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Football: New FA chief Barwick is no dummy, insists Taylor.

Byline: Jamie Gardener

Players' union chief Gordon Taylor is looking forward to working with new Football Association chief executive Brian Barwick after criticising the often 'unilateral' approach of his predecessor Mark Palios.

Taylor, the Professional Footballers' Association chief executive, was hugely unimpressed by Palios' handling of various player disciplinary matters, in particular Rio Ferdinand's missed drugs test affair.

But he welcomed Barwick's appointment and hoped it heralded the arrival of an 'all-inclusive' FA.

'We hope on all player matters we will have proper discussion beforehand and work together, rather than (the FA) suddenly unilaterally acting in haste and repenting at leisure,' Taylor said.

'The lack of a hard and fast system was one of the problems. That was the only reason I was upset with Mark, he promised to discuss such issues with us before dealing with them arbitrarily and yet that is what happened with Rio Ferdinand. Things could have been done a lot better.'

Taylor revealed the new man had already 'taken the time and trouble' to meet him face to face.

Barwick, controller of ITV Sport, visited Taylor at his organisation's Manchester headquarters before his appointment.

Taylor said: 'It's a good appointment and I'm very pleased for him. I've known him a long time, he's a football man and a football fan with good contacts in the game at the highest level through his job with televised sport.

'I was pleased to speak with him. He took the time and trouble to come up to Manchester to discuss the job with us and I was pleased to be able to help him in what is required.

'It's very encouraging that he's looking at all the major bodies in the game. That's exactly what the FA needs to do, it needs to be all-inclusive.'

Taylor believes the division over Barwick's appointment within the FA board highlights the need for a strong chief executive.

The four professional game representatives were in favour of delaying an appointment until a review of the FA's structure had been completed, but the PFA chief believes Barwick is thick-skinned enough to get on with the job in any case.

'That (the board divide) is one of the problems with the FA. That's why it needs someone strong as chief executive to deal with all the different interests and to take on board everyone's view and then get a common thread and a common consensus that will pull everybody together,' Taylor added.

'Does it put him in a difficult position? It goes with the territory. Whoever would have got the job would have known about that from the beginning and hopefully Brian will have broad enough shoulders to deal with it.

'Football is no different from any other profession. It's human beings and the politics of the particular situation.

'It's the ability to handle a team of people with different interests and from that point of view Brian has good experience of man-management and that will stand him in good stead at the FA.'

Meanwhile, England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson has stressed the importance of Barwick strengthening relations with the national squad.

He said: 'It's important to have a good relationship between the leaders of the FA, myself and the players.

'I'm quite sure that if someone is looking for that job they are very interested in football and the England team. Everything is important at the FA, but the big face is the senior team.'

The FA have been without a strong figurehead since Palios resigned in August, chairman Geoff Thompson having failed to seize the moment in Madrid when England players were racially abused.

That situation will continue until Barwick takes up his new post on January 31, but he is already relishing the challenge ahead of him.

He said: 'It has been a momentous day for me. I am looking forward to taking up the challenge of leading the FA into their next era.

'I must place on record sincere thanks to my colleagues at ITV for their support and understanding during this period.'

Thompson added: 'We are delighted to have appointed a new chief executive and we look forward to Brian joining us.

'We had a very strong short-list of candidates. But in Brian we have found an exceptional individual.'


Gordon Taylor (left) has welcomed Brian Barwick's appointment
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Nov 27, 2004
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