MIKE Mulraney, the Alloa Athletic chairman and SFA vice president, has revealed that one of the strategic priorities of the Scottish football governing body moving forward will be a drive to improve facilities for the game across the board.

While a root-and-branch review into all the SFA’s activities, including youth development and the current network of seven performance schools under way, there is a feeling on the board that football’s user experience in this country must be upgraded for casual supporters and social players as well as young players aspiring to be the best in the world. This is aligned with the general feeling that the SFA must use its turnover to do less, better, and leave much of the elite development pathway to the clubs.

"We can't do everything and if you look at us compared to other FA's, where our turnover is less than a tenth, we have to prioritise our objectives,” said Mulraney. “Those priorities will change with time and so they should as the environment we operate in does but it's clear that our facilities could be better across the board in Scotland.

“We've got to make sure that as society changes, as outdoor parks are not as available, as children can't kick a ball against a wall in the street any more, we've got to make sure as the SFA, as the guardians of our game, do everything in our power to facilitate the young girls and boys at five-year-old being able to take the journey, regardless of how far that takes them.

“Hopefully that takes them to the national team, to be the next Andy Robertson, to lead the nation, but if they can't, they've got to be involved in our national sport,” he added. “We've got to make sure that they have the opportunity and that will require us doing everything in our power to ensure that we have the facilities available and, critically, the coaches are available. So we've got to ensure that we coach the coaches and facilitate the improvements around Scotland to see people getting opportunities that perhaps currently they don't have.”

Scottish domestic football compares with anywhere in the world for its attendances per head of population, but Mulraney reckons further investment is required to continue to modernise the supporter experience.

“We've got an outstanding success story in Scottish football,” he said. “We are self-critical and that's great because it challenges us to improve at all times but we have the most watched game. Our TV audiences are increasing when most other nations are all falling, so we are in healthy position, but we will not continue to be in a healthy position if all the people can do is watch.

“They've got to be able to play and the difference that makes to the nation in every way from a health point of view, and you can see football being used for mental health improvements, and the asset football is to Scotland has to be used in every way. To ensure we get the possible players to qualify for competitions, that will only be done by getting the best most sporty kids to play football and not losing them to other sports but critically it's making sure every kid and every adult has access to football.

“Society has changed, the environment in which people get their sport has changed and is continuing to change. When you do go and watch a game of football it should be in the best possible environment we can create from a fan's experience point of view. You've got to be able to go and sit in an appropriate seat if you wish to and stand if you wish to. We have responsibility to ensure the kids get to play, the adults get to play and they get to watch in appropriate facilities. And we've got to make sure as the SFA that we're responsible for coaching the coaches, no one else can do that. Lots of people can coach the kids but they can't coach the coaches and it might be that we look at where our priority is with that. My personal view is that it can't just be in Largs, we have to export our excellence throughout the nation.”

What, of course, would be a game changer for the organisation and its finances would be the cash cow of qualification for a major finals, although matches will take place at Euro 2020 in any case. "As a director of the SFA, we're all fans and the frustration everyone else feels we share,” said Mulraney. “Too have our teams playing in a European or World Cup finals is everything. Look at what happened to the nation when the women qualified - it was fantastic. Everyone got behind it. We can change objectives but the biggest single factor that will hit us is qualification, it will be a game changer for the nation and those who want to take part in our sport.”