Having begun our search for the very worst for each lower league side with Murray Hughes’s collection of crap from Cowdenbeath, we now move into central Scotland and onto Falkirk. The Bairns have been somewhat of a yo-yo club the last 20 years as they have bounced between the top two tiers. For Falkirk historian John Meffen that timeline seems the perfect cut-off point in which to select his horrible, hypothetical worst XI.
This is going to be difficult, a worst Falkirk XI of the last twenty years. I am very comfortable blogging about the history of the club in the days before WWII, which has both good points and bad points; good that they can’t get offended if I say something against them; bad in that I, naturally, never saw any of them play.
However, in the last twenty years I have seen quite a few Falkirk players, not all of whom I think were worthy of wearing the Navy Blue. It is also difficult as I fully admit that all of them were far superior footballers to me. So my first rule, I had to have seen the player turn out for Falkirk, in the flesh; second rule, they had to be a proper Falkirk signed player, i.e. not a player on loan.
So down to the players themselves, I have gone for a four-four-two, unoriginal I know, but It is only fair.
Goalkeeper – Neil Inglis
Really unfair, I only saw him in the navy blue once, in a friendly v Tranmere Rovers and from the half-time kick off, John Aldridge kicked it over his head to score the third goal for Tranmere, I was unimpresssed.
Right-Back Joseph Tortolano
I know several Hibernian fans who I count as friends, who love Joe Tortolano, but he did not do anything for Falkirk, His attitude was not good, mind you – we are never good with people from Stirling – but he never even tried with Falkirk.
Centre-Back [Right] – Neil Berry
In return for the fantastic, stylish, stunning David Weir, we got 33-year old Neil Berry. A former cult-hero at Tynecastle the affection he received did not follow him to Falkirk. I don’t know how to go on, he was awful, he couldn’t tackle, he couldn’t command the area, he just was awful.
Centre-Back [Left] – Crawford Baptie
In his later years, Falkirk tried to resuscitate the career of the awesome Crawford Baptie by putting him in defence, but he was never the most skillful of players as an attacking winger, so it was a horrible experiment, never want to see it again.
Left-Back – Scott MacKenzie
Allow me a little licence with this, Falkirk FC’s worst ever left-back was my hero Scott MacKenzie. I love this bloke, but he played a season at left back because there was no one else. He should have been defensive midfielder, and we should have brought someone into the vacant spot who was actually a natural in the position. He helped us more in midfield.
Right-Midfielder – Davide Xausa
Yes it sounded sexy, we sign a Canadian International who had been alright before with Livingston. However, we should have known, Livi are crap, and he was bound to be the same. If Xausa can play for Canada then you, the reader, could play for Canada,
Central-Midfielder [Right] – David Elliot
Somehow he moved onto Hibernian and became a respectable squad player – not great, but not bad either. That certainly wasn’t the case for two seasons with us. He was awful. He couldn’t pass, couldn’t score, he just wasn’t a very good footballer. Good riddance.
Central-Midfielder [Left] – Derek Ferguson
We paid £250k for Barry’s big brother and were the latest in a succession of clubs to fall for his supposed potential. In actual fact he merely hung around the place and barely looked interested. I can’t remember him doing anything of note in a Falkirk shirt.
Left-Midfielder – David Hagen
I can’t actually think of a really bad outside left, however, we played David Hagen there for many a season, and the boy was just not an outside-left, he was an outside-right who could not compare with ‘Crunchie’ it was the telltale shifting the ball from his left to his right foot that gave it away. Another who we got in good faith from Hearts.
Centre-Forward – Ally Graham
The forward that had dug John Lambie out of so many holes. He failed miserably. Falkirk’s style of having wingers [Crunchie on the right, Davie Hagen on the left just never suited him] and he was left, time and again on his own in the penalty box, with no support, and nowhere near the ball. he simply looked out of pace, and out of place. He played one season and the scuttled off to Thistle.
Centre-Forward – Dominic Iorfa
Supposedly a Nigerian International that Lambie had dug out of the English leagues, it turned out eventually that Dominic had had time trials for the Nigerian sprinting team. Yes he scored on his debut, but his best asset – in fact, just about his only asset – was he could run fast in a straight line.
Sub – Densill Theobald
Who? He never played a single game for Falkirk’s first XI [I hear he played some for the reserves but I never saw them] but he played three games for Trinidad & Tobago in the 2006 World Cup. This was the same World Cup squad that featured the legend Russell Latapy among the line-up, and yet Latapy played only once (as a sub). So we had a player who was of World Cup quality, and apparently better than Latapy, but he never played at all!? Apparently there were some things going on off the field. Regardless, he has to go down as one of the worst signings we’ve ever made.
Manager – John Lambie
Initial high hopes for the boss (and former player) who’d done such a sterling job building Partick Thistle into a top flight side quickly died away. All he seemed to do was replace good players with tall players and thankfully he was chased out of town before the end of the season.
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