Having given it careful consideration…

… I think it’s time for me to throw my hat into the ring for the vacant position of manager of the Scottish national team.

Like most of you, no doubt, I was a bit stunned when Alex McLeish so promptly resigned from the position to take up the manager’s job at Birmingham. Judas, I might have thought, tempted away by 30 pieces of silver and something to spice up an evening in (not entirely SFW) with Mrs McLeish.

However, while he certainly did a fine job of not entirely botching Scotland’s efforts to qualify for Euro 2008, you can’t look at the loss to Georgia’s squad that included several plooky teenage debutantes, or McLeish’s persistent use of Darren Fletcher, as total triumphs of tactical thinking. Others have been less charitable about his propensity for winning with other people’s players, spending heavily on transfers, and then leaving a team that’s on a downward trajectory. I say why single Big Eck out for following the general template of contemporary football management?

In the meantime, Scotland needs a manager, and various qualified candidates are no doubt lurking about – although some of them may combust shortly given their ability to start a fight in an empty room not-that-I’m-looking-at-you-Graeme-Souness. Not at all.

However, I think the SFA should ignore these so-called experienced and wise heads, and seriously consider hiring me. I believe that I offer several compelling advantages to the all-amateur selection committee:

  • Not beholden to anyone in the game: The upside of my total lack of experience in playing or managing professional football in Scotland is that you don’t have to worry about my repeatedly picking the same people because I once played for the team that they’re on. If someone from Falkirk should be selected, you can be sure I’ll do it. Hypothetically speaking, of course.
  • Plenty of time for on-the-job learning: seriously, how hard could it be? There’s bugger all going on for Scotland in the next few months until qualification for South Africa 2010 starts. Since the lesson we learned from Berti Vogts is that friendlies are bad, I don’t plan to play any, which will reduce the angle of the learning curve. I assume that watching Sky and Setanta will give me most of what I need in the meantime, while I read up on Brian Clough and Sir Alex Ferguson. The lack of friendlies should reduce wear and tear on the players and save the SFA a few bob. Speaking of which…
  • The SFA wouldn’t need to bulk up the pay packet: Apparently McLeish wasn’t happy at his salary of £400,000 per annum, or approximately $800,000 at current exchange rates. While I am doing well enough on the shekel side at my current sinecure in federal consulting, I am not immune to that kind of pay increase. I am sure that I could manage to get a couple of decent suits for big matches, as well as a high-minutes mobile plan for use in case I am thrown out of the technical area. A large flat screen telly for catching up with Sky and Setanta (see above) would be useful too.
  • Willing to go to a wide variety of league matches: I’m perfectly happy to provide my own transportation, as the aforementioned salary ought to cover the purchase and running costs of an Alfa Romeo. I even know how to get to Tynecastle and McDiarmid Park already. As long as the SFA is willing to reimburse me for the cost of fuel, pies, and Bovril, I will happily go anywhere to scout out prospective internationals – even a Partick Thistle game, hypothetically speaking once again. I will not require an assistant manager such as Tord Grip to keep me company either, as I can look serious all by myself. Serious or not, I will draw the line at wearing a suit if it’s not a Scottish Premier League match – especially if the rain is coming into the stands horizontally.
  • Low odds of defection: not only am I available for hire on the cheap, I can be fired cheaply as well. Ante up the cost of a move back to the States and perhaps £125,000 for old time’s sake, and I will go quietly at the time of your choosing. I also guarantee that no-one will want to steal me away at inopportune moments. While that does limit the prospect of compensation to the SFA in the purely hypothetical event that I gain employment with Forfar or Cowdenbeath, I firmly believe that if the SFA shows the discipline to bank the difference between market rates and what they pay me until I am let go, they will be well positioned to bid for a proper manager who can pick up the pieces.

Well, that’s the case for my employment as McLeish’s replacement. I await contact from the SFA with baited breath.

P.S. Brian Barwick, if you come across this, I’ve told you twice already, and the answer’s still no.


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