The Five Subs Rule

Personally I think the introduction of being able to use five substitutes in amateur football has been a great addition to the game. It’s given us, as managers, an opportunity to give minutes to players who would have previously been unused subs.

I have made great use of the rule and I regularly use all of my subs as I am a great believer that fitness has a huge say on who wins and loses an amateur game. Fresh legs being introduced at crucial periods have won me countless matches and I’ll continue to rotate my players to give my team a fitness injection.

There is only one addition I would like to the rule and that is that match day squads be extended to allow 18 players. This would mean that you would have seven substitutes but could only use five. I think it gives us a lot more scope to be proper managers and it also adds some more flexibility to being able to make tactical substitutions.

I think it could also possibly be the difference between keeping or losing a player who wouldn’t be in your choice of 16 but would make a cut of 18. I have released a good number of players in past years as they have put themselves before the team and taken the huff when they have been left out of a squad. I can see why they would walk and I know it’s embarrassing to not be included but I am convinced that an extra two squad places would negate that circumstance. Granted, players who would potentially leave might not get on in a match and be unused subs but I think that being included could soften the blow and could be explained as being tactical during the match.

I’m aware that being a good man manager should, in theory,  mean keeping everyone happen but let’s not kid ourselves on either. This is amateur football and these divas are everywhere these days.

I cant see it having any negative impact on the amateur game by increasing squad sizes and from a manager’s point of view it can only be a good thing. It’s hard enough to build and keep a squad in the current climate so any help we can get to keep players should be encouraged. When considering how many registered players each club has then I think that a squad of 16 is a bit unrealistic when at full strength.

I’m keen to hear everyone’s thoughts on this and if there would be an appetite for it…

The Gaffer

Beat The Stigma

It has been refreshing over the past week to see so much support for Aaron Lennon in his battle against mental illness. As men, it is often unnatural for us to open up to each other about our feelings or struggles but as each high profile sportsman or celebrity speaks out it may become more closer to the norm for men to feel easy about discussing these matters.

In the context of a football team it is often difficult to gauge how a team mate is feeling ‘inside himself’. The majority of us turn up at training and games, have a quick chat, get ready and then get to work. Such an environment doesn’t lend itself to individuals being comfortable to speak about any stress or worries they may have in a locker room atmosphere. This is for a variety of reasons but most notably must be a fear of becoming a figure of fun amongst the boys. It’s much easier to put on a brave face for two hours than it is to speak up or speak out and risk the laughter.

As a football manager I am not afraid to say that I have suffered  behind closed doors as a result of the role I undertook. I never knew how difficult a job it would be to run a successful amateur team and how lonely a place it would be. Winning trophies is the ultimate high in football but it is the hard and often unnoticed work that goes on behind the scenes that can cause a mental struggle. I have spoken before about having to manage your own disappointment when you are let down time and time again by your players. Standing on a cold December night in the driving rain coaching nine players is soul destroying. You go home that night having made your mind up that enough is enough and you can’t put yourself through that anymore. You lie awake for hours contemplating the repercussions if you quit. Will the team fold? Will players quit? Will someone else take over? Will I regret it? Your head spins for hours until you eventually get a couple of hours sleep. In the next few days you give yourself a shake and you decide to go again.

Disappointment is only one of the issues though. Putting pressure on yourself to win every week is another. Maintaining standards, doing all the admin, washing the strips, planning training, booking pitches, phoning refs, league meetings, taking in money, texting players. Everything adds up and contributes to stress. Doing all this as well as your full time job that pays your wages and spending the rest of the time with your family is a tough balancing act. I get that this paragraph may seem like I’m looking for praise or seeking my own sense of self worth but it’s not. I just want others to know that they aren’t alone out there in doing what they do. Stress is very real in any sport and if it isn’t dealt with and left to fester it can easily lead to depression which is not so easy to treat. We put so much pressure on ourselves because we want our team to be as successful as it can be. It’s a hobby but for big periods it can be a very unenjoyable hobby. I’ve said before, running an amateur football team is a full time job without the pay to go with it.

