E51: Inside Football with Adrian Bevington
Hello I'm Richard Gallison. Welcome to the new daily unofficial partner. Today we go behind the scenes in football with Adrian Bevington. They're very few people better qualified to talk about what's really happening in the corridors of power within the game both a national level and within the club. Game Adrian is best known for his work at the FAA over nearly two decades. I is the GO-TO COM's guy. And then as Managing Director of Club. England raheel held for five years till Twenty fifteen during his period at the FA. What was seven in managers? How Book and some Peter Taylor Kevin Keegan's Fen goran-eriksson Steve mcclaren Fabio Capello and Roy Hodgson where it was several chief executives including Brian Barwick Adam crozier and in what more. Adm was born in. Middlesbrough started his career as a trainee report on the Company newspaper and is a lifelong fan of his hometown. Football Team for football club whose media team he later joined. He's written books on the club. One with fellow press officer Dave Allen from dum boom the most dramatic decade in the life of Middlesbrough F c published in Nineteen ninety-six. It's about the dramatic rebirth of the club. Following their financial woes in the mid eighties by twenty eighteen Bevington move back to his hometown and became Middlesbrough's head of recruitment operations. A role that he left at the end of last year. Why wanted to do is just talk about what what we're starting this place. Which is what the fuck are we doing? What's happening where we going? And but I just WANNA get your if you said some really interesting things over the last sort of few days on on twitter about football obviously and about you know the decisions and the politics of it around the leaks and the and the coordination just give us a first of all. Just give us a generalized ideas. Were about where you think. We are in the decision making process. How is this? What do you what? What's the front of your mind at the moment? Okay I actually genuinely believe that the football bodies rarely come together on work very well the well one of the moment Richard is the this is president territory for everybody. Well it is a nobody knows exactly how is GonNa play over wall particular timeframe so the fact that you've had a Lotta Being going on with the different sporting organisations with government with broadcasters were a period of weeks now is them as they need to a facing the challenge. Who's coming while she fainted moved dramatically towards the Buchan Lashley usually in the first set of this foments and equal participants going down with the virus such as McCallum which I think will forever be known as the trainer moment Those men of the coronial always view of arms with relaxed on which is rather windfall tuna on that this week. You've seen you know procession of statements. Starting WITH UEFA meeting while conference call maintained on Tuesday that lasted about an hour or so and then they were able to announce that they was having the euros this year which we all anticipated but it was done in a veterinary professional. Buy In and support from all the stakeholders of the mateen. Then it bounced full twenty four hours to the NFL who have gained. They had a long long amazing but ultimately hang out with what most people felt was very sensible statesman-like statement afterwards. And also the fact that you know looking at some potential cash reserves to help those flows in in greatest need then moving forward another twenty four hours to primarily island yesterday and with the statement is a collective from the whole of English football which is very rare and I do feed in the moment having moved around football. Twenty five years this is gonNA collegiate spirit between the Gangs Leagues. Yovany bodies than there's ever been which is is a real blessing a the outcome of that. Do you think in terms of do you think that will is that sort of again too cliche? Is this sort of blitz. Spirit going on here and then go around the usual ways what. Why are they so difficult to get together around the table other than in a crisis? Well these are. These are very demanding. Times as I've sense for some time I actually. I really felt that this being a really strong relationship developing between the in the Premier League and the Football League for Ragu period now and it seems to be calm. Maybe crazy being looked at always been a great deal on anyway. It was just flush points. Maybe highlight some attention times. This is definitely shown a really good strength Strong togetherness. I hope that moving forward. We'll see a lot more of that. A defendant nickel. Its own right in how they've they've dealt with. It haven't really boxed themselves in with with hot that lines among in about no football before the end of April But even that has the flexibility in understanding the. We don't know where we're GONNA be. We All know this commotion Challenges Facing All of the stakeholders that an manage those very sensitively as well but watching brief. It's really good. Everyone said my opinion committed to fulfilling the season because not allow us to focus on more is GonNa come when it happens. It gives them time than to multiple how that is going to look how many weeks he's going to take talk. She concluded the season. How Games a week that is. How would with broadcasters in a house or whatever the fines is behind closed doors if it is behind closed doors which would be the least photo shop shoe how? He's not going to work with government in the emergency services. All these dynamics is going to be