Fortune insists racism won’t derail his dream of Man Utd top job

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Former Manchester United and Bafana Bafana player Quinton Fortune passionately explains why racism will not affect his ambition and determination to become a top coach.

While Man United have appointed the South African as the assistant coach of their Under-23s, there are very few BAME managers in professional football and that has been highlighted during recent weeks, in light of the Black Lives Matter campaign becoming an international movement.

“I saw a quote from Will Smith on his Instagram – racism is now being filmed,” said Fortune.

“It’s not changed, the difference is that it is being filmed. It has been going on for so many years. I said to a few people, even if you look at the [George Floyd] video and forget about the colour of the skin of the person. Just another human being doing that to another human being – that’s the scary part.
“It’s a tragedy to see what happened to George Floyd but what was going through the cop’s head? What state was he in to do that to another person? What happened in his life to have to carry so much hate for another human being?” – Fortune. Picture:  Manchester United.
“I have a lot of conversations with Katy [my partner] and we just shake our heads thinking, ‘Oh my goodness’. We think about our kids, ‘Oh my goodness, we need to pray, we need to educate them and try to help as many people as possible to see the different way,” said the former Man United and Atletico Madrid midfielder.
“There has got to be a way that we can live together but it’s been going on for so long. It’s sad, it’s so sad.”

Fortune also discusses the idea of the ‘Rooney Rule’ being introduced to English football, which would ensure that at least one BAME candidate is interviewed for every coaching position.

While the former Bafana star is in favour of that law, which stems from American sport, the United man also wants his credentials to speak for themselves when applying for roles.

“I want to be given the job because of my ability,” Fortune explains.“I want to always be judged because of my character and what I can bring to the team, not because of the colour of my skin.

“When you look at the game, you see a lot of black players but why are there not many black managers? I don’t know what the reason is. I think if I go too deep into that it will block my way of thinking.

“I like to think I am going to work as hard as I can, get all my qualifications, prepare myself and not let that barrier stop me. And if there is a system put in place, great, but regardless of that I’m going to go and work anyway,” Fortune. Picture:  Manchester United.

“That’s my way of thinking. I’m going to get my qualifications, like I’m doing with my pro licence, and just prepare myself. You’ve got to kind of imagine yourself becoming the manager and put things in place and of course, like I said, if there was a system in place to give more black players an opportunity, great – get more black players as coaches, I’m all for that.

“But I’m also all for [that] you have got to put in the work. You have got to be a great manager. I want to be given the chance because of my talent.”

Fortune’s role with ‘The Red Devils’ Under-23s sees him work closely with Neil Wood as he builds his coaching experience and education. But what are his ambitions for management? Well, as he explains, just like in his playing career, he is aiming for the very top of the mountain.

“I thought about that question yesterday for some reason and my first thought was to become the manager of Manchester United. That’s my dream. Of course, I’m starting now with the Under-23s and I’m learning a lot and I want to learn as much as possible because management changes so much in the game today.

“I want to learn and just try to help young players get better. That’s the main thing now for me. Yes, we want to win games of course, but the aim now for myself and Woody is to get the players to the first team. That’s the most important [thing]. And from there you learn as much as possible.

“Look, I may have to go out and learn somewhere else and become a manager. But the dream, the ultimate dream, is to come back and be the manager of Manchester United. From what I’ve been through, I’m going for the highest level.”

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