The stress that I’ve personally put myself under has been unreal at times. I’ve turned up at games before literally shaking having run around all morning organising all manner of things to make sure I’ve had a team to put on the park. As I said I’m not alone in this either. Anyone who runs a team will be the same. We all go above and beyond the call of duty to keep things running smoothly. I’m not ashamed to say that I haven’t always coped with it and it’s difficult to find someone to talk to. The wife doesn’t want to hear it as she would rather I never went to football anyway. You can’t really speak to your players about it because they are a big part of the reason you get so stressed in the first place. So you keep it all bottled up and hope that a win on a Saturday will make it all better….it doesn’t.

When you can find someone to speak to who is neutral and removed from your own life it feels so much better. Getting everything off your chest in a controlled and calm manner can do wonders for your mental health. We shouldn’t be ashamed about it either. In every walk of life people are exposed to things that can have a damaging effect on their mental health. It just seems that in sport and in particular with men in sport there is a stigma that we should be strong enough to deal with it. It’s not the case. If you are having problems then there are people out there who can help you. Don’t underestimate the difference it can make to your health and your life.

Its good to talk.

The Gaffer

A Safe Pair Of Hands


At the start of every single season I make sure I have the most important feature of my team nailed down. I sign a reliable and quality goalkeeper. Whether that be the same one as the previous season or a new keeper I am bringing in, I make it my number one priority.

There has been the odd occasion when I have found myself in the position of having two very good goalkeepers as part of my squad. This occurrence can have many plus points but also many negatives. Inevitably only one can play and the other one isn’t going to be happy if he isn’t.

So, I’ll make an attempt at what I think are the pros and cons of having two quality goalies in an amateur squad.


  • If one can’t play or gets injured then you have a genuine keeper to replace him
  • You can implement proper goalkeeping coaching at training and work on shooting drills, set pieces etc with the squad
  • It creates healthy competition
  • If your number 1 hits bad form he can be replaced
  • It creates a more professional looking setup
  • Warmups will be structured preventing an outfield sub smashing balls at your goalie


  • Can disrupt morale if one is annoyed at not playing
  • Uses an outfield substitute place in the squad
  • Rotation could result in losing both as they both want to play every game
  • It’s very difficult to keep two keepers happy
  • They end up jealous or resent each other
  • Both may feel under pressure which could lead to mistakes
  • All keepers are bona fide nutcases (I jest)

My experience of goalkeepers tells me that they are a completely different animal altogether when compared to outfield players. I have always found it extremely difficult to have two of them on the books at one time. I have tried various methods with little success. I figured that if I had a number 1 for league games then I would use my other goalie for cup games. Good idea in theory however as we are all aware amateur football and fixture arrangements don’t quite work the way we would like. One season I found myself in the situation of naming a number 1 after per season was over. I promised the number 2 he would play in every cup game regardless of significance. As it turned out we played a load of cup section games at the start of the season as well as early rounds of our domestic league cups. By the time the league games came around my number 1 had received an offer from elsewhere with the promise of being number 1 and he asked to be released leaving me with a slightly inferior goalkeeper to complete the season with.

Another similar occasion saw my team exit all of he cups in the early rounds leaving my number 2 in the knowledge that he probably wouldn’t play again that season. He also asked to move elsewhere.

I’ve also found that it’s a position where the players usually have high opinions of themselves. It doesn’t sit right with their ego to be sat on a bench every week. A goalkeeper will believe he is better than who is playing in front of him and I do like that attitude, I like a bit of arrogance in a player but that is why it’s so difficult to keep them happy. It’s also hard to pinpoint poor form from a keeper unless he has some blatant clangers. If a striker doesn’t score goals he will know why he’s dropped. If a centre half keeps getting beat with a ball over the top he will also know why he’s dropped but keepers have so many get outs. They can blame the defence for leaving them exposed, they can blame the surface, the sun in their eyes, couldn’t see the ball through a wall of bodies. The list goes on, keepers can get away with murder which makes your decision even harder.

