Category: Blog

The Last Word v Hearts 16/8

Maxwell, Nijholt, Angus, Paterson, McCart, Boyd, Cooper, Griffin, O’Donnell, Ferguson, Arnott, O’Neill and Kirk. 

Ask any Motherwell fan to rhyme off the names of the players who clinched Scottish Cup glory on 18 May 1991 and they will do so with ease.

Tommy McLean and his side ensured legendary status at the football club on that day by winning a thrilling encounter after extra time and in the process ending the club’s 39 year wait for a major trophy – the last of which came with a 4-0 success over Dundee to earn the club their first ever Scottish Cup triumph.

Over 28 years on and it’s fair to say a lot has happened at the club during that time.

Three second place finishes, European qualification on nine occasions, the emergence of James McFadden, the pain of administration, 13 different managers, two League Cup finals and two Scottish Cup finals. Sadly though, another major trophy has escaped our grasp.

To compound that frustration for ‘Well fans during that period the likes of Raith Rovers, Inverness, St Mirren, Livingston and St Johnstone have all won either the League or Scottish Cup. Without attempting to engage in a debate on the size and stature of Motherwell in comparison to any of these sides, it certainly has been difficult to watch on as supporters of those teams have enjoyed their unlikely success.

Similar to being able to rhyme off the 1991 side, fans will also be able to do the same with cup disappointments. The indirect free kick in the 2006 League Cup semi-final, losing to 10-man Aberdeen in the last eight of the same competition in 2013 or what about THAT Albion Rovers defeat?

There has been plenty of times when a cup defeat has felt like it will take forever to get over, though it’s important to remember that throughout the 28 years that have passed since Tom Boyd held aloft the Scottish Cup draped in claret and amber ribbons, Motherwell have been a top flight club. Only Aberdeen and Celtic have enjoyed a more prolonged period at the top level of Scottish football.

Would we swap that for a cup win? Probably, but there’s reason to believe that we could end our long wait without having to endure relegation in exchange.

Following the last 16 draw that brought us tonight’s fixture at Fir Park against Hearts, there was a bit of despair from ‘Well fans after they saw their side paired with yet another Premiership side.

This year’s Scottish Cup fixture against Ross County was the first time that Stephen Robinson has come up against a team outside the top flight in the knockout stages of a cup competition since taking over as manager in 2017. Prior to the 2-1 defeat to the side that would go on to win the Scottish Championship, he had led ‘Well into 11 cup games, winning eight and losing just three – two of which were finals.

When you add into the mix Robinson’s haul of 11 wins and a draw from 12 Betfred Cup group stage fixtures, he boasts a win rate of 79.2% in cup competitions (66.7% excluding group fixtures).

It’s a hugely impressive record and offers some hope that the possibility of going all the way and lifting a trophy is possible under the guidance of the Northern Irishman.

Cup ties at Fir Park have always held a special significance. The crowd is usually boosted; the atmosphere is turned up an extra notch, while hope and expectation are both in a plentiful supply as supporters allow themselves to ponder what if?

We could have a new side to idolise, maybe our own unlikely hero, we could stop bringing out 1991 commemorative merchandise at every turn – I even think most of us would consider changing our bank pin numbers…

There’s a long way to go and if the previous 28 years have taught us anything then it’s that we may end up disappointed, though let’s soak up the big match atmosphere, get right behind the team and allow ourselves to believe that this could be our year.

The Last Word – v Celtic 10/8/19

Last week Motherwell Football Club paid tribute to former player Paul McGrillen. 

McGrillen took his own life on 29 July 2009 and on the 10th anniversary of his untimely passing the club released an emotional and poignant video where his loved ones shared their happy memories of Paul as well as the pain of losing a loyal husband and proud father. 

The words of Paul’s wife Michelle were especially emotive and thought provoking. As she explained her anguish of not spotting the signs of the struggles her husband was enduring she said: “For me, everything is fixable. There are people you can talk to. To think your loved ones are better off without you is absolutely not true.”

