John Barnes will explain why he believes his skin colour has damaged his career as a football manager in Tuesday night’s Sports Life Stories.
The former Liverpool and England player’s comments caused a storm of social media debate when they were first released on Monday morning, but ITV4 viewers will be able to judge for themselves at 10.10pm tonight.
“A white manager loses his job and gets another job, he loses his job, he gets another job. Very few black managers can lose their job and get another job,” Barnes said in the documentary.
“What I can judge it from is by looking at society. How many black people are there in the higher echelons of any industry? We can talk about journalism, we can talk about politics. So why should football be any different?”
His former England teammate Ian Wright agrees: “With someone of John Barnes’ ability and stature, to not have worked more in the game with something that he’s desperate to do. I don’t know what else it can be?” he said.
Many challenged Barnes’s comments on Monday, suggesting that it was simply his managerial record rather than his skin colour that has counted against him.
John Barnes is not employed as a manager, not because of the colour of his skin, but because he has a win ratio of 18%.
— Alex. (@AW430) March 30, 2015
But others leapt to the defence of the former Celtic, Jamaica and Tranmere Rovers manager, who last took charge of a team in 2009.
To those ALREADY doubting whether race is holding John Barnes & others back, how would you know? Walk a mile in a man's shoes…
— Matt Smith (@msmith850) March 30, 2015
Barnes later appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss the fallout, insisting that black managers are given less time to prove themselves compared with their white counterparts.
“Any black manager who has been sacked has been given less time than their white counterparts,” Barnes said. If he’s unsuccessful he will be given less time because of the perception that they had of his capabilities in the first place.
“As long as the question exists, can a black man make a good manager? That is a racist question. It pre-supposes that there is a possibility that he can’t because he is black.”