Chris Powell’s dream start to his managerial career at Southend United is a timely boost for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic coaches, according to Kick It Out’s Troy Townsend.
Powell was appointed Southend boss last month, replacing Phil Brown after the Shrimpers went on a miserable run of seven defeats in eight league matches.
Former England international Powell, who spent almost six years as a player at Roots Hall in the ’90s, is the first manager in Southend’s 112-year history to win his first three matches in charge of the club.
“Chris has done absolutely brilliantly,” Townsend told Sky Sports News.
“You want to have an impact when you go into a club because it reflects well on you and the new staff you bring in and Chris has done just that.
“And with the lack of Black and Minority Ethnic managers around I think there is always that focus when one comes back into the game.
“We’ve seen other managers come back into the game at the top levels of football come back in and struggle to motivate their players or get the desired results. But Chris has come in and had a tremendous impact. Hopefully that continues.”
Townsend was speaking at a Kick It Out Raise Your Game debate focusing on positive initiatives aimed at addressing the under-representation of BAME coaches across the game.
Brighton boss Chris Hughton, QPR academy boss and technical director Chris Ramsey, and England U16 boss Kevin Betsy were among the BAME coaches in attendance on the night, along with Bill Bush and John Nagle – the heads of policy at the Premier League and EFL respectively.
Townsend, Kick It Out’s Education manager, added: “With people from all of the reputable bodies in the room talking about the work they are doing in this area, I think tonight was a real opportunity for people to understand that there is a lot going on within the game that is maybe not talked about enough.
“When there are only seven BAME managers out of 92 league clubs it’s clear that this remains a major issue.
Kick It Out’s Education Manager Troy Townsend, Chelsea’s equality consultant Chris Gibbons and the club’s U23 players discuss WONDERKID, a short film about homophobia in football. Video courtesy of Chelsea TV.
The debate was held at Twitter’s central London HQ ahead of next month’s Women’s Raise Your Game event at Wembley Stadium, which is followed by the national convention at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium on April 27.
“It’s really pleasing that Twitter have hosted us here and are wanting to do something proactive,” Townsend said.
“We have been working extensively behind-the-scenes with social media organisations to try and stamp out hatred and discrimination online.
“This is our first debate event and then we go into a women’s Raise Your Game event next month and the national Raise Your Game conference in April. Last year that brought together around four hundred people working or wanting to work in the game, so it’s a really busy couple of months but it is the start of a very positive period for Kick It Out’s Raise Your Game series.”