The Clumpany hasn’t seen any part of the Scottish sports media get this upset since Gordon Strachan had the temerity not to pick a single Sevco player for his Scotland squad a few months ago.
Strachan’s folly – particularly his decision not to call up Lee ‘Maradona in a REALLY good disguise’ Wallace resulted in day after day of wailing angst that some might easily have taken for pandering to a Sevconian sense of entitlement.
But that was then, and this is now. And the issue currently causing toys to be thrown out of the pram is the disputed account of whether Sevco and Stewart Regan agreed to meet to discuss the independent report commissioned to consider the aftermath of the Scottish Cup Final. I wrote about this yesterday, giving particular attention to the way it had tragically caused the Record’s Gary Ralston to “lose his relationship” with Sevco.
We may never know whether the level of estrangement felt by Ralston is akin to that of a Rangers debenture holder losing their seat via liquidation even though the football ‘club’ continued unaffected. We can only continue to keep Gary in our thoughts at this difficult time.
Especially as the issue of Regan’s alleged misdeeds still seems to be causing the Record’s finest some discomfort.
It seems that Mr Regan is a bad man. REALLY bad. And the Record may have been running and telling tales to his elders-and-not-betters:
Here is a sample from the article. It is worth noting that despite the Record’s lurid approach, Peat doesn’t actually undertake a hatchet job on Regan. Indeed, he mentions the importance of carefully handling sensitive issues and of the SFA being seen to be even-handed [no laughing at the back, please].
“Former SFA president George Peat, influential in the appointment of Regan six years ago, told his former charge he was wrong not to set the record straight over a meeting that had been arranged with Robertson and SFA chief operating officer Andrew McKinlay.”
“Peat says transparency and trust with clubs, media and fans are vital in the chief executive’s role.
Peat said: ‘A man in Stewart’s position might not always like the questions he’s being asked, but he should never attempt to mislead. Confidence in the people who lead Scottish football isn’t always high among supporters and it’s important actions are always seen to be honourable.
The delay in the compliance officer’s report isn’t helping matters, but the SFA will say they have been waiting on the findings of the Bowen Report. Sadly, some official reports seem to take an eternity.'”
“The SFA and Hibs have declined to comment on the issue, even after Regan admitted he was mindful of the reaction from Easter Road if he was seen to host a meeting with Rangers.
Peat told us: ‘The last thing we want is you writing a story about Rangers meeting us before the process has been finished, otherwise what are Hibernian going to say?'”
Having got the views of Peat, and missed the opportunity to obtain the opinions of another former SFA President – for example Campbell Ogilvie – on the issue of misleading, the Record then turns the screw:
“However, the episode raises concerns about Regan’s recent performance in his £250,000-a-year role, with this chapter the latest in a string of setbacks for his leadership in the last 12 months.
The continued failure of Scotland to qualify for major tournaments was brought into sharp focus when the national squad failed to progress to Euro 2016 this summer, despite the tournament’s expansion to 24 teams and qualification for England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic.
The SFA’s organisation of the key games against Georgia and Germany last September was ridiculed when they failed to keep a charter flight on standby in Tbilisi – and the plane they’d hired eventually arrived three-and-a-half hours late.”
And you know the knives are really out when someone’s salary is dropped into the discussion…
However, these gripes against Regan are nothing compared to the Record’s main event:
I will leave you to read the full ‘horror story’, which goes from the referees’ strike to the appointment and departure of Brian McClair as SFA Performance Director. However, it is worth noting two extracts in particular.
Note that the piece doesn’t consider the wider context here: that Regan was trying to strong-arm the new club into the league and that the Scottish sports media were just as desperate to see a ‘Rangers’ in the league at all costs. Let us not forget that the media offered almost no criticism of Regan over these remarks and did little to investigate why he was using that sort of rhetoric, and at whose instigation. [NB It has always seemed unlikely to me that Regan dreamed up the ‘social unrest’ line himself].
And secondly, this:
Ah the Five-Way agreement, title stripping and the LNS Commission. The Record seems to suggest that an alleged attempt at stripping titles from the ‘same club’ [*guffaw*] as a condition of jumping the queue to join senior football so soon after formation was BAD. But the secret Five-Way Agreement (signed by both Sevco and Rangers) was fine, as were the conclusions of the LNS Commission.
This is side-splittingly hilarious stuff from a newspaper which
- ignores the truth of liquidation,
- rejoices in the ‘continuation’ of the ‘same club’ through the mechanism of the Five-Way Agreement; and which
- refuses to countenance the possibility that the blindingly obvious shortcomings of the LNS Commission ought to see it thrown in the bin.
The Record is – after all – no better than STV in steadfastly ignoring the Offshore Game report which systematically calls into question LNS’s report as well as the SFA’s overall fitness for purpose.
If the Record genuinely has an interest in calling out Mr Regan it could do worse than run a feature on that report. I won’t hold my breath, however.
Meanwhile I am standing by for further selective criticisms of Regan over the holding of a meeting with Sevco. The apparent overreaction of the Record to a fairly anodyne matter is very curious indeed. I can’t help but wonder whether the Record is simply struggling to deal with a few ‘slow news’ days or if there is something else in the background which makes it a good time to take a pop at everyone’s favourite SFA office holder…
It is just as well that I am not cynical.