I suppose it comes down to man management at the end of the day. Usually with outfield players this is a strong point for me and I am good with getting people the right game time or showing unhappy players why they aren’t playing and helping them improve to rectify this but I can never seem to replicate it with goalies. It might just be the fact that it’s a position that is very rarely changed during a match unless their is an injury meaning it is likely a sub keeper will be an observer only. Then the only opportunity they get to showcase their form is at training and if the number 1 played well on the Saturday then they are only really making the numbers up.

Most of my many seasons have seen me find a reliable robust keeper and then just stick with him for the whole year. If occasions have arisen when he couldn’t play then one of the boys have stepped up to don the gloves. It’s not ideal but it has got us by with some medals along the way. Having two to choose from is a luxury and if they are both happy then even better but for me it’s just never worked out that way. Personally I’d rather the stress of finding a keeper in the unlikely event that mines can’t play in the game. Having two of the nutters to deal with is just too much hassle for me.

Trust in your hands

The Gaffer


Rossvale AFC – In Focus


Founded – 1976 is the year in which Rossvale were founded however the amateur side of the club has been operating for the past four years.

Nickname – The Vale

Home Park – The club will soon be able to call Huntershill Park in Bishopbriggs their new home after its development finishes later this year. Plans include: a full-size, all-weather sports pitch with floodlighting and fencing; sports pavilion with 10 changing rooms, recreation hall and more; three floodlit, all-weather tennis courts; and a six-lane athletics track. Exciting times!

The plans for the new Huntershill, Bishopbriggs

How They Began – Rossvale FC as we now know it were originally formed in 1976 by John Grey as Woodhill Boys Club. The clubs roots were steeped in the ethos that it should be a community club where kids of all backgrounds were encouraged to mix and be proud to be part of Rossvale together. It has grown over the years and they now run youth football teams from under 8’s to under 21 level. They also have a four year old amateur team who are the subject of this blog as well as the well known junior outfit.

Club Colours – Red, Yellow and black. This is due to two reasons. Firstly because John Grey was a Partick Thistle fan and secondly because he wanted no association with Rangers or Celtic.

Goalkeeper Kit (blue) Home Kit (yellow/red)

Manager – Douglas “Dougie” Gunning or the man behind the highly successful @Scottish_AFF for those of you on twitter took charge of Rossvale at the start of this season. Dougie is very open about how he tries to provide an environment for his players that resembles as close to a professional setup as an amateur club can achieve.

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The match day dressing room setup at Rossvale

Club/Match Secretary – David McMillan

Club Treasurer – William Grant

League – Scottish Amateur Premier Division 2A

Current League Position – 1st

Recent Form – DWWWWWLWL

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Pre Match Preperations

Players To Watch – William McGowan, Centre Half and POTY 2015/16.

JJ Christie, Goalkeeper and Scottish Cup medal holder

William McGowan
JJ Christie

Sponsors – Northwest Roofing, The Maryhill Club & The Shakespeare Club

Social Media Accounts – Facebook Rossvale AFC Twitter @RossValeAms Instagram Rossvale.afc

All Time Top Scorer – Allan Gilchrist

Favourite Away Day – Lochgilphead Red Star


Rivals – At this time The Vale don’t have a proper rival in the true sense of the term but it would be fair to say that Houston, East Kilbride YMCA, Millbeg and Lochgilphead Red Star are pushing them to maintain there league leaders status.

Number 1 Fan – Paul Harrison who follows the boys to every game home or away.

Finest Hour – As a fairly young club The Vale have yet to have a specific “finest hour” however, this could all change very soon because if results go their way in their next four matches they will be crowned league champions in the managers maiden season at the helm.

