BENCHMAN: At the TV and football crossroads

Benchman mystery pic March 17 - Who is this?
Benchman mystery pic March 17 - Who is this?

The Benchman reckons the 3pm kick-off routine is in grave danger.

TELEVISION AND FOOTBALL

We are reaching a real crossroads with televised football. Incredibly high fees (in England at least) means clubs agree to changing dates and times at will. Those who feel football is a Saturday afternoon pastime are losing the battle. Not everyone who buys a season ticket can manage Friday night, Sunday lunchtime or Monday evening matches.

SCOTT ARFIELD

What have I done to deserve this- as Dusty Springfield and the Pet Shop Boys once sang. Gordon Strachan picks two sides to play in meaningless Friendlies against the Czech Republic and Denmark and you have to question some of the selection. Meanwhile Canada could include Scott Arfield against Mexico.Scotty won 17 Scotland Under 21 caps and has played for Scotland B. He has scored several great goals for Burnley and is regularly their best player. That is the same Burnley who top the English Championship and who are playing a much better standard of football than that found in most SPFL matches. One that got away?

FORWARD PLANNING

I have never known a management team get their close season shopping done so quickly. Pre-contracts signings were once frowned upon, and indeed Falkirk were once censured for getting Andy Thomson on such an agreement. Well done Houstie and good to see such advance planning.

HARD CORE SUPPORT

Well deserved award to manager Peter Houston for keeping the club up there challenging for that second spot. In any real league, the top two would be promoted, but we all know that the Self Preservation Football League isn’t a real league. It’s the classic Emperor’s New Clothes syndrome. The fans want bigger leagues, more competitive football, better facilities, lower prices and maybe summer football. What do they know? Let me tell you this boy, I’ve been on seventeen SFA committees, have been to UEFA and FIFA conferences and met the Queen,the Pope and the President of the USA -and have sixteen different blazers in my wardrobe- don’t talk to me about football!

ANSWERS

Last week’s mystery player was Bolton’s Nat Lofthouse and Jimmy Gilmour came to Brockville from Partick Thistle.

TEASER

From which club did Falkirk sign Tam McManus?

HOW’S YOUR GLASS?

Half full- or half empty? The unbeaten run continues and a point gained. Two points dropped and hanging on, corner-flagging against 10 men? All the statistics were in Falkirk’s favour, except fouls committed, but a 1-0 lead was never enough. Two dodgy penalties and a woeful lack of atmosphere made for a long journey back.It must have looked awful for the millions watching in Gaelic on BBC ALBA.For those in Camalan, An Eaglais Bhreac, Inbhir Ghrainnse and Poll-Mhonadh who couldn’t get through to Dun Breatann- you didn’t miss much.

JUNIOR BAIRNS

Hard to believe that the organisation is almost 25 years old!Well Done Sarah and Co for a great achievement. Junior Bairns of Junior Bairns are already members.

BENCHMARKS
 (Dumbarton)

Match rating: 5

Team rating: 6

Opposition: 5

Referee:Dallas 3

Best Bairn: Mark Kerr.