Mar 03, 2014

    Campbell: England didn't want black skipper


    FORMER England footballer Sol Campbell claimed that he would have been national captain for more than 10 years had he been white, in extracts of his biography published yesterday.

    The 39-year-old, who won 73 full international caps for his country - including three as captain - said the Football Association (FA) and the majority of fans did not want a black player heading the England team.

    "I believe if I was white, I would have been England captain for more than 10 years - it's as simple as that," the former Tottenham and Arsenal defender said in his biography serialised in The Sunday Times.

    "I think the FA wished I was white. I had the credibility - performance-wise - to be captain.

    "I was consistently in the heart of the defence, and I was a club captain early in my career.

    "I don't think it will change, because they don't want it to, and probably the majority of fans don't want it either."

    Campbell, who retired from the professional game in May 2012, having been released by Newcastle United the previous year, claimed a "glass ceiling" was preventing black players from wearing the England armband at the highest level.

    "It's all right to have black captains and mixed race in the Under-18s and Under-21s, but not for the full national side. There is a ceiling and, although no one has ever said it, I believe it's made of glass."

    He added that the appointment of former Liverpool striker Michael Owen as the national side's captain ahead of him was "embarrassing".

    "I think the FA didn't want me to have a voice. Owen was a fantastic forward, but nowhere near being a captain," he said.

    "I've asked myself many times why I wasn't (appointed as captain). I keep coming up with the same answer. It was the colour of my skin."

    Campbell's three games as captain came in three friendlies - against Belgium and the Czech Republic in 1998 under manager Glenn Hoddle, and against the United States in 2005 under Sven-Goran Eriksson.