2015/16 POTY Award Winners


Oban Saints AFC – In Focus



Founded – 1960

Nickname – Saints

Manager – Alex Craic

League – Scottish Amateur Football League

Current League Position –2nd

Recent Form – WDLWLWW

Club Honours –

Scottish Amateur Football League

Jimmy Marshall Trophy 2015 – 16, 2013,14
Premier Division 2013 – 14, 2009 – 10
Premier Division One 2001 – 02, 1997 – 98, 1990 – 91
Premier Division Two 1993 – 94, 1989 – 90
Top Score Trophy 1987 – 88
Division Six 1978 – 79

Home Park – Saints play their home games at either Mossfield Stadium or Glencruitten Park (both in Oban) which are two well maintained grass parks with excellent playing surfaces. They are associate members of Oban Lorne Rugby Club and share the superb facilities at the Glencruitten club house, which is fully licensed.

How They Began – The club was formed in 1960 by a group of young players who couldn’t get a regular game for any of the teams playing in the Oban and District Football League at that time. Saints joined the Oban League in 1960 and had fifteen very successful years in this league, winning the championship no fewer than 8 times, the MacGillivray Cup 5 times, the Faccenda Cup 5 times and the Ainsworth Cup 4 times.

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Oban & District League Champions 1970-71


Recent History – With the Oban and District League in a major decline, and because of their growing reputation (reaching the last 16 of the Scottish Amateur Cup in 1975), they applied, and were successful in joining the Scottish Amateur Football League in 1976. They started off in Division Seven and progressed through the leagues winning Division Six in 1979; Division Two in 1990 and Division One in 1991. They were the first ever winners of the Top Score Trophy in 1988.

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SAFL Division 6 Winners 1978-79
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SAFL Top Scorer Trophy Winners 1987-88


SAFL Division 1 Champions 1991-92

Saints were invited to join the SAFL Premier Section in 1994 and hold the distinction of being the first winners of the new Premier Division Two League Championship Trophy in their first season. They won the Premier Divison One league title in 1998 and again in 2002, beating Shamrock 3-2 in a play-off after the teams had finished level on points. The club won the SAFL Premier Division title for the first time in 2010 and again in 2013/14 as well as winning the Jimmy Marshall Trophy defeating Inverclyde 2-0 in the final. Saints won the Jimmy Marshall Cup again in 2015/16 beating St Joseph’s FP 2-1 in a thrilling final at Millburn Park, Alexandria.

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SAFL Premier Division 2 Champions 1993-94


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SAFL Premier Division Winner 2009-10

Saints had a great run in the Scottish Amateur Cup in the 2006/2007 season reaching the last eight of the competition. They defeated many of Scotland’s top teams like Newmilns Vesuvius, Galtson, Colville Park and Knockentiber on the way to the final stages of the national competition. They finally lost 3-0 away to Cupar Hearts in the quarter final. They also reached the last eight in 2009/2010 losing out to Eddlewood in the quarter finals and in 2013/14 again lost in the last eight to Eastfield. The Oban side reached the semi-finals of the national competition in 2015/16 eventually losing out to Leven United in extra time at New Douglas Park, Hamilton.

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Jimmy Marshall Winners & Scottish Cup Semi Finalists 2015-16



Finest Hour – The club have two occasions which could be argued as being there finest hour. Remaining undefeated to clinch the 2013 – 14 League and Cup double and also reaching the semi finals of the Scottish Amateur Cup in season 2015-16. Both massive achievements.

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Jimmy Marshall Winners 2013-14
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Premier Division Champions 2013-14 – Doing The Double

Players To Watch – Current Scottish Amateur International Scott Maitland.

Scott Maitland

Youngsters coming through Matthew Kelly, Fraser MacFarlane, Jay Cooper.

