Benchman: Won’t somebody think of the children?

Top flight turkeys won’t vote for Christmas, blasts The Benchman, who insists something must be done for the sake of the game – and a big-name signing who no-one’s heard of is not the answer!


Video assistance might be introduced in next season’s Scottish Cup. What about the SPFL? This column has long advocated such a role for those fourth officials who seem to me to serve no useful or constructive purpose. Look at the mistakes that are being made week in, week out. Even the referees seem to welcome this development. Come on Mr. Doncaster – get a grip. 


Scottish Football continues to turn the proverbial blind eye to the rising tide of opinion that suggests that our national game in a sorry state. Report, consultation, report, consultation, petition, consultation, report etc, etc. We have had enough of the top flight turkeys who will not vote for Christmas. We still need an 11-1 vote? North Korea would seem a beacon of democracy by comparison. In what must be the biggest act of denial since the circumnavigation of the globe, these self- interested suits can’t see we have a national team in decline, clubs failing in Europe, stadiums half empty, fixtures of endless tedium, prices out of reach of the working man or woman and an endless import of over-priced and underachieving foreign players. The Supporters Summit at Hampden Park last Sunday showed the depth of feeling in favour of major changes. What will it take to get bigger, better leagues and opportunities for young Scottish players?


The transfer window opens and the lemmings all rush to sign overseas players. ‘Major’ signings are trumpeted as clubs try to convince their fans that they are strengthening the side. You need to be a championship addict to trace some of these guys. Many of them are modern mercenaries with no loyalty to a club, no identification with their local community and their sole focus is on their next lucrative move.


Many believe that Academies must be the way forward, but the debate is worth having. What happened to the other routes into the first team squad, such as recruitment from schools, youth football or Juniors? The cost of the academy structure needs to be weighed up against the income from the elusive “million pound transfer” we are told would be the life blood of the clubs. How many of the academy “graduates” actually generate that windfall, as opposed to being told they are not good enough and drift away down the leagues. The Development League provides an opportunity to play against their peer groups, but are nowhere nearly as effective a training ground as the Reserve Leagues once were. Youngsters often learned more in 90 minutes against an experienced old head than they ever did in games against other promising youngsters.


Last week’s mystery player was Willie Redpath and Falkirk transferred Tony Parks to Blackpool.


To which club did Falkirk transfer Scott Arfield?


(Linlithgow v Forfar)

Match rating: 10

Team rating: 9

Opposition: 8

Referee: Finnie 5