The alleged text and email exchanges between Malky Mackay and Ian Moody show a culture of racism, prejudice, homophobia and arrogance that I know to be the unfortunate true face of the state of top level professional football. So why should we care that two middle aged white men have what seems to be entrenched views of others who are different to them?
These texts show a way of talking, behaving and thinking that I don’t particularly like, but why should football care? We should care because this whole issue turns ugly when you realise how such views make people act. When you read the accusations of Ibrahim Farah (@ibby_farah) about a culture of racism at Cardiff City Football Club under Mackay, it starts to take a sinister turn. It is people in positions of power who affect peoples careers and futures. People who exclude others who don’t fit into their little pockets of comfort and small minded views of the world who are dangerous.
The truth is, nothing in the transcripts of those alleged exchanges surprised me. In my mind this is how football talks in private, and more importantly, it is how it behaves in public. This is the reality and the gravity of the situation anyone outside of the, male white, old boy network exists in. Is it any wonder that we have 92 Professional Football Clubs yet no BME ( Black and minority ethnic) managers? Is it any wonder that anybody out of the dominant demographic is woefully under represented at any decision making position within the game?
Many will leap to the defence of these two men. I am sure they gave regular playing time to one or two black players and probably had a few around for tea who may retain some loyalty to their “mates”. I am sure both are a riot down the pub on a Saturday night. But make no mistake, the game will be straining at the leash to find a way back for both Moody and Mackay when the brief public outcry simmers down. If they are struggling for work and play their cards right I’m sure there will be media work available to them. Without meaningful changes to the structure of our game from Boardrooms right the way down to grass roots, football will continue to be run in a manner akin to the dialogue alleged here. Away from the moral issues it is a proven fact that a diverse workforce is a more successful workforce, something which hasn’t registered with football away from the pitch ( where 30% of players are BME). There are many more where Moody and Mackay came from. Unfortunately for them, they are just the ones who got caught.
At a time when the governance of football is under the microscope of the worlds media and in some cases the focus of criminal proceedings, some welcome news came from the Football League. The acceptance of the principle of positive action in the shape of a NFL Rooney Rule style system which will ensure that Football League Clubs must interview at least one candidate from the BAME community where applications are forthcoming is a huge step in the right direction. Firstly it points to the issue that we have around a lack of opportunities for aspiring BAME coaches and just as importantly it sets out to find a solution which can dynamically level the playing field.
Whilst long overdue, credit must be given to the Football League for adopting this rule, if as expected it is approved at the AGM. Conversely this also highlights the reluctance of the Premier League and the FA to tackle the stain of discrimination seriously. It is ironic that the best man for the job calls come from some who think nothing of a league that runs a quota system in respect to home grown players. Rightly or wrongly, it limits foreign players opportunities for the good of local players and for the good of the national game and national team. A quota is not what the Rooney Rule sets out to do, and I am yet to hear an argument which sets out a negative consequence of widening the talent pool and options available to a Chairman looking for a new manager as the new rule would ensure, before the appointment is always made on merit.
It is very positive that the rule is also widened to the Academy positions as this is a breeding ground for up and coming coaches. Launched in November the Sports Peoples Think Tank report into Institutionalised Discrimination in football showed just 19 of 552 coaching positions held by BAME coaches was a shocking picture of our game.
Whilst welcome, this can only be a first step, recommendations from the Think Tank included addressing the lack of senior governance and administrators from a BAME background, with only 1% in leadership positions as it stands. There was also recommendations for a mentoring and networking plan to tackler the closed networks of recruitment. Lots of hard work has gone into achieving this result for football, and lots will be required in the future as hundreds of players show their support for the recommendations made by the SPTT. The first step has been made now by the Football League and the determination and will to demand change for equality remains. The FA and the Premier League must now show leadership on this matter and stop resisting the wind of change we are now feeling.
On Sunday I went out with my good friend Justin on his boat Ozzie. It was a morning of firsts for me, my first,time at the wheel of a boat, first time I have seen sea-moss on the water, the first time I have seen a man overboard and the first time I have ever caught a really big fish..locally known, as Wahoo…it came in at 20 pounds and left me with a huge blister on my hand..( gloves next time.
Spice Island Billfish Tournament has been the leading billfish tournament in the region since 1964.
Budget Marine Spice Island Billfish Tournament (BMSIBT), a prestigious event held off the beautiful island of Grenada. A qualifying event for the IGFA Offshore Championship the SIBT was first held back in 1964 and has been run annually since then (except during the revolution years).
Since its inception the event has attracted boats from nearby Islands such as Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, St. Lucia, Martinique etc, as well as anglers from all over the world who want to come and experience Grenada’s great fishing. The Budget Marine Spice Island Billfish Tournament is based at the Grenada Yacht Club located in the lagoon, St. George’s. The Yacht Club boasts an excellent dock with water, power and fuel available and is conveniently located close to the west coast fishing grounds. The Tournament consists of three fishing days separated by a lay day and is held at the end of January each year. The event normally boasts plenty of game fish action as it is positioned in the peak of the billfish season with sailfish, white marlin and blue marlin available.
