Tag: Scottish Football

MFC Podcast 2017-18 – Episode 9

 

Following sound issue during the original recording of the podcast, Sparra was joined by Graham Barnstaple and Peter Elder to look back on the 2-0 victory over Kilmarnock, preview the forthcoming fixture against Hibernian at Easter, discuss the Motherwell squad joining the ‘Well Society, the decision of the EPL clubs to close their summer transfer window and much more.

MFC Podcast 2017-18 – Episode 8

Motherwell F.C, Chief Operating Officer, Alan Burrows joins Sparra, Busta and Jay to reflect on the transfer window, update on Project Brave, look ahead to the future at Fir Park, go over the under-20’s injury-time loss to Crusaders, preview Saturday’s fixture with Kilmarnock and much, much more.

 

The Transfer Window – Can We Stop This Circus?

Another transfer-window and while Jim White and his band of over excited reporters cry with delight as the transfer total for the English Premier League clubs since June rises beyond the £1.3 BILLION mark, Scottish clubs are battling to secure loan-deals, free transfers and to retain their prized assets in the face of derisory offers from their English counterparts.

 There’s little point in me spending a great deal of time moaning about the spending levels in modern football – it’s a debate that has been done to death. Although it also can be very difficult at times like this when it is constantly shoved down our throat – we’ve even got a page on the BBC Sport website where if you enter your yearly income it’ll tell you how many centuries it will take you to earn his yearly salary. Those reporting on these absurd transfers aren’t only embracing the staggering money involved they are promoting it and making light of it.

It feels like there’s little hiding place from this nonsense, deadline-day is a Sky Sports led PR machine that has expanded on a yearly basis. Deadline-day has now reached the point where club’s down south appear to be in on the act, waiting to the final day to finalise deals and create that extra ‘excitement’, however while the eye-watering levels of spending continues in England and across the rest of European football’s ‘elite leagues’, spare a thought for the rest of us left behind by the this stunt.

The Knock-On Effect

 Let me get this back on track finally…

While the astronomical levels of spending down south are generally exclusive to the top two leagues, the increased revenue of the lower league sides is proving to be a thorn in the side of a number of Scottish clubs.

For Motherwell fans transfer deadline-day is rarely a day worth crowding outside Fir Park for, sorry I’ll rephrase that, it has never been a day for doing that, although recent years have seen us buck the trend somewhat a move some deals both in and out over the line on the final day. This summer an interest in a number of our top assets has caused some concern with the club being challenged to show resolve in the face of a number of derisory offers for players of huge importance to the team.

This is not particularly unfamiliar territory for Motherwell or indeed the majority of Scottish clubs who often are required to sell a player to a so-called ‘bigger club’ in order to keep functioning as they should. Indeed it’s not been a secret that Motherwell sell ‘a vision’ to players that if they perform well in their time at the club then they will reap the rewards with a move to the promised land of English football. However the landscape is changing their too, what was once a move to a ‘bigger team’ now seems to be pretty much a sideways move in terms of average crowds and honours, but a staggering leap in income.

There has been an element of positive news from the bonkers deals in England, when one of our former players, Marvin Johnson departed his current side Oxford for Middlesbrough in a deal that will net ‘Well around £750,000 in sell-on fees, but again the knock-on effect kicks in.

Oxford have now netted around £9million in transfer-fees in the last year and while a player making the step-up from League One to the Championship in England commands a substantial transfer fee, the teams in League One clearly don’t share the same view of Scottish players moving to ply their trade in the English lower divisions. This is clearly represented in derisory offers for players such as Chris Cadden and Louis Moult who both have already been targeted by the League One outfit, but with offers well below their value.

There’s a degree of arrogance to this, in my view this is an attitude to being surrounded by the big money of the EPL and the Championship. Washed-up former manager David Pleat produced a staggering interview on radio earlier this year where he suggested along the lines of there were ‘some good players in Scottish football, if you looked hard enough’, this in relation to Jackson Irvine, a player who left Ross County for Burton Albion, only to move for big money to Hull City a year later. Look down your nose all you like at our game, but while you can suggest that the lack of infrastructure and facilities or bad diet and drink culture or ruining our game, why not consider we also have the proximity to the big money and sheer arrogance of English football?

While I need to concede that a Motherwell or Kilmarnock can’t compete with an Oxford or Burton Albion financially, I do struggle to accept they have a substantially more spending power due to deadline-day, Sky Sports and this seemingly never ending circus.

Jim White might be wetting himself with excitement, Leicester and West Brom may be signing a new left-back from Italy that nobody has ever heard of out of sheer panic, if this is your version of football and excitement, I want out.

