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Former SFA chief Jim Farry dies at 56

Jim Farry, the former Scottish Football Association chief executive has died of a heart attack.

Mr Farry, 55, had his family around him when he passed away yesterday at Hairmyres Hospital, East Kilbride.

Wife Elaine and children Alyson, 28, and Ewan, 26, were coming to terms with the shock last night at the family home in East Kilbride.

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Ewan said: “My dad passed away earlier this afternoon, he had a heart attack and they couldn’t revive him. We are not long back from the hospital.

“We are a bit shellshocked and it is all a bit raw.”

The man who grew up in a tenement in Holybrook Street, Govanhill was perhaps best known for being the high flying Scottish football bureaucrat who grew into the bogeyman they all loved to hate.

The son of a beat cop in the east end of Glasgow, he worked as a landscape gardener, milkman and window cleaner before becoming one of the biggest names in Scottish football administration.

In 1972 as Old Firm supremos David Murray and Fergus McCann were plotting how to make their first million, 17-year-old Mr Farry joined the SFA as an administrative assistant.

At just 24, Mr Farry became the youngest-ever secretary of the Scottish Football League and later became the youngest secretary of the SFA.

In 1990 he became the youngest ever chief executive when he took over from Ernie Walker and went on to play a key role in building the new Hampden Park.

While his predecessors Walker and Willie Allen had left after enduring years of flak he thought he would take a different path.

His reward, 10 years later, was to be humiliatingly sacked for gross misconduct, having been found guilty by an independent commission of deliberately delaying the registration of Jorge Cadete and preventing him from playing for Celtic.

Mr Farry always insisted he had done nothing wrong and had said he would not be resigning from his job.

But he had not reckoned on Celtic chairman, McCann, whose unwillingness to let the matter drop finally resulted in Mr Farry being shown the door.

McCann claimed that Cadete’s absence from vital games towards the end of the 1995-96 season cost the Parkhead club a chance of landing the Scottish League and Cup double. Instead, Celtic lost out to Rangers in both competitions.

Before that Mr Farry hit the headlines after receiving death threats when criticised forpoor judgment over a decision to go-ahead with Scotland’s game against Belarus in 1997 on the day of Princess Diana’s funeral.

But one man who had no doubts of Mr Farry’s worth as he faced the sack was Jack Steedman, former owner of Clydebank FC and one-time secretary of the Scottish League.

He said at the time: “Jim Farry is the best executive officer Scottish football has ever had and that is saying something when you have two men like Willie Allan and Ernie Walker to compare him with.”

Little was heard of Mr Farry in the years after his sacking until 2007 when he was appointed business development manager for construction and refurbishment firm AKP Scotland.

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