Blog #7 My Favourite Well XI

By Glen McCulloch

In my 6 years of being a season ticket holder at Fir Park I have seen some brilliant talent, here is my favourite 11 for Motherwell.

Goalkeeper-Darren Randolph

A brick wall in goal led the club to European football for two straight seasons and was one of the best shot stoppers in the league. The Irish goalkeeper now plays for English club West Ham United but will always be remembered in Motherwell.

Right Back- Steven Saunders

Steve Saunders put in some solid displays at full back during the 2010/11 season, a Scotsman who wasn’t afraid to put in a tackle.

Centre Back- Shaun Hutchinson

A fan favourite Shaun Hutchinson was an unbelievable sweeper for the club and even picked up a player of the year award for the ‘Well. “Hutchie” was a brilliant leader for the club and sadly departed to join Fulham in 2014.

Centre Back- Stephen Craigan

My first ever Motherwell game was Craigan’s testimonial against Partick Thistle and I had plenty of games to experience the brilliance of the Captain at Fir Park.

Left Back- Steven Hammel

Motherwell veteran Hammel has always been an excellent player to watch and is a ‘Well legend who has stayed true to the claret and amber colours.

Right winger- Chris Humphrey

The Jamaican winger with explosive speed never failed to impress the fans and loved bombing down the wing to cross the ball in and pick up assists.

Centre Midfielder- Jamie Murphy

One of the best players on this list Jamie Murphy was an excellent passer and dribbler of the ball and he also knew how to put the ball in the net. He was the first player I ever got on the back of a Motherwell jersey. He is enjoying his career in England and has even scored at Wembley.

Centre Midfielder- Keith Lasley

Another veteran for the club, has stayed true to the colours for 15 years of his career. He is the current captain and is a fantastic leader who would do anything for the club.

Left Winger- Marvin Johnson

The English winger had an excellent couple of seasons at Motherwell and was a fan favourite throughout. He picked up many goals and assists for the club and was brilliant on the ball.

Striker- Michael Higdon

Higdon was an excellent marksman who led the team to success in 12/13 season winning two player of the month awards, player of the year and also the golden boot with 26 goals.

Striker- John Sutton

John Sutton was an excellent striker for the club who scored consistently and was adored by fans. He was an excellent forward who used strength to shrug off defenders and get points on the board.

 

 

Blog #6 Goose, moose and egg in the face – the weird and whacky world of football injuries

Big thanks to member Lee Carnihan who submitted this blog post! if you are keen to write a blog for us on anything Motherwell or football related send it across to us well.society@motherwellfc.co.uk

 

No one would wish injury on any footballer – and yet the sport’s past is littered with weird and whacky tales of players missing games thanks to misfortune and misadventure.

Some of the most striking tales of injury woe that have either gone down in football infamy will leave you wincing – and once you’ve read them, you probably won’t want to become a goalkeeper…

Alan Wright and the ill-fitting Ferrari

No doubt one of the things that drove former Aston Villa full-back Alan Wright into professional football, was the chance to own his Ferrari. Who wouldn’t if they could?

The problem with such dreams however, is that you rarely consider the finer details – and at a height of 5’ 4”, Wright simply wasn’t up to driving it. Quite literally. He sprained his knee trying to reach for the accelerator pedal.

A Villa player at the time, he duly swapped his prancing pony for a Rover 416 – which probably got a different reaction down at the training ground to his beloved supercar, but at least he could reach the pedals.

Kirk Broadfoot with egg-spatter on his face

Some people have the impression footballers struggle to look after themselves in the kitchen. Well, current Rotherham United defender Kirk Broadfoot might have difficulty refuting that.

In 2012 during his time at Glasgow Rangers, Broadfoot came very close to burning his eye – after trying to inspect some freshly microwaved poached eggs that decided to explode in his face.

Maybe he was all out of kitchen utensils. Maybe not. Either way, he is probably the only footballer to have literally ended up with egg on his face and not because of being dunked. We can only wonder if he’s since bought a copy of Delia Smith’s “How to boil an Egg” so he can brush up on his culinary skills.

Michael Stensgaard on why no one likes to do the ironing

And people think football requires a deep level of coaching and understanding? It’s nothing like the art of ironing – and likewise, rarely are the dangers made clear either.

Danish goalkeeper Michael Stensgaard was settling into life at Liverpool after joining in 1994 but his initial shoulder problem found a foe – the ironing board.

