The Benchman: Falkirk fans need to stick together

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This week the Benchman assesses the new Falkirk strip, controversy surrounding VAR and issues a rallying call for the fans to stick together.

A STRIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK: Congratulations to those involved in the design of the new Falkirk strip. The return of red socks is long overdue and the introduction of the silhouettes of local landmarks on the sleeves is fantastic.

A STEP TOO VAR: There can’t have been many more bizarre endings to a game than that of the Scotland v Argentina game in the Women’s World Cup. While the decision to award the penalty was debatable, the farce of the retaken kick reduced the whole thing to nonsense. Throughout the history of the game, keepers have moved as the player was about to kick. To ask them to keep a foot on the line is ridiculous. Rugby has the answer. The referee makes the call. The VAR advises, but doesn’t control the referee. Surely some urgent re-think is necessary?

THE PEOPLES’ FRONT OF FALKIRK: Who represents “the fans”? If ever the Monty Python crew got it right it was their analysis of in-fighting and groups trying to achieve the same goals. Falkirk fans are no strangers to rival groups suggesting they speak for the support. Federations, Groups, Societies, Trusts, Associations- we have had them all. “THE” fans bid was tabled and then withdrawn. Who are “THE” fans? If ever Falkirk supporters needed to stand together it is now. Come on, folks- get together and protect our club.

ANSWERS: Last week’s mystery player was Willie Fernie.

FRIENDLY ATTRACTION?: We have seen variations over the years. Good English opposition- Leeds, Manchester City and Everton to name but three, and then more exotic teams from Europe and South America. Who can forget the games against Ajax and The Pumas? The big one this summer is an away trip to Brechin City. Haud me back.

A WINNING BLEND: So far- so good. The signings have been generally received and the recruitment of players known to the manager should ensure a blend of experience and knowledge of the Scottish football scene. Lessons needed to be learned from last summer’s disastrous strategic blunders which were to prove the cause of the club’s relegation. A good start is essential and history has shown that Falkirk’s title successes have been achieved by that combination of youth and experience-and an impressive early run of form.

PROGRAMMED FOR INACTION?: Last season we saw Ross County and Inverness stop issuing programmes. The advance of club websites and social media has left little new current content for programme editors and contributors. Paying £3 for an advertising magazine may no longer be an option for the football supporter, apart from the avid collector.