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Stewart Regan: The Good, The Bad And The Indifferent

Date: 19th February 2018

Last month, SFA Chief Executive Stewart Regan resigned from his position after eight years in the

I think the time was right for Regan to step down. Eight years in such a significant role usually
brings a stale feeling with many seeking a change at the top.

Stewart’s tenure in charge of the SFA wasn’t full of positives, failing to convince Michael O’Neill to
take the Scotland manager’s job seemed to be the last straw not just the fans but also for the SFA

The organising of international away friendlies to Mexico and Peru at the end of the season has
been criticised by fans, clubs and players alike.

Struggling to replace Vauxhall as the national team’s main sponsor was another recent problem
that Regan couldn’t fix.

The appointment of Malky Mackay as the nation’s Performance Director didn’t go down well with
supporters given Malky’s unacceptable behaviour in a previous job at Cardiff City.

I don’t think that the SFA really listened to their own fanbase when it came to ticket pricing. It
already seems steep to me and is likely to get higher, while the football on the park doesn’t justify
the cash outlay that fans have to pay to see their national team.

In fairness to Mr Regan, It hasn’t all been bad and he had to lead the SFA during the most difficult
time in it’s history.

The Rangers crisis in 2012 was an issue that had everyone talking and throwing in their opinions.
As the Chief Exec at the SFA, Regan had to manage the situation as best as he could. Whatever
he did at that time would have been criticised by various sets of supporters.

Scottish football felt the need to punish Rangers but many were at odds on what to do. Some
wanted to to keep them in the top league (due to talk of Armageddon & money issues), others may
have accepted a demotion to the second tier, others (vast majority) wanted to see Gers start in
bottom tier and some actually didn’t want to see them in the professional leagues at all.

So any comment or decisions people like Regan, SPL supremo Neil Doncaster and SPFL lead
man David Longmuir made at that period came with plenty of criticism. They didn’t have a chance
to please everyone. I do feel that was a tough job for all involved and it would be hard for anyone in
that situation.

In terms of the national team manager, Regan only appointed one permanent boss and that was
Gordon Strachan. Now Strachan didn’t get us to a major tournament but he got us some positive
results. Let’s face it he was the standout candidate and Regan managed to get him.

Stewart continued to show resistance to Scotland taking part in a Team GB football team and that
came with big political pressure during the build up to London 2012. Regan’s determination not to
take part was backed by the Tartan Army.

He also leaves with the SFA in good financial health and that has to be seen as a good thing.
I believe Stewart Regan did try and make the SFA more inclusive and he personally seemed to
listen more than most of his predecessors. He worked with SDS on the Supporters Liaison Officers
(SLO) project and, for me, the SLO’s are doing a fantastic job in brining clubs and supporters
closer together. I think fans believe that their clubs are more accessible due to the SLO role.

He also helped start the SFA congress and that should hopefully help modernise our Football
Association as it incorporates more voices and I feel that can only be a good thing for our game.
I do hold the opinion that the time was right for Stewart to leave his post at Hampden but I believe
that we often magnify the negatives and ignore the positives. No SFA Chief Executive is universally
liked, it’s usually a firefighting job and it’s impossible to keep every football fan happy.

The SFA needs a bit of a refresh at the top and I’d like to see Hibs CEO Leeann Dempster take
over the reigns as she’s proved to be a savvy operator and one who gets the job done without too
much fuss.

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