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Page last updated at 12:21 GMT, Tuesday, 17 August 2010 13:21 UK

Henry McLeish buoyed by football review response

Scottish football on turn - McLeish

Henry McLeish hopes to have the second part of his Scottish Football Review published later this year and has been heartened by the appetite for change.

And the former First Minister believes the game's ruling bodies can work together to implement his proposals.

"I've seen a sea change in the relationship between the big footballing authorities," said McLeish.

"There is a tremendous window of opportunity and if we don't take advantage of that it may not happen."

In April McLeish made 53 recommendations in the first part of his review - focusing on the grassroots and calling for investment of £500m.

"I'm delighted that significant progress has been made," he said, revealing that he was helping Scottish Football Association vice president Campbell Ogilvie with an implementation group.

"There is a substantial amount of cooperation which didn't exist before and there is a general recognition that the game is not in a good condition and we need to improve it.

"I'm hopeful that part two will be finalised by October/November because it's important to keep up the momentum.

Scottish football is on the turn, we're looking ahead with a lot more confidence

Henry McLeish

"We've looked at the foundations of the game and there are other issues in terms of the league structure, in terms of a winter break, in terms of governance.

"These are big issues and I'm hopeful at the start of next year looking forward there will be significant changes on the cards and it's up to us then to make sure we get on and improve football."

McLeish admitted that he has not yet met the SFA's new chief executive Stewart Regan but has been impressed by what he has heard from the former Yorkshire County Cricket Club man.

"When you look to the future horizon - we are going to have a new chief executive, a new national performance director, and of course, we have a first class national coach," continued McLeish.

"Scottish football is on the turn, we're looking ahead with a lot more confidence and I'm sure the new chief executive will fit in, want to take this forward and we will have three people able to drive the game on, so that's excellent."

On the subject of a national performance director, McLeish said that progress was being made.

"Campbell Ogilvie with some help from consultants is pushing that forward," he revealed. "We're hopeful that we'll have a job description completed before the end of August, then we'll be looking at recruiting someone.

"Currently we are looking for a buy-in from all the clubs, all the top coaches, to the concept of a national performance director and this has been given a high priority.

"It's so important because it touches every aspect of the game and, if we're talking about young people and talent, we need to make sure we get them in the system, measure their progress and make sure that every year we are constantly investing and reinvesting.

"I've seen a sea change in terms of the commitment everybody has now to the improvement of the game and I've seen a sea change in the possibilities that are opening up.

"You can have all the policies, all the recommendations, but without goodwill you're not going to make much progress.

"That goodwill exists and I think it is up to myself and everyone connected to the game to make sure this momentum continues."

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see also
Regan named SFA chief executive
28 Jul 10 |  Scotland
Change demanded in Scots football
23 Apr 10 |  Scotland
Lennon critical of academies plan
23 Apr 10 |  Scotland
Scots Government welcomes report
23 Apr 10 |  Scotland
Scots fans asked to assist review
13 May 09 |  Scotland

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