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banner Monday, 9 October, 2000, 14:33 GMT 15:33 UK
FA's old guard on the edge
Doug Ellis
"Deadly" Doug Ellis is still an FA force
BBC Sport Online takes a look inside FA headquarters - and at the "Dad's Army" of authoritarians who still retain power.

The mere mention of the FA's International Committee conjures up images of cobweb-covered veterans gathering in smoke-filled Lancaster Gate rooms.

It is a picture that has not been without foundation in the past, with ageing adminstrators of the game openly inviting criticism of being behind the times and out of touch.

Indeed the joke does the rounds that when one member was told he was out of touch, he replied: "I can't be - I've never heard anyone say that."

It seems, however, with the advent of young gun Adam Crozier, that the all-powerful arm of the International Committee may have finally lost its strength,

Nearly all the pronouncements about the direction the search for a new manager will take have been made by FA chief executive Crozier.

He will be the man ultimately responsible for selecting Kevin Keegan's successor, although executive director David Davies and FA chairman Geoff Thompson will have major roles.

Only when they have made their choice will they go before the twelve-man committee whose role, however much they might debate, is probably not much more than to rubber-stamp the decision.
Noel White
Noel White has anti-Venables image

They have been sidelined in recent years by the devolution of power to appointed executives.

Last time, it hardly mattered as Kevin Keegan was the favoured candidate of virtually everyone at the FA.

But in the past those regarded as the "old fogeys" FA have wielded absolute power - as Terry Venables will testify.

Noel White, whose main to claim to mainstream football fame was a spell as Altrincham chairman followed by a brief stint in the chair at Liverpool, was widely believed to have seen off Venables and the excess baggage the FA despised.

White, now 70, holds a powerful position on the committee, despite making his name in non-league football, and as a former business associate of the late ex-Manchester City chairman Peter Swales.

Peter Ridsdale
Peter Ridsdale is a respected figure
He remains on the committee, joined by even elder statesman such as 86-year-old Bert "The Inert" Millichip and the almost youthful 70-plus "Deadly" Doug Ellis of Aston Villa.

White was one of those involved in the Wembley dressing room summit that saw Kevin Keegan's resign - but it appears his influence may now be on the wane.

The committee - despite the public perception - is not completely made up of pensioners.

It also includes such respected and influential figures as Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale and Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein.

But when Crozier, Davies and Thompson make their selection, it is fairly certain to stay made.

And it may just be another step towards oblivion for the much-derided FA old guard.

International committee

Geoff Thompson: FA chairman who made the ultimate decision to sack Glenn Hoddle in February last year.
Doug Ellis: Veteran Aston Villa chairman, known not always affectionately as "Deadly", certainly has plenty of experience in hiring managers, mostly after firing them.
David Dein: Arsenal's much-respected vice-chairman is tipped to be a future chairman of the FA.
Peter Ridsdale: Leeds chairman has won over his club's fans, and many others in football, with his sensible views and commitment to the game.
Noel White: Former Liverpool chairman. One-time Altrincham chairman who was regarded as the prime mover behind the departure of Terry Venables.
Dave Richards: Ex-chairman of the FA Premier League and Sheffield Wednesday. Much criticised for not sacking Danny Wilson last season.
Ian Stott: Former Oldham chairman.
Sir Bert Millichip: Was FA chairman for 15 years and president of West Brom, but is now 86.
Jack Wiseman: The one-time Birmingham chairman is 83.
Barry Taylor: Representative attached to Barnsley.
Peter Coates: Made money selling pies to football clubs. Was Stoke chairman.
Frank Pattison: FA's vice-chairman and chairman of Durham FA.

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