Champions League? You’re having a laugh

Picture: Mel Charles Wales
Picture: Mel Charles Wales
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The Benchman welcomes Michael McGovern and the new artificial pitch.

ANOTHER CHOSEN ONE: Roberto Martinez has promised Everton the Champions League. When Davie Moyes arrived at Goodison back in the dark days of March 2002, he promised he wouldn’t get Everton relegated. Everton are a good club and Moyes did really well there. But Champions League? 
BUDDY CAN YOU SPARE A DIME: Unbelievable sums of money being spoken of in the new TV deal for the English Premiership. Apparently, there is to be an extra, yes- extra,£600,000,000. Of this staggering sum, 80 per cent is going to players. If you have ever seen the players’ car park at some of the grounds, these guys aren’t quite on their uppers. The salary bill for the Premiership clubs for the season 2011/12 was £1.658 billion. While conceding that the players provide the entertainment, surely this is a tad excessive? It stands in sharp contrast to the plight of many ex- professional players who live out their lives in relative obscurity and often in some considerable pain as a result of work-related injuries. The compensation culture wasn’t around in the 50s, 60s and 70s when many were given injections to ensure their availability for a crucial match.
MICHAEL McGOVERN: Good to see the popular keeper sign on again for another season. He was a model of consistency all season and regularly saved the day with many a fine display. He was picked in Northern Irish squads as a Bairn, and I’m sure he’ll add to his cap tally before too long. Added to which- he’s a really nice guy.
TEASER: Which Bairn, who guested for Falkirk during the war, had the nickname “China Heels”?
ANSWERS: Last week’s picture was former Motherwell and Scotland star Billy Hunter pictured in his days with Detroit Cougars.
The team who had four red cards against them at Ibrox was Hearts.
CAMELON JUNIORS: Well done to The Mariners for a successful season in the East Region Superleague. Local junior football is in good shape with Linlithgow and Bo’ness also doing well. Junior football used to be a good recruiting ground for the seniors, but these days are long gone. Oh for the days of the tannoy announcing “Newman, Junior and Trialist...”
PERFECT PITCH: The Grass v Plastic debate goes on. When the club moved into the new stadium weeks were lost while the directors swithered and dithered over the construction of the new surface. Visits here, there and everywhere. Questions about acceptability. Guarantees being sought. Will the SPL approve? Will UEFA approve? Now it all seems academic. Artificial pitches are accepted for the World Cup, Champions League and even Premiership Rugby.
Will it be any worse than the state of the pitch this past season?
QUIZBALL: Well done to the Falkirk Quizball team who drew two games at Fir Park. Former Beatles arranger George Martin was a star supporter.