Date: 30th January 2006 at 9:48am
Written by:

Oh dear, the knives really are out for Sir Clive Woodward, the man who led the England rugby team to World Cup glory in Australia.

The reason? Did Sir Clive. who is presently Director of Football at Southampton, condone the signing of a junior maestro who turned out to be lame?

Did he interfere with manager George Burley’s team selection and inadvertently insist on an ineligible player taking the field?.

Did he hell.

No, what Sir Clive did was to inadvertently set himself up for all those who question that he has the football knowledge to be Director of Football.

And how did this conclusive proof of ignorance reveal itself?. Because he went on Radio Five Live and congratulated Southamtpon on their great win over Leicester City in the FA Cup ‘at Filbert Street’ instead of at the Walkers Stadium.

How many of us does that condemn?. After 40 years of watching Leicester at Filbert Street (and Woodward is a relatively old timer of 50), I still find myself forgetting that City play at the Walkers.

And I still want to refer to the stand opposite the players tunnel as the Popular Side.

There seems great resentment in football that Woodward, a pal of the chairman Rupert Lowe, was considered knowledgeable enough about the beautiful game to deserve the elite position that he was given.

But lambasting him over an easily made mistake!.

Does that mean that every time a football manager cocks up he should be ridiculed and sacked? After all they ARE supposed to know what they’re doing.

The undercurrent is there however. Football does seem to resent any outsiders being given the chance to enter its corridors despite the number of football men it employs who are proven failures.

And yet, take our own caretaker manager Rob Kelly. He was welcomed readily enough onto the Wolverhampton Express and Star’s in-house training scheme for journalists when he decided to take time out from football.

And look at how many footballers suddenly turn up on television as supposedly expert analysts and how many times they get it wrong yet still retain their credibility.

Woodward should have started at the bottom in football, that seems reasonable. But how many people would have turned down any job in football were it offered?

Rupert Lowe clearly believed that something about Woodward’s coaching methods and psychological approach to team preparation etc was of value to his club.

After all the bloke did win a World Cup for England which is a damn site more than those who are taking the mickey out of him ever did.