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Published on July 27th, 2014 | by Bill

Greg Dyke – You’re fooling no one

Yesterday, we got a peak behind the curtain at FA Towers, or more to the point the tower-less Wembley HQ that they now reside in. STAND were invited to the Bobby Moore suite where the jointly held Supporters Direct and Football Supporter’s Federation’s ‘Supporters Summit 2014’ was held.

For those uninitiated, the Bobby Moore suite is the key corporate facility at the new (when do we stop calling it new?) Wembley with windows looking out over the glorious hallowed turf and to those nice comfy seats you see gradually re-fill after half time at home internationals.

The irony that the FA had opened it’s doors to the two most important supporter representative groups in the country, when they seemingly ignored all submissions given to them ahead of releasing Greg Dyke’s widely discredited report from the recent FA Commission wasn’t lost on those gathered in the room.

In fact, the various proposals made in the report were due to be the subject matter for the morning’s discussion ahead of an afternoon of break out sessions and workshops on the vital work that both SD and the FSF do day in, day out across Britain and Europe.

But that was not before the highlight of the day – the video message the almighty Greg Dyke had deemed worthy of sending to us from his holidays…via, it appeared, the FA’s swish media-savvy PR department. The video was gamely introduced by the newly appointed Chief Executive of Supporters Direct, Robin Osterley. He did well to (almost)hide the smile on his face in doing so, for presumably he was one of the few people to have seen the Greg Dyke political party broadcast, sorry, message ahead of the event.

What followed was, for those watching from the floor or watching and commenting on line, completely bizarre – and yes, with a hat-tip to Jimmy Cooper over on twitter, bared quite a comparison to Dr Evil’s messages sent from his top secret lair in the Austin Power’s movies.

Greg played a role of almost incredulous surprise for the full 20 minute duration of the clip that we, football fans from around the country were not as one in sharing his view that absolutely everything should be done to improve a mystical future-England side that may or may not win a World Cup… ‘in 8 years time.’

He introduced the topic of B-Teams and his beloved League 3 with the notion that the vast ‘majority of managers and coaches in the Premier League’ had come out publicly in favour of the idea – to much chortling from those present it should be noted. Each time he came to consider a criticism he may have got air of up at his Batcave, he leant back in his chair aghast at the notion that someone couldn’t understand that he was doing all this for all of us. In turn, he would then lean forward, flexing his fingers to threaten us, particularly, it seemed those of us present at the Summit to come up with ideas on how to improve the game. Again, ignoring the fact that both Supporters Direct and the FSF had done so precisely that on our behalf. To complete the Dr Evil image, all he needed here was the white cat sat on his lap.

There were other highlights of course, the quite correct comments regarding the make up of the old, male and white FA due to be parodied anon. but our particular favourite was Greg’s insistence that at heart, he was just like us – a football fan. Albeit, the kind of football fan that hung out on a yacht sunning himself en route to a game in Brazil, as was projected on the screens before us.

It seems needless to say but once the mixture of mirth, bemusement and befuddlement in the room died down, those present took next to no time to rip apart Greg Dyke’s FA Commission Report and provide a 100 ideas more conducive to protecting the football pyramid and competition that we all hold dear in this country.

Time and again it appears clear that the smokescreen notion of a world-beating national team is being sold to us on the back of a raft of measures designed to appease the people with the real power in English football – the moneymen of the Premier League.

But who is being fooled? Certainly not the 100s of football activists, supporters trust members and campaigners present. And certainly not, we think the readership of STAND. Which is why, Issue 9 of the fanzine – due to drop ahead of the first Football League fixtures in August is dedicated to the various opposition we have seen to Greg Dyke’s report.

You can pre-order your copy of #STANDIssue9 here, or get one of our handy digital subscriptions here. And check out the great work done by both Supporters Direct and The FSF by visiting their websites (links below). 

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