Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Gordon Smith's resignation as Chief Executive of the Scottish Football Association yesterday has surprised us here at AFTN.

Not because we felt that he was doing a particularly good job but because there were no real signs that he would be as pissed off with some off those in the SFA as we are.

The SFA cited "personal reasons" for the departure, but Smith, who was in the role for approaching three years, today indicated other factors behind his resignation. It wasn't a glorious period in Scottish football history, but then not a lot has been in recent years.

During his time in the hotseat, he oversaw the failure to qualify for Euro 2008, the failure to qualify for the forthcoming 2010 World Cup, the appointment and sacking of George Burley as Scotland manager and the whole Ferguson/McGregor drinking affair, amongst many other lowlights.

That of course is just the national team stuff. He was also responsible for developing the game in Scotland. Looking around at how many clubs have been in financial and other perils this season and the performance of Scottish clubs in Europe, well that's gone well hasn't it?!

To be fair though, this isn't all Gordon Smith's fault. We've been constantly calling for change in the Scottish game in this blog since we started. So has he. He came into the job WANTING to change the Scottish game but found the somewhat archaic structure that still exists in the echelons of Scottish football handcuffing him.

The Scottish game is rotten on so many levels at present. What started as one of the most promising looking SPL campaigns, has turned into a canter for a poor Rangers side. The European performances by the Scottish sides were embarrassing and crowds are falling all over the country. You have clubs on a financial precipice, clubs with ambition having nowhere to go, clubs with no ambition taking up room, fans fed up of playing the same teams every few weeks, blazers, committees and serious questions as to where the next exciting crop of youth talent is going to come from. We could go on.

It's interesting that Smith's resignation has come at a time when ex East Fife player Henry McLeish is due to announce the first part of his review of Scottish football. A review that is expected to demand fierce change. Change and some in the SFA are not comfortable bed fellows. A fact that I'm sure Smith found out time and time again.

Gordon Smith may have had his perceived faults and I wasn't exactly a fan of what we had seen getting done, but I'd rather have a man with his actual footballing background than a bunch of faceless blazers determine the future of the game in Scotland.

The problem now though is who will actually want to replace him?

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