Tag Archives: UEFA 2016

Regans Aldi Experiment

12 Oct

Scotland’s whimpering exit from the European Chamionships has and will lead to a significant amount of navel gazing and given that we are talking about the SFA its bound to lead to no action.

Let me state this Gordon Strachan, Mark McGee and Stuart McCall should be safe.  Everyone could have picked a different team included other Players and with perfect 20 20 hindsight won games collected points and qualified.  Personally I find it almost inconceivable that more Aberdeen Players were not included in the squad as I do a late inclusion of Ranger’s Lee Wallace.  Form over loyalty every time for me.
Loyalty seems to be the main problem with Scotland for me.  The Players it seems can only trust the Coaching Staff to do whats right by them not the Big Wigs and Blazers sitting up the front of the Plane with extra leg room.  Clubs and Players alike must wonder if indeed the Players have decent Insurance when on Scotland duty given the cost cutting travel arrangements.  How Club Managers must have been concerned and how Clubs must have sought assurances regards the Loan of their Club’s prized assets.  This is what Gordon Strachan had to fight against in addition to Playing against three proficient Nations all of whom threw Money at their National teams Players not like Scotland looked to cut corners.  The Republic Of Ireland especially given that they had still to spend their FIFA hush money  did not scrimp or save they did not even gamble they simple treated their Players in a similar way and to same standards as Manchester United or Chelsea .  Stuart Regan treated the Scotland National Team worse than a Highland League Team on a long distance Cup Tie.  So is it no wonder that the team performed so badly ?  Blame Pitch Invaders, Bad Refereeing or indeed Dodgy Playing Surfaces all you want but if a Skilled Highly Paid pampered Player suddenly realises he is being treated badly then National Pride is not enough to keep you motivated.  The Travelling Army of Fans might bleat about being Scottish, berate Players all you want but if there is a culture of cost cutting and you are the main victim of this then maybe you wont be as determined to spend next summer being hotelled at the whim of Stuart “Ebenezer Scrooge” Regan.

If Money is tight at the SFA then cut the fat in an intelligent way.  I am not for inhumane treatment but how about a Blazer Cull.  Kill off some of the nonsensical committees and Positions.  Regan Must simply go like Sir Stephen House he has been consistently shown to be a failure.  Neil Doncaster must follow this two are not the Morecambe and Wise of Scottish Football more the Barry and Paul Chuckle!  The Tartan Army screams at clubs week in week out “SACK THE BOARD” at their Clubs yet seem to accept “Glorious Failure” at National Level.  Here is a thought Georgia Away and Poland at Home are not Glorious Failures more “indignatious Defeats”   Willie Miller said that following the Six Nil victory against Gibraltar it felt like celebrating failure and that is exactly correct and why I suggest that Willie be approached to take over from the Destroyer of Yorkshire Cricket Regan and as an additional idea why not invite Gordon Smith to replace Doncaster.  Both have Business experience both have opinions that in truth are shared by most Scots and both  would do a better job than the two incumbents.  Also the main Professional Game Board [Chairman: Rod Petrie (Scottish FA)
Members: Alan McRae (Scottish FA), Stewart Regan (Scottish FA), Ralph Topping (SPFL), Peter Lawell (SPFL), Neil Doncaster (SPFL), Duncan Fraser (SPFL), Mike Mulraney (SPFL), Sandy Stables (SHFL) and Andrew Waddell (SLFL)] should be radically changed they sanctioned the cost cutting they approved the stragigy they should be forced out of Position and new more forward thinking Office Bearers should be installed.

As the only Home Nation not to progress a complete clear out of the National Association is the only way forward.  The reasons why I am not demanding Strachan and Co to go is simple Who do you get to replace them there simply is not Prince Of Wales waiting in the Wings.  Greame Souness is probably the only candidate.  Souness has not managed in anger for a number of years and given the Bad Blood between him and the SFA I would doubt he will ever be installed as Head Coach.  If Strachan and Team do not continue then who is there Is Stuart Baxter still doing the rounds?  He was the phantom candidate for every managerial position in the Nineties surely he could return to coach the National team.

It’s a mess on the whole who ever is the Head Coach then given an aging Squad I feel that some players should frame their shirts from Gibraltar because they wont get another one.  Allan Hutton, Scott Brown Shaun Maloney and other over thirties are they really going to be fit to carry the jersey in Russia 2018 let alone to take the Nation to the next Euros in 2020.  With some great Players with Scottish Accents plying their Trade in Scotland (low travel costs) then why has the Scotland Squad been filled by Mockney Cockney Scots from the ENGLISH CHAMPIONSHIP.  Kenny McLean, Barry McKay, Lee Wallace, Mark Renyolds, Greame Shinnie, James Forrest and James McArthur.  All younger and leaner and not jaded by the Scottish Costcutter Association.

