The FA and Alex Horne, a match made at Wembley
So the Football Association has lost another CEO and appointed Alex Horne as acting chief exec.
In short Horne was the man who should have got the job in the first place.
An accountant, Horne trained at Coopers & Lybrand and worked in recovery before joining the FA in 2003. The following year he was its finance director and two years after that he was running the disaster otherwise known as the Wembley Stadium construction project, as managing director. He pulled it back from the brink and got the whole thing back on track. He is also a former judge in the Accountancy Age awards.
When the FA were looking for a new CEO they shopped around, went to the markets and frankly ignored Horne who was ready and waiting to take on the role.
FA politics are appalling but Horne, who had been around the place for some years, was fully aware of what to expect. He had insight. He knew how the placed worked and what’s more he had had success with the stadium and as a recovery man for the biggest accountancy firm in the world. Above all, above all else, running the FA was never just a job for Horne, it would have been a passion, something he believed in.
Why was he overlooked? Watmore’s CV looked amazing, coming from the world’s most successful consultancy business, Andersen Consulting, but perhaps he lacked the political nous required. He perhaps saw it as just another management job to which he could apply some tried and trusted formulas when it was always going to be more than that.
Whether Horne has those political skills remains to be seen, but at least he knew what it was like from first hand experience. He was fully aware what it was like at the FA, what it’s complexities were, where the trip wires were set and who would pull the trigger.
Horne is acting up while the FA considers its options. It has already said there will be no appointment until after the World Cup. That gives Horne time to settle in and show that he’s up to the job…because he always was. There was never any need for the FA to look elsewhere.