BENCHMAN: Former clubs and former players

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Former Bairns Davie Weir and Owen Coyle have found clubs in England while older Bairns heard about one of Falkirk’s old opponents


After all the fuss, threats and shadow-boxing, we now have a major change in Scottish Football- erm, well not really major. Same old divisional structure. Same teams. The merger/takeover of the leagues was a step forward, as was the start of a pyramid structure. But all in all- was it what the game needed? A first step maybe.
BROKEN HEARTS: It seems no time since George Foulkes was hailing Vladimir Romanov as the man to save Hearts and get them into the elite group of European Football. On his visits to Falkirk there was always an army of minders and hangers-on and at times there was an element of farce about proceedings. I’ll never forget the look of panic on the faces of his minders at the Haymarket War Memorial Service. A near-by window was raised to enable a local family to get a better view and immediately they reached into their jackets, fearing an assassination attempt. The Falkirk deputation moved swiftly to their left well away from the Lithuanian entourage.
THIRD LANARK: The sad tale of dubious owners came back into sharp focus when Bob Laird’s excellent talk on Third Lanark was delivered as part of the “More Than A Game” series in Glasgow. 
The club went out of existence with debts of £31,000.Yet the club had a great history and some considerable achievements. Imagine a crowd of 88,000 to see Thirds and Celtic in a Glasgow Cup Final. The Hi-Hi had finished third in Division One behind Rangers and Kilmarnock  only six years before it folded, in the 1960–61 season, scoring 100 goals in the process. Lessons haven’t been as far as due diligence is concerned.
A MILLION REASONS TO BEAT CHELSEA: Imagine Neil Warnock being offered £1,000,000 if QPR beat Chelsea? He makes the claim in his new book “The Gaffer” and allegedly, the steel billionaire Lakshmi Mittal made this offer to a QPR Director. It was never paid. Talk about a bonus culture?
THE ROAD TO WIGAN PIER: On the subject of bonuses, Owen Coyle the new boss at Wigan is on “an incentive-based contract”. I thought everyone in football was. Simon Stainrod was paid £1 a week basic wage while he was at Brockville, but the add-ons for appearances, goals and league position made the deal much more attractive. Good Luck to Owen and it’s good to see some more ex-Bairns managing Down South.
DAVIE WEIR: Congratulations to Davie on getting the job at Sheffield United. He is a genuinely nice guy and I hope he does well at the club.
TEASER: Which former Falkirk player made his Scotland début in August 2008 as a half-time substitute against Northern Ireland at Hampden Park?
ANSWERS: Last week’s picture was Mel Charles and the player known as “China Heels” was Charlie Napier.
MYSTERY PIC: Can you name the little boy with the glasses in the picture above? There’s a larger image at