Football: Ramsey breaks new ground

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CHRIS RAMSEY, once an FA Cup finalist with Brighton and Hove Albion, has become the first black England manager after being appointed to lead the country's Under-20 squad at the World Youth Championship in Nigeria next month.

Ramsey, 36, has worked under the Football Association technical director, Howard Wilkinson, since June last year and is currently the FA's south- east and London regional coaching director.

With Uefa qualifications behind him, he has been assisting former professionals such as David Platt on their fast-track coaching courses with the FA in recent months.

Ramsey said: "When I started played, I was among the first batch of black players in this country... To be the first black coach to lead out an England side - I can't tell you how much it means to me. Hopefully I can open the door and a lot of others will come flooding in."

"The higher profile I can become will be good for me personally," Ramsey added. "It will also be good for a whole community of people, not just the black community but other professionals who haven't been significantly big names."

As a defender, Ramsey's career took him to Swindon, Southend and Brighton, before a stint as player-coach of Malta's Naxxar Lions. Since then, he has helped to coach Leyton Orient and has also taken charge of the Florida- based Cocoa Expos in the US Indoor Soccer League.