dealt with In these conversations over this period of time with time that all himself but when you get to the club level It's the there was a number of of clubs. The are going to be really struggling here on they in terms of I mean. That's an understatement. But just in terms of the managing the just the basic cashflows are running keeping the doors. Open the cash flows absolutely crucial and unfortunately the finger has been made by a number clubs and this time of year is not right either going out to market or reach out to me if a season tickets so they're not actually got the ticket Revenue Command at the moment. You know these issues regarding small ship deals rather already being paid from loaded Maybe that you to go out to molecules still trying to find sponsors for the coming season so the many how engulf the cash coming in knows areas of the moment you have a lower close particularly once again to League one in late two on that into the conference level. They also live in gained two game home games with the cash flow. The ticket money provides but also the hospitality areas in l. ever else revenues generated around the stave. And also as well you know even even the big clubs. Typically outside of the absolute biggest clubs in the primarily many Palin in the championship also relied very heavily still cash flow the the gate revenue bring so it is providing a real challenge for everybody know unrated could have seen this three or four months ago. So you know when the last season but this season. This isn't something that you could not ask. You made a point about centralized primitive boards and central selling inventory in a different way struck me as a good idea. It's an idea that the primarily choice of float along Tom Emmer. I'm Jay trying to get the contract in trying to get that through and it's always sort of Polish back by the big people can sit. You can make more money individually but do you think that those sorts of solutions are on the table. I'd like to think that being discussed I think particularly bell level when you know the afl a very strong brand as a collective now you've got so many different levels of turnover commercial viability you comparing lead united with some of the closed down the ball men of league two completely different dynamic but they've if he found a way where the NFL could structure Commercial Daelim program that still gave the clubs in the championship. You know will they think they can achieve all too agreeable can achieve but also brings essential beautiful? It just hasn't much much better fail to it. It's gotta be more powerful. You know you know when you go out to commercial market and you've got all of these clubs all around the country every time there's a game on TV or even highlights packages Tiffany with the NFL weighed about the same. Were ending going on around the stadium. Nothing that would be an easier sell personally and also a better use of the the league itself and just in terms of this is an impossible thing to answer. But I'm just a sense that things aren't going to be you know. Progress isn't linear at times and idea that we're just GONNA go back to normal and everything will be the same. We'll just fill up. The state is again. And we're a moment. This is a pause. We'll go back to normal The other way of looking at it is the the there will be fundamental change and the structures and the ownership of leagues and teams are going to change Where are you on that sort of continuing? Because if you speak to sort of private equity people they love moment lightest and they liked the idea that is chaos and they can go in and start to pick up on the valued assets as they would describe them football culturally as always resisted that in terms of well. I say that but that that sort of language certainly but I imagine that as we're speaking now there are a lot of people looking around and saying well there are things to pick up here. There are things to re- to meet. That will be people who all waiting to see how this plays out and see see how the only ship stretches close look I think the strength of the crummy league is obvious. Strength of the. Nfl is also cleats. we have you know unique the particularly with championship which is such a strong competitively played at a pace with the flow of faced us. The very very few others in the world safe then. We have the fantastic beauty of all game. I think in the further down you go. You still have all the clubs competing and I am someone who is a traditionalist in the football alike console non. I've always been associated with either as a young kid playing the game all the way through to work and must have a life in it and I also very conscious of just how much the football club is to the central off of so many of the communities weather. All you know. We've seen the situation recently with Berry a host. The being cold for the town of Barry Fry will happen to the Football Club. Go back even now years ago. Myself being a middle person and Middlesbrough was survive. The last minute from going under nineteen ninety six and that would have banned incredible loss to the town and the community. You know people get a bounce out football people get bounce out just on the game but they also get a bounce out of the football cook doing well and feeling sensitive only. I've heard a number of things going on this week with the football. Doing so good in the community. Time of Real. Nate without be just through contact point. Oh whether being open them. The cells of US Chelsea I've done for the H S. You know Abidine doing something. Really good up in Scotland