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Let’s Kick Gingerism Out Of Football

According to the ScotlandsDNA project, only 0.6% of the world’s population has red hair. Chances are, you’ve known a few gingers in your life, and maybe you’ve even taken a moment to stop calling them Carrot Top, Mr/Ms Weasley, Chucky, Big Red, Ginger Balls and/or Strawberry Shortcake and gotten to know them as unique individuals that aren’t defined by the color of their drapes, you damn bully.

Gingerism exists. We’ve all seen this discrimination play out in elementary school — that formative age when being singled out runs contrary to everything you’ve been taught socially, namely that fitting in is the be-all and end-all. And while with age comes a great personal infatuation with what makes you unique, there are still barriers to redheads as adults.

Take, for example, Burnely manager Sean Dyche’s tongue-in-cheek response to a question on BBC Radio regarding why he’s not linked with any of the top job vacancies in the country: “It’s gingerist, isn’t it?” Dyche jokingly replied. “We’re oppressed, I think.”

Dyche went on to give an answer that actually contains the truth while still containing a smidge of what it’s like to be a ginger: “I don’t think I’ve ever been a fashion item. I don’t think I was as a player. I was a player who got the job done, and I think I’m kind of maybe thought of like that as a manager.”


Dyche’s extensive playing career saw him amass over 500 appearances between the English fourth division and the Championship over a span of almost 20 years. In his first year in management, he led Watford to their highest finish in four years but was then dismissed by new owners.

He landed at Burnley, where he immediately won promotion to the Premier League after the club had finished 11th the season before. While Burnley were subsequently relegated, Dyche stayed on and led his club straight back up as champions of the second division. This season, the club secured survival with 40 points and a 16th-placed finish.

But for all of Dyche’s good work and extensive experience, he generates none of the headlines that are reserved for managers like Leeds United’s Garry Monk, Huddersfield Town’s David Wagner or Reading’s Jaap Stam. As a counterpoint to Dyche, Andre Villas-Boas continues to get paid £11 million per year for simply looking like Don Juan.

What other proofs do I have of gingerism plaguing football? I’ll tell you.

You woke up this morning and the first headline you saw on your favorite football website wasn’t “Paul Scholes Was F***ing Good At Football” or “10 Reasons Why We Should Drop Everything And Think About Paul Scholes Rakers”

When someone asks “Who had the best left foot in the history of football?” you say Lionel Messi and not John Arne Riise.


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