Letters to the Sports Editor: Warning signs were there if you listened to Levein
CRAIG Levein’s assertion at the outset of Scotland’s pitiful World Cup qualification campaign that the team were “capable of winning every game” must have had even the most optimistic of fans shuddering with foreboding.
It was just one of a seemingly endless series of bewildering utterings from Levein. Here are a few more:
One the eve of the campaign: “I’m a much better international mananger than I was two years ago.”
On Steven Fletcher’s chances of being recalled: “The door is closed.”
Ahead of calling Ian Black into his squad: “It would be hard for a Third Division player to be up to the speed of international football.”
On losing to Wales: “What I saw was another step in the right direction.”
Those quotes alone should have set alarm bells blaring at the SFA, let alone the abysmal series of results Levein has presided over. His three years in charge have done nothing beyond confirming him as the least successful Scotland manager of all time, and with the team now bereft of any meaningful fixtures until September 2014 (two years away!) it is unthinkable that he should be left in charge.
Scotland, clearly, have been on a downward path for many years now. We are little more than cannon fodder on the world stage and, as I’ve stated on your letters pages before, my own belief is that our long-term international future should lie with a Team GB. However, while the Scotland team continues to exist, its fortunes can surely be at least marginally improved by replacing the current manager.
Dr J M MELLOR
Henry and the suits are protected by the manager
SO Henry McLiesh supports the Scotland football team manager Craig Levein, that’s comforting for the recipient, is this a drivel or a dribble?
What a waste of money, a manager of a team that plays perhaps four games in a year, eight hours out 8,760! There is a boardroom full of people at the SFA who should pick the team, name a player-manager for the day and let them get on with it. Sensible as this may seem it’s a non-starter, guess who’d get the flack under that scenario? Got it in one, the executives on the Board. Clearly the purpose of the manager is not to manage the team, he is the gatekeeper who protects the suits and can be fired when the going gets tough. Dribble on Henry.
Time to shake the tree
ONCE again the Tartan Army must return to barracks following another futile sortie into the war that is international football. A valiant, if shortened, campaign led by their first XI vanguard has come to nought. The frontline troops can only follow orders handed down by their immediate superiors, namely Major Levein and Captains Houston and Black. So it seems there is something lacking there.
But what of the Generals back at High Command in Glasgow, surely some responsibility should rest on their shoulders for this ignominious exit for our national game. The commander-in chief Regan is reported as saying that he is bitterly dissapointed with the results we’ve had, particularly the double-header over the last few days against Wales and Belgium. Does this man know anything about sport? The matches against Wales and Belgium were not a double-header. As any sports afficionado knows, double-headers are back-to-back games against the same opposition. Also to be particularly disappointed by the results of two away fixtures over two relatively easier home matches does not say much for his understanding of the game of football.
What is needed for Scottish football is not so much a root and branch change but a shaking of the tree so that all the dead wood can fall out, be got rid of and be replaced with people who understand the game. Not so much as played here, but the real game played in mainland Europe.
DAVID J MACKENZIE
Mr Levein, your time is up
DESPITE whet his cronies and his cosy little squad of players are saying, there can surely be no debate the Craig Levein’s time as Scotland manager has come to a long overdue end.
I could fill pages by cataloguing his many failings in the job, but suffice to say, the fact he has presided over the worst series of results of any Scotland manager is surely reason enough to see him dismissed at the earliest opportunity
Portobello High Street
Tiger punch drunk if Ryder Cup singles was irrelevant
I SEE that Tiger Woods has been working hard since Medinah to convince everyone that the result of his singles game was of no consequence. But nothing could be further from the truth. His game was the difference between his team earning a tie for the Ryder Cup 2012 and losing it.
To give Francesco Molinari a four-foot putt under the circumstances was inexplicable and, to his team-mates I imagine, unforgivable. They had every right to expect Woods to ask Molinari to see his putt home. Woods himself had just missed a putt that was only inches longer.
Personally, I don’t think he knew that he was conceding the loss of the match as well as a half in his game. He looked a bit punch drunk.
However, it is frustrating to see that his propaganda campaign is bearing fruit. Mark Garrod’s report stated without qualification that his match was “rendered inconsequential”. Only in Tiger Woods’s public relations world.
My thanks to him at least for handing the win on a plate.
Final exploits in Shanghai took tennis to a new level
SURELY one of the most exquisite and exciting tennis finals in the history of the game – the Shanghai Masters final, which Andy Murray lost after three-and-a-half hours to Novak Djokovic. A nail-biter if ever there was one.
Rafael Nadal could easily find himself out of his depth when he returns to competitive play as the standard of tennis in the Murray-Djokovic final was a level up from such finals over recent years.
Murray is certainly an accomplished craftsman of the game and it can only be a matter of a short time until he becomes world No 1 and a regular Grand Slam winner. Anything else would contradict the standard of play of both the Scot and his Serb opponent at Shanghai.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
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