As a flippant note it’s time we ditched the uninspiring unofficial Anthem of “Flower Of Scotland” and returned to the true National Anthem of “Scotland The Brave”.  Fair enough no one knows the words but history shows when we Scots stuck to the Official Anthem of history instead of the cod folk song cobbled together on the back of a beer mat the national team actually qualitfied for World Cups before we all became Mathematic Professors figuring out permuntations on how to qualify not road sweepers two games from the end of the Qualifying Leagues cleaning up the debries of a national shame.

Scotland used to look at Belgium as an example but unlike Netherlands Scotland are down and show no signs of getting up.  Weighed down by Bulky Blazers and self-interest abusing the Tartan Army and hurting the National Pride year in year out.  The Next SFA Chef must look to Asda not Aldi the nation might never be Waitrose or Marks and Spencers but the nation deserves better than the discount bulk buy its being force-fed.

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The Race to France 2016

3 Sep

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Well on the International scene it’s that time again.  The quadannual trip to our near neighbours for a hope of being invited to European Nations second biggest tournament.  The journey to fill the twenty three places to join France.  For the second string of European Nations this is the chance to get to a summertime party in 2016.  With fifty three teams aiming for twenty three spots the odds are significantly better than the other qualifying for a World Cup. 

So how does it look here is how I place the groups:

GROUP A
1. NETHERLANDS
2. CZECH REPUBLIC
3. TURKEY
4. ICELAND
5. LATVIA
6. KAZAKHSTAN

A cake walk for Netherlands with Czech Republic to comfortably join them.  Turkey to sit nicely in third. The Turks won’t fear anyone on a two legged play off but plenty of nations will fear a trip to the hotbed hell that is a leg in Turkey.

GROUP B
1. BELGIUM
2. WALES
3. ISRAEL
4. CYPRUS
5. BOZNIA HERCEGOVNIA
6. ANDORRA

This is by far the easiest group. It’s inconceivable that Belgium won’t win. A team with Gareth Bale and Arsenal’s Arron Ramsey surely must have the valleys singing in celebration of qualification for first time in too long. I would expect a envious look on Ryan Giggs face.

GROUP C
1. SPAIN
2. UKRAINE
3. SLOVAKIA
4. F.Y.R. MACEDONIA
5. BELARUS
6. LUXEMBURG

Spain to develop after a appaulling World Cup. Spain must replace a golden generation while fulfilling the expectations of a nation. No easy task. Placing Ukraine second is a unexpected risk. Sure they have the players on paper but the geo-politics of this corner of Europe may mean that every Ukrainian home game is played in a neutral venue. In addition to Ukraine based players becoming Soccer refugees. This could open a door for Slovakia.

GROUP D
1. GERMANY
2. POLAND
3. SCOTLAND
4. REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
5. GEORGIA
6. GIBRALTER

Oh Germany could simply turn up and get points. I would doubt they will lose six goals let alone drop points. Poland with almost Germanic efficiency should get second. The Tartan Army will struggle to out sing both Poland and Irish at Home games. Especially with Hampden out of commission due to Commonwealth Games. The Irish and Polish communities in Scotland and UK will turn out in numbers to squeeze the Hampden Roar. Then we get the Scotland team. Gordon Strachan will know goal difference will be as important as not losing to Martin O Neil’s Ireland. Scotland won’t win a playoff but could just could get third.

GROUP E
1. ENGLAND
2. SWITZERLAND
3. SLOVENIA
4. LITHUANIA
5. ESTONIA
6. SAN MARINO

Wayne Rooney as Captain is my only concern for England but in truth they should walk this group. A nice return to Switzerland for Roy Hodgeson. Not the easy street that will please the English nation but enough to keep Roy on the job.

GROUP E
1. GREECE
2. HUNGARY
3. ROMANIA
4. FINLAND
5. NORTHERN IRELAND
6. FAROE ISLANDS

Not so much a group of death but a group of consistency the only joy for Northern Ireland will be returning to a refurbished Windsor Park. Greece may not be what the used to be but just too much quality to not qualify. This group to go with what pot the nation’s emerged from at draw.

GROUP G
1. RUSSIA
2. SWEDEN
3. AUSTRIA
4. MINTENEGRO
5. MOLDOVA
6. LIECHTENSTEIN

As with group F can’t see any nation beating the seedlings. Russia to qualify and a interesting battle between Austria and Sweden with Scandanavia edging it.

GROUP H
1. ITALY
2. CROATIA
3. NORWAY
4. BULGARIA
5. AZERBAIJAN
6. MALTA

Italy always make it dont they and Croatia are fast becoming a fixture on the summer soccer festivals. Norway lacking offensive quality could very easily be the third placed team everyone wants to get in playoffs.

GROUP I
1. PORTUGAL
2. DENMARK
3. SERBIA
4. ALBANIA
5. ARMENIA

Only top two go through no prize for third. Portugal to cruise it and a nasty fight between Denmark and Serbia. Think the experience of Denmark will just edge out Serbia.