Former Republic of Ireland international Jon Walters has applied to be the new CEO of the Professional Footballers’ Association.
Jon Walters has made his case for the role which will be vacated by Gordon Taylor at the end of the current season and there is no shortage of support for the former Stoke City, Ipswich Town and Burnley forward.
After considerable criticism of Taylor’s salary as chief executive of the PFA, his successor is expected to earn less but that hasn’t discouraged Walters from applying.
Today I’ve applied to be the next PFA CEO.
Every player, former player and their families should know we are there solely for them.
I am passionate about uniting this union, not only to be a leading organisation but to set an example to wider society. https://t.co/eVf2prlPFY
— Jonathan Walters (@JonWalters19) February 13, 2021
“I’m very passionate about the PFA,” Walters told The Times. “I feel I am the right man for the PFA because players can relate to me.
“I’ve played in every league. I’ve captained clubs, I’ve captained my country, I’ve been involved on the management committee of the PFA. I like leading.”
It’s understood that Walters’ main rival for the position is ex-Port Vale defender Ben Purkiss, who has served as PFA Chairman since 2017. Applications for the role close on Friday, 19 February, and interviews will be conducted by an independent panel in March.
Walters, who represented the Irish national team on 54 occasions, has vowed to prioritise players’ welfare – particularly after retirement – and intends to put much more emphasis on tacking the issue of dementia among former footballers.
“I will go to every single club, stand before every single dressing room and ask them what they want,” Walters explained.
“We’ve got to give the best service to the members. We’re not a club or agent, we’ve only got their best interest at heart.
“I want to take the PFA forward, be the leader of that and build a team around me. The numbers of players facing bankruptcy, getting divorced after retiring, is horrendous. Forty per cent after the first year get divorced and 75 per cent after three years. The PFA has to address that.”
Walters announced his application via social media and the 37-year-old has been backed by a number of high-profile figures from the world of football.
— Micah Richards (@MicahRichards) February 13, 2021
Great news mate. I am 💯 behind this move. Hard working,honest, dedicated and I know you will make a difference to all the players past and present. Good luck mate 👍
— Charlie Adam (@Charlie26Adam) February 13, 2021
— Peter Crouch (@petercrouch) February 13, 2021
Best of luck Jon 👍🏻 https://t.co/mgYA3AdzR9
— Matt Le Tissier😁 (@mattletiss7) February 13, 2021
Fully behind you mate. Good luck !!!
— Danny Higginbotham (@Higginbotham05) February 13, 2021