A few days later and it was the turn of the fans to show their respects and as ‘Well took on Livingston in their Scottish Premiership opener, a tribute banner was unveiled before a minutes applause during which the 1479 travelling fans remembered Paul and brilliantly demonstrated their support for his family.

Sadly tributes to young lives lost far too soon have become a common occurrence for Motherwell fans in recent times.

Just two weeks prior to the tributes to McGrillen, fans took part in the first Alex Lindsay & Lloyd Welsh Memorial Cup. Alex (18) and Lloyd (22) were ‘Well fans, taken from us at a devastatingly young age and their passing has left a huge void for both their families and friends.

Organised by the SIWY Fanzine, the tournament raised £1,687.78 for Chris’s House, which was founded by Anne Rowan in memory of her son Chris, whom she lost to suicide in 2011 at the age of 36. In the years following Chris’s death, Anne experienced an overwhelming sense of guilt. Her hair fell out; she lost her balance and couldn’t go out unaided.

Anne soon turned her focus to taking action and created Chris’s House – the first 24 hour, non-medical crisis centre in Scotland offering integrated support. 

Since the launch almost four years ago, the charity has provided crucial support to those experiencing crisis, supporting them to counter depression and despairing thoughts and exchange reasons for dying with reasons for living. They aim to reach out to the wider community and make a difference not only to each other’s lives but for those who come into contact with Chris’s House at their time of need.

Now while the focus of this article has centred around the issue of suicide in the local area, of course it’s much more widespread than that.

Figures released in June 2019 by NHS Information Services Division (ISD) confirmed the rate of suicides in Scotland has risen to the highest level in five years, with the rate of deaths for people aged 15-24 up 50%.

Despite the hard work in the promotion of mental health issues and the importance of the message that ‘it’s okay not to be okay’, it’s deeply concerning that the rates of suicides in Scotland continues to rise.

It’s an issue that goes well beyond the colour of our scarves, our footballing allegiances and our backgrounds or beliefs – Scottish football fans rarely agree on much, but reducing suicide rates is surely something we can all come together on?

Football can be a fantastic vehicle to drive important messages and the impact of a crowd of supporters coming together to promote a strong message is a very powerful thing.

It can feel nigh on impossible to talk about our fears and our feelings, however the more we talk about suicide openly, the sooner we reduce the fear and stigma that surrounds it.

MFC Podcast – Episode 204

Pro boxer and ‘Well fanatic Scott Allan joins Sparra to look back on the opening day fixture against Livingston and the comfortable win over Annan.

We look ahead to the visit of Celtic on Saturday and the Betfred Cup clash with Hearts.

Also on the agenda is progress in the Caramel Wafer Cup, new signings, Scott’s aspirations to host a title fight at Fir Park and much, much more.

MFC Podcast – Episode 200!

The MFC Podcast has reached 200 episodes! In a special edition of the MFC Podcast, Sparra is joined by Motherwell’s head of 18s to 21s Maurice Ross. We discuss in great detail his role at the club, player pathways, the poster boys of the youth setup at Fir Park, his short spell as a player at the club back in 2011 and much, much more.

‘Well Fans Support Sleep Out

It was an evening at Fir Park with a difference…

On Saturday evening into Sunday morning, a small band of ‘Well supporters took part in the first ever Fir Park Sleep Out.

The event was organised by the MFC Podcast in support of Shelter Scotland, Motherwell FC Community Trust and the Motherwell Disabled Supporters Association.

A night in the cold and rain was more than worthwhile for those taking part, with the latest total of monies raised standing at £1400.

MFC Podcast host, Andy Ross was delighted following the success of the event.

“It was a long night at times, but everyone helped each other through,” he said. “For us this was only one night in the cold and wet, the unfortunate reality is for thousands of people across Scotland are facing this every night.

“Hopefully tonight’s event will make a small difference to helping win the battle against homelessness in Scotland.

