Danny Mills and Howard Wilkinson among those selected for Greg Dyke's unlikely new England task force
FA chairman's effort to revitalise national game starts with commission short on stardust
Thursday 10 October 2013
Danny Mills, the former Leeds United and England player, will form an improbable part of Greg Dyke's commission charged with reviving the fortunes of English football and the national side after sending the chairman of the Football Association an unsolicited proposal on how best to solve the game's problems.
Mills, who played 19 times for England, was one of the more eye-catching names among an underwhelming line-up revealed by Dyke. He has been recruited to what will be a 10-strong body after impressing the FA with his suggestions for change. Mills will join Howard Wilkinson, Ritchie Humphreys, Greg Clarke, Roger Burden, Glenn Hoddle and Dario Gradi on the commission, with two more names to be added. The Premier League will have no representation on what is a panel notably short on stardust but long on experience around the English game's nether regions. All the members are English and only Hoddle has any extensive experience of the game beyond these shores, despite Dyke stating the need to look at what the likes of Germany and Spain have done in recent years.
It was an unconvincing next step in Dyke's attempt to revitalise the game in England with the inclusion of Wilkinson, representing the League Managers Association and once technical director of the FA, in particular unlikely to be seen as a forward step. Among the others Burden, who has been part of the FA Council for nearly two decades, having worked his way up from county FA level, is there to represent grass-root interests, Humphreys, once of Sheffield Wednesday and Hartlepool, the Professional Footballers' Association, and Greg Clarke takes his place as chairman of the Football League. Gradi is currently director of football at Crewe Alexandra. It is Hoddle's first involvement with the FA since he was dismissed as England manager in 1999.
The FA expects to have the two remaining members firmed up shortly and hopes the commission will be in a position to deliver its proposals by March. Dyke believes the Premier League has "become a finishing school for the rest of the world at the expense of our own players".
Mills has worked in the media since retiring four years ago. After watching Dyke's speech six weeks ago, Mills sent his suggestions, which ran to several pages, to the FA.
"He wrote a very interesting paper and gave it to us – very interesting ideas," said Dyke, speaking at the Leaders in Football event at Stamford Bridge.
As a former England manager, Hoddle is the standout name. He recently raised the issue of the lack of England qualified players in the Premier League and the need for a quota system. "Glenn is particularly interested in the subject and he has been for some time," said Dyke. "I've met him and talked to him before I made the first speech and I've always been impressed by him."
Dyke admitted he was disappointed there would be no Premier League representative after Anthony Fry, its chairman, rejected an invitation to join the commission.
"I think it's a shame but I understand," said Dyke. "In the end it is not only what would you do, it is what is legally possible, what is realistic, what can be realistically done.
"It will take a few months, we are employing some people to work full time on it, to do some research. We have to look at all sorts of other countries, look at Spain, Germany and the rest, look at what they did, what could we do and the rest of it.
"We will listen to the evidence. We will invite the Premier League and the Premier League clubs to come along and talk and say what they want, what they think can be done. It's wide open. There's nothing ruled out. Then you have to say: can it be delivered?"
It is a huge week for the FA with England's looming World Cup qualifiers and it began inauspiciously for Dyke as the chairman also got himself into something of a muddle over Roy Hodgson's future.
Asked whether Hodgson would remain in his job whatever happened against Montenegro and Poland, Dyke replied: "The worst thing in the world is to say I fully support the manager because one thing you certainly know is they're not the… no, we have got a manager and we have two really important games and that is where we are today."
He was then asked to clarify his position as he had previously given strong support for Hodgson. "What I don't want to do is get into a discussion about backing or not backing Roy Hodgson at the moment because we have got two important games. I have got a lot of time for Roy Hodgson – I am a Roy Hodgson fan.
"I stand exactly by what I said. What I don't want to do is get into a debate this week about Roy Hodgson."
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