It’s his way or the highway! Swiss lawyer and ex-Brighton striker Maheta Molango is the surprise new PFA chief executive as union looks to move on from 40-year Gordon Taylor era… but it seems he shares his predecessor’s singular leadership style
- Maheta Molango is the surprise name to take over as the PFA’s chief executive
- Former Brighton and Grays Athletic striker will succeed Gordon Taylor in the role
- But colleagues at Real Mallorca said he did not welcome advice in his dealings
- Molango will be paid £500,000 per year for his role as chief of the trade union
In recommending Maheta Molango as the PFA’s new chief executive, the union’s advisory panel have undoubtedly achieved one of their key objectives, but another appears to have been overlooked.
Although the 38-year-old Swiss lawyer will bring a clean break from the Gordon Taylor era and is likely to begin work by edging the 76-year-old’s remaining acolytes towards the door, the new man at the PFA shares his predecessor’s singular leadership style.
Molango’s impending appointment was greeted with widespread shock on Tuesday, which is hardly a surprise given the former Brighton striker is an outsider with limited playing credentials who has secured a plum job at the top of an extremely insular industry.
Swiss lawyer Maheta Molango was the shock name announced as the new PFA chief executive
And sceptics did not have to look too far back into his past to find some muck to sling.
The fact that he was questioned by Spanish police in a money-laundering investigation involving the Albanian agent Fali Ramadani last February was one obvious starting point, although he has not faced any charges, and the circumstances behind his departure as chief executive of Real Mallorca a few weeks earlier has invited further scrutiny.
It seems doubtful that the four non-executive directors who made up the PFA’s advisory panel obtained references from the Mallorca hierarchy, as they would not have been glowing.
One source at the Spanish club told Sportsmail on Tuesday that Molango’s chief characteristic was an unflinching desire to do things his own way.
His refusal to compromise led to him being ushered aside by an ownership group that includes NBA legend Steve Nash and former Bolton midfield player Stuart Holden.
He had a modest playing career in England, playing for Brighton, Lincoln and Grays Athletic
‘Maheta is very intelligent and very personable, but we always got the sense that furthering his own agenda was the most important thing to him,’ the Mallorca source said.
‘He wasn’t very collaborative and didn’t welcome advice. The new owners instigated an overhaul of the recruitment department, and he made it clear it was either his way or the highway. The owners chose the latter.’
Molango’s self-assurance is likely to stand him in good stead at the PFA. It makes up for a modest three-year playing spell in England that yielded just 26 games for Brighton, Lincoln, Oldham, Wrexham and Grays Athletic.
Before leaving Grays, he graduated with a law degree and another in political science at the University of Madrid — academic credentials he used to become an employment lawyer before joining Mallorca as chief executive at the age of 33.
Although several former team-mates at English clubs said they did not remember him on Tuesday, Molango made quite an impression on former Oldham chairman Simon Corney, who signed him on loan from Brighton in 2006.
Molango was chief executive at Real Mallorca, where he reportedly did not welcome advice
‘My friend Tony Bloom (Brighton owner) begged me to take him,’ Corney joked to Sportsmail.
‘And when he got to play I quickly saw why! But he was a very smart, affable chap.
‘I remember when he came in to sign he did it on his own and read his own loan agreement. It was very unusual for a player to do that without an agent.’
Having combined his legal career with working as a Spanish scout for Charlton and appearing as a pundit on Real Madrid TV, Molango has a breadth of experience which should endear him to the players.
His youth will count in his favour and he will also bring some much overdue diversity to the leadership of a union in which more than a third of the members are from BAME backgrounds.
The 38-year-old will replace Gordon Taylor, who had the job at the PFA for four whole decades
Molango’s biggest challenge will be to assert himself with football’s major stakeholders, which was Taylor’s great strength.
Criticisms of Taylor’s £2million-plus salary — Molango will be paid a more modest £500,000 — were overlooked while he secured £25m-a-year in funding from the Premier League, and his final act as chief executive in blocking the EFL’s salary cap proposals earlier this year was another significant triumph.
Molango’s first act in English football was scoring 12 seconds into his Brighton debut 17 years ago, though he never scored for the club again.
He may not match Taylor’s 40 years in charge, but he will hope to have a more long-term impact at the PFA.
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