Robbo’s Column: “We just don’t protect our own coaches”

Recently appointed Oxford United manager Karl Robinson, who still lives in MK, talks foreign coaches.

I’ve been a football manager for nearly a decade now and, in that time, the fight has got a lot harder for young English managers in this country.

I was only 29 when I was given the chance to manage MK Dons and I had opportunities to move on to other clubs, which I chose not to take as I was happy there.

But I don’t see young English managers still getting those same opportunities, as most clubs in the Premier League and Championship now favour foreign coaches.

Why is Eddie Howe not spoken about as the next Arsenal manager, or Sean Dyche as the next Liverpool manager? It baffles me.

If you look at what Dychey has done at Burnley on a tight budget, it’s unreal.

Some of the managerial appointments in recent months have frustrated me, as clubs like Nottingham Forest, Swansea City and Sheffield Wednesday have all appointed foreign coaches.

Surely there are English managers out there who could do the job?

Look at Lee Johnson at Bristol City, for example. Why is he not good enough for Swansea in the Premier League?

It’s just hard at the moment for English managers to take. Lee has done a brilliant job and masterminded a League Cup quarter-final win over Manchester United (although it was only by the one goal – we beat them by four at MK Dons!)

And then there’s Paul Hurst, who is doing unbelievably well at Shrewsbury. Why has he not been given a chance at a Championship club?

He is a lovely fella, he’s dead straight and honest and he deserves an opportunity.

Personally, I’d love to work in Spain in the future to round off my footballing education and allow me to come back to England as a better coach. But English coaches don’t get a chance in Spain unless they are a massive name.

And someone in Holland told me that it doesn’t really work for English coaches to go there.

I said, ‘Hang on, the only year that one of the big three didn’t win the title in Holland was when British coach Steve McClaren came over and won it with FC Twente’.

He replied, ‘Yes, but tactically McClaren got it wrong!’

So this is the big thing: Holland protects Dutch coaches, Spain protects Spanish coaches, but we just don’t protect our own coaches enough in this country.

This feature was published in the April 2018 issue of Celebrate:MK lifestyle magazine. Read the full magazine above or by clicking on this link.

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