I was just moving my ironing board at home because it was in the way and my shoulder just popped out when I lifted it! So it was obviously too weak,” said Stensgaard. “My shoulder never really got better. There is one muscle that is still not working in my shoulder.”

Stensgaard did manage to play again but not in England – he never made an appearance for the Reds and never fully recovered from the ironing board injury.

This is our first goalkeeper mishap but it’s far from our last…

Balls of fire for Kevin Kyle

This one is firmly in the wincing territory. Former Sunderland striker Kevin Kyle was only doing his fatherly duty back in 2012, preparing a bottle to feed his then eight-month-old little boy.

But these things can escalate pretty quickly and in this case, Kyle was soon dealing with scalded testicles and reasonably serious burns to his thigh after spilling boiling water into his lap. If only babies kept still?

Usually you know you’re in trouble when “a club insider” goes on the record: “He is walking a bit like John Wayne at the moment…He is very embarrassed about this coming out,” the said.

In reality the story was too good not too. Thankfully Kyle was soon back playing again.

There’s a goose loose – and Neil Edwards bore the brunt

Time for another goalkeeper, alongside a clear realisation: geese are dangerous animals, and not just to runners.

A clash between Rochdale and Scunthorpe United back in 2004 was halted to allow treatment to the Dale’s legendary glovesman Neil Edwards – but it wasn’t a groin strain or the effects of a collision with an opponent. Well, not a football opponent at least.

No, it was to treat a nip on his arm as he tried to deal with a Canada goose that had streaked on to the pitch at Glanford Park. Fortunately, Edwards completed the task with the goose, and was fit enough to continue as the two sides played out a 2-2 draw.

Svein Grondalen sees Neil’s goose and trumps it – with a close encounter of the moose kind

It was just a gentle morning run through a Norwegian wood for Svein Grondalen, as the Rosenborg defender prepared for a qualifier ahead of the forthcoming 1974 World Cup in Germany.

Grondalen was always known for being a player you wouldn’t want to mess with – but wildlife doesn’t tend to take that into consideration and on this particular jog, it just so happened that a moose appeared from nowhere and knocked him over.

He would have got good odds on that happening when he left his home. His injuries ruled him out of the game – fortunately not for much longer.

 The dangers of goalposts – both old and new

 Back to the goalkeepers once again, who seem to have it a lot harder than all those outfield players!

Back in 1985, Argentine goalkeeper Nery Pumpido almost lost one of his fingers after his wedding ring got caught in a hook that old-fashioned goals carried to keep the net attached to its crossbar and posts. Maybe people should start including the occasional removal of wedding rings in a list of tips for a successful marriage?

Goals and netting look a lot neater and safer now of course – certainly free from awkward hooks. But don’t be fooled. They are still pretty solid.

In 2013, Borussia Dortmund reserve keeper Mitch Langerak collided with his post as he conceded a Lorenzo Insigne free-kick in their Champions League clash with Lazio. Langerak lost two front teeth and because Roman Weidenfeller had already been sent off – bringing Mitch on the pitch in the first place – he had to complete the rest of the match.

Who knew chicken wings could fly?

 We finish with a real star. Ivano Bonetti probably didn’t know chicken wings could fly. Nor did he want to know. But the cult hero – famed for paying half of a £100,000 transfer fee to join Grimsby Town – certainly found out.

In true British manager style from Brian Laws, the Italian midfielder’s boss at the Mariners wasn’t too pleased with his player’s efforts in their 3-2 defeat at Luton Town in 1995 – and duly rewarded him by throwing a plate of chicken wings at his face. Cheekbone fractured in the month of February, Bonetti was a Tranmere player by the time September had arrived.

Still, at least he wasn’t a goalkeeper.

And speaking of goalkeepers… it’s worth a final mention of Chelsea’s goalkeeper, Dave Beasant, who missed the start of the 93-94 season after dropping a jar of salad cream and severing a tendon in his toe.

Clearly, goalkeepers should never be allowed in the kitchen.

Blog #5 Spare a Thought

 

The club has been blessed with several fans who seem only too delighted to go above and beyond the call of duty in supporting the team. One hardy bunch set out to see the clubs first-ever European game played against Katowice in Poland in the 1991/92 season. Katowice-2

The group attempted to travel there by bus, however due to a hold up travelling through East Germany, hours stretched into days and they found themselves well behind schedule. When the group finally arrived at the ground there were only eight minutes left of the 2-0 defeat!!

