Just two weeks ago, I spoke to former West Bromwich Albion striker Victor Anichebe about just how important a role Darren Moore was playing in terms of BAME representation in football management.
Flash-forward to last Saturday, however, and the Baggies’ boss was sacked.
Despite guiding his side to fourth place in the Championship upon their relegation from the Premier League last season, a 1-1 draw against Ipswich made up the minds’ of the board, and Moore was gone.
“It actually made me sick, seeing it,” Anichebe told Football League World in an exclusive interview as we spoke again following the decision.
And he was clearly going to pull no punches on the actions of his former club.
“I just thought it was a joke. A lot of people talk about the fact he’s black. And I honestly believe that if it were somebody else, he would not have been sacked.
“It’s an unconscious mindset that has been drilled into people. It’s not their fault but there are no black managers at all and people don’t want to look at this b***s***.
“He won eight out of 10 away games. Tony Pulis was horrendous and they kept him. Look at what happened with Pardew. He won one [Premier League] game and wasn’t sacked.”
It is more than a fair point to make too.
In Moore’s 46 matches as permanent Baggies’ boss, he picked up an average of 1.71 points per game. Significantly more than Pulis’ 1.21 ppg over 121 games and blows Pardew’s 0.67 over 21 matches out of the water entirely.
But with the 44-year-old sacked, there remain just four BAME managers currently operating among the 72 Football League clubs in the form of Chris Powell (Southend United), Keith Curle (Northampton Town), Dino Maamria (Stevenage) and Sol Campbell (Macclesfield).
And the situation of Campbell is one that Anichebe has earmarked as another example of the attitudes that he claims Moore has recently fallen victim to.
“If we’re talking about honours and how good a player the likes of [Steven] Gerrard and [Frank] Lampard were, he’s [Campbell] had a great career too. But he’s had to go to Macclesfield just to get an opportunity, when the other ones go to teams top of Scotland [Rangers] and a very top team in the Championship [Derby County].
“Somebody said to me that [Darren’s] fortunate West Brom gave him a chance. People say ‘oh, he was just there at the right time’.
“No, he was not just there at the right time. He’s been working in that club for a long-time, doing the s***** work.
“So, they’re talking about opportunity, but he’s one of the only black ones who’s been given a chance. Are all other managers fortunate to get an opportunity? No.
“A lot of people will come out and say ‘no, it’s not like that, it’s not like that’, but it is. It’s as simple as that.”
For now, West Brom remain in with a shot of winning automatic promotion and will be steered by coach James Shan until further notice.
But this is a decision that has clearly damaged Anichebe’s faith in the game and his former club. And despite his immense admiration for Moore and his undoubted confidence in his coaching abilities, this was a decision that he felt the club had in mind for a while.
“It seemed like they didn’t want to give him the job anyway. But they had to because he did so well. And then, at the first run of bad results, they get rid of him.
“But that’s just football.”