Sol Campbell says he is ready for his first job in management and dreams of succeeding Arsene Wenger at Arsenal

The former Arsenal and England defender insisted, in an interview with The Independent, that whoever hires him 'won't regret it'

Matt Murphy
Tuesday 24 January 2017 10:52
Sol Campbell: On management, racism in football, and Arsenal

Six years after retiring as a player, Sol Campbell says he’s finally ready to return to football in a managerial role.

Having dabbled in interior design and politics, the former Arsenal and England defender has turned his attention back to the game and is even eyeing up the Emirates for his dream role of the future.

Campbell told The Independent he’s spent the last three and a half years preparing himself and is now seeking his first challenge in coaching.

“The first person who comes in won’t regret the quality I can bring their club,” he said.

“It’s all about knocking on doors, because it’s a competition. There’s people from abroad, there’s people in this country.

Campbell appreciates he may have to drop down the pyramid for his first chance 

“There’s people with 10 more years experience than me. I may have to take a no-hope job and I have to turn it around. And beggars can’t be choosers for your first job.

Having completed his UEFA Pro Licence, meaning he can coach anywhere in the world, the 42-year-old says he’s raring to go.

“I’ve done all the badges. I’ve got a great history, but obviously haven’t got experience in a managerial job.

“I’m waiting, I’m talking, I’m tapping up, I’m cultivating deals. I’m on about four or five possibilities to try to get a job.

“Hopefully a situation will come. Hopefully something will click with a certain director where they’ll say ‘let’s bring him in and have a conversation with him’.”

With suggestions being made that Arsene Wenger could be on his way out come the season’s closure, Campbell reckons a former player “who’s done well for Arsenal” could be the right move for the club.

Managing the Gunners, or a club of that stature, is the long-term objective for the man himself.

“That is definitely my goal, to have the type of quality players around me, and a quality system. But you’ve got to build up to that.”

“I’m just going to wait until an opportunity arises, and it ticks the boxes for the directors, and it ticks the boxes for me, and I offer the difference,” he added.

Campbell had a glittering playing career, even scoring in a Champions League final 

Campbell has previously lambasted the FA, calling the organisation ‘institutionally racist’, and claiming that if he was white he’d have been England captain for 10 years.

However he now thinks the organisation has recognised the issue, and has taken the first steps towards a better future, but the group should continue to distance itself from the past.

“The whole structure needs to have a review,“ Campbell explained. “It just takes time.

“A lot of people have been in those positions for a long time and the mindset needs to change. Sometimes it’s difficult to change someone’s mindset if they’ve been like that 50 years.

“Greg Dyke’s mentioned it, he had a passing shot that that side needed to change. The main thing is people actually admit there’s a problem.”

In terms of taking action to improve diversity from a managerial standpoint, Campbell believes it all starts with a more open interview process.

Sol Campbell has been vocal on equality and appeared in a campaign to encourage black people to vote

“That type of opening up and having interviews with different types of managers is key. Even if you know who they could have. There’ll be a manager who might surprise you. And that could change your view.”

Speaking at an event ahead of the British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards, the former defender, who was the first black footballer to lift a trophy at Wembley stadium, explained that “we all still have work to do” to let diverse managerial talent shine through in English football.

“I think more than ever now, you’ve got to allow talent to come through. And if talent has the quality, then it needs the platform, needs a chance. I think that’s the case now.”

“There’s a lot of people who have got qualifications in football and just need a chance, just need a platform, just need an opportunity to show what they can do.”

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