Scots football bodies should hear McLeish out
Henry McLeish has promised to put radical proposals on the table for the Scottish FA when he issues the first two parts of his report into the state of Scottish football in January.
Some cynics think the report will lie on a shelf gathering dust, but I think Mcleish intends to shake the game to the core.
The former First Minister was asked by the SFA to chair the Scottish Football Review Committee, but anyone who thinks that he will be some kind of patsy is likely to be nutmegged.
His review is in three phases. The first two, which he expects to complete by the end of January, involve an extensive review of grassroots football and youth development.
I chaired a conference at Stirling University on Monday, when he made the promise to deliver radical proposals.
His demeanour, body language and candour left me in no doubt that the former First Minister is deadly serious about the task of restoring Scottish football's once proud name.
McLeish is a football man and had a spell as a professional at East Fife. The game is in his blood and he wants to see it restored to good health in Scotland.
Those who fear another Ernie Walker think tank are, I suspect, mistaken.
If, after asking him to conduct and chair a review, the SFA, along with the Scottish Premier League and Scottish Football League then ignore his findings, they, not he, will suffer the PR fallout.
If, as he promised on a public platform in Stirling, his proposals will be transparent as well as radical then it is those who fail to put them into practice who will be held up to scorn and ridicule for holding our game back.
There is a groundswell of public opinion that I think Mcleish can tap into. Fans are asking questions and demanding answers on everything from youth football to winter breaks, from having fewer governing bodies to better facilities for kids playing the game.
I think McLeish's report may well capture the spirit of our times. Football fans are the lifeblood of the game and they want change.
Anyone standing in the way of that change may well find themselves facing a penalty shoot-out from supporters sick to the back teeth of perceived self-interest from those who see little wrong in our game and little reason to change things.
And, if football wants financial help from government and local councils, it will have to show that it is not stuck in a time warp and has something to give back to communities.
Having handed McLeish the ball, Scottish football's movers and shakers may find that, when he kicks off, they are in for an attacking onslaught.