Word has reached Clumpany Towers of some truly bizarre scenes at Hampden Park.
Stewart Regan and Alan McRae were apparently seen following Gordon Strachan around the offices this morning. Wherever Strachan walked, Regan followed a few yards behind, dancing, sprinkling pungent powder on the carpets, and singing the song from the legendary ‘Shake n Vac’ TV advert. SFA President McRae was a few steps further behind, pushing a vacuum cleaner.
Rumours that the hoover took some time to start up on account of being clogged by Resolution 12-related correspondence remain unconfirmed.
You are probably wondering what on earth is going on. The answer is very simple. The SFA hierarchy had been paying attention to the Daily Record and Sunday Mail. And they had come to the nostril-assaulting conclusion that there’s such a terrible smell around the Scotland manager that they ought to take drastic action. Which – in the parallel universe of SFA priorities – naturally involved protecting the carpets. 😉
The SFA’s Aroma Alarm was first activated by this tweet, which appeared on Saturday:
A stench of failure which can’t be washed away? Gordon Parks has clearly never heard of the UK’s premier retro-tastic powder-based cleaning agent!
I must admit that the forcefulness of the above tweet caused me to wonder whether Mr Parks was about to give Strachan the mother of all dressing-downs, and was about to deconstruct every atom of his career in football management. A career which has see him win numerous trophies in Scotland, following a hugely successful trophy-laden playing career north and south of the border.
This is what we got instead:
Or perhaps it was more a “Bomb scare” (of journalism). I’ll leave you to decide.
Personally, I would have thought that the above headline would have been more appropriate in October 2015 after Scotland had completed a disappointing (but not always hopeless) Euro 2016 qualifying campaign. However, it seems that Strachan’s decision to pick two different squads for two upcoming friendlies, and the make-up of those squads has got Mr Parks riled.
“FORGET Brexit and Project Fear. Having already masterminded Scotland’s European exit, the signs are Gordon Strachan is already plotting our absence from another World Cup.”
“There was comedy yet also embarrassment and downright terror as Strachan defended his picks ahead of Russia 2018. It started with shock and very little awe. Asked what was required to become a Scotland player, with a straight face he said: ‘You have to be able to pass the ball and control it.’
Typically condescending or something more damning? Is he deliberately dumbing down responses in a belief that when it comes to the game’s intricacies we’re all ignorant simpletons?”
Dear me… It seems that Mr Parks may have missed Strachan’s long history of responding to questions with deadpan statements of the blindingly obvious.
And as for Parks’ remarks about ‘dumbing down’ and believing folk are ‘ignorant simpletons’… Given that they are uttered in the sports section of a tabloid newspaper in Scotland I will leave you to make your own jokes…
On we go…
“The hefty wedge he picks up from the SFA should’ve ensured he laid out a positive vision for the future. Instead, what we were served up was two squads packed with perennial failures, same old faces and the reward of a cap for a new batch of the mediocre.
It was the late, great Tommy Burns who said Berti Vogts handed out caps like sweeties. But this pick-and-mix is a gob-stopper beyond anything the German came up with. Nine uncapped players have been chosen for the friendly double-header against the Czech Republic and Denmark, though it comes with a warning: he’s more than happy to go with ‘these guys have done a fantastic job for us’ in recent campaigns.
Maybe it’s confusing living south of the border but would somebody – perhaps his boss Stewart Regan – remind him that the stench of failure surrounding his reign is now so strong that no amount of deluded superlatives could wash it away. Once again, who’s he kidding?”
“The hard truth is that Strachan has only delivered on one of the promises made on the day he was appointed. He said then that ‘the fans are more famous than the team at the moment and we have to try to get up there and together be as famous as them’.
Well, he certainly got his wish. The rest of us cringed as he took a selfie with his squad alongside the Tartan Army after the France 2016 dead-rubber in Gibraltar.
It’s time for accountability. He’s paid to build a side from the best players at his disposal, end of story. Dishing out caps to all and sundry only serves to devalue the honour of wearing the dark blue.
He needs to stop the psychobabble, bin the rubbish and start delivering results. It’s already looking like a World Cup campaign of more Strachan own goals.”
I think it is safe to say that the toys have well and truly been thrown out of the pram in that article! When you cut through the wailing, the only substantive complaints made by Parks are
- Scotland didn’t qualify for Euro 2016; and
- he doesn’t like Strachan’s squad selection.
The first point is a valid one. However, it is old news. Strachan was offered – and accepted – a new contract, and there isn’t anyone better-suited to the job at present (as Michael Gannon commented elsewhere today).
The second point is fair enough. However, every single managerial selection for every game of football ever played has met with someone’s disapproval. So although Mr Parks is welcome to bump his gums like the rest of us, the Scotland team selection is Strachan’s and Strachan’s alone.
Deal with it.
The other grievances in his piece are (in my humble opinion) simply moaning to make a noise. And believe me, I know ALL about that! The article doesn’t (for example) suggest who Strachan should have picked instead, or what formation he should be playing etc.
For all the sound a fury, the Sunday Mail’s only other “hard- hitting” critique of Strachan is to take him to task over posing for a ‘selfie’! And it does so in an era when tabloid newspapers practically explode with delight over celebrities posing for selfies!
I will will be kind and simply say that Mr Parks’ piece is trying too hard to take a pop at Strachan. I don’t know why that might be, and won’t hazard a guess without further evidence.
However, I will note that Michael Gannon and Gordon Waddell have both managed to offer more reasonable and evidence-based opinions about Strachan on behalf of the Record and Sunday Mail today. You can find them by clicking on the links provided. It really doesn’t seem to be that difficult, Mr Parks.
When push comes to shove, I really hope that Gordon Strachan manages to deliver against Mr Parks’ ill-defined ‘requirements’. But ultimately I suspect that WGS won’t care either way, on account of having much bigger priorities than pleasing one small part of the Record and Sunday Mail Empire.