Former Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke has spoken about his struggles to find a job in football management, revealing that even words of recommendation by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson have been unable to make a difference.
Yorke was dismissive of the “absolute joke” policy that is the Rooney Rule, which dictates that every club must interview at least one BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) candidate for each senior coaching role vacancy.
“It’s a fact that Sir Alex Ferguson, who’s been tremendous and like a father figure … when I applied for the [Aston] Villa job, I went into his office and told him exactly what I was trying to do,” Yorke told beIN Sports.
“He gave me some experience, he told me what I needed to do and I picked his brain. At the same time, he picked the phone up and rang Villa for me to give his recommendation.
“He’s always said to me, if I need anything, any recommendation to break into management, he would vouch for me – even to this day. With his help, I still can’t get an interview. I still can’t get an interview to this day.
“That is what we are facing today.”
Before his four-year spell at Old Trafford, Yorke represented Villa as a player between 1989 and 1998, scoring 73 goals in 231 appearances.
“You have seen, on the other hand, white players given that platform with very little experience, straight into management,” Yorke continued.
“There is a serious issue here. I’m going to fight this all the way. I’m still very hopeful.”
Wolves’ Nuno Espirito Santo is currently the only BAME manager in the Premier League, leading Yorke to criticise the Rooney Rule, which the English Football League introduced last year.
“It is an absolute joke,” said Yorke, 48. “It’s not been implemented whatsoever. And if you go even deeper and you follow it in the NFL, there are new rules … If you hire a black manager you go up in the league or something.
“The players obviously have gone against that because it’s a token gesture. This Rooney Rule hasn’t been implemented for years. I know Sol Campbell, I spoke to Sol Campbell. He went to Grimsby, he was trying his nuts off just to try and get a job.
“He went to Macclesfield, someone who’s played the level he has, and now he’s at Southend. When you see other players – I can call names, but I won’t – other players have been fast forwarded and fast-tracked.
“The one response I get, I’ve applied for the Villa job twice now, I get one response from the CEO and his response to me was, ‘I need experience.’ Where am I going to go and get experience if I’m not being given a chance?”