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Inside Lines: Sugar not sweet enough for FA but Brooking is a class act

Alan Hubbard
Sunday 23 May 2010 00:00 BST

The volcanic ash hovering over Triesmangate leaves a nasty taste in the mouth, a massive dent in England's 2018 World Cup ambitions and yet another "sit vac" notice pinned on the Football Association's notice board. Worse still, it has enticed Sir Alan Sugar to declare his interest in sipping from then poisoned chalice. Someone should tell him now "You're fired!" before he is hired because with Lord Sugar in charge it would be a decidedly unsweet FA. He doesn't do humility or schmoozing, and would get up more noses than a stash of the white stuff at an Amy Winehouse housewarming. The incoming Minister for Sport and the Olympics, Hugh Robertson, is insistent that another independent chairman should succeed the loose-tongued Triesman – but my hunch is that he could be persuaded otherwise if one of the game's most respected figures became a candidate. Please step forward Sir Trevor Brooking, for six years the FA's director or football development. One of the brainiest and most elegant footballers, he has also proved he knows how to steady a ship and steer it intelligently as he showed when he was a first-class chairman of Sport England. There is no one outside of Fabio Capello among the vast number of FA hirelings who knows more about the game from top to bottom. Who better than the thinking fan's pro to bridge the damaging gap between the FA and the Premier League? Brooking would also be a distinguished addition to the bid's front-bench team, whose surprise election tactic may see Seb Coe making the keynote platform address, impressively flanked by two Daves: Beckham and Cameron.

Game on for Tories

The new Minister for Sport has not taken long to impose his authority, kicking into touch the UK School Games, conceived by Gordon Brown and Richard Caborn five years ago and run by UK Sport and the Youth Sports Trust. Some aspects will be incorporated into a much more individually competitive Schools Olympics, as promised in the Tory manifesto. So is this the end of Caborn's presidency of his cherished event? "I don't know," says Robertson. "But Richard was a good and distinguished Sports Minister and I am certainly not in to making vindictive moves like getting rid of people just because they take a different political standpoint to me. I am delighted to work with Richard, and anyone else who wants to work with us."

Bojo waves the flag

We watched the unveiling of the 2012 mascots, Wenlock and Mandeville with London mayor Boris Johnson. "Hah!" whooped Bojo. "The Cameron and Clegg of the Olympics!" While we quite like the one-eyed aliens, they aren't up there alongside our favourite mascot, Moscow's Misha the Bear. Ignoring the fact that there was surely already a bespoke mascot in the ever-dishevelled Boris himself (Bojo the bullfrog?) we are glad to reveal exclusively that he intends to be handing over London's flag to his Rio counterpart in 2012. For the first time Boris declares he will run again for election in May of that year. "If all is going well I'd be insane not to have another bash," he confides.

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