Regular bewildered onlookers will know that The Clumpany is not that bothered about international football. In fact, as far as Scotland is concerned, the thing I have most enjoyed in recent times was the prolonged anguish of the newspapers over the non-selection of ANY Sevco players for the squad in March. Now that was entertaining!
I watched the England-Scotland game on Friday, but didn’t get caught up in it. My main feeling at the end was “Scotland lost. Again. Why doesn’t the SFA get a lot stick for presiding over two decades of failure to qualify for a major tournament? Something which all the other Home Nations have managed as recently as… errr… this year?”
To be fair to the SFA, they have upped their efforts to ensure that Scotland qualify for the new World Cup by boldly introducing the #ThisTime hashtag (which is shortly to be amended to #ShiteAgain), and by joining the FA in grandstanding over the players wearing poppies on Armistice Day.
But even this doesn’t seem to be enough, and Scotland look set to sit out Russia 2018.
Slightly to my surprise, parts of the Scottish sports media – most notably the Sunday Mail – have suggested that it is time for SFA Chief Executive Stewart Regan to step down, along with manager Gordon Strachan.
I can’t argue with that opinion. However, I find it quite laughable that it is the failure to qualify for international tournaments which has media commentators calling for Regan to go.
Given all the issues of governance over which the SFA can be lambasted, you might have expected a fearless press pack with the best interests of the game at heart to have ripped Mr Regan and the SFA several ‘new ones’ over the past few years. And the same goes for Mr Doncaster and the SPFL hierarchy.
But the Scottish sports media simply haven’t done that. And I can’t imagine why… Whatever the reason, at the time of writing ‘the great and the good’ of the SFA and SPFL remain in post and show no signs of going away.
With all of the above in mind, The Clumpany has taken the liberty of producing a three-point action plan to revive Scotland’s fortunes and ensure both qualification and victory at future tournaments. If deployed immediately and with vigour, the strategy could even see Scotland participate in Russia 2018 (and not just in ‘blooper’ outtakes from the qualifying competition in the box set review of the tournament).
1) Give Scotland a colossal boost by putting five stars on their shirts. There is a chance that no one will know what they mean, or think they are deserved, but since when did that matter in Scottish football? If backed up by a media with little regard for facts, opponents might come to believe that Scotland have won fifty-four World Cups and they could be quaking with fear before the match kicks off! For added feel-good factor, the film of the 1966 World Cup final could be doctored with the faces of Scotland heroes replacing those of the England players.
2) Cheating, brushing it under the carpet and everyone pretending it never happened. I see no problem in a Scotland captain holding the World Cup aloft while it is asserted that ‘no sporting advantage’ was obtained. This element of the strategy could include paying the world’s greatest players in a ‘tax-efficient’ way, and issuing them with a side-passport to ensure that they are… err… ‘eligible’ to play.
3) Get a new team bus, tell everyone it is the best bus in the galaxy, and charge folk one million pounds per online view. As well as causing most of Scotland’s future opponents to die of laughter, this could generate sufficient cash to replace Hampden with a football stadium. Which can only improve the team’s prospects.