Whilst the current focus at the Scottish FA, publicly at least, is our current shot at European glory there were plenty of pundits and commentators diverted into the question of did he jump or was he pushed?
Amongst the speculation sat the man who was driven by his mission, had a forceful persona, was the man who made claims, pushed agendas and was anointed by the SFA as the saviour. It was a critical time for Scottish football not least because we had missed out on the Rio experience. The big tournament experience has not been ours for decades, the reason for being so woeful? If you listened to our media, pundits and ones who know (because they say they know), was the lack of a coherent youth system.
It has been long lamented that gone were the days when we were able to watch kids kicking the can in the street. We now have the fear of marauding paedophiles snatching weans like extras from Chitty, Chitty Bang, Bang whilst mollycoddled weans sit inside playing Playstations and gizmos that have made them fat, lazy and unappealing to sport.
Against that backdrop of morbid obesity and distressing visual metaphors we Scots did what we always seem to do when we are stumped… We start listening to an “expert”. We begin to believe in a Messiah. We found that man and hoped that he was not just a very naughty boy. You see this was a man brought in on the tidal wave of optimism, based upon a report that ripped our game apart and sought to put it back together again. Its author knew what he was doing because he once played professional football for East Fife. Whilst people may scorn and scoff at lower league pedigrees this was also someone who was once the First Minister of Scotland so he did know a thing or two.
As a distant observer it just seemed like we were on the cusp of getting somewhere when the very confidence in our own abilities was dropped and we brought in someone from abroad. Now before people reach for their copies of the Equality Act, I have nothing against anyone playing, coaching, managing or being in a Scotland set up if they do not come from Scotland. Okay I might have an issue if they are playing for us but the fact is I like foreign football and I love the influences that immigration has brought us. Where would we have been without Jose Quitongo, Henrik Larsson, Terry Butcher et al?
The problem I had was that Wotte was deemed an expert not just BECAUSE he was a foreigner but because he came from Holland.
Wotte’s time as Southampton manager had included being involved in the youth set up which is now lauded as one of the best in Europe as it has produced some cracking players. I was suitably impressed but we heard little of these credentials as we just needed someone to do the work.
What work was outlined in the McLeish Report; Oor ‘Enry had 103 recommendations for the high heid yins to consider. It led to much scratching of heads and some change. What was hilarious was that as Wotte departed he claimed there were too many people unwilling to change in Scotland. There were people who actively thwarted his moves to make changes.
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