The Joe Royle column

THERE has been a flurry of reports about football this week concerning mainly racism and the finances. I would disagree that football is inherently racist as the Independent Football Commission concludes.

THERE has been a flurry of reports about football this week concerning mainly racism and the finances. I would disagree that football is inherently racist as the Independent Football Commission concludes.

Very occasionally you do hear racist chants on the terraces but that is not football - that is to do with people. There is not much more football can do except keep hammering home the message.

Black and white mix in football with very little problem and the fact that there are no Asians in football is mainly down to their own choice.

When I was at Oldham, which has a high Asian population, we searched high and low to sign an Asian player in the 12 years I was there as it could have doubled our gates.

For whatever reason Indians and Pakistanis have not take to football in the same way as they have dominated squash and hockey and cricket but as yet they have not come into football but that is by their own choice.

In football, colour and creed does not matter - all are accepted.

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Chris Bart-Williams for example, has come into Ipswich Town halfway through the season without a hint of racism. He has come into the dressing room as if he has been here all his life.

As for there being no black managers or coaches, Chris Kamara, who managed successfully before choosing a media career, will tell you himself he went on a coaching course last year and he was the only black person there and to be a coach or manager you have to fulfil the criteria.

If black players want to go on and become coaches the opportunities are there for them but they have to put themselves forward.

Carlton Palmer got the job at Stockport County not because of his colour and he didn't lose it because he was black, it was purely down to results. To take it to the other extreme, more white managers lose their jobs due to results.

We have also seen Brendan Batson get almost to the top in the PFA and rightly so, and he carries on doing well in his vocation and deservedly so.

It would be interesting to see the proportion of blacks and whites in our society, and the proportion of black to white in management.

I don't know what the percentage of black bank managers there are, so to pick on football seems wrong to me.

So I feel we need to be careful with this race card and have an element of common sense about it.

ON the finance front, a lot of the problems could be solved by making it a rule that clubs are banned from paying agents and if players want to use agents they should pay them out of their own pocket.

The argument that the bigger clubs pay more towards helping the smaller clubs out would be hugely unpopular at the top end.

Quite simply the big clubs have a lot more to pay out in terms of wages and have larger fan bases to satisfy.

While I can see it would be democratic and can see the value of it, the rule would be difficult to enforce.

We are great for coming out with reports or putting together commissions, usually when the horse has bolted, but the answer to me is black and white. Make the payers pay their own agents instead of clubs paying.

WE touched on the new interpretation of the offside rule last week but we have seen more examples of the ludicrous amendment. It has got everyone scratching their heads because FIFA have complicated things and have made the jobs of referees and linesmen even more difficult.

I don't know what they hope to achieve but they may as well say you can't be offside in the opponents' box and take all the ifs and buts out of it.

When the governing body of FIFA next meets, and they are all awake or off their life-support machines at the same time, then please, simplify this law. It has got the supporters, the players and the officials baffled.

YET another couple of managers have been sacked and let me start by saying I feel sorry for Paul Hart. He has gone from putting together a Nottingham Forest side that last season was as good as any in this division on their day, to one that has been torn apart by injury and sales.

His critics will say he has spent in excess of £1m and they are still struggling while his supporters will point out that most of that team came through with him at the helm.

I feel sorry for Forest too because they are a nice club and I take no great pleasure in seeing them where they are. Equally I'm glad it is them, and not us.

As for Joe Kinnear, well he is experienced and he has gone in there on a fire-fighting mission. If he keeps them up then it will be a fantastic appointment - if not people will ask why Paul Hart was not given more time.

Whether it was wise for him to take the job after his health scare is another matter. I know him as a cheeky, Cockney chappie who is bright and breezy.

He had a great time at Wimbledon and seeing their demise will sadden him. So good luck to him - except when they come here.

A WORD of warning to Glenn Hoddle about going back to Southampton. Not because it is Southampton, not because of the fans' reaction, but second time round seldom works. In everything in life it is never the same, especially if it was very good the first time.

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