Football's leadership crisis has been exposed by recent developments.
Take me to your leader. If you can find one.
The exception to what has become a dismal rule arguably being the top banana of the Premiership, Mr Scudamore, whose £800,000 a year could be justified in terms of what the Premiership produces.
But there is no apparent reason for the chief, American, shareholder of Arsenal pocketing, as one has long known he does, £3 million a year. For doing what. Advice? In what way is he, an American with major franchises in the USA, qualified to give it to the Gunners, to take out double what his hardly underpaid chief executive Ivan Gazidis, earns in a year?
Stan Kroenke is protected by the club’s unconvincing chairman Sir Chips Keswick, who at the recent shareholders’ meeting put up a petulant and limp defence of the money Kroenke takes out of the club, blathering, “You cannot codify how many times we have taken advice or how we have taken it. I will make no attempt to do so.”
So there! Chips then threatened to close the meeting if he were asked another question on the subject. So what’s the point of him?
Of course this phenomenon is dwarfed by the case of Michel Platini, seemingly bang to rights over that £1.53 million contract (never written it seems) given him by the appalling Sepp Blatter all of 9 years before it was paid.
Whatever his great gifts as a footballer, Platini has been a wretched President of UEFA, selling his clubs out twice over the Qatar World Cup, bloating the European Championship, messing and muddling with financial rulings on the clubs.
Yet our own invertebrate Football Association, in the shape of the blowhard chairman Greg Dyke, the influential FIFA delegate David Gill, and the ex-Walkers Crisps man whose name I always struggle to remember*, though he’s now top FA executive, have all been absurdly indulgent over Platini.
Even now when he seems bang to rights, having issued a statement with more holes in it than a fishing net, they seem ready to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Having initially backed him for the FIFA Presidency so prematurely, when the short list wasn’t even known. To my mind, the FA haven’t had a decent leader since Stanley Rous, after 28 years, left the role to become President of FIFA.
But fair’s fair. That shameless reprobate Joao Havelange stayed in FIFA’s Presidential office for 24 years, re-elected largely unopposed for all those corrupt years, having swindled Rous out of the Presidency with bought African votes in Frankfurt.
As the celebrated English 18th century philosopher Edmund Burke opined, for evil to triumph it is enough for good men to do nothing.
Now a leading FIFA Presidential candidate appears to be one Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim al Khalifa from Bahrain, a country where human rights are at a premium.
He is already President of the Asian Football Confederation and declares himself uninvolved in his country’s excesses. He may well be fully justified in this, but what real claim has he to run FIFA?
* Martin Glenn
A recent column in a national newspaper poured scorn at inordinate length on Sam Allardyce now embattled at Sunderland, for stating in his recent autobiography that Rafa Benitez, now manager of Real Madrid, deserved no credit for Liverpool’s dramatic European Cup Final victory over Milan in Istanbul.
Yet Allardyce is absolutely right. Liverpool, you will remember, were three goals down at half time against a rampant Milan inspired by the gifted Brazilian, Kaka. After reported chaos in the dressing room it was Steven Gerrard, captain and saviour of his team, who insisted Dieter Hamman be brought on to mark Kaka.
It worked at once. Kaka was nullified, Liverpool squared it at 3-3 and went on to win on penalties. All this despite Benitez rather than because of him. Allardyce deserves an apology.
The sad death of the splendid Howard Kendall takes me back to two back-to-back European fixtures in 1985. I was present at them both.
First in Rotterdam to see Kendall’s splendidly schooled Everton team brush aside Rapid Wien 3-1 in the Cupwinners Cup Final. The only misdemeanour I saw was when an Everton fan walked out of the restaurant where I was lunching berating the bill. Overall, these Liverpudlian supporters were impeccable.
What a shocking contrast with the drunken violence of the Liverpool supporters in Brussels the following week at the European Cup Final versus Juventus. Their brutal assault on Italian fans who were largely harmless spectators, who shouldn’t have had tickets at that end, while the tougher regulars were at the other end, were driven into a wall with 39 deaths.
The FA in what I always thought was its deep unwisdom did public penance with a colossal five-year ban from Europe on ALL English clubs. Collective punishment, that ugly phenomenon.
Liverpool deserved a ban. Everton, who had won the Championship (the real one) under the excellent Kendall, was among the many other clubs which didn’t. Those five years of banishment did great harm to English football.
Menawhile, such splendid memories of Kendall, youngster player ever in an FA Cup Final for Preston in 1974. Yet never to be capped.