FPC talks to BD (2)
Feature by Firparkcorner
Updated Wednesday, 29th May 2002
Last season was disappointing, but BD made a valid point when he stated "we saw the real Motherwell in the pre-season game against Livingston.We beat them 6-1 and I've no doubt that that team would have done very well. But at the start of the season we were without Goodman, Spencer and McCulloch and we lost Twaddle after eight minutes against Dundee". Billy acknowledged that the start of any season is "so important" but pointed out that normally have a great second quarter, "we normally pick up eighteen or twenty one points".
Billy referred to a conversation he had with David Pleat last season. The older manager pointed out that eight to ten of the best managers in Europe lost their jobs at one point last season. BD expanded "you're under pressure if you lose a game. It's two or three losses that get people sacked". He was philosophical when we discussed the press and fans ignoring our injury situation when we lose games - "that's just part of the job". BD then paid tribute to Pat Nevin and John Boyle, saying their relationship was "very solid. Obviously we have our differences and we say our piece but there is a mutual respect".
Billy arrives at the hotel
As time has passed, some fans may believe that Billy has changed his outlook slightly. We rarely play with two out and out wingers in a formation that is close to a 4-2-4 but BD maintains that his attitude is just as positive as ever; "I think it's more down to a change in the personnel available. I'd play 4-2-4 every match if I could". Billy then reminded us of the Kilmarnock 3-3-3 match winning switch (a game we had noted down for a future question) and said that he always kept things as positive as possible.
Moving on to this season, Billy confirmed that Karl Ready (a giant among men) had joined up and said he was hopeful of a good season ahead. FPC asked if the lack of one or two big name players would foster a better team spirit but BD was quick to point out that the atmosphere in the dressing room was just as good when Ged and Spenny were here. He was slightly concerned that it would take the signings (seven already with more to follow) time to gel on the pitch but he was confident that would happen. The games in France are purely for fitness purposes - the season really begins with the Norwich game.
Motherwell fans seem quite happy with our summer additions but Billy is not finished yet. The Dunfermline match is nearly two weeks away (as we write this) so it would not be impossible for another two or three guys to come in.
Some fans may have assumed that it was Pat Nevin's Tranmere connection which helped bring David Kelly to Fir Park but BD actually played with Ned at Leicester. One Motherwell fan (Keith Foster possibly?) had suggested that Kelly is a similar player to Tommy Coyne and Billy agreed when we said this to him. He also pointed out that the days of players being washed up at 33, 34 is over; "[Kelly] is in wonderful condition. He looks after himself well and if we can get him playing in the opposition box he'll score goals for fun".
We couldn't speak to BD without asking him about the fans and, as ever, he was brutally honest. "The fans have a reputation, deserved or not, among other players, managers and referees for being almost the worst in the league. We need everybody behind us all the time, good or bad". We mentioned the ebranch 'Silly Saturday' at East End Park, "those are the loyal fans. The players responded to them".
The Stadium in La Baule
As the interview came to an end, we came up with a tough question to finish. James McFadden seems to be developing well but why do you let him away with that ridiculous pony tail? After BD finished laughing he said that "there is a very good reason for that". Did he lose a bet? After more laughter, he refused to comment further. Still, at least we know that Jamie doesn't have it because he wants to!
FPC would like to thank Billy Davies, David 'Ned' Kelly and Robbie Martinez for taking time out to talk to us. We would also like to thank the whole squad (including ex-jwok pupil Alan the kit man) for putting up with our mischief making with good humour and generally being a great bunch of guys. Good luck this season!