Former Chelsea forward Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink believes aspiring black managers are not taking their coaching badges because they do not believe they are given ‘a fair chance’.
The ex-Netherlands international has reunited with former Middlesbrough team-mate Gareth Southgate earlier this year when he joined the England boss’ staff in March ahead of the Euro 2024 qualification campaign.
Burnley’s promotion to the Premier League ensured the top flight would have one black manager this season – Vincent Kompany – but once again highlighted the disparity between the number of black players and bosses, a problem that extends beyond the pitch.
Asked on the latest episode of the Matt Haycox Show podcast, to be released on Wednesday, if football was moving in the right direction, Hasselbaink said: “The only thing that I can say is I have applied for a lot of jobs, and the majority I didn’t get an interview.
“Why? I don’t know. I can only tell you I didn’t get an interview, and I only want to get a job because they think that I’m the right person for the job.
“And I do know that a lot of black ex-players don’t want to go and take their coaching badges because they think that we don’t get a fair chance.
“I can only give you an answer of my experience, and my experience is that I don’t get interviewed.”
Hasselbaink’s managerial career started at League Two Burton in 2014 and also took in Championship QPR and League One Northampton, before his second stint with the Brewers ended with his resignation last year.
He continued: “I was always told, ‘Jimmy, start in League Two, and start small, do well, and then you will get an opportunity’.
“However, other players who are white, who have more or less a name like mine, they don’t have to do that. So, that is my fact.
“Patrick Vieira would say the same. Thierry Henry would say the same. Sol Campbell would say the same. Those are the facts, you know.”
Last season saw Vieira sacked at Crystal Palace and Hope Powell dismissed by Women’s Super League Brighton, leaving both the English men’s and women’s top flights without a black manager until Kompany steered the Clarets to promotion.
And a January 2023 paper commissioned by the Black Footballers Partnership revealed that while black athletes comprised 43% of players in the Premier League and 34% in the EFL in 2021, black employees accounted for just 4.4 per cent of those occupying management-related positions in football clubs the following year.
Hasselbaink told entrepreneur and investor Haycox: “I know there’s a lot of black managers that want to be coaches, but they have to put bread on the table as well.
“They need to make a living and they’re thinking ‘I need to do something that is going to feed my kids, and if I’m not going to get a chance, why pursue this?’
While Hasselbaink believes some prominent football figures could be stronger allies for black players hoping to pursue leadership roles, he has nothing but praise for Southgate, his former captain at Middlesbrough, who brought the 51-year-old into the England fold after a chance meeting.
He added: “He believes in me, and he gives me the chance to be with him and to help the team.
“Black or white, Gareth doesn’t look at me like that. And I know that, because I’ve played with him for two years.
“Gareth was always around everybody. He was with the white guys, he was with the black guys. He was joking with all of us, and he was tough on all of us as a captain when he needed to be, regardless of our backgrounds.
“Working with the best talent in the country, seeing them flying over the pitch, and seeing that group together is magnificent.”