Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Between Self Preservation and Speculations

So there it is: McKie is gone.

The rallied voices finally got what they were asking for, and the huddled masses at Murrayfield are looking at ‘Damage Limitation’. “More rugby!” comes the cry from McLauchlan and Allan Munro.

The interesting issue, though, is that whilst everyone is now falling over themselves to talk about the good job accountant McKie did in cutting the SRU’s deficit and owing less to the Bank, people forget the reasons why it was time for him to go.

The most inherent flaw with competitive capitalism is simple: you cannot keep withdrawing surplus and expanding at the same time. You have to put back in.

McKie knew this and so as he was cutting out assets and putting little back in, debt could be cleared but the SRU couldn’t grow. He was smart enough to finally realise (and I suppose I must praise him here) that he did not have enough knowledge to expand our game, and maybe even realised that those he was delegating to weren’t actually up to it.

This brings us back to well versed problems, and ones which will probably see HQ shut up shop for a few weeks.

We always hear people complain that it is impossible to escape the SRU. McKie’s only been in since 2005 but will those he brought with him budge? People said the amount of money McKie commanded was vast but Eamon Hegarty, Finance Director, is said to command a similar fee. There is no talk of what will happen to him.

Will the board all stay the same and recruit from within? Jock Millican, formerly a Non-Executive committee member, has stepped into the breach as acting Chief Exec and may take on the role full-time. Will Munro, Hegarty et al still hold on to their roles and controls? Under the only two with any real influence on rugby, Robinson and Lowe, will there still be the same underlings that shuffle positions regularly without being ousted?

The cynic in me says yes.

There is only a few months ‘til the RWC and there are major issues to be resolved. If Hegarty stays on to sort out financial problems (like the alleged huge contract negotiations that may have led to a loss of playing budget) and how to reinvest, then we will not move forward. It would not surprise me if many are looking to look after themselves from here on out.

As for rugby appointments, who would be a wise choice?

John Steele’s name has been bandied about, but it is hugely likely he will not want to risk his reputation so soon after being scape-goated by the RFU. Any former underlings will understand that crippling bureaucracy or self interest could hamstring them and so may leave it well alone. Who else is available?

Someone like Michael Dawson, Leinster’s Chief Exec, would be in too good a place to want a new challenge but a fresh start may appeal to the likes of Garrett Fitzgerald from Munster, if the SRU want to pursue a long shot (a really long shot).  Maybe USA CEO Melville would be up for a shot.

Failing that someone on a message board mentioned the RaboDirect Pro 12 League Director David Jordan: a man unlikely to know about coaching or selections, but a man who can attract sponsors or sell a brand. In such a vein could Kooga CEO Tyron Brant or the likes of Nick Craggs- UK Marketing Director for Adidas- who has focussed on Rugby in the UK, previously, be interested?

Really we should just wait for applicants to come in, but this may not happen. Undoubtedly they will want someone ‘Scottish’, too. Current details for public consumption seem sketchy, at best.

It shouldn’t be rushed because a balance between finance and rugby must be struck and this won’t come in straight away.The SRU should proactively seek people whilst also looking at applicants. Everything is in place for the RWC, the new season and next seasons Under-Age campaigns. Let’s not rush any decisions, now.

Good things could come to those who wait. My only worry is that this may also be the opinion of those already on the board that came in under McKie.

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6 Responses

  1. So what will Mighty Mouse have SRU do differently and how will we measure his success?

  2. Unfortunately, with the turnover of presidents and the level of control CEOs tend to have it will take a bold move, a risk even, for his ‘reign’ to be a success.
    People won’t want him to appoint Steele because he will be an English ‘cast-off’ but he is probably the most qualified man available. Would media pressure be as intense in Scotland? Doubtful. There are very few outlets dedicated to rugby writing that has constant critique.
    Could anyone name, in a flash, the WRFU or IRFU CEOs? It is possible to have a productive but unglorified role at the top. At least that way you know they aren’t a puppet-appointment…

  3. Do we count as “constant critique?” I think Steele could probably do a good job. I imagine the wage demand would be quite high though…

  4. I came across this whole hullabaloo over at the SRU and agree in large part with your comments over the departure of McKie.

    However the CEO replacement is vital to SRU and where they go. The SRU has been in the backwaters for so long depsite sitting at the table of the Tier One big boys, yet there is no Scottish mojo and branding of the 2nd oldest rugby union in the world.

    In my view the SRU should look south and I can think of one Scottish/South African chappie, former CEO of the Spears the SA Rugby franchise,that would jumpstart the SRU, fill the stands and add 2 more professional team to Glasgow & Edinburgh before the year was out.

    The SRU needs a rescue mission and fast, like in weeks, as rugby is such a ‘rolling maul’ of activities and games – look at Rabodirect Pro 12 and Heineken Cup all start in September so it is game on.

    The SRU could do with some of that South African nous.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion