Any organisation’s plan for a top-down review of development would ordinarily be welcome news. Self evaluation, or even better independent evaluation is an ongoing process amongst professionals, individually and collectively alike. In the case of the SFA however a healthy scepticism is required. We are after all dealing with people who are the poster boys for self-interest and short-termism.
The SFA had previously commissioned a thorough review of the game (decades ago) by Rinus Michels, the inventor of “Total Football” and his report was largely ignored, partly because it implied criticism of the then current regime, and partly because it would cost money. A “Total Shambles”.
Henry McLeish also famously recommended (again after being commissioned to do so by the SFA) a more balanced approach to governance between the SFA and SPFL. This would have required a blazer or two having less say in the running of the game – and was therefore ignored.
Mark Wotte, the prominent Dutch coach hired as performance director at Hampden also suggested during his tenure that, in order to improve technique, more ball time should be provided for players in games.
He recommended seven a side competitions as the norm for u-15s (less players – more participation).
To accommodate this, club infrastructures would have required expensive upgrading, and coaches in clubs, not responsive to new ideas lobbied hard for the status quo.
The upshot is that we carried on with the same eleven-a-side games where many players hardly got a kick.
And in this classic Einsteinean definition of insanity, no overall improvements were to be found in the national team’s fortunes.
No wonder Wotte fled the scene in 2014 after three years.
Of course the details are debatable and subjective, but experience tells us;
a) costs money or
b) upsets old boys’ networks
has a tendency to be hidden out of sight.
The recent “announcement” is merely a reaction to a couple of poor results, caused in part by inaction in the wake of previous reports’ recommendations.
An increasing number of observers of our game refer to an inferior mindset amongst players in Scotland, that we accept losing as the norm.
Hardly surprising that such a mindset is prevalent amongst professionals.
They must despair at the chronic self-interest, ineptitude and fecklessness of the “leaders” of our sport – an organisation that appointed Gordon Smith as CE (think about that for a minute) based on who his pals were, where McGregor and Petrie can become senior officers – “because it’s his turn!” – despite being unqualified squares in a round ball game, and where fairy-tales take precedence over reality.
As long as the blazers have a seat on the SFA bus, nothing will change.