need using human chain Gladbach that players donating wages and senior officials but bull has a real big parts lying within those communities even though that may be people C- achievements. I'd like to think I'm pretty confident. This is the view of riparian people at the football league that they would like to bring everything through the crisis that we're facing at the moment so that we still have very much status quo at the end of it. S not to say. I'm not never will see creativity which but I do think got to protect the clubs as much account. There's a it's sort of interesting as reading. Gareth Southgate's message always his letter just as someone who's been on the inside. It was enormous in as a very impressive and and it shows him as a very broad person which is not always the case for oil qualified. A bubble what would be in the process. What do you what that come straight from him? Would he have written that himself without being? Someone like yourself transcribing it. I've known since he was a playa. Hate one of my favorite people I've ever met in football. One of the most impressive paint level moment might life genuine using the afl-cio to have him as leader at the moment. I'm pretty sure this will obtain a conversation that was probably two way with the team under the FAA. Maybe mulling suggesting it will make our suggesting. In between the two of them they thanked. Pull this together. What I do know is Gareth. Being the person that he is a he wanted to do and Beta was being written will very much big Arizona. Personal was because his. You know his moral compass. You know his his sense of purpose sensitive to the right thing. They're absolutely than he is. He's a great great person and I think we've seen the way they handled so much in the front of House of Around the England team at some turbulent pay six seven months. He's just handled it so well. He's a great leader. And sometimes in days gone by would very much you being internally combs paypal trying to suggest things on a frequent basis? Should we do this cam? You this crafting something just a sign of with someone like Gareth. I won't be the case. What's the you spent your your time You know we know you from being the guy at England moments and at the press conference and your job and put me right. If I'm I'm getting it wrong here but there was a sense that you were the front line from comes perspective into particularly the national journalists and you had sort of you know obviously it was a relationship thing they were all powerful yet the big tabloid yet. You know the qualities at all of that but it was essentially a media relationship with the mainstream media. Now obviously that's changed or changing is that. Is that how you define your job? And how has it? What's The job today? What would be your job today? If you're still doing it. I think to begin with it was very much the relationship with the media and I would definitely agree that they were more powerful within the with. The industry was set up in those days. Obviously the Sony Barriers to now that you have social digital media The different ways in which you can you can communicate. I think the role of the commercial on his fall visible now as well. So it's a fall rule that you say is the when I initially started it was focusing on those t. Excuse me not. Meteorologists and building. Strong relationships wouldn't always be visible that it was working but I can do. It was incredibly important and date. Manageable situations bets at different times As my job evil though I went from being the person who yes was the individual salad being Charon press conference his being around that scene but as the communications director. You have a fall bigger pace to deal with. Which is you know. The the growth of the game is a hull psych. Hold COMMUNITY MONEY FROM PACE. No the cover competition is. You're running the disciplinary issues. Which are very time consuming on the international relationships. So there's a lot more to dealing with the press as wars as as was positive but there's a lot of time spent dealing with the site. Oldest is a lot of variation to the state. Now you've got to be slipping the team within the COMMS team of the F- either dealing with women's game doing national dealing with the England set-up with discipline in the different mediums. Ucla Munich actions out. The important community management is that I mean I was editor spoke business in the in the early two thousands at the time it was. A sort of. This was a niche subject. You know about the sport and the business bit to the politics of it. It was interesting to a you know you had the sports news lobby. But that's where that's where the compensation edge Charlie CEO. The dig column but it was a sort of marginal To to the to the SPOI- self. It feels like it's changed fundamentally that and the you know it's now part of the mainstream conversation. The fan conversation is very much. What's going on behind the scenes? There's a lot more sort of talking about the business. Bid The money the whatever whether it's a transfer conversation in football or whether it's the sort of finances of the media and sky relationship is that is that me overeating. 