MFC Podcast 2017-18 – Episode 6

Sparra, Busta and Jay welcome along Motherwell club journalist, Lewis Irons to look back on the victory over Ross County, reflect on success for the U20’s in the Irn Bru Cup, discuss transfer speculation around Fir Park, pay tribute to Stephen McManus as he calls time on his playing career, look ahead to Saturday’s meeting with Hearts and much more.

MFC Podcast 2016-17 – Episode 5

Sparra and Jay are joined by Herald and Times Deputy Head of Sport, Scott Mullen to discuss the highly controversial defeat to St Johnstone, look back on the midweek League Cup win against Ross County, debate the transfer window and whether Louis Moult will remain at Fir Park, reflect on Jacob Blyth departing Fir Park and much more.

Falling Back In…

Words: Andy Ross @AJR2022

Image: @SNSGroup

Last night’s 3-2 League Cup victory was another turning point, in falling back in with football.

 A League Cup second-round victory in the Highlands was always going to be a cause for celebration. A 370-mile round trip from Motherwell via various other stops to collect friends, an encounter where we experienced both highs and lows, from losing a lead on two separate occasions, to the perceived injustice of losing Charles Dunne to a red-card for the incident that led to Craig Curran levelling at 2-2, then there was the scenes that followed Ross MacLean’s wonderfully taken winning goal followed by the relief and jubilation on the referee’s final whistle.

Progression to a cup quarter-final isn’t something that many ‘Well fans will take lightly, particularly given cup failure has become almost a staple diet in recent seasons – I won’t mention any individual games but we all know of a few that will instantly spring to mind. For that reason winning a cup game in the circumstances in which the team did last night was very special.

The celebrations at full-time were brilliant, back to those moments of grabbing the nearest stranger for a hug, punching the air and generally feeling as if you had kicked every ball over the course of the 120-minutes. Is there any other form of ‘entertainment’ gives you those amazing highs and crushing lows? I don’t believe there is one.

Time moves quickly in football and incredibly it was only six months ago that I sat down and wrote about experiencing feelings that I had never encountered before; I had come to the conclusion that I had fallen out with football.

In that blog piece I described that:

“I don’t even think it’s a feeling of acceptance, there’s no arguing that the team and the manager are performing nowhere near the level they should be and that is reflected in our current league position. That makes it even more concerning that at a time where the club is now fan owned, that people are beginning to develop a feeling of indifference towards supporting Motherwell.”

For those who want to go back to unhappier times, you can read the piece in full HERE

Well thankfully things have changed quite a lot in the last six months or so, a huge number of factors both on and off the pitch that have made my experiences of following the team I love so much more enjoyable.

I’ll go back to last night to start things off, as the full-time whistle sounded, to a man the players and management team all came over to applaud the dedicated band of 200 or so travelling fans, in a moment where we could all celebrate as one – this Motherwell team seems very much built on an understanding that togetherness and spirit are key factors. I think as a support all we demand from those pulling on a Claret & Amber shirt is that they put in their very best on every occasion they do so – playing football is a privilege and it’s hugely important that those in a Motherwell shirt treat it as such. The club doesn’t operate on a budget that means we can compete with the very top teams in our league financially, but with the right attitude there’s absolutely no reason why on our day we can’t go to head-to-head with any team.

Of course me sitting battering at a keyboard isn’t going to make the slightest bit of difference, this attitude has to on show throughout the club, from the very top down. Stephen Robinson has come into Fir Park and shown a real desire to make the squad, performances and results better. He achieved his first objective in ensuring the team remained in the top-flight of Scottish football last season and this season despite the fact we are in the very early stages appears to have instilled a feeling of belief and pride in the jersey. He kicks every ball on the sidelines and when bringing players to the club seems to try sell them a vision, that while we are unable to pay top wages, that Fir Park is the perfect place to come to and further your career – as long as you are willing to put the work in.

The appointment of Keith Lasley as his assistant of course will help this cause too – a man that never shirked a tackle during his esteemed playing career with the club, he knows what that MFC means to the supporters, the local community and most importantly loves the team. He has experienced the highs and the lows at Fir Park, from European adventures and second-place finishes, to relegation battles and administration. I struggle to see any player putting in any less than their very best for the cause and ‘Las being willing to accept that.

