David Davies was a BBC journalist who in 1994 jumped ship to work for the Football Association, first as spokesman, then as Executive Director. His memoirs are a fascinating account of his twelve years working at the top level of the FA, and they reveal a shambolic organisation barely fit to run a whelk stall. Any attempt at change or innovation would be routinely resistant by the blazered brigades who run the FA more for their own convenience rather than the good of the sport. His vivid descriptions of the various personalities we have come to know through newspaper stories confirms many of the prejudices those who love the sport may have already harboured. Graham Kelly, Adam Crozier, Sir Bert Millichip, Geoff Thompson - they all feature heavily, as one might expect.
Davies's love of the game shines through the pages, and this devotion to the sport always seems to triumph over his frustrations with the immovable objects which he felt prevented him from doing his job. He's like the fan who gets to spend time with his sporting heroes, but that may be why he was so good at his job. He was the fans' voice within the FA, and that was partly what many of his colleagues came to resent.
He speaks highly of Terry Venables and clearly tried to persuade the FA to keep him on after Euro 96. Sadly he was not successful. How things might have been different for the national team if he had won the day. His portrait of Sven Goran Ericksson is one of the delights of the book, littered with some hilarious anecdotes.
If you're interested in sport administration you will enjoy this book. It's one of the best football books I have read, and I read a lot of them. I interviewed David Davies on 18 Doughty Street 18 months ago and asked him whether he would be putting pen to paper. He said he hadn't decided and seemed rather reluctant to. I urged him to do so and and delighted he did. I'm sure he has few regrets.