Benchman: Tell me why, do they fly banners in the sky?

Who is scoring here in this week's mystery pic?
Who is scoring here in this week's mystery pic?

The Benchman will have you singing Ian Van Dahl’s hit as he muses over football fans air-borne protests.

PLANE SAILING

Seeing the banner trailing from the plane over the Bet365 Stadium at Stoke City, asking for Arsene Wenger to go, brought back memories of a similar occurrence at Brockville. Times were tough and the banner read “Ritchie- Invest in Your Bairns”. What do these stunts cost and what is their effectiveness? Banners have little influence except to give the TV cameras something to focus on. Erstwhile Bristol City manager Alan Dicks was the target for a discontented group, but their pictures of their banner which read “Dicks Out” ended up in Private Eye and nearly every national newspaper.

BRIEF AND TO THE POINT

Hardly had the final whistle blown at Starks Park but Raith Rovers announced that the club “had parted company with manager John Hughes and assistant Kevin McBride.” No expression of thanks for the efforts. No wishing them well in the future. John will now have an interesting CV for any future employers, and his time at Falkirk and his cup success at Inverness will be balanced with less impressive spells at Hibs, as well as relegations with Hartlepool and Raith.

ANSWERS

Falkirk signed Liam Craig from Ipswich Town and the mystery pic featured Hearts training at Tynecastle.

LUCKY NUMBER SEVEN

Obviously I’m writing this before I know the outcome of the play-offs, but many years ending with a seven has been good for Falkirk. The club was probably founded in 1877. In 1907- top five finish, 1927- Scottish Cup semi-final, 1947- League Cup Final, 1957- Scottish Cup win, 1997- Scottish Cup final. Will 2017 see promotion back to the top flight?

MYSTERY PIC

Who is scoring in the picture above?

MIND THE TIME

The first book of Scottish Football Poetry is being launched on Wednesday June 7 at Hampden Park. Entitled “Mind the Time”, it features contributions from several of Scotland’s top poets. Copies priced £10 will be on sale soon and all proceeds go towards the Football Memories Project.

BETTER DAYS AHEAD?

I was impressed by Ian McCall’s open and frank account of his gambling addiction. The brutal honesty stood out in stark contrast to several accounts which ignored the human aspects of this problem. Clearly there IS a problem and PFA Scotland are working hard to provide advice, education and counselling.

NORTH-EAST BLUES

Sunderland and Middlesbrough relegated. Hartlepool drop to the Conference. Only Newcastle’s promotion eased the gloom and doom in a football hot-bed.

TEASER

In 1992/93 season, Falkirk shared 9 goals with Celtic at Brockville. What was the score?

EUROPEAN REWARDS

Europa League – who cares? It’s a Mickey Mouse tournament. Wrong. Jose Mourinho knows only too well that it is a route into the Champions League and his team selections against Celta Vigo show that he wants to win this. Unlike the disrespect that some managers show towards the FA Cup, this now matters. Why don’t the SPFL do the same with the League Cup here in Scotland? Let the winners get a European place. Then watch the managers send out proper teams.