Sponsors – D&K Lafferty Contractors, Aulay’s Bar and Roddy’s Garage

Website –

Social Media Accounts –

Facebook Oban Saints AFC 


Instagram oban_saints_afc

Tumblr obansaintsafc1960

Blog – Winning In The Rain –

All Time Top  Scorer – George McLuckie & Allan Mackay

Favourite Away Day – Every game after a win

Rivals – Campbeltown Pupils. We may be 90 miles apart but it’s still THE big Argyll Derby. This fixture took place on Saturday with Saints running out 4-0 winners in the away tie. The bus journey home must have been a good one that day!

Number 1 Fan – Iain Neilson

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Iain Nelson with the 2009-10 league trophy



The Winter Brakes


You may double take at the title of this blog and assume that I have made a spelling mistake but please note that this is intentional. The return to matches after a Christmas lay-off has the potential to but the brakes on what is potentially a good season for all teams. This month is the exact one where the Managers and Coaches who run amateur teams really earn their stripes.

Christmas is undoubtedly a time where those that celebrate it partake in a daily over indulgence of selection packs for breakfast, a full box of mince pies for lunch and a constant question to yourself as to what time it is acceptable to have your first beer of the day.

Players report back for training to their respective clubs sporting their new boots from Santa, hoping that this will serve as a distraction to everyone to the added beer belly that they have accumulated since they have been away. Training starts and everyone is sluggish. Managers do their best to keep everyone working hard but the players just want the session over as soon as possible because they have told themselves to get the first one back out of the way and take it from there.

Training your squad in January can largely resemble a pre season in the middle of the season. It can be a difficult time, especially for those still in National competitions whose first match back could be a big tie to take you into the latter stages. Preparation can be thrown out of the window with only two nights to train before you have to play this huge game. Secretly I’m sure I am not alone in saying that you really have to hope, pray and hope again that the opposition players had a better Christmas than your own. It’s amazing how quick fitness can be lost and also scary how quickly weight can be put on.

Players get fit when playing matches, there is no doubt about that. So when you add into the mix that January is a notorious month for matches being called off then that is what I mean when I spoke about earning your stripes. You can’t really get your players match fit when they aren’t playing matches. With midweek full pitch bookings so scarce you have to be on point with your training and how hard you drill the players. Going five or six weeks with no game only results in rapid deterioration of the fitness of your squad.

The thing is, we are all in the exact same boat. We watch in horror as our players snapchat themselves out drinking for the fourth day in a row wondering what state they will be at training in. We panic about it and wish we had the luxury of pro managers who can crack the whip at such behaviour but ultimately every single team has players who put on a little bit of holiday weight. Some, if your lucky, more than others.

Earn the stripes

The Gaffer


Weirs Recreation AFC – In Focus

This first edition features one of the oldest clubs in amateur football, Weirs Recreation AFC. With some inside help I have pulled together some information on this historic club.

If you wish your club to be part of my new In Focus feature then please get in touch via the usual social media channels.


Club Crest



Founded – 1919

Nickname – Weirs

Home Park – Albert Park, Glasgow, G43 3HR (named after Prince Albert who officially opened the ground during the clubs year of forming in 1919)

Prince Albert planting a tree at Albert Parks official opening

How They Began – Weirs started out as a group of colleagues from a major industrial concern called Weir Pumps near to Hampden Park who wished to form their own football team. The company pulled funds together to provide their employees with a park in Newlands where several sports including football, cricket, tennis and bowling could be enjoyed. Both football parks are located in the picturesque surroundings of the River Cart with the bigger of the two being identical in size to Hampden, the national stadium. The ground remains the home of Weirs to this day.

Manager – Martin “Gus” Guthrie

League – Caledonian League, Division 1A. Weirs were founding members of “The Cale” at its inception in 1983.

