Stephen Constantine: Outsiders don't get a chance in England
Written by Simon Austin — May 3, 2018
INDIA manager Stephen Constantine says he cannot get a job in England because club owners always “hire somebody they know”.
The 55-year-old has managed in countries including Cyprus, Nepal, Rwanda, Malawi and Sudan, but never in his homeland. Since taking over as manager in January 2015, India have climbed from 173 in the Fifa World Rankings to 97th today.
He holds the Uefa Pro Licence, FA psychology award and FA coach education certificate, and has also trained coaches from around the world for Fifa.
However, other than a season as first-team coach at Millwall and a brief spell with Bournemouth's Academy, the London-born manager has failed to get a job in England, despite numerous applications.
“I’m English. I was born here, raised here,” he told Josh Schneider-Weiler for This Football Life. “Why wouldn’t I want to coach in my own country? It didn’t happen for me.
“I can’t answer the question of why I haven’t been given a manager’s job in England, it’s a bit of a mystery. I do think I could do as good a job as anyone else, maybe better, given my experience and connections the world over.
“I think chairmen are more likely to hire somebody they know or know somebody who knows the guy. I’m in and out of England, it’s difficult.
“Am I any more of a gamble than somebody who’s failed three or four times in this country? Personally I don’t think so.
“For many people it’s who you know, better the devil you know. At some point you’ve got to look at the CV and look at the work and do a bit of research on the guy. What can he bring to the table that the other guy doesn’t?
“I’ve had a couple of interviews in England and both times they’ve told me ‘hadn’t we promised the job to someone else, we’d have given you the job.’”
Constantine, who set up the organisation British Coaches Abroad, did have a season as first-team coach at Millwall in 2005/6, during a tumultuous period in their history.
Before that he had a brief spell with Bournemouth’s Academy. He applied to coach the England Under-21s in 2013, but the job went to Gareth Southgate - even though the Football Association had said they wanted a manager with international coaching experience.
Constantine, who was born to an English-Irish mother and Cypriot father in London’s East End, said: “I am different than most in this country. My ability to improve players, to coach the players on and off the field.
“I’m interested in what they’re doing not just the two hours they’re at the club. I care about the whole thing. My connections abroad are vast if we’re going to bring in players or make a tie-up, in India, or China or Africa.
“I’ve got so many people I can turn to if we need. A player in any country wants to know how are you going to make it better for him.
“There are many ways to show players you care, and I genuinely do. Then they’ll give you that little bit more.”