I had my first participation in a fishing tournament today at the Billfish Tournament in Grenada. I can assure you that I am not the first person you would require in a boat at any time, but I have made it a resolution to learn how to sail and fish.
We started off insanely early at 05:30am for a sailors breakfast.. (Who knew it involved rum) and the “progressive fleeing” of Boats mothering as fast as they could away from the Grenadian shore, felt like drag racing to me.
Being the rookie on the boat, I was required to do the “menial” jobs but I did not mind at all, it was worth it just for the beer alone. I must be honest I slept a majority of the time on the boat but I woke up just in time to catch some footage of our only catch of the day.
The atmosphere coming off the boat was incredible even though nobody caught as many fish as they would have liked and strangely I did not get sea sick until I got home.
I have set myself a target of participating fully next year as a real fisher man..it’s in the blood, but that’s another story.
This month, the JRF visited The Limes Special Education School, St. Georges
Click to read the Report on PECSN trip Oct 2014 V1
August is the time
For the last 17 years I’ve been on strict training schedules for football, and August but for the first time I’ve had a different type of training in Grenada.
Long time coming
While my ex-colleagues were running up hills, doings bleep tests, my physical condition is not what it used to be but I’ve started a new training regime involving rum.
It was way back in the year 1877, when this beautiful Island was declared as a British overseas territory. Afterwards the French had its hand on the island, which is where this country gets it’s French connections; for example names like Lance Aux Epines, La Sagesse and Grand Anse are a legacy of these times.
For one intense week, the rhythm of the island, the colors, the food and the people, all join in for THE biggest party in Grenada: Carnival.
Now you might be thinking, “Brazil has carnival; so does Trinidad; what makes Grenada’s carnival any better?”
Jouvert! – Pronoucned ‘joo-vay’
Before emancipation, slaves were forbidden to participate in Carnival, but this never stopped their backyard mas. After the end of slavery, gangs of recently liberated slaves, covered in black grease, molasses, or varnish, took to the streets, and rejoiced in their freedom. Scantily dressed, and sometimes with chains and padlocks around their legs, the former slaves attempted to offend polite society, which they rightly blamed for decades of suffering.
There’s many stories of what the jab jab are and what they represent but one of them, and probably the most common one, is that the slaves used to cover themselves, in layers of nutlike color clothing and masks to conceal their true identity; they would chant against the oppression of the day. That evolved into what we have today, old oil, tar, paint etc., and comical songs about the government.
Carnival is launched early may and a slew of carnival related events are held up until august 16th. The actual party is held on what’s known as carnival Monday and carnival Tuesday;
Monday is Jouvert, and that starts at 4am to mid-day, then Monday night mas’ starts from 7pm-until. Tuesday is pretty mas, where everyone comes out in their fancy costumes at mid-day.
Ama…Wait for it…Zing!
By far one of, if not, the best events I’ve had the pleasure of taking part in. It was nonstop fun, with great people and great music. From the singing competitions, to the shows, to chipping down the road with a huge crowd at 4am-12pm, to the Monday night mas light parade, all the way to pretty mas the next day. Never missing it again in my life!
Chelsea Vs Swansea City
This Saturday the season’s top 2 teams go head to head. 3 games 3 wins. Swansea City are going to bring a tactical challenge to Chelsea that they will not normally face, and are more than capable of taking all of the points back to Wales.
Routledge & Dyers’ pace could cause real problems for Chelsea’s defensive line, while Gylfi Sigurdsson addition to Swansea’s attack adds creativity and goals with 1 goal and 4 assists already to his name. You add an in form Ki playing at the top of his game so far this season and you are starting to see a team that might challenge Chelsea’s unbeaten League record.
Last season Bony was arguably the find of the season with 16 goals in 34 appearances, I watched him closely in a friendly vs Reading when he first arrived at Swansea, and his movement was outstanding. Strength, power, intelligence and excellent finishing, Swansea would have feared big money bids for him during the transfer window; this season has not been as straight forward for him. Wilfred had a great campaign last season but has yet to open his goal scoring account for this season. He hasn’t found the net against Chelsea in his career, but he did manage to score 4 goals against the top 4, last season. Will Gary Monk consider rotating his striking options with Gomis waiting in the wings?
Tactically it will be interesting to see how Mourinho approaches the challenge of Swansea, will he fear the pace of Swansea’s attack in the space afforded by a pressing game expected at home by a team expected to be challenging for the title. Or will Jose go for the humble approach of sitting deep and playing a more natural counter attacking game albeit against a team with the profile of Swansea?
Chelsea boasted the best defensive record in the League last season, only conceding 27 goals in the 13/14 season but conceded 3 vs Everton who committed men forward in a kamikaze style display in the 3-6 win for Chelsea at Goodison last time out, a potential injury to Diego Costa could further complicate matters. Playing Swansea at home for any team throws up some real tactical questions, but how will Jose answer?