The Benchman remembers the great Falkirk side that was disrupted by the outbreak of the Great War in 1914.
A COMPETITIVE LEAGUE? Surely there was never such odds at the bookies for a team to win their league - Celtic 1/40 on? Imagine the millions flocking to their TVs to see the live action from Ross County v St.Mirren or St.Johnstone vs Killie? This could be the record when a league was won before Christmas. Now - what if a team like Aberdeen started to struggle and faced relegation? Watch another swift league reconstruction if two from Rangers/Hearts/Hibs didn’t get promotion and someone like The Dons came down.
SMOKE BOMBS: Come on guys. Whether it was thrown by a Falkirk fan, a passing seagull or launched from the back garden of one of the houses in Wellington Street, it doesn’t matter. One day someone is going to get hurt. Support your team, make some noise - but leave the flares at Grangemouth Docks.
WHEN WAR BROKE OUT: This week has seen a focus on the events of 1914 and the commemoration of the outbreak of World War One. At that time, Falkirk were a really strong team and regularly finished in the top six in the old First Division. Under William Daddy Nicol they were a major force to be reckoned with and he had built a side capable of challenging for honours. The Scottish Cup win of 1913 was an indication of their ability and Falkirk players were regularly selected for the national sides. It is a very difficult task to trace professional players who died in the war, but there were at least seven fatalities of former Bairns players.
ARE THE BOOKIES PANICKING YET?: Every year I put of a “foolish bet” as a pal calls it - an accumulator to pick the winners of every league in the country. This year’s selections are as follows: Liverpool, Derby, Leyton Orient, Portsmouth, Celtic, Falkirk, Morton and East Fife. Could be all over very quickly. On the other hand, at 6,229,114/1.
TEASER: Which Falkirk player from the 1950s was known as The Count?
ANSWERS: The picture printed in last week’s paper was two sets of brothers in the Wales team; John and Mel Charles and Ivor and Len Allchurch. The picture online was of Cathkin Park in Glasgow’s southside during its early 1960s heyday, before the demise of Third Lanark. When Simon Stainrod played for The Bairns, the sponsors were Beazer Homes.