HOW BETTER to while away the long hot summer days than to peruse the Football Association Annual Report for 1999 (the "Game Plan") submitted to the May annual general meeting of shareholders.With hindsight, England's poor performance in the Euro 2000 finals and the disappointing World Cup 2006 vote add piquancy to many of the laudable objectives.
The report whose contributors are each identified with the professional clubs they support, is huge on planning for the future, which is right in such a big sport which has traditionally been reactive rather than pro-active and part of that future will be to provide "leading edge services" and to become admired as a "leading- edge marketing operation," in "developing the people's game." Does this have a familiar ring? Within year one of the three-year plans, the FA aims to agree proposals for a national football administration system - an IT network that will include a national registration scheme whereby all players at all levels will be registered on a national database.
We learn that more women now play football than hockey. All county football associations will be required to draw up three-year plans for the development of first-class facilities in partnership with local authorities. The counties will also be helped to continue their development of women's and girls' football with a view to the establishment of the first national professional league in three years.
Much work to be done here because few parents would want their daughters to sample the dubious pleasure of parks such as Wormwood Scrubs in West London, which is never less than cold and unwelcoming.
A network of 3,000 superclubs is envisaged, each with a range of teams representing all age groups, both sexes, from juniors to veterans.
In year one, a customer services plan which will act as a response centre handling queries and feedback from supporters will be implemented. Included, will be a programme of research surveys. We learn that the aim is to make the FA the central source of information and research material in Britain.
There would be, says the game plan, a range of opportunities to "promote English football throughout the Euro 2000 tournament" the main opportunity no doubt being a demonstration of advocacy skills as to why we should not be sent home packing because of the hooligan fringe who don't even merit a mention in the game plan. …