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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 July 2006, 09:30 GMT 10:30 UK
Woodcock questions FA leadership
By John Sinnott

Sven-Goran Eriksson and Steve McClaren
I get the feeling that the whole nation doesn't think it is the fresh start we were looking for

Woodcock on Steve McClaren's appointment as England coach
The Football Association not ex-boss Sven-Goran Eriksson should be blamed for England's World Cup failure, says former international Tony Woodcock.

"You have to look higher than Eriksson," Woodcock told BBC Sport. "When a company fails you look at how the organisation is run at the top.

"I wonder whether the FA people ever ask themselves whether what they are doing is for the good of the game.

"Where has chairman Geoff Thompson been - has anyone seen him recently?"

England exited the World Cup at the quarter-final stage after losing to Portugal on penalties, with Eriksson's side never really living up to expectations in the five games they played at the tournament.

And Woodcock believes Steve McClaren's appointment as the Swede's successor is symptomatic of the malaise within the FA.

McClaren was appointed after FA chief executive Brian Barwick was unable to persuade Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari to take over from Eriksson.

What the hell is going on with our national game?

Tony Woodcock

"No disrespect to Steve McClaren - but he has been there for five years with Sven," said Woodcock.

"He can completely change everything when he comes in and the question is going to come up - 'Great Steve but why didn't you have that input over the last five years?'

"And if he comes in and lets it carry on then you say that is because he has been involved for five years.

"Unless England start really playing well and you see an attitude change then it might be difficult.

"I get the feeling that the whole nation doesn't think it is the fresh start we were looking for.

"Now you think we should have taken time over the appointment. It hasn't caught the public's imagination."

Woodcock cited the procrastination of the FA over the Burns Report's recommendations as further evidence of the English governing body's failure of leadership.

Lord Burns was asked to compile a structural review of the FA and came back with four main proposals.

His main idea was to create a new FA Board that reduces the professional game's influence and moves away from the current set-up.

"I know it is a minefield but you need strong leadership somewhere along the line right at the top," said Woodcock.

"What the hell is going on with our national game? Have a read of the Burns report - is anything being done about it or has it just been cast aside?

"Or do we now concentrate on Euro 2008 and everything is hunky-dory.

"I have lived and worked in different countries and I have to raise my eyebrows."

Woodcock, the former Nottingham Forest and Arsenal forward, who broke the German transfer record when he moved to Cologne for 500,000 in 1979, had been in talks with the FA over helping them when they were in Germany during the World Cup.

Those plans never came to fruition and Woodcock insists his criticisms of England's governing body are not sour grapes but are aimed at trying to improve the national game.

He describes his dealings with the FA as a bureaucratic minefield and compared the national body unfavourably to the German Football Association (DFB).

"The DFB is more tightly knitted together," added Woodcock.

"We have the problem between the Premier League and the FA. You have people on both boards and for any layman you would tend to think is there a conflict of interest there?

"From my experience in Germany, the DFB is a tightly run ship. To get through to the DFB is a lot easier than the FA and you can see the organisation from the World Cup, which is second to none."

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