FA Chief Executive, Brian Barwick, recently made his first public appearance at a fans forum in London.
Last night FA Chief Executive, Brian Barwick, made his first public appearance at a fans forum in London to answer questions from members of englandfans, The Official England Supporters Group.
Subjects on the agenda ranged from the state of the national game and the development of English talent, as well as the England team’s preparations for the World Cup in Germany next year.
Brian began the evening with an insight into his own pre-conceptions about the reputation of English fans abroad.
"My background is in the media, and if asked do any of the media outlets know about the range of activities that England fans are involved in, I would probably have to say no. In reality, the work done by fans to improve their image does not get the coverage it may deserve. Tonight I have seen some of the work that has been done in the past and it is fantastic. I certainly have an interest in fans projects going forward"
"For 25 years I have been fortunate to follow England in a professional capacity, but previous to that my first 10 years of following England was as a fan. I have seen many different situations involving England supporters that have had nothing to do with football. I am encouraged by what we all witnessed at the World Cup in Japan in 2002 and at Euro 2004 in Portugal. There has been a changing mood and fans now seem to have a different objective, to support the team and enjoy the culture."
Brian was also full of praise the positive work completed by the London englandfans and the other independent groups around the country. The hardest part has always been getting the media on board and Brian did offer his own advice to the groups.
"You just need to keep working hard to get that recognition. When I was asked to attend tonight, I did not hesitate, going forward there needs to be a proper agenda and fans need to be treated with respect. Why would we not applaud positive behaviour? The work being done is a step in the right direction, what we saw in Portugal when England were beaten in the Quarter Final was fans taking defeat in the right spirit and this is a very positive message to send out. It is a long process, but you need to keep drip feeding positive stories to the media"
A full report on the evening is available on the official englandfans website, to find out how you could join today Click Here