This is really a placeholder from which you are to go to Rob Marrs’ post on the failures of Scottish football and their potential futures. But I have four thoughts to add.
- You won’t get Simon Clifford, as he has other fish to fry, but putting someone with that degree of genuine vision and that kind of strength of character and that depth of self-belief in unchallenged charge of youth development in Scotland would do the trick in, say, 12 years. Forgive me for such a crass observation, but there’s so much self-hatred around in Scottish football at the moment, and it’s so visibly getting in the way, that an out-and-out ego with talent and foresight, like Clifford, is badly needed.
- The Scottish football media are more excitable, more destructive in their criticism, more localised in their outlook and even more shackled by the past than their English counterparts: there are one or two exceptions, no more. Without the media’s cooperation to some extent, without some willing from that department, it will be very hard to change the atmosphere in Scottish football. There is no chance whatsoever of generating anything like that kind of cooperation from them. Not when there’s an Old Firm derby next week, like there was last week.
- There are actually quite a few groundbreaking youth schemes in Scotland, and more happening at club and school level, than meets the eye: things are already getting better.
- Managers. One thing about Scottish football of the last 15 years is that it has generated a lot of intelligent men who were violently dissatisfied with their playing careers. Result? There are rather more very good Scottish managers than English ones. Run the list through your head: Ferguson, Moyes, McCleish, Strachan, Levein, Coyle, young Walter Smith, Burley, Calderwood, Paul Lambert, the underrated Paul Sturrock. I’ll have missed more than a few. Darren Ferguson? Ian McParland, Alan Irvine, Billy Davies? There are, so far as I can see, only achievers in that list, and no sign of the timeserving visible in any equivalent list of English coaches.
Perhaps Scottish football doesn’t have the players – or perhaps it does, and it needs someone to tell them that they are players. But it certainly does have the managers. Scottish football has found some drivers, and that’s a start.