The words of Greg Clarke serve as a reminder that there is plenty more work to do in football, and that we all must be open to re-education…
Greg Clarke, then. Yes, unfortunately we have to discuss him.
Thankfully he is on his way out of the door, but we must still talk about him because he’s a reminder that some attitudes and language exist in a game that, for the most part, is well ahead of him and is trying to make everything just a little bit better.
“It’s desperate,” said Dom Fifield on The Totally Football Show this week. “Clarke is supposed to be at the helm of an organisation at the vanguard of equality issues. They’ve literally just, in the last couple of weeks, launched a new diversity code with the aim of tackling racial inequality.
“The FA are making progress behind the scenes, and it’s a case of having to separate the FA and the people working there – who are completely clued up with what they’re intending to tackle and change – with Greg Clarke.
“Everything he said was a throwback to a period and language from history we shouldn’t be uttering again.
“I imagine that within in the FA there was a sense of dismay that this had happened. Their chairman goes out and completely overshadows their efforts to affect change, making a fool of himself on a Zoom call.
“I also wonder whether he had lost a lot of support within the FA for his tacit support of Project Big Picture. But what he said alone would have made his position completely untenable.”
For Lynsey Hooper, this was just a reminder that we cannot stop learning or decide that everything we think we know will be as it is forever.
“Everyone – including us – should be open to be re-educated, because the world moves at a fast pace. It just stank of someone who wasn’t open to that, or hasn’t even tried to. That’s how much of a dinosaur he came across as.
“Even if these are things you used to think once upon a time, you’re in a position where you need to read up and be on top of where the world is.
“That’s something that the next person cannot be. They have got to move with the times and re-educate themselves.”
Clarke doesn’t have the generational excuse, as Duncan Alexander reminded us:
“It’s the fact he seemed unaware, while he was doing it, the hole he was digging himself in.
“I saw a few people say “well, people of that age, they haven’t really got to terms with this sort of language – but he was born in the late 1950s. He’s younger than three of the four members of New Order. It’s not like he was born in the 19th century.
“It’s not impossible for someone of him and of his generation to realise that the things he was saying were wrong.
“The FA as a whole is full of brilliant people, but we see a lot of figureheads that probably never really get challenged on stuff.”
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