“I’m really pleased at how the event went, I can’t thank the team at Security Scotland and St Andrew’s First Aid enough for their presence on the night, as well as Motherwell FC and Robert Park for accommodating the event.

“On top of that, I’d like to thank all of those who took part or supported the Sleep Out through making a donation – it’s massively appreciated.”

You can still donate to the Fir Park Sleep Out HERE

Fans Sign Up For Fir Park Sleep Out

Motherwell fans are set for a night at Fir Park with a difference on 23 March.

Almost 20 fans have already signed up for the first ever Fir Park Sleep Out, which will raise funds for Shelter Scotland, the Motherwell Community Trust and Motherwell Disabled Association. 

Supporters will spend the night sleeping under the stars at Fir Park with only a  sleeping bag to protect them against the elements. 

It’ll be a somewhat different experience from the usual 3pm on Saturday experience the Steelmen faithful are used to, but organisers, the MFC Podcast are hoping it’ll be a great success. 

“There’s been so much work went into the event so far,” they explained. 

“Thankfully the response has been very positive with fans from far and wide signing up.

“We’ve still got two weeks until the event and are now hoping we can really push on, attract more numbers and make the first Fir Park Sleep Out a great success.”

‘Well stars Jake Hastie and David Turnbull have already shown their support for the event and the organisers are currently on the look out for an event sponsor.

You can sign up for the Fir Park Sleep Out HERE, while those unable to take part can support via the MFC Podcast website or by sponsoring any individual fan taking part.

Fir Park Sleep-Out – Important Information – New Date Confirmed

After consultation with the safety team at Motherwell F.C. the Fir Park Sleep Out will now take place 23 March 2019.

Earlier today (Tuesday 19 February) we were notified by our first aid representative that unfortunately they would no longer be able to work at the event.

Health and safety requirements for the event require a dedicated first-aider, without this the Sleep Out can’t go ahead.

We have spoken to those taking part and the decision has been made to put back the event until Saturday 23 March.

After all the hard work that has went into the organising process for the Sleep Out, it’s obviously is disappointing that we won’t be going ahead on the scheduled date.

With just over four weeks until the rearranged date, we’ve already began working to put plans in place to ensure the event will go ahead without any issues

Everyone involved in organising the Sleep Out would like to take the opportunity to thank all of those who have donated/ signed up for the Sleep Out and look forward to a successful evening.

Places for the Sleep Out remain available – you can register here.

Fir Park Sleep Out – Event Info & FAQ’s

Event Information:

Fir Park Sleep Out 2019
Fir Park Stadium
23-3-2019
8pm-6am

Register Here: Fir Park Sleep Out – Sign Up Page

Registration Fee: £25 – Following registration, all participants should set up a Just Giving page for their individual fundraising. All monies raised through Just Giving should be donated no later than three weeks after the event.

Charities:

50% of proceeds: Shelter Scotland
25% of proceeds: Motherwell FC Community Trust
25% of proceeds: Motherwell FC Disabled Supporters Association

Our Way Of Saying Thanks:

All participants will receive an event t-shirt and there will be live performances from local acts during the evening to keep up our spirits in the cold.

Getting Ready & What to Bring:

A torch
Gloves
Thermal under layers
Outdoor Waterproof Shoes, Boots or Wellies
Rollmat
Necessary Medication
Outdoor Equipment and Clothing
Warm/Thermal Sleeping Bag, ideally a 4 seasons sleeping bag suitable for winter conditions
Waterproof Outer Clothing (Jacket, Trousers)
Spare Waterproof Clothing
Hat
Scarf

– Please note there are no tents allowed at the event – this is an under-the-stars experience.

– Please do not bring valuables to the event.

What is provided onsite:

Free hot drinks throughout the duration of the whole event
Toilets
Medical & Welfare Services

Age Restrictions:

The event is open to participants over 16 only.
Those aged between 16 and 18 must be accompanied by a guardian aged over 21.

