No Room For Racism

Premier League supports Brentford Academy coach

30 Apr 2024
sucha main pic

Brentford Academy coach shares his story part of the Premier League’s No Room For Racism campaign

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Manraj Sucha is a shining light within the coaching community. Whilst he once had hopes of playing the game professionally himself, his career is now dedicated to ensuring that future generations are equipped to play the game at any level.

Whilst he has had previous experience of being Head of Performance Analysis at Northampton Town FC and coaching at professional academies such as MK Dons, Luton Town, Chesterfield and Walsall, Manraj is on the Premier League Coach Inclusion and Diversity Scheme (CIDS) – a Premier League programme aimed at increasing the number of female coaches and male black, Asian and mixed heritage coaches from a variety of backgrounds in English professional football.

The scheme itself, first introduced in 2020, provides coaches with a bursary and 23-month work placement at a Premier League or Category One club.

The aim is that coaches achieve sustainable coaching roles post-placement. In becoming role models, they can inspire a new generation to also become coaches within the professional game.

As Brentford continue preparations for their reinstated academy, it’s no surprise that there’s a real sense of excitement about the calibre of player the club could produce and how Sucha can play a key role in that.

Speaking to VERSUS. Manraj to talked about his journey through coaching, how the Premier League has helped him so far on his journey and why his mission is greater than just coaching.

sucha pic 1

"For me, it’s [coaching] about providing opportunities and supporting players to maximise their potential.

"I saw the benefits of coaching when I was younger and played football. So now, I’m trying to do the same for the younger generation. 

"Sometimes, it could be down to support mechanisms or the environment. The important thing is, good coaching can aid these players. That’s why it is so important to me.

"I try to support players in terms of putting them first as people and looking at their development. For me, it’s not just about their technical ability, we have to look at people holistically. 

Manraj Sucha

"I think that diversity is very important. I have been in environments where there are no other coaches from ethnically diverse backgrounds. It may often be the first time a young person has encountered anyone from a diverse background - more specifically Sikh, when they have someone like myself as a coach.

"For them to be coached by someone like me, provides education within those environments. It may be within football but that experience then extends to their whole life. They may have never met someone from a diverse background that closely, but now they can understand that there is not a massive difference. We are all people.

"To stay in the game, I started coaching. It started by coaching at grassroots level for 6 years as well as in schools and Development Centres with MK Dons. I volunteered and became a coach at the academy at MK Dons before moving over to Luton Town.

"I then went into teaching, whilst coaching part time, before deciding to go into coaching full-time. I’ve been coaching for 18 years, and in academy football for 12 years, I have held full-time roles in community trusts as well, managed in non-league football, to Brentford FC today.

"I got onto the scheme [CIDS] in 2023 but I have been on the radar of the Premier League for a long time after interviewing for other schemes. Back then, you had to look for clubs yourself which was very difficult compared to now.

"The great thing about the scheme is the ability to network with so many coaches across the game and being able to upskill myself in terms of coach education through all of the workshops put on by the Premier League.

"Having the ability to constantly learn and improve on a formal scheme is really important. I feel extremely well supported on my journey.

Manraj Sucha

"I try to support other coaches where I can. I don’t try to look at what I do, but hopefully my journey can inspire people not just from a similar background, but all backgrounds. I’m aware that role models are needed. If I am able to be a role model, I have to appreciate that. 

"I have goals and ideas of my next steps which the club are aware of. Currently, the club and all the staff here have been super supportive and enabled me to develop in different environments. The main thing is to do my role really well and hopefully push on from here whilst developing as a coach and aiding these young people."

Photography from VERSUS

Impact of PL's coaching schemes

- Of 63 coaches to have progressed through the Premier League's inclusive coaching programmes, the PPCS or the Coach Inclusion and Diversity Scheme (CIDS), 56 (88 per cent) are in full-time employment with clubs. 
- All 25 coaches who have been supported through PPCS are employed as a coach in English professional football.  
- Of the 38 coaches who have been supported through the CIDS, 31 are employed in men’s English football, plus one in the Women's Super League and two more overseas.
- 45 clubs across the Premier League and EFL have engaged with either PPCS or CIDS. 
- 361 coaches are registered to the Coach Index (a self-registration system for coaches from underrepresented groups), with 72 clubs signed up to use the platform when recruiting.

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