Behind the scenes the club sets the bar extremely high too, Alan Burrows’ Tweet, five hours after arriving home from Dingwall, that he was back in his office ‘buzzing’ raised as much of a laugh as it did a sense of real pride that we appear to have a wealth of people at Motherwell who are obsessed by the club – doing the very best they can every day to make the club better. The media and commercial teams also deserve huge amount of praise – for their tireless work and dedication to the cause – Lewis Irons’ post-match interview with the manager was posted at around 2:30am last night – it was much welcomed as we endured those final few miles of the journey.

In my blog written back in February, I had mentioned there were reasons for optimism, that my love would return and while perhaps my lack of sleep and trying to navigate my way through the final hours of my working day are playing a part on what may seem quite an over-reaction to a good night on the park, but frankly even without last night, things just seem better.

Season ticket initiatives have swelled and encouraged the younger generation to take up supporting Motherwell, some making their very strides into the years of highs and lows that I have described earlier. The players again have clearly bought into this, spending well over their allotted time at the recent club Open Day signing autographs, posing for selfies and chatting to fan old and new. In a time where footballers are often depicted as taking fans for granted, it was refreshing to see that at Motherwell that is quite simply not the case.

The ‘Well Society also appear to finally be making strides to reach out to the wider support and their recent initiative to welcome local Syrian refugees, brought acclaim and exposure in both the local and national press and the recent launch of an Exiles Club is sure to also help increase involvement in the Society from across the world – why stop at Lanarkshire?

Oh and then there was the launch of the new mascots, the fantastic work in the Summer Soccer Camps by the Community Trust and recent signing Charles Dunne lacking the faith in his singing abilities so instead forfeiting his initiation song and instead buying a young fan a new kit with his fine – a lovely gesture that the boy in question will never forget.

The feel good is back, the results might not always be how we like but Motherwell F.C. really feels like a club moving in the right direction – let’s see what the next six months bring.

 

MFC Podcast 2017-18 – Episode 4

Sparra, Busta & Jay congregate to discuss the narrow 2-1 defeat to Rangers on Sunday, the upcoming matches in Dingwall and Perth, the progress of our new signings, the recent unveiling of the club’s new mascots, and more.

MFC Podcast ‘Off-Air 3’ – 25 Greatest MFC Post-War Players

For the final edition of the MFC Podcast’s ‘Off-Air’ series, the Podcast will be teaming with The Well Society and the Motherwell support to compile the ‘Greatest 25 Motherwell Post-War players.

Set for release in November 2017 (exact date TBC in the next few weeks), this publication promises to be the perfect Christmas gift for all ‘Well fans and will follow on from the hugely popular first two editions of ‘Off-Air’.

The first two editions of the book raised over £2000 for ‘Imogen’s Dream’ charity while proceeds from the final edition will be donated to the ‘Well Society’ as the ‘Double Your Money’ initiative pledge by Les Hutchison draws to a close at the conclusion of 2017.

This edition will feature interviews and profiles of those voted by the ‘Well support as the club’s ‘25 Greatest Post-War Players’.

Voting for the ‘Greatest 25 Post-War Motherwell Players’ is now open and you can submit your vote by emailing your top 10 to Vote@MFC1886.com.

The player listed number one on your list will receive 10 points, second will get nine points, right down to your number 10 on your list receiving one point – voting closes at 6pm on Friday, September 1st.

We will also be accepting postal votes, which can be submitted to MFC Podcast, 6 Ross Gardens, Motherwell, ML1 3BE or by submitting your vote in person to a Well Society representative at any of the stations within Fir Park on a match-day.

You can Pre-Order ‘Off-Air 3’ NOW – with the first 150 orders receiving the opportunity to have their name printed on the back-cover of the publication.

 The only way to guarantee a copy is via pre-order – there will be only a small number of copies available following the pre-order process.

MFC Podcast 2017-18 – Episode 3

Sparra, Busta and Joe McKelvie are joined by Motherwell assistant manager Keith Lasley to look back on Motherwell’s final two Betfred League Cup fixtures and react to the draw for the last 16. Also on the agenda was a preview to the start of the new Scottish Premiership, Keith’s reaction to Carl McHugh replacing him as club captain, Louis Moult’s future at the club, the Fir Park Open Day, The Well Society welcoming Syrian guests to Fir Park and much, much more.

MFC Podcast 2017-18 – Episode 2

 

Andrew Paterson joins Sparra, Busta and Jay to look back on the 4-0 win over Morton in the Betfred League Cup, preview fixtures against Edinburgh City and Berwick Rangers, look ahead to the return of the Fir Park Open Day, discuss the Well Society organising a free trip to Fir Park for Syrian refugee’s on Saturday, Craig Clay’s move to Leyton Orient and much more.

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