With Alan Hansen vacating his Match of the Day Throne of Ultimate Disdain after next year’s World Cup, and the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson from the manager’s splintered Presbyterian wooden stool at Manchester United, this summer has been bookended by the demise of two successful Scottish football careers.
This is worrying, given that my country continues to occupy its deepest rut of footballing ineptitude since 1834. In the world rankings, we sit 50th, two places below Burkina Faso (no offence) and three behind Australia, who don’t even like football.
Thankfully, at least our opinion on televised games still matters; at least we can still inspire others to play a game we are patently not very good at. That the most authoritative voice in management and one of the most respected in the media were both from my homeland was comforting. At least we weren’t crap at every aspect of our favourite sport.
You would have to put this down to our inherent way of being simultaneously miserable and enthusiastic. Oddly, we command respect. It’s something in the accent. Maybe it’s all the phlegm. Whatever the reason, until Fergie’s Scottish replacement David Moyes gets out from under the old man’s shadow and we get another scathing Jock on Match of the Day, next year the footballing world is going to be a little less tartan. And that’s never good…