Chris Reid, CEO of the security firm behind the error that saw Old Trafford evacuated on Sunday, made a monumental screw up. But he deserves some credit for the way he has communicated since.
When he was door-stepped by journalists on Monday, he made no attempt to dress up his predicament, instead giving the media honest responses that you could relate to: “I’m just fixing my roof while I’ve still got one” and “They’re just deciding which guillotine they’re going to use on me.”
That was in stark contrast to the robotic, impersonal language often used in corporate crisis situations.
But he was also smart enough not to go into specific details. As an ex-copper, I’m sure he knew that the police would want to lead the story. And lead they did, with predictable outrage and demands for a full inquiry from the PCC.
When he eventually gave a full statement, his honesty was refreshing and sincere – he made no excuses and took full blame. ”The mistake is entirely mine, I have to take full responsibility.”
Yet he also managed to highlight that the incident raises questions about the way security at football matches is managed, without deflecting blame. And now it has emerged security staff missed the device — a mobile phone attached to piping — on their sweep of the ground prior to the match. This was despite the fact it wasn’t hidden. Perhaps he has a point.
My only criticism is that suggesting that the evacuation was an over-reaction was probably a bad idea.
But overall, the way Mr Reid has communicated is a refreshing contrast to the disgraceful behaviour of South Yorkshire Police in covering up its part in the Hillsborough disaster.
Two days ago, I thought Chris Reid’s head was definitely for the chop, but I reckon some smart communicating means he might just get a stay of execution.
And to be honest, I hope he learns from the mistake and recovers. After all, we all mess up every now and then, yet, as Aldous Huxley once said, ‘Experience is not what happens to you; it’s what you do with what happens to you.’
Photo credit: BBC