Outside the Box: Advert for new chief executive means sweet FA to most of us

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The Independent Online

Another week, another advertisement from Nolan Partners for a high-profile job at the Football Association: this time for a chief executive, based in "London/Wembley", for which read, "Wembley/Middlesex, an awful long way up the Jubilee Line".

As with the previous sits vac entry, for members of the 2018 World Cup bid, the first skill required is an ability to decipher management-speak. "Ensure that the organisation is resourced with the appropriate levels of capability throughout" (make sure there are people who can do their job?); "creating a culture of strong internal effectiveness" (ditto?); "ability to develop senior management teams to deliver operationally against strategic aims and objectives" (er, same again?); "evidence of success in brokering collaborative working relationships with a range of stakeholders" (get on with other people?); "understand the interdependencies between all interested parties" (sorry, no idea, unless it is something to do with Sir Trevor Brooking complaining that he has been denied access to key meetings about youth development). The previous chief exec, Brian Barwick, subject of a flattering farewell speech by Lord David Triesman, though he has not yet left the building, must be wondering which of these qualities he failed to demonstrate; assuming he can understand what any of them mean.

Great Dane saved Arsenal

Why might Arsenal not have become "one of the most popular and richest clubs in the world" without the Balkans war of the early 1990s? The (tortuous) argument advanced in a new book, which is entitled 'Arsenal', runs as follows. If, as a result of the war, Yugoslavia had not been thrown out of the 1992 European Championship finals, Denmark would not have been summoned off the beach to replace them, their midfielder John Jensen (pictured) would not have emerged as a key figure and Arsenal's manager George Graham would not have received a £285,000 present for signing him, leading to his sacking and Arsène Wenger's appointment. We told you it was tortuous. 'Arsenal', by Alex Fynn and fanzine editor Kevin Whitcher (Vision Sports Publishing, £16.99) has benefited from access to Wenger and, in particular, the now ostracised former vice-chairman David Dein, but is not uncritical of a number of aspects of "the making of a modern superclub". Givenan index, it would be an excellent work of referenceto a tumultuous period.

Klaus has his Hans full

Arsenal fans around the world include no less a figure than Fifa's new head of communications and public affairs, Hans Klaus, who on a visit to London last week confessed to being both a Gooner and a Grasshopper (of Zurich). This should make for a lively conversation when he catches up with Wenger, who is implacably opposed to Fifa's "six plus five" plan for increasing the number of home-produced players. Klaus also confirmed the world governing body's support for Uefa in banning the transfer of players under 18, the controversial ploy by which Arsenal have been able to steal young talent such as Cesc Fabregas and Fran Merida from Barcelona without paying a single peseta.

Vote of confidence in City

Finally, a quote to cut out and keep, from Manchester City's chairman, Khaldoon Al-Mubarak, on Mark Hughes: "We have the highest regard for Mark. I am committed to Mark and his team."



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