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Pascal Chimbonda keen to make the right impression in management

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 16 Oct 2023

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Former Tottenham and Wigan defender Pascal Chimbonda believes the scarcity of black managers is a “barrier to fight against” as he seeks to prove himself as the new boss of non-league Skelmersdale United.

The 44-year-old will make his managerial debut in the inauspicious circumstances of the North West Counties Premier League, where his rock-bottom side host Kendal Town in the Macron Cup on Wednesday.

Chimbonda, who was a member of France’s 2006 World Cup squad, has tried to get other jobs and while the Guadaloupe-born former Premier League star believes his inexperience counted against him he said the lack of black managers was something which needed to continually be challenged.

“I tried to go to different academies and it never worked because you need experience and sometimes when you apply for the job and you see someone with a lesser CV than you get the job you get frustrated,” he told the PA news agency.

“It is only lack of experience but I think that is an excuse because we played the game at the highest level and if you don’t give me a chance to prove you wrong you will never know if it is a lack of experience.

“You see the leagues don’t have many black managers and I think this is a barrier we have to fight against and we need to keep fighting and things might change.

“We know our value and I say to all black managers to keep fighting and never give up.

“I got my chance at Skem and I will show what I am capable of doing. We are bottom of the league so it is a big challenge for me to change things.

“They have given me the opportunity and now it is up to me to face the challenge and if I do well people will talk about it – and if I do bad people will talk about it.”

Chimbonda has limited experience of lower league football after dropping down the divisions following spells at Sunderland, Blackburn and Doncaster to play for Washington (Tyne and Wear) and Ashton Town.

But he wants to be taken seriously despite the media focus his appointment has brought.

“I don’t think it is a publicity stunt. I take it seriously because football has been all my life,” he added.

“I’ll do the work I have to do – don’t judge me on anything else.”

Chairman Frank Hughes said Chimbonda’s appointment was part of a longer-term plan to return the 141-year-old club – Amateur FA Cup Winners in 1971 – home to the West Lancashire town. Currently the lack of a suitable pitch means they are having to groundshare with Burscough seven miles away.

“We could have gone round the non-league circuit and picked a manager with a proven record but Pascal hits all the targets for us,” said Hughes, who estimated the club needed to raise in excess of £300,000 to replace the artificial turf at former ground JMO Sports Park.

“It is a well-known fact he has not had the opportunities he should have had and we believe it is the right time for him and the right time for us.

“It is an exciting one for Skem because it comes at a time when we are at our worst point and Pascal will give us the lift we need. It is a major coup for the club.”

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