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Gordon Smith: No Plan B may lead to Stewart Regan walking away

SFA chief executive Stewart Regan (SNS)
Stewart Regan (SNS)

IN April, 2010, I resigned from my post as chief executive of the Scottish Football Association.

I did so because I was frustrated by many things about the Association, and the direction they were moving in.

The role calls for you to sometimes take flak for decisions you didn’t make and don’t agree with. I wasn’t prepared to do that any more.

I can see the current incumbent, Stewart Regan, now also having to quit.

He is catching a huge amount of criticism just now, and on more than one front.

Scotland’s failure to land Michael O’Neill after what was a very protracted pursuit of the Northern Ireland boss has the country up in arms.

The decision to accept invitations to play friendly fixtures in Peru and Mexico in the summer, just before our leading clubs will be preparing for their all-important European qualifiers, has also been controversial.

Now I fear we are reaching a point where everything the Association do is going to be under intense scrutiny by the media and, by extension, the Tartan Army.

As their figurehead, it is Regan who is going to have to answer for it.

I doubt he will have all the answers.

As I say, I have been there myself. It is not a pleasant situation to be in.

You don’t tend to get to these positions without being able to handle the media and Stewart is doing fine.

He made the point that the unsuccessful recruitment of O’Neill was a collective, rather than an individual, failure.

For me, though, the admission that the committee, or members of the committee, had met with O’Neill’s representatives prior to interview should be reason enough for Regan to quit.

That’s because you have to leave that meeting knowing whether or not the guy will take the job if he is offered it.

If you don’t, then forget about the interview and look elsewhere for someone who is prepared to take it and give you an indication of his intentions.

As it was, the SFA were cleverly manipulated by the man they were attempting to give a contract worth some £500,000 a year to.

I say that because this process has achieved three big wins for O’Neill, whom I am not entirely convinced ever really intended to take the job.

It has significantly raised his profile, has helped him land a much-improved contract from Northern Ireland and greatly endeared him to the supporters.

The amount of time it took the SFA to find this out is not so much an issue for me.

But if these things are going to take so long, there really has to be a positive outcome.

Michael took a break when his mother passed, which is entirely right. There are also official processes to be gone through.

The apparent absence of a Plan B is staggering, though, and a real problem.

With Steve Clarke ruling himself out, Alex McLeish would now be my choice.

He could be going in the front door at Hampden while Regan is heading for the exit.