Stewart Regan: First Impressions Aren’t Always What They Seem
- 14 June 2012
Throughout life it is inevitable everyone will meet people they get on with and people they don’t.
During my journalism studies I have had the pleasure and privilege of interviewing many top names across a wide variety of fields.
One of my favourite interviews was in the corridors of Hampden last September with the Scottish Football Association’s Chief Executive Stewart Regan.
Much has been said about Regan’s tenure and later on in this article I will single out some of the frankly shameful and embarrassing incidents that have dogged his tenure as the man responsible for running the Scottish game.
However, the first time I met Regan I found him to be an engaging and passionate figure.
First and foremost I really appreciated the fact that he had taken the time to take half an hour to speak to me. And on the day of a Scotland game nonetheless.
He was instantly friendly and even praised the website I was writing it for.
During the interview, he was always very forthcoming with his answers and I often found myself nodding my head in agreement as he spoke positively about the Scottish game.
After finishing up he asked me if I was planning on attending the game against Lithuania later that evening which I wasn’t. Upon that reply, he then gave me a hospitality ticket for the match.
Before you think this is why I had a favourable first impression of Regan, I can assure you I am not like that and never will be.
Call me naïve but I believed from his answers that Regan was a man looking to take Scottish football forward over the next few years. I thought he had fresh ideas and the SFA was going to move into the modern age.
How I misjudged Regan. The impression he gave me that day certainly hasn’t been the one he has displayed to the wider football public in Scotland.
One of the most disappointing aspects of his regime is his unwillingness to debate and engage with football fans.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some absolute buffoons out there who post some vile stuff on Twitter. I’m all for freedom of speech, but there can be no excuses for some of the abuse that people post.
Regan of course has been on the receiving end of much abuse on Twitter over the last year or so and, like every user, he has every right to block people as he wishes.
However, in my view Regan has taken this too far. Unlike many other Rangers fans, I was willing to give him longer to prove he was right for the job.
But on 8 December 2011, that all changed. Some may ask the significance of this date. It was the day when Sone Aluko was banned for two games for a simulation offence committed against Dunfermline.
Due to the extreme weather that day, I found myself posting many tweets expressing my anger at the SFA’s decision.
Bizarrely later that evening Regan seemed extremely unwilling to debate the decision with fans.
Again, it should be pointed out that some took their ‘questioning’ too far, but when Regan started blocking very reasonable fans-as he has done with our very own Stewart Franklin-and countless others, the game was up for me.
We are in the 21st century. The age of Twitter and blogging advances every day. What better way for the SFA to get a simple message across about their decision to suspend a player than for their boss to use Twitter.
But alas no. Regan decided to keep his finger over the block button rather than the reply one. For me, the game was up.
The next major incident that had me seething with Regan was the way the SFA bowed to pressure from Celtic over the touchline behaviour of Neil Lennon last season.
It is fair to say that the late Paul McBride QC gave the SFA a monumental battering over the way they handled the ban, so much so that Regan and his cronies had to hastily re-write their rules on the issue.
The way Celtic were allowed to bully the SFA on a regular basis over the course of last season was nothing short of disgraceful. Not once did Regan look like getting tough with them.
And if Aberdeen, Hearts or any other Scottish club tried the same tactics as Celtic, then I would be criticising them just as much.
Finally, the SFA were shown to be a complete and utter shambles when a court ruled a fortnight ago that by handing Rangers a transfer embargo they were in breach of their own rules. I was absolutely astounded by this.
Many criticised Rangers for going to the civil courts, but as legendary broadcaster Archie Macpherson put it when he appeared on Scotland Tonight “Why wouldn’t Rangers go to the courts if they feel the SFA have broken their own rules?”
Nail on the head Archie. And the responsibility for those rules lies with Regan. How can he possibly try and decimate one of the most important member clubs without knowing his own governing body’s rules? That is simply inexcusable.
Who knows what my journalism future holds. Perhaps I will get to interview Stewart Regan again.
But this time he’ll have a hell of a lot more explaining to do.
Ewan is a Rangers season ticket holder and has followed them since he was a youngster. He regularly writes about the club for various sites. Currently studying journalism, you can catch him on twitter