Why The SFA Hiring Malky Mackay Is A Mistake


Today the SFA confirmed that they were appointing Malky Mackay as their new Performance Director.

The decision has left quite a bitter taste in my mouth.

Let’s get to the elephant in the room straight away.

Mackay’s tenure in charge of Cardiff City was cut short when he was sacked in 2013, it soon became apparent that he had sent various unsavoury text messages of a racist, sexist and homophobic nature. Allegations have also been levelled at Mackay about the way he handled transfers at the Welsh club, allegations he has denied.

But he has admitted to the text messages, apologised and been on courses to understand equality issues better.

Now in 2010 the SFA removed members of their staff from their jobs because for emails that were deemed offensive and of a sectarian nature. The SFA chose to take a zero approach to such behaviour, that was an example to all staff.

Yet now, six years later, the same Chief Executive Stewart Regan has appointed Mackay in the full knowledge that he’s done similar misdemeanours. So are the SFA saying that racist, sexist and homophobic texts are more acceptable than sectarian emails?

Some have said ‘Well Malky wasn’t working for the SFA at the time‘… True but surely having the knowledge that he is capable of saying such things and has done similar things in the past raises a big red flag within the SFA recruitment team.

When questioned about the topic of the 2010 sackings during Mackay’s press conference today, Regan stated:

“I’m not getting into this today. This is about Malky. Yes there has been transgressions. But we’re impressed with him. Malky can be a force for good.”

Now don’t be fooled, Regan didn’t want to answer the question about the SFA’s past stance because it was embarrassing and he had no real way to show a difference between the two cases. It’s not the first time the SFA Chief Exec has dodged a relevant question (one fans would liked to have had answered) in the hope it never comes back.

The ‘Kick It Out’ organisation have backed the appointment. But what about the wider communities and charities that also wish to back equality?

Would it not be better to canvass other opinions on such a sensitive topic?

Now a lot of people have said he deserves a second chance (He’s had that at Wigan Athletic by the way) but why in such an important role that deals with the youth of the Scottish game? The SFA are supposed to be the custodians of our game, they’re not their to rehabilitate wealthy football managers.

This BBC article explains why Mackay is ‘ideal’ for the post. Don’t say I don’t offer you balance.

Now in that article one of Malky’s main strengths is that he’s a football man full of great footballing contacts. Now that shouldn’t mean as much as it does, especially in this current climate. Look at all the current child sex offence cases in football, these coaches got those positions primarily because they were ‘football men’ that had many friends within the game. Now I’m not putting Malky into that category but highlighting that we need to have a much broader approach in who we bring in.

‘Mackay is close enough to Sir Alex Ferguson to regularly seek advice’

What and Brian McClair (the last performance director) wasn’t and didn’t? He was a man who got the job on Sir Alex’s recommendation and struggled to get anything of note done when he was there.

The journalist tells us that Mackay is still in contact with former employers Sir Elton John and Deila Smith. While not factually correct as Elton hasn’t owned Watford since 2002, I also don’t see the relevance. It has that feel of look Malky talks to people who are female and who are homosexual.

The article also alludes to Mackay doing a series of interviews with the press to show he’s apologetic and wants back in the game. That might explain why some in the media have fully backed his appointment.

Then we have another major sticking point… Is Malky Mackay actually qualified for the role?

He has no real experience in a football administrative role. He’s a football coach and a manager, that’s not what is needed here. Surely we need someone with experience of seeing through similar projects and who has an excellent footballing vision that can be implemented at every level. Someone who has experience working in an administrative role in previous jobs.

Looking at Mackay’s CV as a coach/manager and you’ll see that he hasn’t lasted anywhere beyond two and a half years. We need someone committed for at least three but preferably five years. I think this job is a consolation prize for Malky and he’d drop it for a managers job as soon as one is offered to him.

You will also notice that at these clubs youth wasn’t really a focus for him. How do we know he can actually develop players, if he has no consistent evidence in doing so?

I’d accept a rational in appointing a man if he was undoubtably suitable for the job but in no way can I see Malky Mackay being the perfect candidate.

It’s another showing that Scottish football is stuck in the dark ages and not ambitious enough to try something away from the normal jobs for the boys approach!

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