Former Ireland international Jon Walters has declared his application to become the next Chief Executive of the Professional Footballers' Association.
Current PFA Chief Exec Gordon Taylor, who has controversially held the post since 1981, is due to step down at the end of the current season. The organisation are taking applications this month before interviews take place in March, with shortlisted candidates then being put forward to the PFA membership.
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
Walters is currently a member of the PFA Management Committee, and he tweeted about his candidacy for the Chief Executive role following an interview with The Times about his motivation behind applying for the position.
I'm very passionate about the PFA. 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.
A number of ex-players and former team-mates of Walters have shown their support for his application on Twitter, including Micah Richards, Peter Crouch and Charlie Adam.
In the interview with The Times, Walters also spoke about the previous issues he had with Roy Keane as their paths crossed with both Ipswich and the Republic of Ireland squad. During their time with Ireland Keane had questioned Walters' commitment to the team.
I've been frozen out in certain places. I asked to leave Ipswich because I wanted to play in the Premier League and set my family up. There was a frank exchange of views with Roy. Things were said that weren’t right, completely below the belt, very personal, and because of that I wasn’t going to back down. I don’t get pushed over by people easily. I don’t get intimidated.
There was a huge issue with Ireland which hurt me a lot. I was very proud to be an Ireland player. I trained in the morning, was in that much pain, 10pm ice machines, altitude machines, ski machine, ropes, tedious exercises. But if Roy was to ring me and say, 'Fancy a coffee?' I’d say yes.
Walters was a big favourite with Ireland fans, particularly during the qualifying campaign for Euro 2016, where he delivered some big performances in the green jersey. He retired with 14 goals in 54 caps for his country. He seems to be held in high esteem by many peers from his playing days and the PFA is in need of some fresh blood and new ideas, so this could be an intriguing direction for his career if his application is successful.
— Peter Crouch (@petercrouch) February 13, 2021
— 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
Fully behind you mate. Good luck !!!
— Danny Higginbotham (@Higginbotham05) February 13, 2021
Best wishes Jon. This is such an important position and you would be brilliant I’m sure. Good luck ☘️
— Tony O'Donoghue (@Corktod) February 13, 2021