Prohibited Items:

Opened soft drinks and water
Drugs (illegal substances or legal highs)
Weapons & firearms
Pyrotechnics
Fires/BBQs
Alcohol
Glass
Smoke Bombs
Animals
Drones
Amplified music
Tents/gazebos

Permitted Items:

Umbrellas
Food
Empty Flasks/Hot cups (bring these empty on arrival, we will provide free hot drinks)
Unopened soft drinks and water

Litter:

Please help us by using bins provided and clearing up your immediate sleepzone space before you depart the event.
Please do not leave your outdoor kit behind when you leave the event.

Medical Notes:

If you are on any medication for an existing condition, make sure you take your medication with you in adequate amounts for the duration of the event.
If you suffer from any pre-existing medical conditions, regardless of severity, please consult your GP before signing up.
If approved by a GP to attend with a medical condition, please make sure you have written information detailing your condition and any medication required.

FAQ’s

What age do you need to be to do the Sleep Out?

You must be aged 16 or older to take part in the Fir Park Sleep Out.  Participants aged 16-17 must be accompanied by a responsible adult aged over 21.

Would any pre-existing health issues restrict participation?

We want everyone who participates in the sleep out to have a safe and enjoyable experience. If you have any pre-existing health conditions with which you are concerned about sleeping outside in winter, please seek professional medical advice ahead of registering for the event.

Will alcohol be served, or can I drink alcohol at the event?

No, the Fir Park Sleep Out is a dry event. Due to the dangers of consuming alcohol and being exposed to cold winter conditions overnight, there will be no bar facilities at the event and strictly no alcohol can be brought into the event. Hot drinks and food villages will be available throughout the night.

Will hot drinks be served at the event?

Yes, we will be serving hot drinks all night should you need a warm-up.

Will we be sleeping in tents?

No. The challenge will be to sleep outside without any cover. Participants will be sleeping on the John Hunter Stand side of Fir Park, with only your sleeping bag and plastic sheet for protection. Many people around the country have to do this every night, could you do it once?

What do I need to bring?

You need to bring your own: Warm Sleeping Bag, Winter/waterproof Jacket, Hat, Gloves, All appropriate Warm Clothing and a Sleeping Mat if you want one.

Who is organising the event?

The MFC Podcast with support from Motherwell FC Community Trust and the safety and security team at Motherwell F.C.

What time does it all start?

We will be opening doors to the event at approx. 7.30pm on Saturday 23 February.

Can I leave the event and come back into the arena throughout the night?

No. For security reasons, once you have entered our security area and into the event area you will not be permitted to leave and gain re-entry. If you decide to leave the event you cannot be re-admitted.

How long do I have to sleep outside?

The sleep-out will finish at approx. 6.00am Sunday 24th February.

Can I bring my dog?

Strictly no dogs or other pets are permitted into the Sleep in the Park event. Leave Mutley at home in the warm.

Can I bring alcohol?

No, for safety reasons Sleep in the Park is a strictly dry event. Due to the dangers of consuming alcohol and being exposed to cold winter conditions overnight, there will be no bar facilities at the event and strictly no alcohol can be brought into the event arena. Bag searches will be conducted on entry to the event and any alcohol with be confiscated and destroyed. Any persons found to be consuming alcohol within the event arena will not be allowed to participate in the sleep-out and will be removed from the arena.

Will I actually get any sleep?

Not a lot, but you will be part of a unique event experience, coming together to help raise awareness of homelessness.

What if it is bad weather?

The event is taking place in Scotland in the middle of winter, we know it will be cold. Weather conditions will be monitored in the week leading up to the event and forecasts reported via our website and social media. You must dress appropriately for an outdoor winter event. If rain is forecast, waterproof clothing and a plastic sheet to protect your sleeping bag are essential. Only extreme weather conditions would result in event cancellation.

Justice For McGhee – The Spectacular Demise of a Football Manager

Mark McGhee describes it as an ‘injustice’, but a night that clearly holds great pain for the former Motherwell manager was just the tip of the iceberg in what was an incredible last month in charge for the former Fir Park boss.