'cause I'm in this bubble of the sports business or is it? Do you think there is a is a broader compensation than it was definitely conversation which is not everybody some people still you simply. WanNa go the game. That's all the team read about transparency. But I think there's an increasing number of people now and because of the mole time and different platforms like this dedicated to the small businesses. Hope people are interested in it and you know whether whether it be looking at the way the club spend spend that money too why the commercial end of the Misawa ship broadcast rights which have become increasingly more complicated time default as well Just ever-growing size of football industry is huge and doesn't really show any sign of Disobeying the top end. So I think people are more interested in a lot April maybe one would normally jaws. Do people have now moved to well known. Certainly more publicized as something. I become very much fascinating. I was pretty sounds pretty one dimensional myself NFO style. I'd often spoke just so much interested in the broader business. Thanks as I football and just again. A property jumping back to the previous conversation about change. Do you think that there will be big European clubs in the NFL is of this world? Who See this. Is the moment to get what they want. In terms of the champion you know the way in which European foot boys these constructed. Whether that's a this is a moment or do you think that will get you know. The Premier League is always we over here look at it from a probably a parochial perspective produce also seems to be much more robust than some of the other leagues and therefore they're better off of it in in the premier league than outside. But what's that Guy Namic? Do you think that's GonNa Change? You think that sort of the current crisis. He's going to impact on that well. First of all primarily use. I think that they that Jen rule philosophy about togetherness Collective and US being Trentino In how he managed a collective underway the role customized Rights Day was. Well always ask people who appear to the tightening Elliott events all the humour Claus Schall around the Champions League Off I really hope that we can keep it open because I think that's part of the BBC of Ospel is the Yukon striving achieve things in some of the Mogae happens now domestically listed winning the primarily. You know even at the moment you know. We're watching things on either. The Is April when the mountain from two years ago Molin Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa to win the European Cup. This league right memories that we have from childhood and it will be real shamefully if opportunism took took took his Chanson and prevented from being able to achieve that. And I think if you look at the Champions League at the moment of teams the the relatively successful is she had a wooden necessarily all likely be novel is interesting. What you said about Atalanta. Wasn't it very dismissive? I think that was a mistake on his part. I think if you are a football fan obviously. We know that they clubs. We all know that assaultive Stella clothes being around the higher echelons for the longest period and there is a there is a out you know. We always to also we all to buy. We always look to you Manchester United you pools etc etc. But you've gotTa have the competition as well. I think this is a real danger. You can make something go berry. Sale very quickly becomes a club shop in America is totally different. I don't know they just don't have the the mindset tools promotion relegation but we do and that's part of the tradition of football out of the beautiful for me and some of them much Or you know that that these football not quite see it becomes just finishing off. Who was the first manager in the managers work with so what if I join Petah? Tiger twenty one coach was the first team manager. Things with Glenn were relatively limited than Kevin containing shortly after Kevin after the European Championship. Two thousand kind of go ahead of made you roll actual game enough position. Full-time was the England. Germany is a famous shove. Having walking down tunnel sound kind of looks up in applause. The crowd abuse going on. Someone threw a flatten count on the flow Completely squashed having insult of just take lane frustration forty familial slice writings and on Sheen Valve walking backwards down to commit a Haley wasn't post. Kevin Newman resigned. Obviously in the in the dressing room. Lambley in them I was. I spent the next hour and a half running around to the banks weeks alone. Why lambley Kraus's you down. Various people from the International Committee where that was called in heaven. Should've Darren Adam crozier Gracie to work with a day. Just want to explain that Kevin would be resigning. Meanwhile the nine stylish international players to Iran alone functions while it was all going on rally Chances went from Kevin into San Sonny Simona wilt with a very closely all the tabloid frenzy. Then went on. Went around was was quite unbelievable. He was willing to work with because he never was affected by it. And you know money's group of clay. As was she talked. The Golden Generation. big stalls. I commend you something. I never experienced before. Very few people have since Not Not team. Even though he didn't achieve way pass on the page was just an unbelievable Stevens to work. Around You know the game game muting Richard. The five one nine which was probably we look. Maybe that was the height of sends management time England maybe that was the biggest win of the Golden Generation I'm the end of that game when Michael Owen Hatrick does he's coming off. The page talked to grabbing for a teenager and he eats swapped shirts with the Joni Offended from Schulkin unless he walk in and Michael Michael Landon. We've totally salted with this guy. But we still accurate against Germany in Munich in. Not sure he's like how can you Tony Woodcock? Who was around during that period for Play