It's that time again when I feel the need to remind everyone (mainly pundits and media), of how many British and Irish coaches ARE actually working abroad in a coaching or staff capacity.
An important range of judgement to decide here is, what is considered 'being a coach'? Is it well known names in football who are 'being brave' moving abroad to develop their own coaching career after spending years in the spotlight in the U.K, or is the actual definition of a football coach, someone who has gained formal qualifications on a coaching course, and been passed by qualified tutors and assessors? If it's the latter, then it should be pointed out that there are 100's and 100's of British and Irish coaches already working abroad!
Yep, you heard it right. There are 100's of British and Irish coaches working in countries across the world, who are qualified coaches and who are developing their careers, sacrificing and pushing themselves to the limit, in environments that only some can imagine or read in articles.
So why the lack of appreciation from those who claim 'there's only a handful of coaches willing to test themselves abroad; Chris Coleman, Gary Neville, David Moyes bla bla etc etc...'.? Perhaps it's ignorance or just negligence that professionals in such a field (media,punditism), are not doing their correct due diligence?
I get it, I know big and well-known names sell papers and attract viewers, but wouldn't 'one of our own' winning a league title in a country's top tier league, be seen as valuable to the 'common person', who can actually relate to such a story and even aspire to it. If not, how about 'one of our own' leading a National Team or managing a nation's whole football initiative? is that not worthy enough of a mention?
No, not worthy at all. In-fact, what the majority of them get in return, is somewhat banishment and the acknowledgment of the same level of Kevin Beacon in the movie Hollow Man (he's invisible); limited support regarding continued development from their home F.A's, no follow ups, no acknowledgement and just a big fat NO when requesting support from abroad..... well isn't that just lovely. Then on the other hand, there are those who 'deserve to be supported because what they've done for the game' whilst rubbing shoulders with the powers that be in the SKY studios.
Priorities need to be shaped, these coaches are part of the future and potentially, are a future leader of one of our Home Nation's National teams!
Just in case those in the Talk Sport, Guardian, Sky Sports, BBC etc etc studios need a helping hand to do their jobs, here are just a handful of coaches British and Irish coaches and staff, currently plying their trade abroad (23 of them actually). And also take into consideration, all of those working in some capacity at grassroots, pro-academy and elite levels for other country's F.A's and clubs. Believe me, they are, and it's happening....
Louis Lancaster - Head Coach, Taiwan (Chinese Taipei) Men's National Team (above)
Jamie Brassington - GK Coach/Ast.Coach, (Chinese Taipei) Men's National Team
Tom Eastwood - Head of Sports Science, (Chinese Taipei) Men's National Team
Kevin McGreskin - Technical Director, The Cook Islands Football Association
Simon McMenemy - Head Coach, Indonesia Men's National Team
Des Buckingham - Head Coach, New Zealand Men's U20 Team
Josh Shepherd - Head Coach, Thimphu City F.C. Bhutan, Top Tier (below)
James Francis - Head Coach, Tudu Mighty Jets, Ghana Division One
Gary White - Head Coach, Tokyo Verdy, Japan 2nd Tier
Rob Gale - Head Coach, Valour F.C, Canada Top Tier
Andy Clawson - Director of Coaching, F.C Bangkok, Thailand
Lola Ogunbote - Female Development Coach, ClubFootball Beijing, China (below)
Lee Padmore - Youth Coach, Wellington Pheonix, Australia A-League
Drew Sherman - Technical Director, Brisbane Roar, Australia A-League
Gerard Jones - Grassroots Instructor, U.S Soccer
Tommy Malins - Coach, Bergsoy IL, Norway
Jamie Day - Head Coach, Blangladesh Men's National Team (Below, right)
Sean Lane - Head Coach, Mohammedan SC, Bangladesh Top Tier
Johnathan McKinstry - Head Coach, Saif Sporting Club, Bangladesh Top Tier
Alex McCarthy - Ast. Coach, Saif Sporting Club, Bangladesh Top Tier
Scott Bowen - GK Coach, Saif Sporting Club, Bangladesh Top Tier
Scott Cooper - Head Coach, Philippines Men's National Team
Andrew Sparkes - GK Coach, Orlando Pirates, South Africa Top Tier
Just this small list alone (above) already holds such a diverse and respectful range of achievements, and that isn't even touching the edges (apologies to all of those who I haven't mentioned).
I really hope 'the powers that be' can also take note of these achievements. I mean seriously, it's not a great thing to have our own British and Irish coaches in such positions across the globe?
Thank you for reading and please help to spread the love.
Matt Ward is the Owner of the British Football Coaches Network and also the Author of the book, 'Zero to Pro in 4 Years'. He is now a consultant helping to support coaches and staff in developing their careers.