The Benchman: Aunty Jean’s fines second time around

The Benchman continues to reflect on the happenings in Scottish Football - and wonders if Jean Sneddon is issuing some socially distant fines?

Mystery Picture: What's the Bairns connection?
Mystery Picture: What's the Bairns connection?

THE MAGIC MONEY TREE: Just when you think you’ve heard it all- another Saturday comes along with a BBC Radio Scotland Sportsound bombshell. Ann “It’s Not About Hearts” Budge comes up with an offer we surely can’t refuse. From out of nowhere, we have a group of anonymous benefactors who want to give money to the game in Scotland- with no strings attached. The mysterious group have already ploughed £9m into Hearts and are now ready to save the game in Scotland. Cue- frantic emails and phone messages to everyone’s favourite administrator Neil Doncaster.

MYSTERY PICTURE: What’s the Bairns connection in the Berwick line-up above?

NEIL DONCASTER: After a wee while, they got a response from the beleaguered Chief Executive who had clearly been under the wrong impression. What on earth would have triggered a request from Mr Doncaster that Ann Budge should produce a paper and the SPFL could then discuss it? Why on Earth should a club chairman be asked to produce a paper for the SPFL to “consider”? That’s your job Mr Doncaster. The Chancellor of the Exchequer must be glad that the bold boy was not put out on furlough by the Jambos.

FIFTY-FIFTY: Well done to the 50/50 subscribers. The virtual Aunty Jean must be delighted. Did she fine those who picked up cards during the games- for a second time?

LIVING IN THE PAST: One thing that the lockdown has done is to highlight the power of football in providing reminiscence activities for supporters. The endless re-runs of classic games, All Time Best teams and online quizzes have all helped get fans through the crisis. The Falkirk Herald has done well to fill nine sports pages each week when there are no “real” games to report on. Maybe for some of us- the past was a better place for certain teams.

THE RECORDED ROAR OF THE CROWD: Cardboard cut-out fans, recorded crowd noise- whatever next? A mechanical dog on the pitch, a scent machine puffing in aromas of Bovril, pies, liniment, spearmint chews and macaroon bars?Apparently, there is something called The Broadcast Enhancement Group whose task is to make the televised games behind closed doors look like the real thing. Falkirk’s Dave Mac is busy recording The Best of Bairns CD. Nurse- the screens!

ANSWERS: Last week’s picture was of an Ayr United team from the mid-50s. In the front row was Willie Fulton who was a great player for Falkirk in the 6os.

DEMENTIA AWARENESS WEEK: This week is Dementia Awareness Week and also Volunteers Week. Football Memories combines both and we are delighted to support this fantastic project which helps so many people in over 250 groups all over the country. The whole project is led by volunteers, including many former players. Alex Duchart, Ian Hunter, Bobby Tasker and the late Johnny Graham have all been involved helping groups and sharing their stories.