Jim Spence: Our football leaders are lacking vision and are out of touch

Stewart Regan with Malky Mackay.

It’s time to shake the Scottish football establishment to the core, and getting them out of their luxurious Glasgow offices is the first step.

The men running the game have hidden in their ivory towers at Hampden Park too long. They get out less often than the pandas in Edinburgh zoo.

The result of their self-imposed Hampden confinement is that they’re on a different planet from the average football fan, whether on pricing of matches, or discussions about the future of the national stadium.

A new survey has revealed the brutal and uncompromising views which fans hold about the SFA and the SPFL, who were savaged in a wide-ranging review of nearly 17,000 Scottish supporters, with 93% of fans wanting an independent watchdog to oversee our game.

At an event at Firhill which I chaired on Tuesday, the audience raged about everything from the cost of tickets to watch the international team, to the price of replica kits for kids at £100.

The recently created Scottish Football Supporters Association, which commissioned the survey, represents over 70,000 fans, and is already a thorn in the side of the football establishment.

They’re not short of ammunition.

Take Thursday night’s friendly v Holland at Pittodrie. Having had weeks to rule out Malky Mackay as the next Scotland manager, the SFA chief executive, Stewart Reagan, made it known just hours before the match, that Mackay, hired to oversee the renewal of youth football in the country, wouldn’t be considered.

It was an act of incomprehensible naivety to announce it before a big game, albeit a friendly.

Whether Mackay was the man for the job or not, was irrelevant. The poor timing of the news was just the latest self-inflicted gaffe by an accident prone SFA.

Who can have faith in this organisation to ever lead us back to qualification for another international tournament, or to bring through the next generation of young players?

Meantime, Neil Doncaster, the chief executive of the SPFL, an organisation which sells the paying fan down the river by messing around kick off times to suit television schedules, is seen outside of Glasgow as often as the snow leopard leaves its hilltop hideaway.

Both men earn huge salaries, but are distant and uncommunicative with the fans who dig deep to keep the club game, and the international team, in business.

Keeping everyone happy in football is difficult, no one denies that. Openness and transparency in decision making, and actually asking the views of the paying public though, are hardly revolutionary acts.

The marketing of the club game and the international team is like an amateur dramatic production. It is a farce which threatens to run longer than the mousetrap in London’s West End, but without the entertainment.

Lacking vision and out of touch, it is time for the two men running Scottish football to quit their plush Hampden suites, take international matches and cup finals around the country, including Murrayfield, base their offices in Perth to be more central, and for the future well-being of the game, invite applications for two newly vacant jobs – their own.