The Milk Round… remember it?

Date: 13th May 2022

Our second weekly blog provided by our Donald Stewart.

The Milk Round… remember it?

The management recruitment group of the SPFL hire team had set up a working group to consider how best to sort the recruitment puzzle of early spring. Since the agenda had gone onto item two – how to sort the spring dilemma – there had been collective silence.

Let’s have a milk round somebody then said out loud!

“A what?” asked the younger people in the group.

“Oh, you remember them,” explained the older originator of the idea. “It was when all the graduates went into a hall and there were prospective employers coming in to view them, have stalls and pick the brightest and the best.”

“Do we have bright and best,” smirked one of the younger crew in the room.

A ripple of laughter descended amongst those who were contemplating how best to get the jobs out there known to the widest number of candidates in the field. Slowly, with the laughter dying, there was an agreement that it was not a half bad idea and arranged centrally, the milk round was back.

The invitations went out, the venue, a big hall with side rooms was booked and people were invited.

Today was the day. There were a few who had turned up. What had not appeared obvious to the organising committee was that there were a few companies who had people in post, they wanted rid of, so they had booked the side rooms to hide their intentions.

There was not a lot of activity in the side rooms, though the biggest company in Leith were busy in there thrashing a few things out, whilst in the main hall two people were stood standing still in the middle waiting.

Some warn, it’s the hope that kills you.

But in the end, someone always gets picked… Don’t they?

This is the picture where the graduates of the school of hard dugouts, done for the year, stand waiting for their new suitors to come through the door and pick their next dance partner…

Or at least that is how it seems to the two people now expectantly waiting in the Great Hall…

Picture the scene…

It is a brisk May morning and Mr. Brown, formerly of the East End of Glasgow and most recently the Northeast stands next to Mr. Martindale. Both have a nervousness about them as the “Milk Round” of graduate job offers are supposed to there to be grabbed with enthusiasm. There does not seem to be much by way of activity.

They know there may be late entries and there are a couple of people who they know have yet to fully graduate and announce they are ready for their next step but for the moment, both are standing tall and hopeful. They are also not naïve enough not to know that there shall be many who “are not looking” until an offer comes in and they shall take the job that either Mr. Martindale or Mr. Brown wanted.

Whilst Mr. Brown is fresh, new and untried, Mr. Martindale, the more mature of the two, has come through a remarkable year in West Lothian. Whilst not fancied for many of the top opportunities, Mr. Martindale believes he has a great opportunity to stay in West Lothian and build but the call has come that might see him at a bigger position within a bigger company and he is at worst, interested.

So far two prospective employers have swung by. One from Fleetwood, Mr. Martindale thought he recognised a rock band that came from there, and the more local Kirkcaldy one. Mr. Martindale seems to have attracted the interest of the English company whilst Mr. Brown is hoping to stay local.

Both are not in the running for the Leith based job that is being considered in the next hallway, though Mr. Brown has connections – as a younger man he had spent time there. Neither are particularly livid about that as the names being mentioned are so familiar to both of them. They are not going to be able to compete with them. When they are contemplating wider issues it does make them wonder about why you would spend so much time at the away days in Largs or study late into the night because the usual, well graduated suspects get all the top opportunities. Mr. Brown is particularly unhappy about that because he knows he took a gamble in the Northeast that did not quite pay off. He hoped he had joined a company that would not only develop him but give him his first steps onto that managerial ladder. It was not to be.

Mr. Martindale, after a long while, turned to Mr. Brown with what he hoped was a grin.

“Well, Mr. Brown, looks it is just us.”

“Aye,” Mr. Brown was a man of few words.

“Don’t think it will help our cause.”

“Nope,” Mr. Brown replies. Again, brevity being the key to his method of communication.

“Eye on anything?” asked Mr. Martindale.

Mr. Brown turned his head, the first time any part of him had moved aside from his eyes or mouth. He looked at Mr. Martindale suspiciously. Mr. Martindale returned the smile, that never came with, “I don’t think  Mr. Brown that we are each other’s competition.”

With an acute sense of what happens around him, Mr. Martindale can see what Mr. Brown cannot, as a certain Mr. Thomson, formerly a colleague of Mr. Brown, both at the Leith company seeking a new person next door enters the hall and shakes hands with the Kirkcaldy delegation. Mr. Brown turns at that point and realises all may not be well…


Whilst the author asserts his right to this as an original tale, there is no evidence that managers are brought together like cattle for consideration at a hiring fayre, unless you know differently, so this is clearly a work of fiction.

The fact is that as we get to the end of the season the annual dance of which manager moves to which new club has started and David Martindale may be on his way to Fleetwood Town and Stephen Thomson and Scott Brown are the most quoted to replace John McGlynn at Raith Rovers. As for Hibernian, some suggest nipping down to whatever recruitment fayre that is being run might be better than their recruitment processes in the last season…

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