The Benchman: Lift over mister? Not anymore

Mystery picture: Can you name the team?
Mystery picture: Can you name the team?

Well done to ex-Bairns Michael McGovern and Tim Krul from the Benchman – but not so warm wishes to the blazerati at Hampden as he rues the demise of the working man’s game.

AN IDEAL SCORE OPPORTUNITY MISSED: 3-0 was a fair reflection of the game, but no doubt many TV and radio fans were hoping for a 5-4 score to rival the legendary East Fife 4 Forfar 5 result made famous by Eric Morecambe. There was a great game at Brockville in October 1984 when the game finished 6-4 to The Loons and spoilt the opportunity for reporters and announcers like Leonard Martin and James Alexander Gordon to show off. In April 1964, the famous result almost happened, but the wrong team was at home - Forfar 5 East Fife 4.

THE KEY TO SUCCESS: Falkirk looked a far better side with the one holding midfielder in that first half and there is no denying the attacking options available to the manager. To achieve promotion, there needs to be a similar approach in away games and most fans would welcome that. Let’s hope that the games at Clyde and Airdrie were wake-up calls.

ANSWERS: Last week’s mystery player was the legendary Tommy Lawton in his Arsenal days. A 20 year-old Camelon lad, Willie Corbett, marked Lawton out of the game in a wartime international match at Wembley, but with it being wartime, Willie never played for his country again.

EX BAIRNS TOPPLE CHAMPIONS: Well- not quite, but it was great to see Tim Krul play his part in Norwich’s 3-2 win over Manchester City. With eight players out injured, Michael McGovern was on the bench for The Canaries and he was one of TWO goalies on the bench.

LIFT ME OVER, MISTER: Standing on empty beer-crates or asking the adults to lift you over the turnstile seem a long, long time ago, especially when you look at the cost of getting into matches now. A family of five would need a small fortune to follow their team away, even allowing for taking your own food and drink (no bottles or cans of course). The working man’s game? Not any more.

HERE WE GO AGAIN?: In the aftermath of the defeats by Russia and Belgium, we have the predictable outcome from the blazerati at Hampden. Let’s have another enquiry/commission/report/consultant/adviser/case-study/site visit/study/analysis. Noooooooooo! Where did it all go wrong? Go into any pub or club in any part of Scotland and they will tell you. These guys have seen us go from a proud force in European Football to a laughing-stock in their adult life-time. Trace the decline from the ending of schools football on a Saturday morning and the arrival of over-paid, second-rate overseas players, add in those who see a business opportunity instead of a community asset, and a generation of badge-chasing coaches who stifle flair and natural talent in favour of stale uniformity and chess-matches instead of full-blooded tests of ability, commitment and passion.