“You did not tell the truth … so you will have to pay the consequences.”
That’s from a game-show, believe it or not, and I first read that line in a novel by Stephen King.
It was, I believe, The Long Walk.
King opened each major chapter of that book with a different quote, most of them game-show related.
The one that has lingered with me longest – and is even more evocative than that – was from the late Chuck Barris, the guy who created The Gong Show and The Dating Game and who later wrote a book in which he claimed to have been a contract killer for the CIA.
He was an interesting guy.
The movie about him (named after the book), Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind, is quite brilliant and nutty and Sam Rockwell has never been better.
The quote King used from Barris is this;
“The ultimate game-show will be the one where the losing contestant dies.”
Think of Scottish football like that right now, with Stewart Regan in the hot-seat.
He’s the man at the thick of it all, the man who has to tell the truth or pay the consequences.
There was a time when he might have gotten out of this in one piece, but little by little the opportunities for escape or a resolution on his terms have narrowed until he is, to use another game-show phrase, all out of lifelines, everything he’s done being bet on a single moment.
As a lot of game-shows let you take a certain amount of money home with you once you reach a certain level, I expect something similar here. Jim Farry famously left the SFA in disgrace, but with a pay-off totaling £200,000. This is a guy who was fired for cause. And he filled his pockets on the way out the door. Regan is doubtless going to do the same when all this is over … and there might even be a place on the UEFA gravy train for him, although I wonder if he could realistically go there if this scandal brings him down.
Stewart Regan is probably the worst CEO in the history of Scottish football, and that’s saying something considering the people who’ve come before him and the Village Idiot who sits in an office a few doors down at the SPFL.
No football association in Europe would give this man a job, except perhaps UEFA themselves, who I can only assume hire so many ex-SFA members because somewhere in that big building at Nyon they teach a masterclass in how to do really shady shit.
And you know, part of me is willing to believe that this all started with “good” intentions.
But it’s not for nothing that the old aphorism says they pave the road to Hell.
Virgil had it correct when he wrote, in Aeneid “facilis descensus Averno.”
The decent to Hell is easy.
Because I could see how this could happen, with a crisis at Ibrox, with a sincere belief that the club was too important to be allowed to go under, and with people compromising the integrity of the sport for, in their view, the sports own good.
And out of that has come cover ups, lies and more bending of the rules …
Which in turn has led to cover ups and lies and more bending of the rules … leading to … leading to … leading to … until we’re here, with a mountain of deceits and moral compromises and backroom deals which left the sport bereft of leaders, with guys like the Glib and Shameless Liar running clubs … scandal layered on scandal layered on scandal, and even if a tenth of it as bad as we suspect heads will roll in the sawdust until a pile of them lie sightlessly staring out of the long grass.
Regan’s head will be one of them. Doncaster’s too probably. And others will join them there, on the chopping block, and it will be bloody and it will be dreadful for the game here and this will happen, this will have to happen, unfortunately.
It is not necessary but essential if our game is to move on.
Regan talks about it doing no good for the game here to “rake over the coals.”
Jesus, does that sound to you like a guy who’s got nothing to hide?
If you were constantly on the defensive like he’s been for years now, accused of everything, trusted by virtually no-one, and someone came along and offered you a magical solution to all this – one inquiry, to look into it all, and out the other side clean, because you are clean, right? – wouldn’t you grab it?
This stuff isn’t going away; that’s patently obvious.
Celtic has made its position clear.
Fans are preparing a judicial review.
Outside agencies like The Offshore Game guys, have been screaming about the need for this for two straight years … this is going to go on and on and on and when Regan finally walks this will follow him like a bad smell until he shuffles off his mortal coil and his name will be remembered, tainted, by the scandal forever afterwards.
If he’s done nothing wrong, if the SFA has played it straight, then call the inquiry and relax.
Because it will find nothing if there’s nothing to find, right?
Well, we know there’s stuff to find, loads of it, and we know that’s why he doesn’t want a review.
This whole thing stinks like a fortnight old sports sock left on the living room carpet.
And Regan must by now know how it’ll end if he gets put in front of a judicial committee which is investigating his part in all this.
He can’t hide up there.
Time is running out for this guy to escape a grisly fate.
If he calls the inquiry, allows it to do its job, and then does a mea culpa at the end he can get out with a fraction of his integrity and his reputation intact, especially if he admits “mistakes” were made. As long as he goes and the game gets the reform it needs, I frankly couldn’t give a toss if he winds up writing for The Daily Record along with some of his media pals.
(Most of them think he’s a pygmy and can’t stand him; perfect credentials for writing for that backside rag, I’d have thought.)
But this is the ultimate game show now, the one where the losing contestant dies.
Regan is facing career Armageddon here, and I hope it’s warm in the contestant’s booth. I hope the sweat is running down his back and staining up his nice white shirt. I hope his mouth is dry and his hands are cold and clammy. I hope it’s excruciating.
The noose is tightening around his neck.
It’s almost time.
“These are your choices, Stewart, and there are only two … you will have to tell the truth, or you will have to pay the consequences.”