 McGhee was in his second spell as boss of Motherwell, having returned in October 2015, following the sacking of Ian Baraclough.

In his first spell in charge of the Steelmen, he helped guide the team into Europe for the first time in 13 years, his team played some of the best football seen at Fir Park in many years and he demonstrated great leadership and human qualities in the aftermath of Phil O’Donnell’s tragic death.

However, despite a relatively successful first spell, many ‘Well supporters were vocal in their opposition to his return to the club. Among the reasons for the disapproval regarding McGhee’s return were a disappointing second season during his first spell in charge, that he had declared interest in several other jobs while in the role as boss at Fir Park and perhaps the biggest of them all, Mark McGhee’s persona and arrogance weren’t traits that helped get the fans onside.

On his return, McGhee steered a struggling side to a fifth-place finish, but the team struggled to replicate their form from the closing stages of the previous campaign at the beginning of the 2016-17 season.

Heading into the winter break, Motherwell found themselves in ninth place, four points above Hamilton who occupied the relegation play-off position.

While the break often provides clubs with the opportunity to regroup and prepare for the all-important conclusion to the season, it seemingly had quite the opposite effect on McGhee and his squad.

The former Scotland assistant packed in a great deal to his last month in charge of the Steelmen and while he portrays the victim and a man who suffered great injustice in a recent BBC interview, his eventual fate came of little surprise to anyone who witnessed his quite extraordinary final month in charge.

 January 21, 2016  

 When Louis Moult headed Motherwell ahead with 16 minutes remaining of their Scottish Cup fourth round tie against Rangers at Ibrox they were closing in on making history.

The Steelmen were heading for their first ever victory over Rangers in cup competition and to heap further misery on under pressure Gers boss Mark Warbuton.

Fast forward to the full-time whistle and the headlines had been rewritten, in quite extortionary fashion. Kenny Miller netted twice in the final six minutes of the game and Motherwell had snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

Shortly afterwards, a clearly crestfallen McGhee spoke to Motherwell’s YouTube channel, he appeared close to tears and distraught. He explained how he felt ‘hollow’, ‘let down’ and that at that point in time he ‘couldn’t give a monkey’s’ about how his players were feeling – the most excruciating post-match interview ever.

When speaking to the press, the ‘Well boss also claimed that striker Scott McDonald, who had missed training for most of the week prior to the game had injured his back ‘carrying the rest of the team’. Reports would later confirm that the Aussie had been left out as his head was ‘all over the place’ following the collapse of a transfer which would have seen him return to his homeland. Depending on what version of events you believe, McDonald never had any sort of injury at all, instead he simply refused to train.

As a Motherwell supporter who was at Ibrox that day, I must confess it was one of the most stinging defeats in recent memory (and there are quite a few to choose from), however much of the pain evaporated to be replaced by anger when hearing McGhee’s comments.

Surely it was his job of the manager to protect his players? Yet instead he had stood in front of the camera and made it all about Mark McGhee, how bad he felt, how he couldn’t care about how the players felt and how he would have to spin his players a lie to somehow prepare them for their next Scottish Premiership fixture – a home meeting with Rangers.

January 28, 2017

The league fixture at Fir Park took place exactly a week after the Scottish Cup tie and within five minutes the match was sparked into life as Michael O’Halloran caught Well’s Carl McHugh high on his thigh and subsequently was shown a straight red card.

It was an incident that brought some hope to the ‘Well supporters and presented a good opportunity to go some way to avenging their Ibrox heartache, but again there was a twist.

McDonald’s late lunge on Miller was deemed reckless by Willie Collum and after 27 minutes both sides were down to 10.

It took until the 72nd minute for the opening goal to arrive and again it was Miller who put the ball in the net.  Emerson Hyndman added a second with three minutes left to secure a 2-0 victory for Warbuton’s team and send Motherwell into tenth spot.

Though it had been a poor performance and another disappointing defeat, but in direct contrast to the previous week, McGhee sang the praises of his team after losing the game and also sighted the ‘poor decision’ to dismiss McDonald as the turning point.

