Following an apology from Phil Neville regarding his tweets that have emerged in the press, you have to ask yourself, were The English FA right to appoint Neville as the Women’s National team Head Coach? With the recent controversy surrounding The FA, just over a year ago with Sam Allardyce and the allegations that he gave advice on how to circumvent The FA’s rules on third party ownership, and more recently with former England Women’s Head Coach Mark Sampson over race remarks, you’d have thought that The FA would want to make sure that this process of hiring a new Head Coach, be a trouble free process, and for this to happen you’d have expected The FA to do some extensive research.
So, have these tweet’s, which Neville posted from his official twitter page, saying that women would be “too busy making breakfast/getting the kids ready” to read his messages, been seen by the selection panel. Have they deemed these to be OK? You would like to think not, and I can hardly imagine The FA, with Baroness Sue Campbell, The FA’s director of women’s football, sat with a room full of women making this appointment having seen the tweets. You would expect after recent events that The FA would be extremely careful to ensure any high-profile appointment sent out the right message.
We all know Neville as one of the Class of ’92, former Manchester United and Everton footballer, England international. But is he the right man for the job of managing the women’s team – or any high profile management position for that matter. It’s very doubtful. He has barely any managerial experience, bar a stint as Assistant Manager at Everton, he has no experience in the women’s game, and jokes on a social media platform, normalising sexist views.
Mark Sampson, the former women’s head coach, was sacked because of “ill-judged attempts at humour”, which is exactly the same as Neville. You have to think he was trying to be funny. He has since deleted his twitter account, and publically apologised and said his comments were not “a true and genuine reflection of either my character or belief’s”. So why did he tweet them then? All too often “jokes” are dismissed as banter, but this is not acceptable and not funny.
Karren Brady, West Ham vice chairman, The Sun Sunday columnist and successful business woman recently called The FA “a bunch of losers” in her column, going on to say “bumbling FA bosses have clearly learned nothing from the former England Boss’s dismissal as shown by this disastrous appointment”. Does she have a point? She also goes on to say that “it’s time for the FA to open its doors to more women”.
It makes you ask yourself, how have The FA struggled to sell such a prestigious job to someone with a track record of management success? Was there no appropriate female candidate willing and qualified to take on the role? Is it acceptable to turn a blind eye to comments and views like those expressed by Neville in his tweets?
In my opinion, The FA has made another mistake in appointing Phil Neville.