Sol Campbell: David Croft says claims can be dismissed on football reasons

Last Updated: 11/03/14 4:07pm

Should Sol Campbell have been England captain for a decade?

That was one of the issues debated on What's The Story this week after the former Arsenal and Tottenham defender claimed he would have skippered his country for more than a decade if he was white.

Campbell wore the England armband in three friendly matches and claims institutional racism within the FA prevented him from doing so more often - but Sky Sports' David Croft isn't so sure.

The F1 commentator says Campbell was simply not the best choice as captain - and these claims may be an attempt to drum up publicity for his forthcoming biography.

He said: "My first reaction was that he's got a book coming out and this is going to get him in the headlines of all the back pages.

"As a football fan, watching a lot of England at the time Campbell was playing, I never once sat down with my friends and said: 'Sol Campbell should be captain for 10 years' because he's that good a player.

"He was a good player, but he was never a man, to me, that should be England captain above the likes of Tony Adams or David Beckham around that time.

"Is the FA institutionally racist? I don't know the answer to that one. I'm sure we've all got theories on it.

"But I just think it's such an important issue so don't waste the opportunity to bring it to the public's forefront on something that can so easily be dismissed on football reasons.

"He captained England three times and after his third occasion he got injured and was away from the England scene for about a year. Others then emerged onto the scene.

Fitness

"Had he been fit when Peter Taylor picked Beckham for the game against Italy then maybe he would have been given the captaincy and had it gone well then he might have been captain for quite a few years.

"Circumstances went against Campbell in football and fitness reasons."

The Guardian's Sean Ingle says Campbell has raised a valid point about the difficulties that black players face in getting to high positions within football, particularly when it comes to management.

But he feels the has muddied the argument with his claims about his personal victimisation.

Ingle said: "Saying he could have captained England for 10 years... only three players in England history have come close to that: Billy Wright from 1950 to 1959, Bobby Moore from 1964 to 1973 and Bryan Robson from 1982 to 1990. He's putting himself in a very elite field there.

"I do think he has a point where he talks about how hard it is for black players to become managers or when they progress up the ladder. There are three black managers in English football at the moment.

"If you speak to the PFA they say roughly 25% of footballers in this country are black or ethnic minority and 18% of people on PFA coaching courses are black or from ethnic minorities.

"You've got big numbers there, but only two, three or four go on at a time to be managers in the Football League or Premier League."