Today’s performance before the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee from four senior figures from the Football Association, including the Chair and Chief Executive, Greg Clarke and Martin Glenn, would have given second rate a bad name. I have scarcely seen a more unconvincing, risible excuse for leadership from any organisation. I have scarcely seen a more incredible appearance before a committee of parliament. And yet, we have seen this sort of hopelessness from the FA for years.It would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic and so serious. Let us remind ourselves, as well as reputations we are talking here about safeguarding, racism and discrimination claims. This is not about football, it is about human rights.
The Committee did a good job at holding these senior executives to account for a catalogue of inadequacy, bordering on rank incompetence, possibly even malicious, deliberate underperformance. I watched and listened open-mouthed. Language matters as Committee members pointed out and tone and body language matters. The Chair, Mr Greg Clarke, demonstrated a level of smug and patronising tone that made my hair stand on end. Constant use of passive language; “there have been failings”. Evaisve. Arrogant. Finger pointing at the committee. Interrupting. Self serving, self-satisfied monologues. Totally and utterly unacceptable on every possible level. The most damning thing than can said about this shower – as my friend Martin has rightly said today – is that they are useless. Totally useless. They don’t get it and cannot deal with it. Useless.
Mr Glenn should be looking for other work. He is clearly not up to the job of leading an organisation receiving tens of millions of pounds of public money and holding in their hands – just – the trust of millions to be custodians of the national game. Mr Clarke should be asked for his resignation by the Secretary of State – when he clears his office he could take with him his high opinion of himself, which we saw throughout his evidence today. The FA needs to be nationalised, overhauled and relaunched with new leadership and new governance structures.
It makes so so angry to see such a collection of failing leaders in a failing organisation acting like they are the victims of circumstances. It makes me so angry to hear excuse after excuse and a total unwillingness to take it on the chin and say they messed this up – time and time again. In makes me so angry that the national game is in their hands. It doesn’t just make me angry, it totally sickens me.
In football terms, watching today’s hearing was like watching a pub team playing at Wembley. It is time someone calls time on this pathetic excuse for an organisation and its third rate leaders.
Photo taken from the BBC Sport website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/live/41663009