AFTER seven months of searching, the SFA have found their new Performance Director, entrusted in overseeing the development of the next generation of talented players from our country.
It looked as though Austin McPhee was destined for the role before he opted to join Ian Cathro at Hearts, therefore Stewart Regan turned to Malky MacKay to fill the vacancy left by Brian McClair.
MacKay’s appointment comes with huge questions given his tarnished reputation following a scandal that saw him branded a sexist, racist homophobe after texts he sent of that nature during his time at Cardiff City.
It begs the question if the someone of that reputation should be given such a high profile role that will see him regularly liaising with some of the best young players in the country, and are the SFA setting the right example by appointing MacKay after his conduct?
There is also the argument that he has served his time following the text revelations, which cost him the Crystal Palace job in 2014, and he has been through a rehabilitation period to learn from his obvious mistakes. Therefore, he should be given a second chance to build his coaching career.
Whilst Malky MacKay shouldn’t be punished for the rest of his career, the Performance Director role is not the one he should be handed as his opportunity for redemption!
Firstly, the role should be given to someone with a track record of developing young players, which McClair and his predecessor Mark Wotte had, and MacKay hasn’t got that reputation, where at Cardiff in particular his remit was to get the club promoted and was given money to spend rather than bringing through young talent.
His managerial reputation itself, after a promising start culminating in getting Cardiff promoted, has taken a nose dive since the text scandal. He was appointed by Wigan whilst an FA investigation was ongoing and was sacked six months later after taking the Lactics to the brink of relegation to League One, which was confirmed shortly afterwards.
But the biggest thing is the text scandal, where he admitted to sending three that contained racist, homophobic and sexist references, and it doesn’t set a good example to coaches and young players throughout the country that the man overseeing the grassroots development of our game is found guilty of such conduct.
To be fair to MacKay, he has admitted the nature of the text exchanges were wrong, he apologised straight away, has never hid behind his actions and has gone through the rehab programme to make him a better person.
However, if Malky MacKay is to rebuild his coaching career, he’d be better doing it at a much lower profile level rather than one where he’s going to be heavily scrutinised as the SFA work together with the clubs to find the next batch of great players capable of taking Scotland to major finals again.
The role is a very challenging one with Wotte leaving after his methods were not being accepted by coaches reluctant to change their ways and McClair lasting less than a year.
There is much criticism heading the SFAs way with funding expected to be cut across the board in favour of an elitist “Project Brave” system that will only see the most productive academies receive funding.
MacKay will be entrusted to force that through and critics will be expecting results, otherwise he and the SFA will receive an even bigger backlash for implementing this new system.
Which is why he would have been better off restarting his managerial career at a lower level, perhaps League One in England or even broaden his horizons by taking a job abroad, away from the media circus that surrounds British Football and quietly rebuild his coaching reputation.
The next few years will determine if Malky MacKay can put through his ideas that landed him the Performance Director job – or if his fellow peers have already judged him as a racist, sexist homophobe who has no place in a Youth Development position.
If he fails, his declining reputation will be destroyed for good!