FErret

27th February 2009 at 00:00

Man with a goal

So farewell then, Ian Watmore. The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills supremo is off to Soho Square in June when he takes over as the Football Association's new chief executive.

Speculation is rife as to how someone whose main experience of football is supporting Arsenal and watching his kids play in the CheshireSouth Manchester league will adapt to running the national game.

However, as a former management consultant and a government pen-pusher, he will fit right in. Football expertise is rarely found in the boardrooms of the game, as the Sunderland striker Len Shackleton observed in a chapter of his autobiography: it consisted of a blank page.

Tasked with trying to make a struggling nation world class after years of underperformance against smaller, poorer countries, Mr Watmore hardly faces a culture shock after more than a year of . trying to make a struggling nation world class after years of underperformance against smaller, poorer countries.

No wonder he wants new challenges. FErret is anticipating the inevitable resignation of England manager Tony Adams after failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Australia.

A drive to remember

Congratulations to Michael Cleverley, an engineering lecturer at Otley College in Suffolk, just returned from a 4,500-mile trip across the Sahara. A flat, desolate landscape holds no terrors for most East Anglians, so he made it challenging by going in an old yellow Peugeot 205.

"One of the most bizarre requests was to be offered five camels for the car," he said. "I declined." Since he averaged 9mph, he might have done better on a ship of the desert.

Mr Cleverley put much faith in his Btec students - it was they who patched up the Peugeot before he set off. Is there a worse way to find out a student has forgotten to do his homework than holding a broken fan belt in the middle of the world's largest desert?

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