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?
In this three-part series, Herald Sport lists the 30 most influential figures in Scottish football.
Today. Part II. Numbers 20-11
No.20 DARREN FLETCHER, MANCHESTER UNITED AND SCOTLAND MIDFIELDER
The most influential Scottish player by miles. Intelligent, thoughtful, articulate: he is even more impressive off the park than he is on it. Fletcher is an inspirational, vital figure for any national manager because of his unquestionable commitment. If the man from Manchester United feels it is worth turning up for a humdrum friendly, everyone else should be there too. The next manager, whoever it is, will idolise and rely on him.
No.19 GEORGE YULE, EXECUTIVE VICE-CHAIRMAN ABERDEEN
Stewart Milne remains the money and the foundation behind Aberdeen but he has delegated its stewardship to the restless, driven businessman who joined the board last summer. Yule was a fan who had become disillusioned. "I couldn't watch the team any more," he has said. "I was of the opinion it was a tired, sleepy kind of club which appeared to be going nowhere fast." The plan is for him to be the engine behind its growth and emergence.
No.18 CAMPBELL OGILVIE, SFA PRESIDENT
An instinctively diplomatic and conciliatory figure, almost pathologically opposed to conflict, yet his role is loaded with importance given its incumbent can fire a Scotland manager (or an SFA chief executive). Ogilvie's tenure has been undermined by controversy over his use of, and alleged knowledge of, Employee Benefit Trusts while at Rangers. The result of the "big tax case" has empowered him but will he seek re-election this summer?
No.17 DERMOT DESMOND, MAJORITY SHAREHOLDER CELTIC
When there has been criticism at recent agms – some fans are unconvinced by the extent of his commitment – Peter Lawwell responds by stressing that the seventh richest man in Ireland has put more than £20m into Celtic since 1995. It is said he speaks weekly to Neil Lennon, and more frequently to Lawwell. He remains withdrawn, though, uninterested in the Scottish game beyond Celtic. Otherwise he would be higher on this list. Supposedly worth £1bn, give or take.
No.16 ANDREW HORNETT, ESPN SENIOR EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
ESPN's ongoing commitment to its £4m-a-year deal for 30 games per season, including 10 Rangers matches, has been questioned. ESPN signed a joint deal with Sky Sports, but last summer they lost the rights to Barclays Premier League games, which could influence their thinking on football in general. Hornett has also been linked with a move to American broadcasters but his attitude to Scottish football will be key. Had 10 years with Sky Sports (he created the "Soccer Saturday" results programme) before two at Setanta and then a move to ESPN in 2009. Goes by the nickname "Buzz", naturally enough.
No.15 ROD PETRIE, HIBERNIAN CHAIRMAN
Petrie has been on the Hibernian board since 1996 and has latterly been synonymous with the hiring and firing of umpteen managers, but his significance extends far beyond Easter Road. He is a member of both the full SFA board and also the recently-established Professional Game Board, which is facilitating the current talks on league reconstruction. Petrie says as little as he can get away with in public, yet his voice carries real power within the corridors and board rooms of Hampden. Known to be a tough, uncompromising negotiator.
No.14 VLADIMIR ROMANOV, MAJORITY SHARHOLDER AT HEARTS
He holds the fate of Hearts in his hands. Has spent millions without having a great deal to show for it, certainly when compared to the boasts that once poured out of him. Romanov's controversial outbursts gradually lost their novelty, but more importantly Hearts' financial position has darkened under him. The Russian-born Lithuanian now seems to run a club reliant on periodic handouts from its own beleaguered supporters. He has said he would sell, but at what price? The prospect of administration and even liquidation hang heavily over Tynecastle.
No.13 MARK WOTTE, SFA PERFORMANCE DIRECTOR
The Dutchman is shaping the future of Scottish football, importing the ideals and values that have underpinned the game in his homeland and focusing on a 4-3-3 model based on high technical skills and ball retention. Wotte's remit is development – and regional centres are being established – but the initiative will only work if there is a pathway up the national team age ranks. In short, the new Scotland manager will need to be prepared to work with Wotte, because his role is independent of the senior team's results, but still integral to them. Can be outspoken, and once remarked Scotland could, in theory, be good enough to reach a World Cup final in 10 years.
No.12 ALLY McCOIST, RANGERS MANAGER
Even though they speak on a regular basis, the remarks of the Old Firm managers are always newsworthy. McCoist was front and centre amid Rangers' crisis, and seemed to be holding the club together at times. He is witty and good-natured, but capable of being uncompromising, pointed and deadly serious, particularly when defending his club. The narrative of Rangers' return to the top-flight will continue to dominate. Failure would lead to his departure, but a successful Rangers provides a large chunk of Scottish football's fans and viewers.
No.11 HECTOR, HER MAJESTY'S REVENUE & CUSTOMS
Took a hard-nosed stance with Rangers by rejecting the Company Voluntary Arrangement proposal last year, sending Rangers Football Club plc into liquidation. Legitimate questions are being asked about leaked information to administrators Duff & Phelps during the insolvency proceedings that a CVA might be achievable, but the tax man has no intention of relenting when it comes to football. Hearts have been subject of winding up orders, while Dunfermline Athletic had to pay £50,000 by a deadline of last November. As clubs continue to manage their meagre finances, the revenue could become increasingly influential.
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