John Barnes claims Jurgen Klopp would have been sacked by Liverpool in his first two seasons in charge “if he was black”.
Klopp took charge at Anfield in October 2015 and led his team to eighth and fourth in his first two Premier League seasons.
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And Barnes insists Klopp would have lost his job “under different circumstances”.
“You can put structures in place, but until you change your perception, nothing will change,’ Barnes told PlayOJO, in the wake of Greg Clarke’s resignation as FA chairman this week after calling black footballers ‘coloured.’
“I use Klopp as an example,” Barnes continued. “How successful was he really in the first two years in terms of being 25 points off the top? But we [Liverpool] believed that he was the right man.
“Under different circumstances, he would have lost his job. If he was black, he would have lost his job in those first two years.”
Barnes also spoke of the discrimination against English managers.
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“If he [Klopp] was English, he would have lost his job,’ said Barnes.
“This is where the idea of discrimination is a little bit strange because there’s a group of people who are discriminated against in English football and the very highest level in the Premier League.
“Now, the top six teams will not have a white English manager. Yes, you can say Frank Lampard, as people have pointed out, but that’s because he has a special bond with Chelsea and that’s the only reason he managed Chelsea – but under different circumstances he wouldn’t have got that job.”
Barnes added that the lack of BAME managers in the English football pyramid is not down to the specifics of the sport itself.
“It’s nothing to do with black football managers,” he explains. “This is a wider issue because how many black managers are there in the higher echelons of any industry? And why should football be any different?
“Until we tackle it in society, and we change our perceptions in society, it will exist in all walks of society, which football is one.”