The former Liverpool player’s last managerial job was at Tranmere in 2009. He lasted four months before being sacked. The 51-year-old has previously been in charge of Celtic and the Jamaica national team.
Barnes insisted that had he been white he would have got another job.
“A white manager loses his job and gets another job, he loses his job, he gets another job. Very few black managers can lose their job and get another job,” he told John Barnes: Sports Life Stories, to be broadcast on ITV4 tomorrow.
“What I can judge it from is by looking at society. How many black people are there in the higher echelons of any industry? We can talk about journalism, we can talk about politics. So why should football be any different?”
Barnes’ first job in management, at Celtic for the 1999-2000 season, ended in the wake of an embarrassing Scottish Cup defeat by Inverness. His lack of experience was often cited as a reason for his failure at Celtic, even though he was being mentored by Kenny Dalglish, then the director of football, during his time in charge at Parkhead.
In 29 matches as Celtic manager, Barnes won 19 games, drew two, and lost eight. He was sacked in February 2000, after only eight months in the job.
But he denied that job was too much too soon.
He said: “Well, if it comes now at 51, I don’t think it will be any different. It’s more to do with the perception of my ability to do the job, because there’s a certain perception of who can make a good manager.”
Barnes’ former England team-mate Ian Wright agreed that the colour of his skin was counting against Barnes.
The former Arsenal man said: “With someone of John Barnes’ ability and stature, to not have worked more in the game with something that he’s desperate to do. I don’t know what else it can be?”
Barnes also talked in the programme about the guilt he felt after the Hillsborough disaster in 1989. Barnes, who attended the funerals and met the families of victims following the tragedy, said: “I felt this guilt that they were coming to watch me.
“I know that they were coming to watch everybody else, and it’s Liverpool Football Club. It’s an irrational thought. So I felt this guilt. And I wasn’t sure how they would react because had that been my loved one, I wouldn’t want to go and meet footballers or the football team, or ever watch football again.”
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