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.
Young British managers who do well in lower leagues don't get linked with the bigger jobs !why ?
— Robbie Savage (@RobbieSavage8) October 3, 2016
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.
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.
I don't think Ryan Giggs needs an interview process to get a job, yes meet him to find out what he is like as a bloke or what his philosophy
— Robbie Savage (@RobbieSavage8) October 3, 2016
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.
“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.
Why would a team hire a manager then with no PL experience and little PL knowledge... Remember Remi Garde? Giggs and Bruce know the league.. https://t.co/AI2CRSi6bS
— Chris Sutton (@chris_sutton73) October 3, 2016
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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