BENCHMAN: It’s all too easy to forget the board’s better times amidst the bitterness

Who are playing here?   Mystery Pic - The Benchman column, Week 23
Who are playing here? Mystery Pic - The Benchman column, Week 23

The Benchman reflects on the Falkirk FC boardroom occupants, the Betfred Cup and the vast improvements in women’s football.

LEGACY: The outgoing Board faced the anger of fans as relegation became a matter of when, rather than if. Massive strategic mistakes were made, notably in recruitment, and the decline was rapid and alarming. It will be a while before a balanced view of the previous regime can be attempted. It is all too easy to forget their better times. Financial recovery and budget stability, improvement in national reputation, playing achievements in cup finals and play-off places, and high-profile fundraising concerts. These should not be forgotten amidst all the bitterness and the bile.

AND I WOULD WALK: Would you have gone to Baku to see your team in a European Cup Final? Yes. Falkirk fans have turned out in numbers for meaningless European friendlies, often in the middle of nowhere and I have no doubt that real competitive games would attract a significant navy-blue Army following. Take the Texaco Cup game against Coventry and the Europa League match in Vaduz as evidence.

REGIME CHANGE: The statement issued by Martin Ritchie on June 1 seemed to signal the end of the road for the board of directors and maybe some staff as well. Martin Ritchie deserves credit for the time he gave to the club and the significant personal financial investment he made. Despite the views of some, he was very much a Falkirk fan and shared the highs and lows with the rest of the support. He was well respected in Scottish football and he must have been deeply saddened that his time as a board member is ending as it did.

THE LEAGUE CUP: Not our best track record with only one final- way back in 1948. Falkirk were odds-on favourites but went down 4-1 after a 0-0 draw against East Fife, then a second-tier side. Our recent history is better than the dark days of the 50s and 60s when we always seemed to be drawn in a section with Rangers and/or Celtic. The biggest let-down was the defeat to eventual winners Partick Thistle in 1971. There were rumours of dressing-room dissent before the match and I’m sure that Falkirk team would have given Celtic a run for their money. This section is winnable – if we can get a team on the park.

ANSWERS: Last week’s picture was taken at Douglas Park, Hamilton when Accies took on Third Lanark.