Nationwide is on its bike, who’ll sort out Football Association mess?

It looks as though FA lead sponsor Nationwide has indeed decided to cancel its £20m deal, as first suggested here, leaving the red-faced FA without a leader and its main corporate moneybags.

Prior to England’s disastrous World Cup the FA had instructed rights firm IMG to seek someone willing to top Nationwide’s money while keeping the building society, which has marketing problems of its own, on the hook.

This far-sighted strategy seems to have failed and so IMG needs to pull another rabbit out of the hat quickly.

The process would be greatly assisted if the FA had a convincing leader following the defenestration of singularly unconvincing Labour peer Lord David Triesman for dissing the organisation to a girlfriend.

Hats in the ring, however briefly, have so far included The Apprentice’s Lord Sugar (not the most popular man in football after his chairmanship of Tottenham Hotspur) and, over the weekend, former Labour sports minister Richard Caborn. But Caborn looks like Triesman without a peerage.

It makes you look back rather kindly on the flashy regime of Adam Crozier, now ensconced at ITV after a stint at the Post Office. Crozier may have spent money like water (they all do) but he succeeded in bouncing then Chelsea chairman Ken Bates from the Wembley project (a good thing) and installed the much-maligned Sven-Goran Eriksson who, as well as entertaining tabloid readers and FA secretaries, managed to take England to two World Cup quarter-finals.

Whoever takes the job (assuming they don’t just hand it over to the Premier League, which will probably happen eventually) needs to make cuts and raise money.

What about naming rights for Wembley, the so-called national stadium?

There would be a monstrous fuss of course but it might well be the only serious financial option left.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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