Leader: SRU must rebuild bridges with rugby fans

THE power struggle at the top of the Scottish Rugby Union is over, or at least the first phase of it is: after six years at Murrayfield, Gordon McKie is to stand down as chief executive with immediate effect. Since this newspaper's rugby correspondent revealed the tensions between SRU elected officers and professional executives - a report initially dismissed as "unhelpful media speculation" - it was only a matter of time before something gave.

That something is Mr McKie who, puzzlingly for the outsider, is going just days after the SRU board gave the management team at Murrayfield a unanimous vote of confidence. As with football, such votes of confidence need to be treated with caution.

Whether he jumped or was pushed Mr McKie can look back on some substantial achievements since his appointment in 2006, not least among them the taking of tough decisions to bring the SRU back from the brink of insolvency. On the field under his watch Scotland produced some notable victories - against Australia and South Africa, for example.

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However, recently Mr McKie's financial acumen was not matched by empathy for Scottish rugby's supporters. Decisions not to sell match tickets on game days, or to end Edinburgh fans' access to the Murrayfield hospitality suites for a post-match drink, alienated the customers. Incoming SRU chairman Sir Moir Lockhead understands customers and his first job is to find a new chief executive who can keep the books balanced and rebuild bridges.