Football-League-Championship-trophy_1065415Shaun Harvey has today been appointed CEO of the Football League, following “a rigorous selection process” the Football League said in a statement.

Harvey served as Director of Leeds United for nine years before standing down earlier this month, a period in which he oversaw his third administration at a football club.

In no other industry would three administrations be considered qualifying criteria to become CEO of the governing body, but the crazy world of football seldom conforms to the sensibilities of the wider business world.

An unpopular figure at Elland Road, Harvey was a key player in Ken Bates’ Leeds United, an 8 year era which saw Leeds United amass huge (additional) debt leading to a turbulent administration process, subsequently followed by relegation to the third tier (the lowest point in the club’s history) and a long-list of legal battles with everyone from former owners, to the West Yorkshire Police, to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.

All the while, fan disillusionment reigned. Attendances dwindled, Leeds United’s turnover plunged and the long-awaited return to the Premier League – a level Leeds United should comfortably be competing at – never materialised. If there was any success to Harvey’s reign as Leeds United director, it’s been difficult to see from a supporters point of view.

What’s most worrying about this appointment is how little involvement Shaun Harvey believes fans should have in the running of football clubs (and presumably, the Football League), telling a 2011 Parliamentary Select Committee set up to investigate the troubled economic climate of British football that the less people involved in making decisions, the better.

Heart ruling head is a genuine concern of fan ownership, but is it worse than the greed and selfishness that’s plagued so many other clubs? There’s a balance to be found somewhere, I’m sure, but with Shaun Harvey respected for his “deep understanding of the football industry” by Football League Chairman, Greg Clarke, the situation is unlikely to improve any time soon.

But Greg Clarke does hit upon the problem we have in football. For all the Football League’s boasts about the community-driven sport they govern, the industry of football is all about money nowadays. The communities which facilitate the existence of football clubs have no power to effect change at their club and Shaun Harvey doesn’t believe that’s a problem.

Despite a series of ill-fated takeovers, no worse so than at Portsmouth, and the success of fan involvement in the German Bundesliga, the old boys’ club running English football refuse to budge, appointing yet another backwards-thinking individual to their ranks.