More Than Just A Game

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Football can be all consuming, a passion that perhaps takes up too much of my time. If I’m not at a game, I’ll be talking to my mates about football, I record a weekly podcast where I talk about football, I have a five-year-old daughter, who I perhaps shamefully hope will grow up to love Motherwell Football Club as much as her dad does – it’s an absolute obsession.

 As we approach the League Cup final in just over a week, football will be on our minds almost constantly, Motherwell in a cup final is a rarity, we will soak it up and dream of the team defying the odds to go on and lift the trophy at Hampden.

At the weekend I watched BBC’s fantastic ‘Nature’s Fire’ documentary on the legendary manager Bill Shankly, who produced perhaps the most famous quote in football: “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.”

While I can’t get on board with football being the most important thing in my life, it would be daft of me disregard the huge bearing the game has on me. However, delving a little further into Shankly’s most famous quotes I found another which I agree with wholeheartedly.

“At a football club, there’s a holy trinity – the players, the manager and the supporters.”

In recent seasons the bond between the players, staff and supporters at Motherwell has broken down quite drastically. It has had an adverse effect on atmosphere around Fir Park and on results on the pitch. The enjoyment of going along to watch my team playing was gone and replaced by an awkward sense of duty.

Thankfully things are certainly looking up. Stephen Robinson spent a busy summer recruiting no fewer than 17 new faces to the club and many of them have played a big role in the team’s excellent start to the season in which they have also reached the final of the Betfred League Cup.

I have written previously about the excellent Fir Park Open Day which was held prior to the beginning of the season, where the full first-team squad signed autographs for hours longer than they were scheduled to, talked to every supporter present, posed for selfies – some even signed mocked up contracts! It was an icebreaker, an event that helped break down the barriers between the supporters and the fans – shifting the atmosphere back to positive at the same time.

While matters on the pitch are undoubtedly the bread and butter of a football, this season has seen the playing staff at the football club go well above and beyond to create special moments for supporters.

Last month Ryan Bowman and Louis Moult made Taylor Drummond’s 21st birthday by visiting him at Wishaw General, bringing along gifts and taking the time to speak to chat to Taylor and his family – a small gesture for a professional footballer to give up a few hours of their day maybe, but the memories and lift that the visit gave Taylor will last forever.

Now as we focus on all things Motherwell and the final, McEwan Fraser Legal, the main shirt sponsor of ‘Well have been running a competition to give a family of four the chance to attend the big day at Hampden.

On Wednesday two young boys in Uddingston received a very special visit from ‘Well players Andy Rose and Richard Tait who presented them with four tickets to go to the showpiece match on Sunday 26 November.

Sadly, the boys lost their dad Brian in August, and understandably it’s been a really difficult time for the whole family – McEwan Fraser Legal and Motherwell FC for maybe just a few hours brought a bit of joy to the boys day.

It’s a simply incredible gesture by the sponsors and their work has rightfully gone viral as a result. Motherwell FC is more than a football club, more than 90 minutes of football every Saturday and gestures like the ones I have mentioned prove exactly that.

Well done to McEwan Fraser Legal and all at Motherwell FC for the fantastic work – the feel good factor is back, the bond between the club, the supporters has returned and we now head to Hampden knowing if nothing else we will be behind every player in Claret and Amber all the way.


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