Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40onsıde| ISSUE 38 THE INTERVIEW: MARTIN GLENN 8 The clubs’ academies have probably never been better supported in terms of investment, and never better run. We know that there is a good flow of very well-trained, skilful, technically-good players coming through the academies. The issue is making it out of the academies and into the first team in the most competitive league in the world, where risk taking is unlikely to take place, because if you lose three games in a row in the Premier League that is a lot of money you are staring down the barrel of losing. So how do we get more risk taking going on? How do we encourage that transition from having a star academy player earning good money, into getting in the club’s first team? That is not just an FA imperative; it is an imperative for clubs as well because they want to get a return on their investment into their academies. RORY: The next step down from academies is what feeds into the academies in the first place, which is obviously the area where the Foundation and The FA operate. What would you see as the priorities, as Chief Executive of The FA, for grassroots? MARTIN: It is two areas. Quality of coach education – that is a game-changer for us and it has received a lot of investment. It is not ‘sexy’ because the results will not be immediate. We have a big coach education function at St. George’s Park, where we are seeking to apply the principles of modern adult learning and trying to translate them into football development. So moving from the kind of stereotypical, old fashioned Victorian values of hard work, shouting, balling – stuff that does not work with Generation X and Y. I am really heartened by the progress we are making on that. We are getting kids much better equipped physically, technically and mentally in the club systems. So quality coaching is one. Pitches are the other one. We know that the number of 3G pitches per-head of the population is lower in England than it is in, say, similar climate zones: Holland and Germany have a lot more of them. For a third of the season, when the pitches are very muddy, that tends to favour stronger kids, not necessarily skilful kids. I am not saying that we want every game to be played on 3G, but we need a better balance. So the Parklife programme that is being kicked off with funding from Sport England, the Premier League and ourselves is an important part of developing, not just artificial grass pitches, but hubs – almost like creating mini-St. George’s Parks. They will have changing room facilities and coaching development areas, so that, as well as allowing people to have a good time playing their football on good quality pitches, we can also keep working on improving the quality of coaching and player development side. Those are the two big things, neither of which are going to yield immediate results, but which are part of building the infrastructure of the game. RORY: Where do you see the Football Foundation’s role fitting in achieving, in particular, the latter element? MARTIN: Well it is vital. I am still relatively new to football governance. I joined a year ago, and the thing that always struck me earlier on was that football seems very sectionalised. It is very power- based as opposed to purpose-based: ‘The FA does this, the Football League do that, the Premier League that, the Foundation do that.’ There was very little talk about what is right for the English game, if you take the macro sense, because we had all come into it from historical legacy positions. Richard Scudamore, Sean Harvey and myself – we have all seen that there has been an element of duplication going on in the provision of services to the game because we all want to go and do our bit. Organisations like the Football Foundation are vital. And the bigger role it has taken in the facilities strategy is part of how the game will evolve. So you say: ‘Look, we want to achieve a certain strategic objective. How might we get agencies that can bring together both the funding and insight from various other stakeholders to deliver something good?’ That is what we are seeing with the Football Foundation and the fact that we now have this really good tripartite funding and understanding of how we are going to drive Parklife is a really good model. RORY: In terms of setting targets, what success looks like, and being evidence-based is something the Foundation focuses on, not just at the board level, but in every single project that we fund. How would you see The FA’s challenge in terms of some of the more difficult outcomes to measure, such as, say, the success of the very popular small-sided game, in terms of developing more talented, more skilful, technically gifted players? MARTIN: We want The FA to be more evidence based. Like any good organisation, we need to understand our bits of football better than anybody else. The Premier League and the English Football League need to understand their clubs better than anyone else. We need to understand what we control better than anyone else. “FOR A THIRD OF THE SEASON, WHEN THE PITCHES ARE VERY MUDDY, THAT TENDS TO FAVOUR STRONGER KIDS, NOT NECESSARILY SKILFUL KIDS. I AM NOT SAYING THAT WE WANT EVERY GAME TO BE PLAYED ON 3G, BUT WE NEED A BETTER BALANCE.”