Those fans certainly claimed their place in the history of the club although theres no doubt they would all wish to have achieved that through other means!

Hopefully it won’t be too long before Well fans can embark on another European adventure! If you have any interesting stories, pictures or videos following Motherwell in Europe send them across to us well.society@motherwellfc.co.uk

 

 

Blog #4  Motherwell’s First Cup-Winning Captain

 

The ‘Cup Battlers’ of manager George Stevenson benefitted from a number of leaders on the park. One was Andy Paton, who captained the club in the 1950 League Cup Final triumph and defeat in the 1951 Scottish Cup Final, be he had given up that role by the time the club reached a second sc final 1952successive cup final in 1952. Instead it was full-back Willie Kilmarnock who had the honour of leading the team up the steps to collect the famous trophy after a 4-0 victory against Dundee.

Kilmarnock certainly played a captain’s part in the final by making three goal-line clearances  in a first half dominated by the opposition before four second half goals won the game.

Kilmarnock was a true Motherwell man who made over 450 league appearances after joining from Renfrew Juniors in 1939 and staying until 1956. Along with collecting winners’ and losers’ medals in both domestic cups, he also represented Scotland in a wartime international and the Scottish League against Ireland.

Ironically, after leaving Fir Park on a free transfer he moved to local rivals Airdrie. He actually captained them against Motherwell in a Ne’er Day derby, but even the help of a man of Kilmarnock’s stature could not help the hapless Diamonds avoid a 2-0 defeat.

Willie died aged 87 in June 2009, a legend in both the corridors of Motherwell FC and in his hometown of Irvine.

scottish-cup-final-homecoming-1952

 

We would like to thank member Derek Wilson for allowing us to use this story from his book “Motherwell FC Miscellany”

If you have any stories, experiences, opinions you want to submit for our blog feel free to email us well.society@motherwellfc.co.uk

Blog #3 Spectators

 

We recently posted an animated video on our social media channels called “Spectators.” The animation was created by Motherwell season ticket holder and Well Society member Ross Hogg. Ross is a very talented local up and coming animator/director who has won several awards for his impressive productions.We caught up with Ross to find out a bit more about the man himself, his experiences supporting Motherwell and his motivation behind creating the animation.

What inspired you to make the video?

“I’ve been a keen Motherwell fan and season ticket holder since the age of 7, and the older I got the more interested I became in the other supporters in the stand. I was fascinated with how different people viewed and responded to the match – some were really passionate and would kick every ball while others were more reserved and distant. At times, I felt that watching the fans, looking at how they interacted with each other and with the sport, could be equally, if not more, interesting than the match itself. 

When I made the film in 2013, I hadn’t long started experimenting with animation and, as part of my final year at The Glasgow School of Art, I thought it’d be interesting to try to capture a typical match-day experience at Fir Park in a short observational animated film.”

What is your best memory from a Motherwell game?

“I can’t really think of a single best memory. There are a few which I can think of off the top of my head though.

One of the main ones (and a relatively recent one) being Lucas Jutkiewicz’s goal right at the death of the 6-6 game against Hibs. I remember the atmosphere being electric for most of the second half as we started to claw our way back into the game, from 1-4 down I think. celebrating the 6th goal and realising when we’d calmed down that I was a couple of rows in front and a few seats along from where I began

Another memory I’ve got from a little further back is of Phil O’Donnell’s Zidane-esc volley against Hearts at Fir Park following a corner. I was sitting in the East Stand, almost directly behind the trajectory of his strike, watching on as the ball bulleted past a young, helpless Craig Gordon. I think that sealed a 2-0 victory as well.

Then there are all the away European ties I was lucky enough to travel to (seeing Motherwell in the Champions League, albeit breifly, is something I’ll never forget and the last minute winner at Pittodrie followed by an hour of celebrating with the players after the final whistle is definitely up there. 

I should say though, that my favourite season as a Motherwell fan to this date is still the year we finished bottom, with Terry Butcher at the helm. We were so unpredictable with such an incredibly young team but that made it all the more exciting, and it was a real privilege seeing some of those youngsters develop.”

 Being a member of the Well Society Ross believes that Motherwell fans should work together to ensure that fan ownership becomes a reality “Football is one of few things that can bring people together. Whether people have personal differences, differing opinions or opposing political views, for that 90 minutes every week the fans are all supporting the same cause. In an ideal world I think all clubs should be in the hands of their supporters, and we’re lucky enough to have the chance to ensure that with ours.”

