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Monday, 19 June, 2000, 20:19 GMT 21:19 UK
David Davies: The FA's public face
David Davies
The former reporter has seen tough times for English football
He has been called the FA's chief spin doctor, but the English Football Association has needed the media savvy of former reporter David Davies to steer it through turbulent waters.

Since joining the FA in 1994, Davies - now executive director - has had to face the press on crises including the controversial end to Glenn Hoddle's England leadership, Manchester United pulling out of the FA Cup and fresh outbreaks of football violence.

Despite these and other headaches, Davies, 52, has kept a good relationship with the sports press - always available for a comment, even if it is "no comment" - and seen his career progress at a time when the FA has undergone a major reorganisation.

Perhaps it is not surprising that he should be able to negotiate internal politics while retaining a good name with journalists - given his 24 years as a reporter, all but one of them spent at the BBC.

Catchphrase

Davies became political correspondent in 1983 after joining the corporation in 1971. In 1986 he became education correspondent and three years later joined the TV presenting team at Pebble Mill.

He eventually became a regular presenter on Grandstand and is said to have coined the Saturday evening catchphrase: "If you don't want to know the result, look away now."

But it was his fair and diplomatic reporting of sporting scandals that brought him to the attention of the FA.

Glenn Hoddle resignation
Glenn Hoddle was forced to resign as England manager
When the father-of-two was offered the job of director of public affairs in 1994, the association was fighting fires on all sides.

There were allegations of match fixing and "bungs" to transfer players.

Davies' brief was to show that the FA was dedicated to cleaning up football's act.

It was an aim that looked surprisingly achievable after the general success of Euro '96, which saw England fans remarkably well behaved.

Hoddle crisis

But two years later, after France '98, there was trouble in the England camp and this time, Davies was seen as part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

England manager Glenn Hoddle released a book of memoirs of England's World Cup efforts. Ghost-written by Davies, the book contained personal comments on members of the squad and several players were said to be deeply upset.

Hoddle came in for strong criticism and there were some who questioned the FA man's close involvement with the publicition.

England World Cup advert
England is bidding to host the 2006 World Cup
However, Davies' career continued to grow. In December 1998, he was appointed acting chief executive after Graham Kelly resigned in a row over a 3.2m loan to the Welsh FA.

Kelly was followed out of Lancaster Gate the following month by the then chairman Keith Wiseman, as a result of the same affair.

And just a month later, Hoddle's career as England manager ended in a media furore when a newspaper reported that his views on reincarnation extended to holding disabled people responsible for their condition through sins in a previous life.

Hoddle strongly denied the claims but after a meeting at the FA, he felt forced to stand down.

Football thug in Charleroi
The FA is looking at new measures to stop football hooliganism
With Adam Crozier's appointment as Kelly's replacement in January 2000, Davies resumed his role as executive director with special responsibility for communications and relations with the fans and overseas organisations.

He has forged new links with England supporters groups and taken roles with Fifa and Uefa.

At the same time he has liaised with politicians on the continuing problem of controlling England fans abroad and made plain the FA's condmenation of those who perpetuate the hooliganism.

The pinnacle of achievement for David Davies' time at the FA would come if England won the bid to host the 2006 World Cup, but that may be a goal which is harder to reach after the violence that has marred Euro 2000.

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