Andrew James

19 Apr 19
The Scottish Sun
SLAUGHTERING the goons who mismanage the SFA might seem like shooting fish in a barrel. But it still needs a pretty good aim, because if that barrel represents world football, those fish are down at its bottom, below the plankton and the strange creatures with eyes glowing out of their backsides. McLeish on the sidelines during 3-0 loss to Kazakhstan Treading water as they rearrange the deckchairs on a Titanic that’s long since sunk. Scrabbling down the cracks in the deck for spare change passengers have dropped in their rush for the lifeboats. At the depths to which our international status has sunk, 20,000 Nations Leagues Under The Sea, these goons are as much use as a camping stove. Yet, somehow, they survive. Scotland fans display banner during San Marino win Managers walk the plank, players are thrown to the sharks, office staff are cast adrift on a raft of redundancies. Even fans who step out of line are treated like 18th Century pickpockets transported to Oz. Yet throughout it all, every crisis, every defeat, every failed campaign, every disastrous bank statement, the Blazers are always with us. So impervious to extinction that cockroaches write in asking for advice. They will be congratulating themselves on making the right decision over Big Eck yesterday. Then again, they congratulated themselves over appointing him too. This is their idea of a good day’s work, agreeing on a compromise that gets them out of the mess they created the day before. If they were honest, though? If they even knew the meaning of the word? They’d have announced the manager was leaving, then that they were following him out the door en masse. Ian Maxwell, Rod Petrie and Alan McRae watch San Marino match In the week that Ireland’s governing board reluctantly agreed the only way to begin dealing with a gathering financial scandal was for them to resign in a oner, this was what the SFA’s inner sanctum should also have been doing. Realising they are out of funds and of friends and that Scottish football will never have a shred of credibility until they are out of office. Clear the decks. Start afresh. Put themselves up for election by clubs, who in turn hold votes among their supporters, and if any of them get back in on merit, fair dos. Sadly with this lot, though, there are two chances of honesty, morality or democracy. The better of them being absolutely none. Fact is, if Rod Petrie or Alan McRae or any number of the Hampden Blazerati had to win a popularity contest to earn a position of power, they would be screwed. Had it been a straight choice yesterday between getting shot of Eck or of them, the Tartan Army would have taken their chances with Eck in a heartbeat. After all, he won now and again. When was the last time the SFA as an organisation had a decent victory? When was the last time they surprised us with a cheeky wee result we didn’t see coming? McLeish with coaching staff James McFadden and Peter Grant who have also left Which of them, for that matter, could point to all the good things they had done for Scotland before it all went sour, the way Eck can? To me, Eck will always be a legend, even if he wasn’t the right man for the job second time round. But Petrie, McRae and that shower? Where’s their win in Paris, their 70-odd caps? Bloody hell, Petrie’s record on hiring and firing managers at Hibs is horrendous, yet he gets to swan serenely through the ranks at national level to run the show. I mean, at least Trump won an election. If Petrie’s good enough to be our Mr President, let him step back and offer himself up for public scrutiny. Let him put his head above the parapet for once. Aye, right. Liam Palmer will auction his 100th cap for charity first. Not that there’s much chance of Petrie and his cronies picking the wrong candidate to replace Eck from the pile of applications already heading their way. Not if the money situation at Hampden is as perilous as appears, with workers either being paid off or not replaced when they escape the madness. TARTAN ARMY Alex McLeish thanks the Scotland support and vows to join them in future No, even if Stevie Clarke wasn’t tipped to head for Fulham and three times the salary Scotland would pay, even if some foreign gun-for-hire like a Lars Lagerback or a Slaven Bilic was up for the gig, it doesn’t sound like we could cover their travel expenses to the interview. More likely we’ll end up with Malky Mackay being shunted across from his technical director role or Scot Gemmill moving up from the Under-21s. While I’d wish both all the best of luck in all they try to achieve, there’s no point pretending either would have fans queuing for tickets to the Cyprus game. They are what we’ll probably be left with, though. This is where we are. This is WHO we are, a nation with no clout, no cash and few choices. It’s a wonderfully Scottish irony that we’ve had far less talented squads than the one at our disposal right now, yet we’ve still tackled qualifiers with far greater optimism than we can muster today. [article-rail-curated title=”related stories” selected_posts=”4140746,4140877,4140988,4139416,4138699,4138804″ /] Yes, our optimism used to be pretty mindless, but it was better than the apathy that’s set in like dry rot. For me, the blame for this seemingly- unstoppable slide towards a mutiny among the terracing troops lands firmly on the doorstep of the Blazers. They have spent 20-odd years working far harder to safeguard their own places at the top table than they have to get us there under our own steam. The Blazers will always be at the top table, the SFA, at every finals and every congress, in the best seats on the plane and the best rooms in the hotel. Forever unwanted, forever unloved, yet forever and a day with us, like it or not. Unless all of us who care for Scottish football stop moaning about it and start DOING something, they will still be there long after we’ve all got fed up and gone home. Which would probably suit them all fine, as there would be no one left to slaughter them. Keep up to date with ALL the latest news and transfers from Scottish football plus fixtures, results and live match commentary  [bc_video video_id=”6027087270001″ account_id=”5067014667001″ player_id=”default” embed=”in-page” padding_top=”56%” autoplay=”” min_width=”0px” max_width=”640px” width=”100%” height=”100%” caption=”Celtic loan duo Andrew Gutman and Mark Hill link up for Charlotte Independence goal “]
19 Apr 19
James Johnson

A pilot scheme offering oral health advice through pharmacies is being rolled out across north east England. The scheme offers a ‘five-minute oral health intervention’ as customers wait for their prescriptions. This includes advising patients on how to brush their teeth properly and checking they were using the right products. ‘This started as a simple idea, […]

19 Apr 19
James Price

A pilot scheme offering oral health advice through pharmacies is being rolled out across north east England. The scheme offers a ‘five-minute oral health intervention’ as customers wait for their prescriptions. This includes advising patients on how to brush their teeth properly and checking they were using the right products. ‘This started as a simple idea, […]