Belfast Telegraph

Low-key Patrick is the opposite to ex-chief Wells

By Robert Fenton

Low-key is the perfect summing up for the introduction of the Irish FA’s new chief executive Patrick Nelson.

It was in stark contrast to the attention focussed on the first person to take on this role — Howard Wells who has not exactly gone away as his legal wrangle with the association continues to roll on.

It was, however, a poor turn out of local media personnel to greet his arrival while the only member of the IFA board in attendance was president Raymond Kennedy who was there to do the formal introduction.

Head of Communications Geoff Wilson was there to keep the ‘fourth estate’ in line while company secretary and financial director Morris Corrin also sat in, very much in the background, on the question and answer session.

Mr Nelson comes in with no pre-conceived ideas or promises to lead a revolution although there are those who feel such is necessary within the IFA .

Instead, it will be steady as she goes as Patrick takes stock of all that he surveys before putting his imprimatur on matters.

“I am delighted and excited to be here, but it is 2.40pm on day one and I am not well on with a priority list just yet,“ said the Derby County supporter and who has Northern Ireland connections through his Kilkeel-born father.

“One of the main things is to to review the five-year football strategy. We are now at half-time on that and we need to see how we can take it forward.”

Although he has never set foot in Windsor Park, he is aware of the problems and controversies surrounding the stadium and the future of international. football.

“I want to engage with all the stakeholders within the organisation and that includes, fans, players and the press.

“I intend to listen and I hope I can bring enterprise and good leadership skills,” said the former Macclesfield CEO and who has a background in finance with Capital One.

“I believe in conciliation and bringing people out of conflict and into the middle, find and find a way forward.”

That will certainly be something worth observing as the IFA has too often been littered with internal wrangles and blunt refusals to see a broader perspective.

The last CEO will be remembered for his contretemps with IFA hierarchy but judging by his demeanour, there is little likelihood of such an eventuality with the new man.

Patrick clearly has a great passion for football, although he himself quickly points out that as a player, he never reached further than Division Four of the Mid-Sussex League.

He believes football has a part to play in bringing peace and prosperity to the country. A word of advice Patrick, stay well clear of that political cauldron.

Football has its own problems to be going on with.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph