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.

12 Responses

  1. LeedsHipPriest

    Shocking appointment, although no doubt he’ll work his socks off

  2. Carl Hinchliffe

    Dear God. His next move must surely to become Chief Exec of a leading U.K. bank before a career in politics finds him ensconced in No 10.

  3. Anthony Dickinson

    So, when is the football league going into administration?

  4. Ron

    I bet Harvey is shitting himself about the impending verbal between Bates and Leeds. I fancy he might have jet fuel and Ken’s sperm on his hands. Great appointment you Dickheads.

  5. Peter T

    Probably appoint Bates as President
    He will have no problem flying in for meetings!

  6. Chris

    Did a great job at Scarborough. They no longer exist. Shocking appointment.

  7. Koh Samui Whites

    Wow,just need Bates and Ridsdale on board and that,s a win treble.I have an old tin of paint in my garage more capable of the job.

  8. SuperWhites

    Harvey joined clubs when they were beyond saving, hardly representative of his efforts. I genuinely don’t get people’s beef with Harvey. Whatever players we haven’t signed whilst he has been in charge will have been down to the meagre budgets he had to work with. he was pretty embarrassed about a lot of the stuff under Bates such as the court case with levy and Bates treatment of supporters but didn’t want to lose his job. Ok, so he was pretty spineless but not sure how many of the people on here would actually have stood up to Bates? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not Harvey’s biggest fan by any stretch but he’s just a non entity really who did his best in the circumstances and unfortunately it wasn’t good enough. You can’t have a whole back room team full of people who question everything and who aren’t yes men as you’d end up with total anarchy

    • Soluble Tablet

      “I genuinely don’t get people’s beef with Harvey”

      “…he’s just a non entity really who did his best in the circumstances and unfortunately it wasn’t good enough.”

      I think maybe the second statement answers the first one. And I really can’t agree with your final sentence. I don’t suppose it was easy dealing with Bates but someone calling himself the CEO should be capable of speaking out against the owner’s excesses, especially his counter-productive attitude towards the club’s customers.

  9. Soluble Tablet

    A deeply ineffective performer. Ideal for this new appointment then!

    I believe he was very efficient at selling our players though. Unfortunately, many of them were the best we had at the time. I wonder what Simon Grayson thinks of him.


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