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INTERVIEW: The important thing was us getting promoted

John Nixon on his EFL Board role

29 June 2023

Club News

INTERVIEW: The important thing was us getting promoted

John Nixon on his EFL Board role

29 June 2023

Promotion to League One for United meant a move away from the EFL board for director John Nixon, who had held the post of League Two representative for the best part of seven seasons, having previously been appointed to the same role in League One between 2011 and 2014.

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But a vote last Friday night has seen him retain a place on the FA Council for a further season, with an overwhelming number of his peers in favour of his continued input.

“The absolute important thing was this club getting promoted, everything else around board positions and things like that was secondary,” he told us.

“At the end of the day the prime objective for this club was winning once we got to Wembley. If I had to choose between the two things, it goes without saying that Carlisle United getting promoted was the only answer to that, because that’s a journey we’ve been on for years.

“Being at Wembley, and I’ve said this to a number of people - what better way could there be to end your time with the EFL Board than with promotion for your club.

“I was there with Margaret, which was absolutely key to me, and my two sons and two grandsons were also there. We were at Wembley as a family, and we’d won the game in the most dramatic of fashions.

“That was the icing on the cake. And when I saw it was Taylor Charters who was ging up for that fifth penalty I was thinking to myself, he’s a young man who has come through our academy system, and if he scores this he’s the one who will go in the history books as having taken the decisive kick. That in itself was a magical feeling.

“It was everything we’d set out to do, to see our own young players come through and make an impact, so to see him score was special. Ok, I lost my EFL position, but I was there with my whole family to see us go up. I think that matters more.”

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Looking back at his time on the EFL board, he commented: “I think I initially joined the EFL board back in 2011 and I dropped out for a couple of years when we went down from League One to League Two.

“At that time it meant I was no longer part of the FA boards that I’d been on, because you need to be on the EFL board to do that. A couple of years later I was voted on as the League Two rep and, I have to say, it’s been a real privilege to have served in that role.

“I went along to the board meeting in early June, just a few weeks ago, and I’ve been replaced as the League Two rep by Charles Grant from Crewe. Of course, I’ve also had to step away from all of the other positions.

“Running right up to that point in time I was on the Professional Game Forum, the Professional Game Board, the Football Regulatory Authority, and I was an FA Councillor and a member of the FA Cup committee. I’d dropped off being a Trustee with the EFL Trust, about nine months earlier.”

“Like I say, I couldn’t continue with the FA roles because they’re all linked to the EFL board position,” he clarified. “All of the EFL board members make up most of those committees, and it is quite time consuming.

“However, I did put my name forward for the FA Council last Friday night and I found out on Thursday evening this week that I’ve been voted onto that, so I’ll carry out that role for a further year.

“I actually had no idea that there was even a slot open but at the meeting we all attended we found out that one of the EFL reps on the FA Council had left their club on the Friday night, which nobody knew about.

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“I then went to Rick Parry and asked if that meant there was a vacancy. He confirmed there was, and I think six people applied, of which I was one. The result of the vote came just before our forum on Thursday, and I am pleased that I’m still involved because there are things I want to see through.

“Interestingly there have been discussions about the age limit that is currently in place when it comes to eligibility for some roles, and at the AGM I’d actually set up a motion to say that the age limit wouldn’t apply if you were partway through a term.

“I still had another two years to serve and I really wanted to see some of the big issues that we’ve been dealing with through. There are things like the redistribution model and the three up, three down proposal, and these things are critical.

“When it came to it my proposal was completely blown away when Nigel Travers from Leyton Orient proposed that there should be no age limits at all. It was his proposal that won the vote.”

Elaborating on his position with the FA Council, he told us: “I’ve actually been part of a panel that’s been reviewing the way the Council operates, and we’re nearly finished with that now.

“Bear in mind that this council started in 1863 – it’s like the parliament of the FA with 100 odd members, and then you’ve got the board, so it’s like the cabinet then parliament.

“The first part of the changes to the Council go forward on 3 July, which is another positive. One of the purposes of the Fan-Led review is to get money down to grassroots level, but part of being able to do that is to stop the massive amount of money that’s at the top. Perhaps we’ll be able to tackle that more.”

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“The EFL AGM was used to say thank you for the years of service I’ve done and I have to say that it was a really nice send off,” he concluded.

“There have been challenges, but it’s been good to have been part of trying to make things better in so many different areas, from governance to how best we can reshape the distribution model, to TV deals and so many other things that we’ve had to tackle head on.

“It’s been good, but it’s been even better to see the club step back up to League One!”

Chairman Andrew Jenkins said: “John has been recognised as an important part of the EFL board by club representatives from all levels for many years.

“The work he’s done has been tireless and the dedication he’s shown has been second to none. It also can’t be underestimated how good it’s been for the club. Our voice has been heard and his input has been valuable.

“He’s extremely well thought of, and his opinions always respected. He received a lot of praise from across the EFL at the AGM and he can be very proud of what he’s done with the EFL and the FA in a number of roles and across a number of years.”


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