Glenn, the latest in a long line of inadequates
There have been calls for Martin Glenn to be replaced, which seems logical enough, but looking historically at the long succession of inadequate chief executives at the FA, Glenn’s inadequacy merely seems par for the course.
Arguably, there hasn’t been a decent incumbent since Stanley Rous gave up the secretaryship, as it was then known, to become president of FIFA in 1962.
The obvious successor then appeared to be Walter Winterbottom, very much Rous’ protege, and controversially the England team manager since 1946 who was protected by Rous against any harm following even the most catastrophic of England results – notably the humiliating defeats, 6-3 at Wembley and 7-1 in Budapest, by a rampant Hungarian team.
Winterbottom didn’t get the secretary’s job because that conniving old rascal Harold Thompson bullied the selection committee to give the job to the feeble Denis Follows, who he proceeded to bully into a heart attack.
After Follows it is hard to think of any subsequent FA secretary, by whatever title, who amounted to much.
Ted Croker came in full of good intentions. I remember lunching with him soon after his appointment when he expressed his horror at what he had discovered about the relations of Wembley Stadium with a complaisant FA. In the event he did nothing about it or a number of other relevant things.
Graham Kelly, whom I nicknamed “Kelly the Jelly”, made the surprising transition from chief executive of the Football League to top man at the FA. Kelly, of course, was a leading figure in the dubious birth of what I will always call the “Greed Is Good League”, thereby ignoring the historic remit of the FA to look after football at every level. He would eventually be forced to resign after a controversial deal with the Welsh association.
Mark Palios was driven out after his affair with a femme fatale working at the FA, who alas bestowed her favours on then-England manager Sven Goran Eriksson, who somewhat surprisingly retained his job.
Rous may have been a snob and an authoritarian but at least he was a good enough referee to officiate at the 1934 FA Cup Final just before being appointed by the FA, and he himself re-wrote the laws of the game.
Under fire... Martin Glenn