Current League Position – 7th

Club Honours

Scottish Cup 1958

West of Scotland Cup 1977

Scottish Amateur Football League Div 1, 1950, 1958, 1978, Div 2, 1957, Div 3,
1938, Reserve Div 1, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, Reserve Div 3, 1981

Coronation Cup 1956, 1957, 1960

Hall Cup 1955, 1957, 1973

Ball Trophy 1957, 1964, 1968, 1969

Greater Glasgow Premier League Cup 1994

Finest Hour – Winning the Scottish Amateur Cup in 1958

West of Scotland Winners
Scottish Cup Winners

Players To Watch – Ryan Bayless 17 year old Midfielder, Ross Barr 17 year old Attacking
Midfielder, Stuart Collins 18 year old Goalkeeper, Dean McGinnity 24 year old Attacking Midfielder, Tony Stirling 25 year old Striker.

Sponsors – Hairstop, Guthrie Landscapes

Social Media AccountsFacebook Weir Recreation Afc Twitter @weirs_rec

All Time Top Scorer – Ross Wilson (tbc) who has contributed over 150 goals.

Favourite Away Day – Rothesay Brandane

Rivals – Muirend, Giffnock North

Number 1 Fan – Marion Cartwright who has been supporting the club for over 30 years and who is now a life member.

Famous Players – Davie Hay, Tommy Sheridan


Tommy Sheridan (back row 3rd from right) Davie Hay (front row 2nd from left)


Sportsguard Insurance

Given the timing of this blog I would firstly like to say that I hope all of my readers had an enjoyable Christmas time and that each one of you has a fantastic new year, especially in terms of football and any success you are aiming for.

I think it is time that I covered the issue of the mandatory insurance that we are all made to take out at the start of each season by the SAFA. For any players reading this that might be unsighted on what I am talking about I will give a brief description of what this is.

Every summer each club secretary receives a letter containing an invoice from Sportsguard Insurance demanding payment which must be made before the 1st September. The invoice contains two options which can be seen in this photograph.


The club secretary must decide which option the club wish to proceed with and then send the payment details to Sportsguard. The letter states that this insurance is compulsory for ALL clubs who are affiliated to the Scottish Amateur FA. Sportsguard have a list of all of these clubs and failure to make a payment results in your own league secretary getting onto you to inform you that you cannot participate in games until this payment is made. In turn, Sportsguard in conjunction with the SAFA have every club over a barrel. We have no option to take out our own insurance or for each player to use personal insurance instead. This is a payment which is forced upon us.

I have been involved in amateur football for a long time and I don’t know of any teams who have ever used this insurance.  I certainly haven’t, it has just been money that I have handed over each year with no return. I’ve heard a few horror stories of the hoops that must be jumped through to receive very modest payouts and that some legitimate claims were refused altogether. I don’t know enough about these incidents but surely a system for amateur football teams should be made as simple as possible. We aren’t rocket scientists running football clubs.

So let’s look a bit at the numbers. The Scottish Amateur League began the season with 41 teams according to their website Assuming that every team in that league took the minimum payment (which I always do) then that equates to £4469 from one league being paid straight into Sportsguards coffers. Every team taking the second more expensive option available would equate to  £10,168.

Taking into consideration ALL teams affiliated to the SAFA (Saturday/Sunday/Summer/Over 35) there must be easily well over 900 teams. If I am off the mark with this figure then please correct me. 900 teams paying the minimum is £98’100. I would be astonished if anywhere near that figure has been paid out to amateur clubs. In fact I would be astonished if anything over £5000 had been paid out in the last few years. So what happens to the rest of the money?

Between both options there is a difference in premiums of £139 with the only difference between the payouts being an extra £50 a day on weekly benefit. There is no explanation of what weekly benefit is, how you qualify for it or what condition you have to be in to be eligible. In my opinion this is a very poor policy. If I ensure my car, my home or my dog then I get a pack through my door explaining every eventuality and what exactly I am covered for. With Sportsguard I have received nothing like that but a link to their website. My players cannot view what their insurance covers them for unless they have my log on details either so it is not user friendly for a club.