We would like to thank Ross for taking the time to answer our questions. You can check out more of Ross’ work at www.rosshogg.com/

 

Blog #2 Five sports teams proving that Fan Ownership works!

 

With several clubs around the world including Motherwell FC pushing for fan ownership we look at some of the teams who already have successful structures in place.

FC Barcelona– The slogan used to describe Barcelona is “more than a club” and their fan ownershipbarca structure definitely proves this. They truly are a club at the heart of the Catalan Community and have a real sense of togetherness with the public…not to mention they’re not too bad on the pitch!

At Barcelona presidents can only serve a maximum of two four year terms before a new owner is elected by the 100,000 plus members.  Meaning that if a president doesn’t deliver the results he/she won’t be there for long.

Borussia Dortmund- Very few clubs in the world could boast as strong a relationship with the fans as Borussia Dortmund. Even during a difficult season for them last year the fans still backed them in bvbhuge numbers. The feeling is mutual with Dortmund players taking every opportunity to give back to the fans, last season a few of the Dortmund players even arranged to go behind the bar and pour pints for their supporters.

The fans own 81 percent of the club and they are not alone domestically as the Bundesliga rules state that every club must be majority owned by the fans.

Hearts– A bit closer to home, although Hearts are still working towards fan ownership there is no fohdoubt the Foundation of Hearts have played a massive part in the revival of the club. Hearts were in a huge crisis and their existence was under major doubt until the Hearts fans lead by Ann Budge stepped up to the plate.

After relegation to a very tough SPFL Championship few could’ve expected such a quick revival on and off the field. Hearts won the Championship by some distance and are now aiming towards a top six place in their first year back in the SPFL Premiership while off the field the Foundation of Hearts continue to gather momentum.

The Green Bay Packers- One of the most unique sports clubs in the world. Despite being based in a city of only 100,000 people, The Green Bay Packers are one of the NFL’s most successful teams andgbp often sell out their 80,000 seater stadium. Green Bay are the only community owned team in the NFL with rules prohibiting any individual buying more than 4% of the shares.

It is fairly common in the US for stadiums to change name or even for teams to totally rebrand or relocate. Keeping their fan ownership model has meant Green Bay Packers have never been in danger of losing their traditional values

Portsmouth- A club who have been mismanaged for years slipping twice into administration finally seem to be back on the right track with the fans gaining 51% control of the club and ownership of pompeytheir home stadium Fratton Park.

The road to recovery is an extremely long one and who knows if Portsmouth will ever return to the English Premier League, however with the fans now in control their future now looks a lot brighter.

 

 

These are just a few examples, there are several clubs all over the world of different of different sizes and structures proving that fan ownership can work effectively. You can help add Motherwell to this list by  pledging today!

Blog #1- A tribute to Keith Lasley

If ever a player and a club were made for each other, it is Keith Lasley and Motherwell.

Keith personifies what makes Motherwell Football Club special – from his enthusiasm, effort, determination and quality on the park to his community spirit, bond with the fans and his welcoming nature off it. Keith is also a leader – his influence on the pitch is obvious and it is also apparent around Fir Park on a day-to-day basis.1682452-35647606-640-360

It’s no coincidence that a host of players, including Keith himself, have returned to Fir Park following spells elsewhere. The foundations of the squad and the consistent success Motherwell have had in recent years has been built on guys like Keith, Scott Leitch, Steven Hammell and Stephen Craigan, who have all been away and come back and spent major parts of their careers here. That continuity and consistency is vital for a football club. Their presence in turn has no doubt influenced the decision of the likes of James McFadden, David Clarkson, Scott McDonald and Stephen Pearson to return to the club where they made their names.

New players who arrive at Motherwell are quickly integrated into the squad and Keith is a massive part of maintaining the togetherness, not just among the squad but between the players and other staff.

He has also been an enthusiastic backer of the Well Society – Keith and his family joined from the start and he has helped us in other ways. Keith recognises the importance of maintaining Motherwell’s strong community links, which he is a significant part of, from coaching kids to playing a role in other projects.

The mutual appreciation between Keith and the fans is apparent, watching him and his team-mates celebrate the last-day win at Aberdeen in front of the supporters ranks high among my recent memories as a Motherwell fan.

As a fan, I’d like to thank Keith for everything he has done for the club.

Brian McCafferty

Well Society Chairman