The appointment of David Gallop as Football Federation Australia (FFA) CEO has been greeted with excitement by Adelaide United chief Greg Griffin but caution by Perth Glory counterpart Tony Sage.
A sometimes vocal critic of the departing Ben Buckley, Griffin reined in his recent criticism of the FFA chief's often fractious relationship with the A-League clubs but did not hide his delight at ex-NRL chief Gallop's recruitment.
"I don't know David Gallop but by reputation he seems a terribly competent person and I feel everybody walks out a winner here," Griffin said.
"He's a hard unit who has been very successful in the NRL and he has the capacity to make the difficult decisions.
"He's well connected and he's a really good choice. I am really quite excited by his appointment."
A recent email attributed to Griffin, a member of the strategic committee including club owners Sage and Melbourne Heart's Peter Sidwell set up by FFA in May, read scathingly of the governing body: "I am not wasting my time with this mob."
He admitted his relationship with Buckley was at times heated but insisted that ill feelings were not lingering.
"Ben Buckley is a decent, hard-working bloke who I have a lot of time for and who is also a good administrator," Griffin said.
"We had some wonderful collaborative moments but we also have not agreed on a number of issues.
"You could say our relationship was sometimes vigorous. We had our blues but I believe the respect was always mutual.
"He was always fair, good humoured and ready to come back the next day to get things moving and I hold him in high regard."
Sage, whose relationship with FFA has often been laced by ill will, has recently softened his stance and admitted to being shocked by Buckley's exit.
He warned that Gallop's arrival was in one sense "a step backwards".
"It's a case of starting again, which in a way is a step backwards because he has got to come to grips with the game, learn the problems in the game,” Sage said.
"Ben knew those things and David will be three to six months behind in all that and that's not a good thing, is it?
"When a new guy comes in he'll have to meet all the owners and get himself across a lot of different issues and it will be a huge learning curve, which is going to take time.
"I am sure, though, he will be formidable presence in the game.
"I am glad that Ben is not leaving immediately because he is integral to the new TV rights deal."
Sage has had previous previous dealings with Gallop, in his bid to establish an NRL expansion franchise in Perth.
"We've met a couple of times. He's a very logical and straightforward person who doesn't mince his words," Sage said.
"That's what you want. A lot of the owners had the opposite view of Ben but I never had a problem with him.
"I did have a problem with the previous CEO (John O'Neill)."
Despite their sometimes dysfunctional relationship, Griffin claimed he had never lobbied for Buckley's removal.
"I never sought in any way to have him pilloried," he said. "I had no agenda against him.
"There is no blood on our hands and we at Adelaide, and also the other club owners, knew nothing about the appointment of David Gallop until it had happened."
While Sage was surprised by the announcement, few others in game were with Buckley's departure, which will come at the completion of the new TV rights deal in November.
He presided over the extinction of North Queensland Fury and Gold Coast United, FFA’s failed World Cup bid, the long running Western Sydney saga and near pull-out of Newcastle Jets.
Buckley will seek to restore his legacy by landing a TV deal worth around $300 million – though a package closer to $200 million is thought to be currently on the table.
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