Norman return a thorny issue
Simon Turnbull argues that calls for the promoter's second coming are misguided
Sunday 25 January 1998
It came on Wednesday, in an interview with Jonathan Edwards published in Athletics Weekly. Edwards pointed out that the supposed showpiece track and field events held in Britain in the past two years "have been a bit flat" and that Norman, more than anyone else, knows how to stage good meetings. Several other leading competitive lights of British athletics would doubtless welcome Norman's involvement in the future commercial running of the sport, plans for which are being formulated in the wake of the British Athletic Federation's collapse. But, then, like Edwards, such prominent British athletes as Kelly Holmes, Steve Backley and Iwan Thomas are managed by Norman.
Much as Norman's promotional skills are - like George Graham's football management ability - provenly successful, the conflict of interests that led to his particular fall from power cannot be ignored. They were pointed out on the back page of the Sunday Times on 1 August 1993 by Cliff Temple, who in addition to being the most accomplished and perceptive pen- pushing observer of the athletics scene happened to be a noble champion of the best interests of the sport. In questioning Norman's position as promotions director of the BAF, and manager of leading athletes - he called Norman a "one-man cartel" - he was articulating concerns shared by many in athletics, from grass roots through to the top level.
They were uncomfortable home truths for Norman - so uncomfortable that he spread unfounded allegations about Temple which were implicated in the suicide of the writer in January 1994. The coroner concluded Norman's actions had "tipped the balance"; Temple had also been unsettled by the break-up of his marriage and by subsequent financial problems. Norman, by the time the inquest was convened, had already been sacked by the BAF because of what was deemed to be "inappropriate conduct".
That should not be forgotten by those who would welcome Norman's return to a role of central influence within British athletics; and he has supporters beyond the athletes he represents (last summer he was appointed as a consultant by Channel 4, which owns the broadcasting rights to Britain's big meetings). Certainly, it will not be by David Moorcroft, to whom has fallen the thankless task of guiding British athletics through its financial crisis. The chief executive of the insolvent BAF was Temple's closest friend in athletics.
It ought not to be overlooked, too, that the inflated pay structure Norman introduced for Britain's leading athletes was a principal contributory factor in the bankrupting of the BAF and that even he would have struggled to promote successful meetings in the past two summers with a drastically reduced budget and no home-grown high-profile champion to provide some golden sparkle.
Latest in Sport
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs Liverpool - I don't understand why Brendan Rodgers was not more attacking against Basel
Jesus Christ plays for Chelsea - that's what one in five children thinks
Transfer Talk: Nemanja Vidic to return to Manchester United; Hazard to leave Chelsea; Sunderland want Radamel Falcao
Frank Warren column: Don't bet on Amir Khan landing pay day against Floyd Mayweather
Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
£35200 per annum + Pension and holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Engine...
£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing specialist merchant co...
£20000 - £30000 per annum + OTE £50k: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 bus...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...