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The 30 most influential figures in Scottish football. Part I

Scottish football's movers and shakers: who really pulls the strings and shapes change and opinion in the national game?

No.28: Steven Fletcher
No.28: Steven Fletcher

The owners, the chairmen, the men with the broadcasting power, the sponsors, the politicians, the big talkers, even the managers and players: who has the power to determine what happens next and what we think about our game?

Over the next three days, Herald Sport lists the 30 most influential figures in Scottish football.

In Part I, those from numbers 30-21 . . .

No.30 JOHN FLEMING, SFA HEAD OF REFEREE DEVELOPMENT

Fleming replaced Hugh Dallas last March, so now it's his job to fight the fires which break out when managers and players fall out with referees. It has been a relatively quiet season without the Old Firm going at it, and Fleming is a less divisive figure than Dallas, but when Willie Collum or any other official hits the headlines, Fleming has to try to make peace. Liable to roll his eyes when Kenny Shiels says things such as: "I've been told the SFA are out to get me".

No.29 FRASER WISHART, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, PFA SCOTLAND

Wishart is the conduit between clubs and their players, which has the unfortunate consequence of meaning that he comes to prominence when players are in trouble because of an insolvency event or non-payment of wages. Wishart is sensible and diplomatic, no-one could accuse him of being a militant agitator. Yet in theory he can call a players' strike, and in the ongoing dispute with Rangers he has defended the right of some former players to take legal action.

No.28 STEVEN FLETCHER, SCOTLAND STRIKER

Unless you are inclined to play 4-6-0, he could become hugely important. With Euro 2016 qualifiers in mind, the most expensive player Scotland has produced is the great hope, the £14m man whose goals could take Scotland back to a major tournament. After a mutually destructive shared huff with Craig Levein, he is back in the national team and has an even bigger transfer in him yet.

No.27 STEPHEN HOUSE, CHIEF CONSTABLE, POLICE SCOTLAND

House is the top man at the new national police force. The police are watching crowd behaviour, are monitoring social media content, they dictate kick-off times, they shape whether fans can drink or stand at games: they are all over football. House was one of the architects of the Football Coordination Unit for Scotland, established to deal with trouble after the "Old Firm summit" of 2011. He used to control Strathclyde Police; now he has the whole country.

No.26 JOHN PARK, FOOTBALL DEVELOPMENT MANAGER AT CELTIC

He is important to Celtic because, since his arrival in 2007, the club has signed the likes of Emilio Izaguirre, Biram Kayal, Gary Hooper, Victor Wanyama, Adam Matthews, Fraser Forster, Mikael Lustig and Efe Ambrose, all previously unheralded players who could be sold on for a (in some cases vast) profit. Not all of them are necessarily "Park signings" but Celtic have discovered the alchemy of buying cheaply, getting the best from players, and ripening them for sale. It is all about scouting and player identification, and Park is the best in the business.

No.25 JAMES TRAYNOR, RANGERS DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS

The voice of Rangers, and certain to keep getting louder. The media is reluctant and uncertain about how to react to Traynor since he crossed the Rubicon from mainstream journalism to Rangers' communications department, but he is now talking on behalf of Ibrox and that means his words – often outspoken, confrontational and challenging – have to be taken as such. Traynor's sense of devilment will ensure he grows as a twin mouth to go alongside Charles Green's. The pair of them don't do silence.

No.24 IAN LIVINGSTON, BT GROUP CHIEF EXECUTIVE AND NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AT CELTIC

BT Vision could emerge as an important name in Scottish football if they decide to extend their interest in buying live broadcasting rights. They are to launch a football-focused channel, having secured some of the rights (from ESPN) for 38 live Barclays Premier League games per season from 2013-14, paying £738m over three years. Might they be interested in buying into Scottish football too? If so, a key player will be chief executive Ian Livingston, who joined the Celtic board in 2009.

No.23 SIR ALEX FERGUSON, MANCHESTER UNITED MANAGER

He influences little directly; indirectly he shapes every manager in Scottish football. Neil Lennon recently began talking regularly with him, becoming the latest in a long list of managers who turn to the master for advice. Ferguson is generous with his time and his insight. His working relationship with the Scottish Football Association means Darren Fletcher, the captain, rarely misses a Scotland game. His enduring presence and profile amount to a unique example of Scottish relevance at the very top of English and European football. When Fergie speaks about Scotland, the country pricks up its ears.

No.22 EWAN ANGUS, BBC SCOTLAND HEAD OF SPORT

For the past seven years Angus has been in charge of all Scottish football shown by BBC Scotland, not to mention the reporting of it on Radio Scotland and the BBC website. The volume of content, and its reach, is vast. Sky and ESPN may pump in the money but when clubs complained about "Trial by Sportscene" – because their players were being punished retrospectively after incidents were discussed on the flagship highlights programme – it showed the ongoing importance of the Beeb.

No.21 VINCENT LUNNY, SFA COMPLIANCE OFFICER

Scottish football's procurator fiscal. If a player or manager has done something wrong and the referee messed up, Lunny is the SFA's safety net, ready to swoop a few days later with one of his retrospective "notice of complaint" announcements. Often resented around football, which is partly why he is going on a tour of managers and coaches next month in order to convince them that he should not be mistaken for a Stasi secret policeman or the child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Even so, he is never going to win any popularity contests.

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