Some things look much easier than they actually are.
Writing is one of them.
I remember attending a meeting with the guy who got me started in this gig (he knows who he is). We’d been hired to produce a magazine, and at the last minute the people paying the tab had a different idea. Some of their in-house team thought they could handle it themselves.
I spotted what was going on right away, and I told my man this. “These people, they think this stuff is easy. You put one word in front of the other. How hard can it be?” I was right on all counts. They took a shot at doing it on their own and wasted time and money.
The title of this article is from the Dire Straits song.
The lyrics of that one are absolutely splendid, and the wonderful story behind them is equally entertaining. Mark Knopfler wrote them in a New York appliance store after listening to two of the staff riff about a band they were watching as they worked.
The lyrics are almost a word-for-word distillation of what they said.
I guess rock and roll looked easy to them.
I never dreamed of being a footballer or a brain surgeon or an actor. I wanted to be a writer and I am, and one of the things I occasionally dabble in is lyric writing. But I can’t understand music to save my life, and although a pretty fair singer I am a total loss when I pick up a musical instrument of any kind.
I harbour one fantasy I’ll probably never fulfil; that one day I’ll get up on stage with a guitar and a microphone in front of me and do a mini-gig of my favourite artists. To that end I’ve thought a lot about taking lessons but I remain unconvinced I’ll ever be good enough, even with all the practice in the world. Which makes me sad sometimes.
The guys who are good at that stuff, I envy them more than all the footballers in the world. Money for nothing? Not a chance. That’s real talent.
This perspective on things should give me a little sympathy for Stewart Regan, who The Daily Record and others are pummelling from all sides today as a consequence of his failure to land Michael O’Neill as national coach. But I have none, and I freely admit it.
The Record, as usual, disgraces itself with its article. It’s not the first time they’ve called for the head of the CEO – they wanted him sacked for “lying” to Sevco a year or so back – but their rationale is typically small-minded and petty. Regan has long been a cancer on the office; the Record is as late to the party as it ever was, and for all the wrong reasons.
As I said yesterday, Regan has brought dishonour and shame to the SFA, an organisation which had enough of both already and should have been cleaned out back when Fergus went after Jim Farry.
The reek of corruption and latent bias never left the halls at Hampden.
It’s an accepted fact that the disgraced CEO’s sacking left the job only part of the way done.
Sandy Bryson, as head of registrations, was up to his neck in the Cadete business and Fergus’ failure to remove him was to haunt us when he gave key testimony to the Lord Nimmo Smith commission which defied belief.
Regan never should have survived 2012, when the late, great, Turnbull Hutton got right to the heart of the matter in a way no-one else had. He called the conduct of the SFA “corrupt” and he meant Regan and there was no doubt about it.
No official in the history of football has ever done what the CEO of the SFA did in that case.
First, he tried to shoe-horn a new club into the top flight of the game.
The reek of it, especially in how Rangers had collapsed, owing the tax man and others millions, would have killed our game stone dead. It wasn’t just that sporting integrity was to be sacrificed entirely, but the promotion of the unscrupulous shedding of debts was morally indefensible.
Second, when it became clear that the clubs were refusing to be browbeat and rolled over, he took a flamethrower to the commercial viability of Scottish football. No CEO since Gerald Ratner has ever so publicly said that the product he was flogging was worthless.
I do not know why that wasn’t the end of the story for him right there.
The media did not call for his head, and it should have.
They were too busy telling the clubs that they should toe the line and promoting Armageddon. Their own conduct was no less deplorable. Regan survived that because the clubs lost their bottle and because the media agreed with every single word that came out of his mouth.
There are those of us who will never forget that or forgive them for it.
Regan lost it then. His credibility was gone and it has never recovered. Yet our gutless club chairmen and officials – and yes, I painfully have to conclude that Celtic’s are as weak and complicit in his survival as anybody because we could almost certainly have removed him had we chose to try – have allowed this man to leech six more years of salary and benefits from our sport, as if we could afford to keep paying someone for continued failure.
The Daily Record will not remove Regan by shouting from the rooftops that he should go. This brazen bullshit artist will continue in office as long as the clubs indulge him, and forget about him falling on his own sword in a gesture of self-realisation. This man knows when he’s onto a good thing. Would you give up money for nothing and your tickets free?
Of course not. Neither will he.
He’s got it wrong at almost every turn, and his decision to appoint Malky McKay as “performance director” when that man’s carrying so much baggage was a two finger salute to everyone who cares about the sport here.
A guy who would brass-neck that appoint will not voluntarily relinquish office.
This website called for his head yesterday.
This site can do that knowing it will not affect him any more than The Record’s waste of a piece today.
But this site can do it knowing too that we’ve been calling for him to go for a long time now, for the right reasons, because he has allowed corruption to grow unchecked, permitted rule breaches, twisted regulations to suit one club and let a decade of cheating stand. He has shredded the reputation of Scottish football and every second he spends in office tarnishes it further and makes the damage all the more difficult to undo.
Stewart Regan has failed by every conceivable standard. But above all else, he is an immoral charlatan who long ago dragged his office into a gutter from which it has not emerged and will not emerge whilst he is in it. He had one final chance to do the right thing when the SFA were asked to launch an independent inquiry into the goings on at Hampden and Ibrox in 2012, and he ignored the wishes of the clubs. And the media, of course, supported him in doing so.
The clubs themselves did absolutely nothing, of course.
Even Celtic meekly accepted it, something, believe me, that has not gone un-noticed on this site or elsewhere.
Regan will go one day.
My fear is that he will be allowed to depart, as his partner in crime Campbell Ogilvie was, with his pockets bulging with even more of Scottish football’s money instead of being removed from office in the shame and disgrace he’s brought to it.
But right now I would settle for that just to have him gone.
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