He is the first black English manager to take a team to Europe, but Chorley’s assistant manager Andy Preece says he “struggles” to even get an interview for a manager or head coach position vacant in the Football League.
The 54-year-old, who has enjoyed a varied and successful coaching career to date, assisted Chorley in the fourth round of the FA Cup this season – an impressive cup run that included three wins over Ligue 1 opponents and Championship – Wigan, Peterborough, and Derby.
His role in National League North, whose championship season was declared null and void in February, follows previous leadership roles at Bury, Worcester City, Northwich Victoria, Airbus UK Broughton and Southport.
In his first coaching position as Bury’s player-manager, Preece kept the Shakers in League One for two seasons and after being demoted to Tier 4 they reached the 2002/03 League Two play-offs in of his last full campaign at the club. .
With Broughton, Preece led his side to the Europa League qualifying round in their first full season after finishing second in the Welsh Premier League.
Despite his impressive resume and four-year Football League management, Preece believes his abilities have been overlooked for vacancies in the EFL.
He said Sky Sports News: “I had success at Bury and took them to play-offs in my last full season in the post and never had a chance in the Football League again. I think I’m probably the one of the only managers to whom this has happened.
“And then I left and I succeeded and I was the first black coach to take a team to Europe, even that was not enough. The FA Cup takes place here, until the fourth round, beating Football League teams one after another is still not enough.
“I have all the coach badges, I checked all the boxes and I passed and I’m still struggling. What do you have to do to get an opportunity?
“But I’ll keep trying to come back [to the EFL] and if I keep going and come back, I’ll be kind of a role model for other coaches.
“You have to send a message that there is hope for black coaches, Asian coaches to step into the game and have an opportunity. Like I said, I was one of the first black managers, i still want to be a manager.
“But I don’t think you should have to go on like this and hope, you should have an opportunity on your efforts alone.”
“ There are no models, there is no one to admire ”
English football currently has only six black managers at 91 Premier League and EFL clubs: Nuno Espirito Santo (Wolves), Darren Moore (Sheffield Wednesday), Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (Burton Albion), Jobi McAnuff (Leyton Orient), Hayden Mullins (Colchester) and Keith Curle (Oldham).
This has led to calls for the game to address the lack of black, Asian and minority ethnic representation in positions of authority and Chorley Preece’s aide wants to see more black candidates given opportunities in the future. on the merit of improving diversity levels among coaches in the Football League.
“You just want a level playing field, to be judged on what you can do,” he said.
“Nobody wants to find a job because of the color of their skin or because people feel sorry for you, you just want it for what you’ve done previously and what you can achieve for a club.
“You have to go on and keep on believing that you can change something, but if there are no role models, there is no one up there that you can look up to and say, well, they have done so, so I can make it happen. “
Chorley FC Director of Football Andy Preece talks about his own experiences navigating reduced opportunities for black coaches in football, despite the constant development of new skills to become a more attractive candidate and demonstrated success as a player, coach and manager. pic.twitter.com/7kREIDZ2sl
– Association of professional footballers (@PFA) March 9, 2021
The EFL introduced the Rooney Rule in 2019, which states that clubs must interview a black, Asian or ethnic minority candidate for a vacant managerial post, but last year the Premier League said it would not follow suit in implementing the decision.
“I just want to get into a fair and open process. I just think that’s not the situation yet and we’re still a long way from it,” added Preece.
“There’s still a lot of resistance, some clubs won’t even take a look at Rooney Rule, they won’t say we’re going to interview a black coach and why? What are you afraid of?
“It’s such a difficult path to get there, that more doors have to be opened somehow. I think the fact that we are talking about ethnicity and skin color, we want this to be over.
“We don’t want to talk about it, we want it to be normal to see this and when we get to that day, then something will have happened.”