Just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse for the Football Association – whose chairman has just been forced to quit after accusing the Spanish and the Russians of bribing referees – this morning’s Sun has proved us wrong: apparently Lord Sugar wants the job instead. Now admittedly the mini-maestro has some experience within football, having once been chairman of Tottenham (albeit not very successfully). And he’s probably on the look-out for something to keep him busy between TV shoots now his mate Gordon Brown has been kicked into the long grass. But surely pouring oil on troubled waters isn’t really his forte?
Whether you’re a football fan or not, the FA (which runs both the amateur and the professional side of the UK’s most popular sport) is generally good for a laugh – lurching from one crisis to the next, as a succession of bosses fall by the wayside. Take the amusing incident when the England manager and the chief exec were both having an affair with the same PA, who then accused another senior bod of harassing her (he was cleared, but all three were soon on their bikes). The latest fiasco surrounds Lord Triesman, the FA’s first independent chairman – the Labour peer was busted by the Mail on Sunday accusing Spain and Russia of conspiring to bribe referees ahead of the World Cup, and has now been forced to resign both from the FA and from England’s 2018 World Cup bid.
So to whom does a crisis-hit organisation turn when it desperately needs a calm hand at the tiller – a credible and authoritative figure who can smooth over ruffled feathers and keep the organisation out of the headlines for a while? Should it be another Labour-friendly peer who’s best-known for his TV show; who allegedly described his time as Spurs chairman as ‘a waste of my life’ after courting controversy throughout and falling out with players, fans and half-a-dozen managers (one of whom took him to court); and who appears to take pride in his aggressive and belligerent approach? We’re not convinced.
The other question, of course, is why on earth he’d want the job. In the Sun today (under the headline ‘Let me save the FA’), he explains that people have been emailing him to say he’d be perfect for the role in light of his previous experience, and describes it as ‘an interesting idea’ (which is almost as blatant a job application as sending in his CV). Notwithstanding his suitability for the role, we have no idea why anyone would want to risk running an organisation where professional reputations seemingly go to die.
In today's bulletin:
George Osborne points finger at Labour as he launches fiscal watchdog
Last-ditch efforts to stop BA strike look ill-fated
Take two for the Pru with rights issue
Lord Sugar sweet on role at stricken FA
MT Expert's Top Ten Tips: Be more emotionally intelligent