Tony has been involved a number of projects through his life, reflecting his wide range of professional and personal interests. Below are details of the three projects that are closest to Tony’s heart:
1. The School of Educational Administration and Management
The SEAM grew out of research undertaken by Tony at the Education Department of the University of Nottingham. This research led to him challenging the position taken by senior academics within the department, which focussed on academics charging schools to work within the school environment developing school improvement.
An alternative approach which encouraged school managements to see school improvement as something that they could create from within through an analysis of their own situation was developed. This obviously directly challenged the whole approach that the University itself had produced.
As a result the School of Educational Administration and Management was set up with financial support from the Department of Trade and Industry, and also with extensive help from the University of Northampton Education Department, with the project overall being funded through the government’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership fund.
The School’s first activity involved producing the Certificate in Education Management course. A second course, the Certificate in Management Practice followed.
Following this the SEAM developed the Diploma and Certificate Courses in School Efficiency, and published their own report on the topic of school efficiency.
In this report Tony argued that for change to be implemented on a large scale there had to be a way of developing change without the school being reliant on a university or other outside body, because most schools were unable or unwilling to find the significant sums that were needed to implement the school improvement programmes proposed by the University’s department.
Tony proposed that a way forward would be to move the focus away from school improvement onto school efficiency, thereby achieving a greater measure of self-reflection. At the same time Tony argued that the study of efficiency would not only lead to a more effective educational system within each school, but would also be self-funding, rather than a drain on the school’s expenses.
As it turned out, the schools that took part in the subsequent projects that were arranged saved far more money than they spent on the projects, and both improved the educational results within the school while saving considerable amounts of money.
In recognition of his work the Institute of Administrative Management made Tony a Fellow of the Institute (F.Inst.A.M) in 2005.
2. The Arsenal History Society
Away from the worlds of academia and administration, Tony is a lifelong supporter of the London based football club Arsenal FC. In 2008 he started a web site which explored Arsenal’s history, and in 2009 he was invited by the Arsenal Independent Supporters Association to set up the Arsenal History Society which he did in that year.
The Society has since thrived and is involved in researching and publishing materials concerning the history of Arsenal Football Club. The publications include a series of booklets each of which explores a part of Arsenal’s history and presents new information which has not been considered before.
Several major projects have been undertaken which have reconsidered the way in which elements of Arsenal’s history have previously been told, of which the largest is a most detailed exploration of Arsenal FC in the era 1910 to 1927 when Henry Norris (later Lt Col Sir Henry Norris) ran the club.
Additionally Tony has written “Making the Arsenal” – a fictionalised diary of a journalist who is called on to cover the disintegration and rebirth of Arsenal FC in 1910. He has also co-written “Woolwich Arsenal: the club that changed football” – the definitive history of the club from 1893 to 1915.
Tony has spoken about Arsenal’s history at a number of events, including in 2012 at an event held at the House of Commons under the auspices of the MP for Islington North Jeremy Corbyn, where Tony revealed for the first time the detailed story of the attempted coup that sought to de-rail Woolwich Arsenal FC and which ultimately led to the setting up of a rival club which took over the Woolwich Arsenal ground.
Arsenal FC subsequently recognised Tony’s ground breaking work by inviting him and other members of the Society to write a regular column in the Arsenal FC matchday programme. Further, at a meeting with the Arsenal CEO in 2011, Tony proposed that the club should place a number of statues around their ground. This proposal was taken up with the unveiling the following year of statues of Chapman, Henry and Adams.
In 2013 Tony played a significant part in the two hour Talk Sport programme on the history of Arsenal FC.
The Arsenal History Society has since focussed on developing an Arsenal Anniversaries programme, which has now listed over 7000 events of importance in the club’s history. These and other areas of research are published on the Arsenal History Society website.
3: Untold Dylan
Aside from Arsenal, Tony’s other great personal hobby is researching the music of Bob Dylan, the singer-songwriter who gained an Oscar for his song “Things have changed” in 2001 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016.
In 2008 Tony began to realise that none of the musical bibliographies of Bob Dylan were at all comprehensive, and so he began to research and review all of the songs Bob Dylan had written and co-written.
At the time most sources claimed that Dylan had written perhaps 300 or at most 400 songs, but through research which has continued to the present day, some 600 songs composed in full or part by Dylan have been discovered.
The results which have been published on line at https://bob-dylan.org.uk are now widely used both by researchers and fans, and indeed even Bob Dylan’s official publishers, and the website has grown to incorporate reviews of and information on all aspects of Dylan’s life.