Bye Bye Bri

Five reasons Brian Barwick will not be missed

Unpopular FA head honcho will leave Soho Square 

Brian Barwick

FA chief executive Brian Barwick will be leaving his post at the end of the year, amid speculation of a rift between him and independent FA chairman Lord Triesman. It is also thought that since Alex Horne’s appointment as chief operating officer in May, Barwick has had his responsibilities diminished. But don’t feel sad: on another miserable night for English football, this was the one positive. Here are five reasons why we’re not sad to see the back of Mister B:

England missed out on Big Phil because of him
Luiz Felipe Scolari recently revealed that he would have taken charge of England in 2006, but the FA told him they wanted to announce his appointment before the World Cup, something he felt would have unsettled his Portugal squad. (Note how the Brazilian had no problem unsettling his squad during Euro 2008.)

He appointed Schteve McClaren
The human resources-based mistakes didn’t stop at missing out on Scolari. After settling for second best (or third in many people’s minds behind Martin O’Neill), Barwick tried to convince everyone that Middlesbrough’s Steve McClaren was his “first choice and the FA board’s unanimous choice.” Despite offering such vocal support to the FC Twente boss at first, he didn’t waste any time firing him the second England failed to qualify.

He’s the reason hardly anyone gets to watch England
Okay, maybe it doesn’t seem like such a bad thing after last night, but last April Barwick negotiated a £425 million four-year contract handing television rights for England and FA Cup games to ITV and Setanta. The former BBC and ITV employee painted this as a huge success because it marked a £125 million increase on the previous deal, but the decision to choose a channel that most fans don’t have access to was purely motivated by making the FA as much money as possible with little thought for accommodating fans.

There’s a slight chance we might get a football man

It may be a long shot but maybe, just maybe, the FA will now appoint a man who actually knows football inside-out having played the game, perhaps someone who will act in the best interests of the game and address fans with honesty. Such a move worked for Germany and Franz Beckenbauer, who headed Germany’s successful bid for the 2006 World Cup. The standout candidate currently working for the FA would be director of football development Trevor Brooking.

He got what he deserved
Barwick backed the Burns report because it gave him the right to a vote on the FA Board. Another major consequence is that it led to the appointment of Lord Triesman as chairman. As the Labour peer is thought to have been responsible for shafting the chief executive, you could argue that Barwick invited it on himself.


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