Mileson 'ego' to blame, says Saints chief Brown

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GEOFF Brown yesterday blamed a Brooks Mileson "ego trip" for Gretna's grief.

The St Johnstone chairman admitted that he sympathises with the health worries which have troubled the former benefactor of the Raydale Park club.

However, Brown is adamant that doesn't let Mileson off the hook for pushing the club to extinction.

Brown was on the receiving end of flak from Gretna management and players last summer for stating they weren't wanted by the SPL.

His detractors claimed it was down to sour grapes and envy after the Perth club was pipped to promotion on a frantic final day.

But Brown said: "They talked about Living the Dream and some people bought into it while Gretna were promoted, reached the (Scottish] cup final and qualified for Europe. But there was always going to be a day of reckoning.

"When Gretna beat us to the title last year I was painted as the bad guy for saying in public what SPL chairman were saying in private. But why pull the wool over fans' eyes?

"I was seen as the baddie and critics said it was down to envy. But no one in my time at St Johnstone has gone unpaid if we owe money.

"No one wanted them in the SPL – and no wonder given what followed. It has been a mess. As far as I'm concerned people were misled by an ego-tripper who was looking after number one.

"The debts have stacked up and some very good people could be facing financial ruin. How many of Gretna's creditors are ordinary folk who have been taken to the cleaners?

"That really infuriates me. They have been taken for a ride. And it seems to happen time after time in football.

"There's a credibility issue for Scottish football and I remember Fergus McCann in his time at Celtic saying clubs should have a business plan and financial statements in place to see them through the following season. That way the league could be assured the fixtures would be fulfilled.

"We have had to wait for so-called Gretna rescue plans to run their course but they were never going to stack up. How could a place no bigger than Brechin operate a full-time football club with a 40,000-a-week wage bill?

"Now we have Ross County and Airdrie United coming into the First Division. They might not bring many fans to away games but they've got to be better than Gretna."