Why the Scottish FA appointing Malky Mackay is a step back for our game

The reaction to the appointment of Malcolm George Mackay as Performance Director has incurred a biblical wrath from the public.

Mackay had a mediocre career as a footballer in the 90s and 00s followed by an average managerial stint, punctuated by being at the helm of Cardiff City when they were promoted to the Premiership three years ago.

However, his uninspiring portfolio of work is not the reason why the former Norwich City defender has been derided – in many circles – in being appointed to what is meant to be a key role in the revival and progress of Scottish football.

A series of texts, Malky, and his agent states: “three of 9,000” has brought into the question his character, which from the messages bring a worrying insight into the thought process of the Bellshill-born man. Mackay’s text included anti-semitic, homophobic, racist, sexist and xenophobic tones.

In 2016 UKIP managed to celebrate a successful EU referendum from their point of view. Godfrey Bloom MEP said in 2013: “How we can possibly be giving a billion pounds a month when we’re in this sort of debt to bongo bongo land is completely beyond me.” This was on the issue of the UK providing aid to foreign countries.

Just months later, Donald Trump became the president of the United States. Yet, in an episode of the Celebrity Apprentice that aired three years earlier, commented to Brande Roderick, an American model, and actress: “Must be a pretty picture you dropping to your knees.”

In the same year, Mackay had this to say about an unnamed official at another club: “He’s a snake, a gay snake. Not to be trusted.”

Now why am I comparing Mackay to the political sphere; because many – one example being BBC Sport Scotland’s Tom English – believe that this performance director role is one akin to being a member of parliament.

This from the second paragraph of the Scottish FA’s about page shows the hypocrisy of the appointment of what is the singular most important role in bettering football in the country from grassroots at an early age:

“The Scottish FA is committed, with the support of its partners and sponsors, to promote the game at the grassroots level by providing players, coaches, and volunteers with access to football regardless of ability, sex, race or gender.”

As shown previously Mackay has shone a dim view on those that are of differing sex, race or gender to himself.

People do deserve second chances and an opportunity to show rehabilitation. Is Mackay remorseful of his actions, that is a matter of conjecture and only the man himself can attest to that. Yet, it sends the completely wrong message to have this man at the spearhead of an organisation whose duty it is to promote the game.

Mackay is not even suited to the role from a purely footballing basis. He has never dabbled in youth football, he is a manager and a coach of professional footballers. Mackay has also not been part of the footballing community in Scotland for the last 18 years. In addition, let us not kid ourselves, the first opportunity to manager back down south – at a decent level – and he will be off faster than Usain Bolt in the 100 meters.

The really blame here does not lie with Mackay taking the job he was offered, but with those that actually offered him the opportunity in the first place. Austin McPhee was the Scottish FA’s first choice for the job, but he decided to be Hearts assistant manager was more suited to him.

In what was a total car crash of a press conference at Hampden Park today. The media’s questions were solely on the issue of those texts rather than what Mackay believes he can do in the role itself.

Chief executive, Stewart Regan would not be drawn on the similarity in indiscretions between Mackay and referee Hugh Dallas, who was moved on by the governing body when sharing an inappropriate email six years ago.

Mackay himself could not admit himself that the messages were racist but did state he regretted what he did, not sorry, but regret in what was another cringing moment.

This is not a progressive step forward and what is worrying that those within football seem to be warmer to the appoint of a good footballing man. Yet, they are opposed to the idea of a Director of Football at Hearts appointing a promising young manager with a diverse portfolio, just because he was never a professional.

It is another stain on the game in this country which is behind the times in many a sense, and with this appointment, it shows we are not moving forwards but back as a nation of footballing lovers.

You can follow @MichaelWood_SJ on Twitter.


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