The decision by Crystal Palace to appoint legend Patrick Viera as their new manager should be applauded by all progressive thinking football followers. He takes over from long serving manager Roy Hodgson who has taken a well deserved and earned rest. Good old Roy has been involved with the game for close fifty six years. What a career!
The debate about black managers at the helm of most football clubs is long running one. Opportunities for many retired black players who want to become managers have been few and far between. The exact opposite is true of former white players whose route to management is often smooth and without glitches. They might fail but the opportunities keep coming. Scott Parker for example has been relegated with Fulham twice and now he is at AFC Bournemouth. Interesting!
Sol Campbell the former Tottenham, Arsenal and England centerback has talked about this at length. He feels that despite his vast playing experience and effort to learn more about management, the powers that be have not been forthcoming in giving him an opportunity. Apart from appointments at Macclesfield and Southend where he did reasonably well on shoestring budgets, he feels that he has not received the phone call which will allow him to work at some of the top clubs.
He has not sat on his laurels, he has worked on improving his qualifications and has submitted applications but nothing has been forthcoming. I hope he does not have to wait in vain for too long.
I think the legend has a point. Younger former players like Wayne Rooney , Frank Lampard, Steve Gerrard and Scott Parker have had their fair bite of the managerial cake. One has to ask why ? It seems the decision makers at most football clubs are not ready to make that change.
The appointment of Viera therefore is more than welcome. I hope he will not disappoint. The appointment should not be taken as tokenism or mere window dressing and i hope he can prove that this is on merit. He has gained some experience with New York City and Nice in France. The French adventure ended in tears but i am sure he picked up a few lessons. The Crystal Palace job is is a big chance for him to show what he is capable of.
I wish the Legend all the best and i hope he can show that black managers can be a success too. Failure is not an option. Viera must succeed , he owes it to other upcoming black managers!