“We’ve got a lot going for us. We’ve got a great spirit, a great energy, determination about us and I’ve told them we have to accept we got beat by a team that passed the ball better,” he said.

“Seeing it again (the sending-off), it’s probably a poor decision, but it’s not done to even things up, he thinks it’s a sending-off.

“After we went down to 10 men, we found it difficult to create chances and didn’t make enough chances after that to win the game.”

January 31, 2017

Three days later, ‘Well would bounce back with a 2-1 win at Ross County, a result that saw them jump into the top-six, despite only holding a four-point advantage over local rivals Hamilton who continued to occupy the relegation play-off spot.

McDonald bounced back from the disappointment of his red card with the opening goal and his manager was glowing in his praise for the striker and his contribution to the team following the match.

February 4, 2017

It was to be a short-lived reprieve for Motherwell and McGhee, when Hearts visited Fir Park for their next Premiership match.

The visitors would inflict a heavy 3-0 defeat on the Steelmen and for the second successive home game, ‘Well were reduced to 10, after McHugh was ordered off. It was a game changing decision, that occurred eight minutes into the second half and with the score at 0-0 – from that point forward Hearts controlled proceedings.

They took the lead with a deflected effort just before the hour mark and then Esmael Goncalves struck twice in a four-minute spell towards the death to cause further misery.

The 10 day break due to the Scottish Cup, brought another chance to regroup for McGhee and his players and despite increasing murmurings of discontent from the fans, they still found themselves in the top half of the league.

February 15, 2017

Motherwell returned to action with a trip to Pittodrie for a rearranged league fixture. It was to be a night that has continued to haunt McGhee ever since and one in which he believes ended his time as a club manager in Scotland.

By half time Aberdeen led 4-0 and in relentless fashion Adam Rooney bagged two more goals to complete his hat-trick. While his team were suffering on the pitch, McGhee was sent to the stand where he suffered abuse from the Dons fans as well as a confrontation with one supporter – a video that quickly went viral across social media.

The game finished 7-2 to the hosts and with that result it appeared the Motherwell support were unanimous in the view that it was time for the manager to go and quickly!

Afterwards McGhee described his dismissal as ‘diabolical’ and suggested there was an ‘aggressive and hostile’ agenda against him.

Time clearly hasn’t been a healer. When discussing the events of that night in the BBC interview, he said: “I have to say it still feels like the biggest injustice that’s ever been done to me in my life. It still makes me sick to think that’s what happened to me. I can’t put into words how strongly I feel about it.”

Following an SPFL hearing, McGhee would receive a six-match touchline ban, a punishment he is yet to serve.

February 18, 2017

A visit to Celtic Park to face then five-in-a-row champions was hardly the perfect opportunity to get back to winning ways and there were real fears that having lost seven goals only days earlier, that the Hoops could rack up a cricket score.

Trailing 2-0 at half time, McGhee’s side showed some resolve as they defended manfully to a clean sheet in the second half.

As defeats go, this one probably was considered a good one…

February 25, 2017

While hardly a confidence booster, the Celtic game a week prior had shown that Motherwell weren’t anywhere near as poor a side as they had shown at Pittodrie, however their season took yet another twist off the rails when they hosted Dundee.

A comedy own goal from Zack Jules had given the visitors the lead, before Moult levelled matters after 22 minutes.

What followed was a hammer blow to McGhee’s tenure as manager. ‘Well conceded four times in 18 minutes before the break to trail 5-1.

When the players reemerged for the second half, Fir Park was had almost emptied, some fans headed home, some to the pub, but many also congregated outside the stadium – demanding the sacking of the manager while the game was still in progress.

“I’d be arrogant if I thought a 7-2 defeat at Aberdeen and a 5-1 loss at home doesn’t put me under pressure – of course it does,” McGhee said after the game.

 “Until somebody tells me something different I’ll be here on Monday to do that with Steve Robinson and James McFadden.”

