02 August 2012

Stewart Regan: People in Glass Houses

by Andy McKellar | Contributor 

For as long as I can remember Scottish football has been an uncomfortably intense pantomime which has refused to allow the curtain to close on the ongoing shenanigans that has surrounded our national game. This was normal, it was accepted and it perhaps even perversely created a strange attraction and fascination amongst fans and onlookers. Recently however this show has reached new, almost incomprehensible levels of drama caused by the financial meltdown of The Rangers Football Club plc. Decades worth of bile and hatred has come bubbling to the surface as a gloriously unflattering picture of our Beautiful Game has been conveyed to rather bewildered outsiders who have most probably given up trying to understand just what could have caused such vileness.

One by one they joined an ever lengthening queue to await their chance to have a kick at a fallen giant. Rangers’ domination of Scottish football is there for all to see. The record books confirm it. For the most part of our proud and illustrious history we have sat, perched at the top of the pyramid and now that we have suffered a fall from grace, certain clubs and individuals have been champing at the bit to take a swipe at a club on its knees.  It hasn’t been pretty. It hasn’t been dignified. In fact, it has been so overly ridiculous that it has baffled almost everyone who is not accustomed to the frequently undesirable attitudes of many in the West of Scotland, if not even further afield too.

On Sunday, having narrowly been granted a temporary licence to play, Rangers’ Chief Executive Charles Green provided his opinion on the goings on since his involvement began a few months ago. The Yorkshireman stated that “some of it has been driven by bigotry, some of it has been driven by jealousy and some of it has been driven by all the wrong motives”. I certainly haven’t heard too many complaints or objections being raised with regards to the latter part of his statement and perhaps that says a lot for its accuracy. Of course, as we all know, the very mention of ‘bigotry’ is about as inflammatory as it can get in Glasgow, particularly in the context of football, and for that reason it was perhaps ill-advised at best to make such a comment.

There has however been a widespread assumption that the Rangers CEO was referring to religious bigotry when making his statement and I suppose only he will know what his intentions really were. The fact of the matter is however, that despite its connotations in this part of the world, religion was never mentioned as a factor, although I suppose the very fact that many believed it was tells its own story.

Later that same day, with the Rangers fans in full voice, Charles Green was reportedly seen applauding during a certain not very complimentary chant about the SFA’s Stewart Regan, much to the amusement of his fellow board members. Again, I would suggest that given the level of scrutiny that someone in his position is put under, perhaps he could have done without fanning the flames that are already burning bright in the wake of the Scottish Football Association’s treatment of our beloved Club, although I would also suggest that we need to lighten up and find our sense of humour again. Sadly, there isn’t much laughter remaining in Scottish football at this moment in time.

Of course these incidents were not missed or ignored by the powers that be within the bowels of HampdenPark. Compliance Office Vincent Lunny is set to examine the comment made by Charles Green and assess whether or not the Yorkshireman has a case to answer. I wonder if the lawyer will also be contacting Turnbull Hutton and various other SFL chairmen for their comments in recent weeks. Afterall, surely rules must be applied consistently? Enough of that sniggering at the back, please.

It seems though that the Scottish Football Association CEO has already formed an opinion on Mr Green’s comments. In today’s newspapers Regan branded them as being ‘irresponsible’ and ‘undignified’ while going on to talk about how he would ‘rise above it’.  There will undoubtedly be many members of our own support who would perhaps agree, at least partly, with such sentiments although I repeatedly find myself drawn to the phrase ‘people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones’ and by my reckoning, Stewart Regan is fast running out of panes of glass to smash.

Mr Regan’s tenure has been calamitous to say the least. He has stumbled, and perhaps even that is too gracious a description, from one blunder to another, barely stopping for breath in between. In fact, his time as Chief Executive of the SFA has been so completely bereft of competency that I would struggle to recall, let alone describe, all of the many incidents that he has been negligent in handling, certainly within the confines of one single blog. Ally McCoist has witnessed at first-hand the actions and behaviour of the man charged with driving Scottish football forward and well, his verdict was hardly a ringing endorsement, was it? When so many clubs seem to have lost confidence with the man at the top of Scottish football, it does rather beg the question: why is he still here?

Stewart Regan, as well as being utterly incompetent, has also failed to carry himself with the dignity that we would come to expect of a man throwing around the criticisms we read today. His rather curious use of Twitter for example has certainly raised some questions about the man himself and not just the level at which he goes about his job. His use of the ‘favourite’ button has been particularly peculiar. One such favourite was a tweet from an individual who expressed delight at the prospect of Lee McCulloch being hanged. The other was a photograph of a newspaper article about Rangers which carried the title: Farewell to a Club Steeped in Bigotry. As far as I am aware Mr Transparency has not offered an explanation or apology for this. In fact, I wonder if the Scottish media have even taken him to task on his ludicrous online profile, which has since been shut down. I certainly wouldn’t bet on it.

The SFA Chief Exec was however good enough to hold a meeting with representatives from various Rangers supporters groups and such likes last season. As the meeting progressed though, any goodwill that was created by his attendance soon began to diminish. It seems that asking questions of a supposedly open and transparent organisation just isn’t the done thing. To make matters worse I believe that Mr Regan threatened to leave the meeting before eventually being persuaded to continue. The reprieve wasn’t to last long however as he eventually stormed out when the questions became too difficult for his liking, which needless to say didn’t paint a very good picture of the CEO. Again this seemed to coincide with Stewart Regan blocking just about any Bear who dared to ask a question of his new and apparently improved disciplinary system and similarly honest enquiries about the SFA on Twitter. It is no wonder that Super Ally was left questioning the leadership of the governing body.  It isn’t just poor, it is non-existent.

As Chief Executive of the SFA perhaps Mr Regan should have shown more restraint when questioned about the comments from Charles Green, especially considering that the incident has been referred to the Compliance Officer which could eventually lead to charges being raised. I’m not sure that it is very professional for him to be passing judgement on comments which are currently being reviewed but then again, we shouldn’t really be surprised. This I suppose may only be a minor blemish on his overly blotted report card, although if recent form is anything to go by then another calamity can’t be too far away.

If Stewart Regan, as he claims, really is intent on driving Scottish football forward then perhaps he should start by tendering his resignation with immediate effect. Our national game would certainly be much better off without him.