AFTER some years bemoaning the fact he hasn’t had a chance to become a manager, the eccentric character that is Sol Campbell has been appointed “gaffer” at Macclesfield Town, the 92nd-placed club in the Premier/Football League structure.
The Guardian’s Daniel Taylor said that Campbell doesn’t always realise how he comes across, referring to some of the comments he made when being given the job. At the press conference to announce his arrival, Campbell congratulated Macclesfield for hiring a manager that was previously one of the greatest footballers in the world (!).
Confidence has never been too much of a problem with Campbell, but football – indeed sport – is a world that punishes those that show too much self-belief when they fail. He has commented, many times, that he has been kept waiting for a job because he is black. Taylor adds, however, that there are others who will argue that it is too simplistic to believe the only reason he hasn’t had an offer is because of the colour of his skin. “There are so many stories about his less attractive traits – arrogance, pomposity, self-entitlement, call it what you will – that might not sit well with potential employers.”
Ollie Kay of The Times headlined that “Macclesfield give Campbell overdue chance to back up his talk”. The former Tottenham and Arsenal defender appeared pleased to be in work. He told SkySports: “I will bring all of my wealth of experience to this job. I know football inside out. I know how to manage people. I can communicate and I’ve looked at what I can do at the club. I think it’s a great place for me to start.”
Campbell has spoken in the past about the barriers facing black and Asian coaches in securing jobs. “For me it’s about opportunity,” he told SkySports. “I’m not going to do down that road and state the obvious. I’ve got the opportunity and I’ve got to take it with both hands, work my socks off and see how far I can go.”
Campbell has toyed with the idea of a career in politics and even ran for the Conservative Party nomination for London Mayor in 2016. The Telegraph said his main focus has been on a career in management, yet he invited ridicule earlier this year when he claimed he was one of the greatest minds in football and that he was being “wasted” after failing to get a chance at Oxford United.
While the sceptics wonder just how Campbell will fare at a very challenging level, his former England manager, Sven-Goran Eriksson, told the BBC the “football world is open” to him if he is successful. Eriksson said Campbell is mature, ready to do it and born to do the job. Eriksson added: “You have to start somewhere and if you’re lucky and good, and you know what you’re doing, then it just goes on. He’s one of these guys who, as I remember, was very calm but when he speaks, people listen to him. I would says he’s a natural leader in that way.”
Sources: BBC, Guardian, Times, Telegraph, Sky.