Last Updated: 07/07/20 5:27pm
Southend managerial candidate Craig Fagan hopes he can provide a “pathway” for younger black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) coaches if he is appointed by the EFL club.
Fagan, who is currently U23s boss at Southend, has applied to replace Sol Campbell, who left the club by mutual consent in June after their relegation from League One had been confirmed.
Campbell’s exit left just five BAME managers in jobs in England’s top four tiers.
“For me it’s not a high enough number,” Fagan told Sky Sports News. “It’s not really good enough in terms of the amount of jobs that are out there.
“I think, for myself, when I was playing, there wasn’t really a great deal of managers then, and there was no one who I could look up to and try to be like. There were maybe one or two.
“I think that’s what’s needed. So if it takes the likes of myself to try to be the best I can be, to provide a pathway for someone else, I think that’s what we’ve got to be doing.”
Fagan has praised the influence of Doncaster boss Darren Moore and former Derby team-mate Michael Johnson, who joined the England U21s coaching staff this season as part of the FA’s Elite Coach Placement Programme, which aims to confront BAME under-representation.
As well as sharing coaching experiences, Fagan says he has learned from the difficulties the duo have faced in finding roles.
“I had the likes of Darren Moore, who is at Doncaster, I speak to him quite a lot – he helps me, he’s a guiding light to be fair to him. Michael Johnson as well, who’s now helping out with the U21s with England,” Fagan said.
“Having spoken to those two guys a hell of a lot, they’ve had their struggles in getting jobs. There were times when I spoke to Johnson when I was thinking about giving coaching up, and he was struggling more than me.
“He had top qualifications and couldn’t get interviews, so for someone that’s below him in terms of starting out, it doesn’t send the right message for myself in terms of getting in there. If he’s got all these qualifications, how do I get myself on the coaching ladder?
“But I just think he had to persevere, and he’s got there now coaching the England U21s. So that perseverance and that grit and determination to prove people wrong, and these two guys are now shining lights and a guide for me, and hopefully I can be a guide for others that are coming up.”