I understand the need for insurance in the event that God forbid something terrible happens to one of us and we may need it one day but I don’t think we are getting best value for money here or allowed to research our own options. The payout for a broken leg for example is £150. If this was to cause a player to be out of work for a long time then he would be severely out of pocket. The payout barely even covers the cost of the premium. A broken leg is probably the worst injury on the list we are likely to experience. A broken hand comes in at £50. Is this for real, that is so unrealistic for the money this company is taking in from us. Some employers do not have good sick pay options and there is also the fact that a lot of our players do casual work or are self employed. The policy won’t cover loss of earnings for one of my players who works his socks off as a self employed plumber. He would just have to suck it up and take his £50.

Its probably fair to say that if this wasn’t mandatory then most of us wouldn’t take out any insurance at all. Would we really notice any difference though? Does our current insurance give us the peace of mind that it should? Do we have the best possible cover out there for our players? Is the policy worth the paper it’s written on?

I would like to hear your views on this good or bad and it would be great to hear any experiences of Sportsguard and what they were like to deal with. It would also be nice to hear the views of the SAFA as to why we must use Sportsguard and nobody else.

Happy New Year when it comes.

The Gaffer


The Worst Man For The Job





This blog isn’t exclusively related to amateur football but the topic will no doubt have an impact on our game at some point in the future so I think it’s important to talk a bit about it.

Today the Scottish Football Association sensationally appointed a racist, homophobic, sexist and anti Semitic man into arguably the most important footballing position in the country. Malky Mackay is now officially Scotlands Performance Director. He will be responsible for overseeing the strategy designed to improve elite talent development across the game and work in partnership with the clubs to deliver successful future international players. He has a huge role in our game. Perhaps a more importantly role than the national team Manager some would say.

Only four years ago the very same man now charged with moulding the future of our national sport sent a series of vile text messages and emails to colleagues and associates and was later caught during a Cardiff City FC investigation. These messages were highly offensive to the Chinese community, the Jewish community, the gay community, black Africans and woman working in football. The exact wording of those messages can be found in the article below.

Mackay since apologised for what was said calling it “friendly banter” in what was no doubt an effort to save his reputation which was destroyed when the Daily Mail went to print. The above article also led to Crystal Palace making a dramatic u-turn in their decision to hire Mackay. Any person in their right mind can see that this was not friendly banter and I think to call it such is a slap in the face to those he managed to cause offence to. No club in their right mind would hire this guy because his personal beliefs place so many restrictions on the standards and expectations each major club aspire to achieve. It would cause uproar at clubs with sponsors turning their back in their droves and that would only be the tip of the iceberg.

If Mackay had simply been abusive in a non-descrimatory way to a colleague or member of staff and was sacked then I would say forgive him. Let him apologise and move on with his career. Everyone deserves a second chance. This isn’t about Mackay having a second chance though. This is about a major organisation under an intense spotlight employing someone with a horrible racist mindset. Mackay only apoligised for what he said because he was caught. If these were his opinions at the time then they will always be his opinions. The only thing he is sorry about is getting caught.

How does this look to any young, gay footballers who are too scared to come out because of what fans and team mates will think of them. Mackay the homophobe is now in charge of how this young boy, or girl will develop in the future. The player must adapt or play to his blueprint if they have any hope of playing for the national team. How can these players seriously hold any respect for this man or what his vision of football is for our kids.

Not only that, but what kind of message are we sending out to all young people here. Is it acceptable to say and behave how you like because after a passage of time all will be forgiven? Hugh Dallas was sacked by the SFA for forwarding an offensive email with suggestions of child abuse by the Pope. Quite rightly, the SFA took a stance and sent a clear message that behaviour of this nature would not be tolerated. What Dallas did was wrong and as far as I am aware he has not worked in British football since. Which makes it all the more bizarre that the same body now employs a man who has been exposed as having equal or worse views than Dallas in a far more prominent position. There is certainly a stack of evidence against Mackay that we know of to suggest his views are in the extreme end of discrimination.

