of Valencia CF faces the media during a press conference ahead of Wednesday's Copa del Rey Semi Final, second leg match between Valencia CF and FC Barcelona at Paterna Training Centre on February 9, 2016 in Valencia, Spain. (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)

The British manager is not under attack. In fact he is surprisingly robust given that, with the exception of Alex Ferguson, his recent achievements are mainly at a minor level.

Giggs will get a job eventually, but it would be for the best if he did it at the end of an interview process where his ideas on management had impressed the club. Because if he is waiting to get a job based on his reputation, he will deservedly be hanging around a little bit longer.

Catch up with the latest episode of Football Friday Live right here...