 February 28, 2017

McGhee was still there on the Monday, although by the Tuesday his second tenure at the club was over.

Motherwell had lost all four of their fixtures in February, conceding 17 goals and scoring just three.

His successor, Stephen Robinson managed to steer the club to safety in the penultimate game of the season.

The Aftermath

True to form, McGhee would suggest that ‘Well had been ‘too hasty’ in sacking him,

“At the time I left we had a couple of injuries, particularly to the back four,” he told BBC Scotland.

“We were still cobbling together a few results. Some of our performances prior to that Dundee game.

“I’d be comfortable to say I think I would have kept them up.”

Quite extraordinary arrogance from a manager that had guided to just two wins in his last 14 games in charge and had suffered a series of crushing defeats during his final month in charge.

McGhee’s time as Scotand assistant came to an end in October 2017, the following month he took over the managerial reigns at Barnet, a position he held for just two months before assuming a ‘technical role’ and eventually being dismissed altogether in March 2018.

Since then he claims to have been involved in everything from e-sports to booking Ed Sheeran for a concert in Dubai.

Despite this strange twist in his career, I doubt it comes close to that final month in charge at Fir Park.

Eddie Wolecki Black – My Football Obsession

Words: Andy Ross

It’s 10pm. Eddie Wolecki Black and his Motherwell Ladies side have been on the go for almost 12 hours. The mood on the bus has lifted after a stop at Pizza Hut and the players seem to be trying to put the 1-1 draw with Aberdeen hours earlier to the back of their minds.

Wolecki Black however, seems unable to switch off from all things football. He has his head buried in Johan Cruyff’s autobiography, following a few hours of watching back footage of the controversial game that saw his side’s nine game winning run come to an end.

The ‘Well boss was sent to the stand and two of his players saw red during the course of the 90 minutes. Following the full time whistle another player in claret and amber saw red for offering her viewpoint on the refereeing display she had just witnessed – it’s fair to say it was an eventful afternoon.

You only need to be in Eddie’s company for a short time to realise how massive a part of his life is taken up by football, so spare a thought for his wife (and Motherwell Ladies defender) Emma, who witnesses and lives with her husband’s obsession for the game on a daily basis.

“I think you’d be right to say I’m a football obsessive,” he laughed.

“While myself and Emma were watching a game the other night she actually said to me ‘can you not just switch off for a minute?’ I was sitting analysing every detail, I can no longer watch football as a game – I have to analyse it all.

“I was brought up in a football family, everyone in the house was mad about football. It was impossible to avoid it, my dad managed youth team and then became a referee, then obviously my own career took off when in my teens – it’s always been there for me and I don’t know any different.

“It wasn’t a good night’s sleep on Sunday night that’s for sure and yet if we had taken one of the two chances we had late on I would probably have slept like a baby. It’s all about the end result, people talk about performances and I get that, there’s a way to win, of course there is, but there’s no right way to play football – if there was we’d all be playing that way.

“I’m very demanding of others as well as myself. I expect 100%, if you can’t give that then what’s the point of doing it? You’d be as well not bothering.

“That’s why I get so annoyed when people miss training sessions, what players don’t realise when they miss training sessions is that I’ve planned the session with them in mind.”

Eddie’s full-on approach to his work is clear, but it hasn’t been without consequence. During his time as manager of Airdrie he suffered a brain hemorrhage at half time in their meeting with Cowdenbeath at Central Park.

The road to recovery has been a difficult one, it’s a true testimony to the man, the extent of his recovery, though he is well aware he needs to be careful not to overdo things and credits his coaching staff for helping him avoiding that.

“When I was Airdrie I was in charge of the first team, the under 20s and the whole academy, then people wonder why I had a brain hemorrhage,” Wolecki Black said.

“It’s important for me to be able to take a step back and that’s why it was so crucial that I have the right staff. In Donald (Jennow) and Andy (Moran) I have staff that I can trust, so if I am away, whether it be for a training session or a game, things will still be done properly.”

