How refreshing, at long last, to see on national television a sportsman presenting himself so well to the public at large. Immaculately turned out, faultlessly groomed and impeccable in his behaviour and demeanour, with no outlandish gimmicky hairstyle, no five o'clock shadow and scruffy open necked shirt( how this slovenly style caught on is beyond me) and no ludicrous, tasteless and dare I say it girly, jewellery to be seen.
Gordon Strachan appeared at his introductory television conference in his new role as the Scotland football squad, in a polished, no-nonsense way with a restrained and thoroughly business like manner. This, in stark contrast to the puerile image displayed by many of his footballing peers.
Strachan's calm, articulate, well mannered and good natured response to the usual somewhat banal and predictable press questioning, was studiously correct, modest and most of all realistic.He made no bones of the enormity of his task ahead, which is basically to take a squad, which would look at home competing with the Stranraers and Albion Rovers of this world and transform it into a viable international force.
There can be little doubt that football management is one of the most precarious occupations. Most managers have been frequently sacked and have had more come- backs than Sinatra. Football fans, unlike most of the dud players they watch, can turn on a sixpence. This, in respect of their support for a manager and his style of management. They want results. A team playing attractive,inventive, attacking football is the ideal dream of course, but above all else, the fans want results. The globally admired Tartan Army, behind the smiling bravado always exhibited, is no different in that respect and who can deny that this good natured, at times stoic, but inherently enthusiastic band of Scots, for unswerving loyalty alone, deserve better than a team of consistent under achievers. Oh! for a latter day Dennis Law!
So, what can we expect from Strachan? One wonders, does he aspire to the highly technical, mind blowing boring, sleep inducing, keep-ball tactics of the Spanish champions, who are so beloved by our T.V. punditry. Thankfully I doubt if that has ever been his style. On the other hand, I am sure that he is well aware that clearly he does not have the players at his disposal to adopt the swashbuckling, highly entertaining approach, instilled by Klinsman into the young German side. Strachan is on record as stating his intention of "playing to the strengths of the side". This smacks of a more cautious and realistic Craig Brown-ish approach. We shall see.
Of course, to coin an appropriate phrase, "Hope springs eternal" and one can sense a new optimistic air in the general reaction to Strachan's appointment, surely the most popular for a long, long time. Doubtless, if Gordon can handle the squad as well as he handles himself, the fans are in for a treat and (whisper it) maybe even a gradual return to the halcyon days of Scottish international football.
So, go for it ! Get stuck in Wee Man ! May you be better at making your own luck than you were your unhappy predecessors. Give us a team to be proud of, with every man worthy of wearing the dark blue of his country.
More power to your elbow, Gordon. We wish you well.