England Rugby
Cooke joins calls to oust Thomas
ESPNscrum Staff
October 30, 2011
Worcester Director of Rugby, Geoff Cooke pictured during the National League One match against Leeds at Sixways in Worcester, England on September 16, 2000.
Geoff Cooke described Martun Thomas as "confrontational" and "autocratic" © Getty Images

Former England manager Geoff Cooke has heavily criticised the Rugby Football Union's acting chief executive Martyn Thomas and joined the calls for him to resign.

Thomas is under intense pressure after a chaotic period for the RFU. Reports suggest that 130 clubs have written to RFU chairman Paul Murphy demanding Thomas is removed from his role when the board meets on Wednesday. And Cooke, who managed England between 1987 and 1994, believes Thomas is an obstruction to progress within the RFU.

"I have always found his management style very difficult and I wouldn't be sorry to see him go," Cooke told BBC Radio 5 live's Sportsweek. "His management style has been too autocratic and confrontational. He should hold his hands up."

Cooke insists that the RFU must be overhauled but he has little faith in the series of reviews announced following England's disappointing Rugby World Cup campaign.

"It is desperately sad really for all of us, especially those who have been involved with the national team," he added. "The whole structure is too unwieldy. The number of inquiries and commissions we have had trying to produce a new structure, but it is the old fact that turkeys just won't vote for Christmas.

"Every proposal to streamline the organisation has run into this brick wall."

The future of England head coach Martin Johnson is the subject of intense speculation following England's dismal performances in New Zealand. However Cooke believes that the players and Johnson's coaching staff - which includes Mike Ford, John Wells and Brian Smith - have left down England's World Cup winning skipper and backed him to remain as the figure head of the national team.

"Unless you have a very clear picture of someone better to do the job you have to be very careful about making that sort of change at the head of the coaching organisation of the national team," he said.

"I don't think the rest of the coaches will survive, but Martin could survive certainly. I think he has been poorly served by some of the coaches and some of the players."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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