Recently Eddie travelled to America for pioneering treatment that was brought to his and Emma’s attention when watching a documentary by Andrew Marr, who has also undergone the same procedure. There are clear positive changes in his appearance since his return, he has noted change in his moods too and although he continues to walk with the aid of a walking stick his coordination has improved.

Following his time with Airdrie coming to an end, he would undertake various jobs around football, before being offered the job as boss of Motherwell Ladies.

Eddie can’t speak highly enough of ‘Well Chief Executive, Alan Burrows for ‘seeing past the prejudice’ and offering the chance to return to management, although he has certainly gone a long way to demonstrating that he has lost none of his abilities as a coach – guiding Motherwell to the top-spot in SWPL2, where they currently hold an eight-point lead with 10 games of the season remaining.

“I was never really away from football, after parting company with Airdire, BSC Glasgow opened their doors to let me in and asked if I would go coach there – that was brilliant for me. Ironically I actually met Graeme McArthur, who was coaching at Motherwell at that time and we became good friends,” Eddie added.

“I am very, very grateful for the opportunity that Motherwell gave me, there’s absolutely no doubt about that. It takes a special type of person to overlook the prejudice and say ‘I can employ that guy’ and buy into his vision. Alan Burrows bought into my vision for the club, probably the biggest thing he knew was I’d be able to attract players here as I’ve been around the women’s game for a fair number of years so know the teams, most of the players and have an understanding of what it takes to be successful in the women’s game.

“The thing in football is that you can never say anything is long term. You can be one phone call away or one mishap away from ending the acquaintance. I don’t look too far ahead that’s for sure, what I do look at is what is there right now and what is needed to take the team forward.

“Alan and myself get on very well personally, he’s a Motherwell fan at heart and only wants the best for the club no matter what bracket of the club it is – he wants the club to be the very best it can be.”

Motherwell are currently on a two-week break from competitive action due to the international break and at the end of the month the league action will stop for its summer break. Typically, of Eddie though, football will remain at the forefront of his mind, even when some of his players are setting off on their summer holidays.

“A break gives you a wee chance to mull over where you are and what you are doing. You can also look ahead a wee bit and think ‘what if?,” he pondered.

“What if this team gets promoted? Are we strong enough? What do we need? We can then start looking about the other club’s and see what they’ve got. I always think in any walk of life there’s more questions than answers, I’m a great believer of that.”

One of the most prominent figures in Scottish women’s football, Eddie is well placed to assess how the game is progressing. This season the league is backed by a sponsor and the media coverage of the game is gradually improving, having overcome negative perceptions and stereotypes.

The former Glasgow City boss has experienced the popularity of the women’s game across Europe during the 10-in-a-row title winners’ Champions League campaigns and feels the key to their success is match-day experience.

“I heard all the stuff back at the start, ‘wummin playing fitba are ye kidding’ and all the stereotypes that were thrown at them,” the 53-year-old recalled.

“There were accusations about their sexuality for example, that spoke more about them than it did us. As individuals if that’s how they were brought up then I actually feel sorry for them. Women’s tennis was in that place not so long ago and now look at it – a person on the street would pay just as much for a women’s match as they would a men’s.

“The game is getting there; I’ll never forget going to the quarter-finals of the Champions League with Glasgow City. At the second-leg against Paris, we played at the Parc des Princes and there were 17,000 at the game.

“Then in Berlin there’s a team called Turbine Potsdam who have won the Champions League on a few occasions. They’ve got an official women’s team souvenir shop in Berlin, with all sorts of merchandise around the team. The newspapers devote pages to women’s football and they take great pride in their team – that’s exactly how it should be.

“I asked a guy in Frankfurt, who were one of the first winners of the Champions League, how they maintain such impressive attendances of four and five thousand at home matches – when you think about it, that’s what Motherwell get at home games.

“He told me it was because they promote the day and not just the football match like they do in the UK. In Germany they have all sorts of activities going on around the game, it encourages all the family to attend, we need to learn to promote the day and not just the game – we could learn a lot from that.”