Stewart Regan was today quoted as saying  “From the start of the recruitment process, Malky was an outstanding candidate and by the end of that thorough process he was the outstanding candidate.” In footballing terms that may be the case but morally this news today is so, so wrong. It just seems to me that it suits the SFA on this occasion to turn a blind eye to Mackays past when others have been hung out to dry.

I have to say I am not surprised however.

The Gaffer

The Bastard Committee


The following post has been taken from the Sunday Central Facebook page. With permission of its author who is one of the most involved and experienced guys in amateur football, I think it’s important to share it on the blog.

I’ve been involved in football committees since the age of sixteen. I started my own team as I couldn’t get a game for anyone (I was pish) and after three weeks of starting my own team I was on the bench. At that point, as a committee it was fly by night stuff, no one helped ,no one told us where we were going wrong until it went wrong.

Through the years I learned more and more and I was able to feed it back to my club, ensuring the fines were reducing.
Finally I joined our leagues committee. In truth it had been ran by two guys for years and they were eager to get another fool on board. I learned lots of things that I could take back to my club and my club really did start heading in the right direction. This is where my rant starts to come in. I ended up league secretary in 1998. The accusations started flying in that I was benefitting myself, that the referees favoured me, that I was corrupt.
Yes, my team benefitted from the experience I was gaining in how to do things properly, it helped me when trying to find sponsors as I sounded like I knew what I was talking about.

… don’t get me started, they still hated me. I used to get booked in the dressing room and if I opened my mouth at the side of the park I was off. There will still be a few refs who remember that and if they are reading this they will have a wee chuckle to themselves.

Pretty soon I was doing the job of treasurer, secretary, registrations secretary until I then ended up doing the whole lot myself. The guys had got the dummy to take over. The truth is that I loved it, in fact I thrived on it. It was the first thing in football I was really good at. I then introduced new ideas, photo teamlines, player id (before the SAFA did it)
I introduced the return of funds at the end of every season to the clubs. At that point it was £40 now its £200 that goes directly back to each club each season.

I managed to eventually pull a really good committee around me to the extent that I now oversee events without having to be too involved. Unfortunately they get the same treatment as I did in the beginning. Even after all these years people still say that they are only in it for themselves, that they get the rub of the green from refs, that they are corrupt. That last one really, really, really pisses me off. They burst their asses to ensure clubs have a good, well run league to play in. They arrange the parks for finals, medals, refs etc, they even act as counselors at times for the people in our game and give an open ear to anyone who needs it. Essentially they are amateur football social workers!

So why be involved in a committee?

Why not?

Who should do it?
I do it because it keeps me involved in something I really used to enjoy. That enjoyment is slowly and surely getting taken from us The clubs (some of them) still call us corrupt, still say we are only in it for our own benefit, saying we are against them… it’s the same ones all the time, you know the ones that think they can play Alex Ferguson mind games, the ones that think that the World owes them something, fuck, I even seen a quote last week that committees are there to serve the clubs!!!!

We do this because we want to, because helping is what we do, because we know some idiot needs to step up to the mark.
So to the managers that are reading this… do you feel your players are always 100% behind everything you do? That they will always back you or do you feel that some of them really just only care about themselves? Be honest and if your answer is yes they are completely behind you then all the best.
We are all volunteers please don’t forget that. Most of us are involved because we have had or do have clubs. Please just have a thought of the free time that we give up, the missed family occasions and everything else that goes with it. Managers will get back the amount of time they invest, your league secretaries, registration guys, match secretaries and discipline secretaries effectively do this as a second job, for roughly £300 a year (couldn’t get anywhere near minimum wage) guys please just consider the time, effort and sacrifice that goes into running a league committee.

We do it because we love football !!!

The Committee Man