Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sweeney Football Association

So what do you have to say in your interview to get a job with the SFA?

"Get your trousers on, you're nicked."

Who’d have thought that was the way to impress George Peat?

Maybe they were pushed for time that day: "We're the Sweeney, son, and we've haven't had any dinner yet, so unless you want a kickin'..."

Cheap, cheap jokes made at the expense of a man’s surname.

But it say’s a lot about Stewart Regan’s appointment as SFA Chief Executive that my first thought was about a 1970’s cop show that I’m too young to remember first time round.

Looking for a man to run a sporting organisation in a country that’s often caricatured as having deep pockets and short arms? Yorkshire County Cricket Club is probably a good place to start and finish your search.

I don’t know enough about his time trying to monetise the appeal of leather on willow to comment about his suitability. Some will sneer, of course, at the very mention of cricket. I’m not one of them. Don’t really care. If he’s good enough then he could have been running the International Egg and Spoon Race Advisory Council.

But will he be good enough?

A recent error over the hosting of one Pakistan’s England based cricket tests probably shouldn’t be allowed to overshadow what I gather has been a relatively successful period for Yorkshire financially.

On the pitch things haven’t gone quite as well, although the history of underachievement in Yorkshire cricket mirrors the history of Scottish football, but he leaves them at the top of both the leagues they compete in.

Regan also has football experience on his CV having overseen the strategy that turned the old first - née second - division of English football into the Championsip.

He’s certainly got an interesting job ahead. The SFA needs solutions to problems both on and off the pitch. The McLeish Report needs to be actioned or - if it is to be ignored - alternatives need to be found.

The nation is watching and waiting, demanding that some kind of change happens sooner rather than later. We’ll be expecting Stewart Regan to show us what direction he plans to take before too long.

Obviously he’ll require some time to find his feet. His first public comment were at least encouraging:

"As an outsider looking in I have seen lots of fallouts, lots of disagreements, challenges and criticisms of how things are done. There hasn't been enough focus on the common agenda."

Which raises the tantalising prospect of Regan telling George Peat to “Shut it!”

One thing he’ll need to remember in his new post though. If he fails we’re going to be “utterly and abjectly pissed off."