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Updated on April 5, 2012


For the benefit of our readers in the USA, this Hub concerns Professional Soccer in England, where this week the air waves have been inundated by the strident voices of the Priestesses of the Sisterhood and their allies squawking for more women to be given{ note the word} positions of authority and responsibility in the running of both clubs and the very game itself. Some of their pitiful wailings are just about as stupid as they can get.

Now not many people know that this writer is the most successful England Manager of all time ! True honestly. In 1970, I worked for the Governing body of the English game as Regional Coach for the North region. I received a telephone call from my boss one morning which informed me that the then Manager of the England Women's team had accepted a post in Australia and they needed a Manager to guide them through 2 forthcoming International matches against France and Scotland and that he had decided, having been asked by the EWFA to help, had told them it would be me ! No request, no discussion, just a directive. Accepting the inevitable, I negotiated that I could arrange training camps to suit me best and that whatever, I was to be only required to cover the two matches and no more. To my relief, both counts were accepted.

Thus, I then received a call from a lady, who was the organisation Secretary General and set things in motion. I arranged for a 3 day training camp at a Residential venue just 15 miles from my home in the North East Midlands and duly met the ladies both players and administrators. Now women"s football was nowhere near as well organised or popular as it is today, but it took me just one training session to be won over by the skill, passion, commitment and wish to learn and to put into practice that which they were asked to do. I was also impressed by the efficiency of the Secretary in both discussing and then putting into practice matters relating to off field matters, such as travel, accommodation etc.

This is not the place here to expand fully on all that developed during the time I worked with them all, save to say we beat France 3-0 away and Scotland 8-0 at home. Perhaps I might just say here that the only sour note of it all was to see the Scottish players both jeered at and spat upon as they left the field by those who had travelled down to supposedly support them. However, that can rest for another day, my purpose here is to put down the facts that I do have first hand knowledge of the women's game and have been delighted to see it advance over the past 40 years.

Equally as a Senior Administrator and Director in later years in Professional Football, I was always keen to see women both involved and promoted to posts of Authority and Responsibilty in the clubs I was involved with. As an example of this the lady I appointed as Secretary to the Chairman and Board is now the Company Secretary there despite now raising a family and only working part time as her ability and leadership has been recognised along with her experience. Remember, Companies House vests overall importance in the role of Company Secretaries.

In the 23 tears I held such posts, I never encountered overt opposition to women working in a man"s game. I think this is important for the game is MEN ONLY for obvious reasons for playing purposes, just as WOMENS football is likewise. In the administrative field I met some excellent male leaders and Directors and quite a few twits. It was just the same with women where there were, and still are, some excellent female officers and some, just like the men, I would not let near the running of a corner shop.

Now over the years, it seems to me that steady progress has been made on all fronts by women without the current strident rantings of the feminist lobby, many of whom have never been near a Football Club but think it is fair game for there barbed and toxic interferences.


Currently the Sisterhood is doing women in the game no favours by the almost Primary School "WAILING" that "it is not fair ". No one ever told me the world was a fair place in anyway, you have to fight your corner quite a lot. One who has done this is the current Vice Chair of West Ham Utd, Karen Brady. I met Karen in her early days when my club and hers came into conflict. On one issue, I felt my Chairman was wrong as he refused to give hospitality as required by the rules to Karen and her Board when they came to play us. We had a heated debate which culminated in a compromise that the Chairman would stay away and I would deal with the Hospitality. My fellow Directors at the time who viewed the Chairman as their own despotic warlord, also determined not to comply with the rules. Brave chaps eh! Thus I engaged with the visitors and all passed of reasonably well. As a result Karen often spoke with me at League meetings and it was clear that here was a young woman who was nobody"s fool and would stand her ground in any storm. I was especially amused at her incredulity at how poor some of the WOMEN in the game were, never mind the way in which playing staffs, and Managers and Coaches, would try to get away with things. She clearly would treat them all the same, now a Media figure as well, she has gone from strength to strength, not by wailing but by doing and her example has benefited many women now in posts in the game.

The point I make here is simple, quality not gender will rise to the top. The ridiculous quota system in politics to supposedly assist women getting into Parliament will backfire on women and put them back years eventually. If efforts are made to impose this within Football, they will likewise fail. It is surely time to apply sense to the matter. I can think of few Boards of Directors of clubs who would ignore the qualifications of established females in other Business activities. Remember, the role of a Director requires business ability not necessarily an encyclopedic knowledge of how to play the game, though that does help.

The above being the case, it seems to me that to test the temperature of the water so to speak, it would be a good idea to institute for administrative posts, a professional qualification course, as obtains, for example in Accountancy. In these ridiculous days when there are degree courses for the craziest things like maybe basket weaving and fog collecting and when everyone who leaves school able to write their own name and count up to ten is expected to have a University place, it seems a specific vocational course would not be out of the question. That would, whilst not guaranteeing employment and advancement, would provide a benchmark for all who wish to enter the game.

At the same time, the "glass ceiling" concept has to be faced and clearly there are those in the game who see no place for women in authoritative positions. However, the strident feminists are misguided if they believe their current campaigns will achieve their stated aims. Trust me, oh wailing ones you will only stiffen the resolve of those with such views if you continue to rail at them. As I mentioned earlier, whilst the advance of women all round may not have taken up the momentum the female activists seek, there is steady progress and if sense and reason is applied with appropriate actions then the fair balance will be achieved. Intellect not unbridled emotional outpourings are needed. If the latter outweighs the former in the future then disaster only looms and the hopes of some young and gifted females will be dashed because those currently campaigning failed to see the real way forward


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