LMA launches Bernstein broadside
The League Managers' Association has launched a fierce attack on David Bernstein after the former Football Association chairman claimed club bosses were setting a "terrible example" by their behaviour.
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The LMA say Bernstein's comments were "misguided, unhelpful and inflammatory" and that he failed to engage with the organisation during his time in office.
Bernstein had spoken out after being awarded the CBE in the New Year Honours, saying managers were harassing officials and were being too critical of referees after matches.
The LMA said in a statement: "We believe the comments are misguided, and unhelpful. It is important to recognise that managers in professional football contribute significantly to the success of the game both on and off the field. Having spent their lives dedicated to the game, they value it, are committed to seeing it continue to grow and to contribute to its future direction.
"It is particularly sad therefore, to find David Bernstein celebrating his CBE by engaging in a megaphone commentary from the sidelines, 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."
In an interview with Press Association Sport on Monday, Bernstein had said managers need to take more responsibility for their behaviour and were setting "a terrible example for their players, let alone the general public".
The LMA responded saying: "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."
It also questioned why Bernstein had not taken an active role in building a relationship with the managers' organisation, saying he failed to attend even one formal meeting.
"Had he engaged with the LMA, his leadership would have been rather more effective and focussed," said the statement.
"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."
The LMA said more than 70 managers have been sacked already this season and the job has "unique pressures".
"Considering that there have been only a handful of disciplinary charges in over 1000 matches so far this season, and taking into account all the work that goes on behind the scenes working with the PGMOL, we are moving in a positive direction," added the statement.
"It is inevitable however, that we will always have, at times, emotional moments in a competitive arena where the stakes for both club and personal careers are so high."