Rangers newco: Regan labels Green and McCoist ‘undignified and irresponsible’
STEWART Regan has branded Rangers chief executive Charles Green and manager Ally McCoist as “undignified and irresponsible” for their criticism of the way the Ibrox club’s crisis has been dealt with by the Scottish football authorities.
In a robust and defiant response to the weekend comments, in which McCoist specifically condemned Regan’s part in the saga, the SFA chief executive stated they had been motivated by a sense of desperation to get the Rangers supporters onside.
Green has already been asked by the SFA’s compliance officer, Vincent Lunny, to clarify his claim that the decision to exclude newco Rangers from the Scottish Premier League this season was partly motivated by “bigotry”. And yesterday, Neil Lennon was withering in his response to Green’s comments. “I was golfing, I only read about it yesterday and I found it quite funny,” said the Celtic manager. “He has only been here five
minutes and he is calling us all bigots already.”
Regan, who has defended his record in charge of the SFA since his appointment two years ago, stressed his determination not to be deflected from his modernising agenda by the controversy surrounding Rangers.
“As far as Rangers’ issues are concerned, they have been desperate to try and bring their fans with them,” said Regan. “They have used opportunities to try and engage with those fans. If you look over the last few weeks, there has been a lot said. There have been e-mails, there have been leaks, comments made to the media.
“Quite a lot of it has been undignified and irresponsible. We have to rise above that at the Scottish FA and do what we think is right. There is a lot of negativity around the game right now and it’s time to draw a line under that.
“It’s important for everybody to move on. We’ve been through a very difficult period for the game. The image of the game has been tarnished. Comments have been made which are unsatisfactory and unpalatable at times.
“I would like people to look at the progress that has been made in modernising this organisation in the last two years. We have come further in the last two years than in the previous 20 or 30 years. We are going through some difficult financial times and it’s at times like these that people get very emotional. Perhaps things are said that are regretted afterwards.”
Regan did not go so far as to say he regretted his own comments of four weeks ago when he warned of potential “social unrest” and a “slow, lingering death” for Scottish football in the event of various scenarios which saw Rangers disappear from Scottish football or begin their new life in the Third
The latter has become a reality, despite Regan’s strenuous efforts to persuade Scottish Football League clubs to vote Rangers into the First Division. A leaked e-mail detailed the plan, including a request for Hibernian chairman and SFA vice-president Rod Petrie to brief Charles Green confidentially on the discussions. But Regan is adamant he did nothing untoward.
“I have been personally vilified for trying to be a marriage broker or a peace keeper,” he said. “Let me take you through the timeline from when we put the proposal together. On 18 June, we had a presentation in the boardroom featuring all the key parties – the SPL, the SFL, the SFA and the lawyers.
“That moved on to a conference call on 22 June which was summarised by myself in a set of notes which went out on 23 June. There was nothing in that e-mail which was secret in any way. The fact that it became a leaked e-mail was quite surprising, because there was nothing in there that each of the governing bodies didn’t know about.
“Rangers were aware of the discussion. Charles Green and Ally McCoist actually sat in the boardroom and agreed the plan for Rangers to be part of the First Division.
“It was presented as being in the best interests of the game, from both a financial and a sporting sanctions perspective.
“Therefore, it was nothing that people around the table felt was negative, emotional or shouldn’t have been discussed. As the governing body, we were there to try and put a plan together for the best interests of the game and that’s what we were doing.
“I tried to paint a picture of the financial consequences if Rangers weren’t at the top of our game and the challenges that would result for the clubs in the top division. The clubs have voted and we’ve gone through that process of them deciding what’s right for the game. We’ve got to respect that and move on.
“From my own perspective, I never expected this job to be a popularity contest. I never came here thinking it was going to be easy. I’m here to drive the game forward and petty comments and small-minded behaviour don’t bother me.
“I can sleep at night knowing that all I’ve ever done has been for the good of the game in Scotland. I am confident in my own ability, the SFA board are confident in my ability, but there are always going to be a small minority trying to knock you down.
“I don’t see this as a job for life. I have a plan that will be finalised when I deliver everything I set out to deliver. I look forward to delivering that plan and seeing what I do next and what the next challenge will be.”
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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