GM himself a German accent crowds. How many shut down your media w massive eighty till you went out addressing. His enemies just been absolutely hammered. Five one went to nothing wrong going address immune swap in the dressing room which is again one office our experiences that sort of period we had as you say crozier was was an interesting figure seventy from the outside looking in because obviously can afford the sergeants archie baggage almost both you know insensitive and whether or not you thought that was a good thing or or not. That's that was the story and he was very much about the you know the he spoke very well to the business community. And what was what do you think the sort of is it possible to look at the legacy of that period from a young did the FA change. It's sort of attitude that look very exciting time out. Still you know young young person couple years of most of the mid twenties at the time out in comes in his early himself and he was he he just inspired people in a way the never experienced before anyone who with him I think felt the same each of the organization probably through about five decades in two years and he needs a lot of it is a business. He moved us from lung castigate to When Paul ball joined him then completely refreshed the Commotion Program and Actually We have the plans for the Wembley that was ongoing as well which is a lot of welcomes the time we bought land for. Saint George do not create refund mistaken and the point of the first foreign coach so he was only two or three years but blinded he makes an impact you in that period. Do you think the FAA is is different now because of that period. I think it's I think it's different question. Everything was not different aspirins period because he changes so much. What you've seen in recent years with the great level of stability by Biggest regrets wigan seventeen years there was just so much instability during that period without the chief executives chairman England and coaches changing a great deal of frequency and often a different times and not always calm. Mina that led to a whole load of instability. What you see at the FBI in recent years is you saying multi Glenn had a relatively long period in the chair he would very closely. Mclaughlin would have paid south guy in office for a good period of time now as well and I do. Think Outlook calmness allows them to make a lot of that or the decisions. Do the woods behind the scenes in a much more constructive Those during the time I was there there was so much good that was done but we were fighting final such high frequency high frequency in edgewise. Very difficult to build confidence building. Images of people admire respect and believing when the so much which electoral going around. It does it. There's almost a sort of it's the individual is the leadership versus the culture question. Guess isn't it. You know it's the you mentioned malting Glenn and again I automatically put him in a sort of like A. Here's a guy that's coming. It sorta seems to swing from. We need the commercial now of crazy or a Martin Glenn and then it swings back to know. They're not football men they need. We need a football person that it seems to go on. A pendulum of there are cycles. Definitely allow happy. But I've been very fortunate. I work with some fantastic people. I know that sounds a statement tonight but it's true united. I'm really pleased to see in what will Pointed to the AC Bay. A date yet but will come. Any aim was only at the show here. Time very close with He's a really good Related Vision he was. Well ahead of the game. Goes on the whole Tv right side of things and how you know we might come. See me moving forward. And he you know he Oc for a brief period of the FAA with Salmon. Green from baseball day things differently than so lot of different people who is und- that you can also all that different strengths. I always refer art two atom. Because he he was just such a big gang change but also from my own point of view he you know he suppolies Megan Bush microwave fall massively so I am all right. Just finish up. What does it look like today? What are you doing now? And what does does the feature hopefully middle's for the end of the year so being sending the last couple of months looking at what I'm going to do next is he's quietly decision for me I made a real conscious effort to get back home to the Solo. Sports Media Bait Interviews some people may have seen in also getting out into the small business. Dnc as well just to to you know being in a in a role was very specific up in the northeast kind of elephant. Wait a little bit so into Poland for me hit by Hamasaki talking various people bouncing full-time positions. But also maybe looking at some consulates work again. Because I did three three and a half years of that myself after left the FA. I really enjoyed that. What was very interesting with the F. Wales leading the year twenty sixty? I did some very interesting. They all projects around unrelated Sanni when he was buying lease of your eyes nose when they buy all of this. And so you know looking at variety for something that really I'd like to get big To offer You know with the the quiet Commercially focused than I was during my time in the FA So that's you know. Vote absolutely well. I barely turn on sky sports news on it. So you're doing well. It's like a it's at the day is that the only joke. For the millennials. When is it doesn't have a sale? When wins it wins bearing to not on Sky News? He calling I'm happy. We'll thanks very much for your time. Really appreciate it switched. Take Care Bye.