BENCHMAN: One season wonders, and then...

Can you name this footballer? Pic: supplied
Can you name this footballer? Pic: supplied
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The managerial situation at Leicester has got the Benchman thinking.

I CLAUDIO
What did you make of the sacking of Claudio Ranieri? FIFA awards, universal praise and yet disgracefully sacked with the club still in the Champions League. Was he stabbed in the back? Did the owners panic? In a few days that looked like a scene from a medieval murder mystery play, the dignified and gracious Italian emerged with great credit. He was a likeable guy who brought off one of the great stories of our time.

SECOND SEASON SYNDROME
I remember years ago, back in 1970, watching a young winger called Steve Heighway playing for Liverpool. He was fast, direct and looked like a throwback to the era of Matthews and Finney. He terrorised defences and seemed unplayable. Then came his second season. Full- backs realised how to play him and the magic seemed to wear off. For Heighway read Leicester City. Was Kante that essential to the side? Was Vardy a one-season wonder? Some are even suggesting it was a fluke.

AS YOU WERE
Chances are opening up in the race for the title and promotion, but the leading contenders fail to take them. Hibs, Dundee United, Morton and Falkirk must be kicking themselves with so many points being dropped. The draw at Tannadice was an ideal opportunity to close up, but Falkirk didn’t make it. However- it’s all still to play for and points will be dropped in the most unlikely places.

LOSING THE DRESSING-ROOM
The back-stairs intrigue at Leicester has re-opened the old debate about players, directors and managers. Do players get managers sacked? Many supporters wonder what goes on behind the scenes. Managers and board members don’t make passes, score goals, save penalties or clear shots off the line. How often do we hear remarks like “They’re not playing for him?” If they are not, then there is a problem and changes are needed. Falkirk fans have seen these signs in the past but as always, supporters are never consulted.

ANSWERS
Last week’s picture showed a very young Billy Bremner with a veteran Stanley Matthews. The last opponents in a competitive match at Brockville were Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

TEASER
From which club did Falkirk sign John Prentice as a player?

“FOOTBALL MEN”
Events in other clubs show the need for those in the boardrooms of football clubs to understand the game and what it means to people.
Football is a business, an industry and finance counts. But- and it’s a big, big but- it’s a business like no other. 
It’s about community, passion, civic identity and heritage. Fans are not consumers and this is not a product. When able directors with vision, imagination and commitment are also supporters- then you have a formula for success.

GRANGEMOUTH STAGS
Congratulations to the Grangemouth rugby side after their promotion. 
The decline was alarming, as successive relegations all but destroyed their spirit. Now with great facilities and life in a higher league, things are looking up.

BENCHMARKS
Match rating: 7
Team rating: 6
Opposition: 6
Referee: Mat Northcroft
Best Bairn: Nathan Austin