As the season nears its close we await the confirmation of another two foreigners, the Chilean Pellegrini and the Portuguese Mourinho, to take charge at Manchester City and Chelsea respectively.They will replace fellow “outsiders” Roberto Mancini and Rafa Benitez…and so the fascination for foreign coaches in the Premier League continues. Having been in football as a player and manager for the best part of 45 years, I admit to being something of a traditionalist who believes that homegrown talent should be more in evidence in the managerial ranks. However, I do concede that, now that we have so many foreign players in the Premier League, having a multi-lingual non-Brit in charge does make some sense. We British can’t deny that, historically, we have been too lazy when it comes to learning other languages. A notable exception is England boss Roy Hodgson who is trilingual, at least. Mind you, how can anyone be expected to make sense of the FA’s previous national coach appointment, Fabio Capello – the Italian who couldn’t speak English! The FA aren’t renowned for common sense decisions, but that one really did take the biscuit.
While reluctantly conceding there is some validity in having a foreigner in charge at a multi-national Premier League club, I must say I can’t see why that is necessary outside the top division, where the average percentage of non-British players is much lower. And, frankly, I can’t imagine a man coming from abroad to take a Hartlepool or Rotherham through the divisions. As I said the other day, the appointment of David Moyes to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, one Scot for another, is a big fillip for British coaches and for the League Managers’ Association, who have long been campaigning for better representation for homegrown coaching talent.