Soccer-Managers' body hits back at "misguided" former FA Chairman


By Mike Collett

LONDON, Jan 3 (Reuters) - David Bernstein, the former chairman of the English FA was accused of making "misguided, unhelpful and inflammatory" comments on Friday after criticising the behaviour of managers earlier this week.

The League Managers Association leapt to the defence of its members in a strongly-worded statement which also accused Bernstein of "megaphone commentary from the sidelines" and failing to attend a single meeting with the LMA while he was in charge of the FA.

Bernstein, who had to retire as FA chairman after turning 70 last May, was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in the New Year's Honours on Wednesday and used the opportunity to criticise managers for setting a "terrible example" to both players and the general public with their behaviour on the touchline.

"I have been involved with football for a long time and I do understand the pressures they are under but when you look at the constant protesting on the touchline and the comments afterwards, it doesn't do anyone or the game any good," Bernstein said.

"It is a terrible example for their players, let alone the general public, and I think it is time managers assumed a much greater level of responsibility for their behaviour."

Many fans bemoan managers on social media sites for their tedious post-match press conferences or quick TV interviews when they routinely blame the referee or his assistants after a defeat.

The Manchester Evening News summed up what many fans think this week saying: "When was the last time a manager blamed himself, his players' failings or even admitted the other team were better tactically or indeed had better players?"

After his team's defeat to Manchester City last week Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers described the match officials as "horrendous" and complained that the referee was from Bolton, officially part of "Greater Manchester". Stoke City boss Mark Hughes was fined 8,000 pounds ($13,200) on Thursday after he was sent to the stands for abusing officials during his team's 5-1 recent thrashing by Newcastle United.


Far from condemning such behaviour, however, the LMA turned on Bernstein and, after congratulating him on his honour, launched a fierce tirade against his observations.

"His comments criticising managers this week, are, we believe misguided, and unhelpful.

"It is particularly sad to find David Bernstein celebrating his CBE by engaging in a megaphone commentary from the side-lines, taking a unilateral swipe at managers, having wholly failed to engage, in any meaningful way, with the LMA and its members during his tenure as FA Chairman.

"Had he engaged with the LMA, his leadership would have been rather more effective and focussed.

"Such a commentary is inflammatory, can only tend to bring the game into disrepute and further widens the gap between those that reputedly lead the game and those that find employment and build their careers within it."

The LMA says that managers and coaches are under "unique pressures working in a volatile profession.

"The very fact that over 70 managers and coaches have lost their jobs since the start of the season bears witness to this.

"The LMA looks forward to an engaged and constructive dialogue with the new Chairman of the FA, especially as David Bernstein failed to attend a single formal managers' meeting to discuss any such issues in the game or build any kind of meaningful relationship with our members."

From Around The Web: ($1 = 0.6084 British pounds) (Reporting by Mike Collett)

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