GLF 31: Paper Men

Last updated : 15 August 2017 By GLF

Paper Men


Paper Men

For as long as I can remember, Motherwell fans have been complaining about not getting enough mentions in the press. Well this season that's all changed, but are we happy. Not really.

After the first few games, we scarcely warranted a mention. The fans felt we had a good start and were feeling optimistic. The few articles that mentioned Motherwell seemed to be negative, and the majority of the press didn't seem to like us. There are a couple of reasons for this: we had imported a lot of foreigners under the Bosman ruling and we were prime targets for critics claiming we were ignoring Scottish 'talent' to bring in a lot of cheap, second rate Johnny Foreigners. I am the first to admit that we will never attract top quality foreign stars to Fir Park but when you look at some of the 'talent' brought in by the old firm, it was annoying that the media chose to pick on a 'wee' team rather than upset their mates in the forces of darkness. I think the other (main) reason is that we are threatening to become a 'big' team. Speaking honestly, there are only two big teams in Scotland, and the media love it. Everyday they write pages of drivel, while ignoring what goes on at the real football clubs of Scotland.

Although it pains me to admit it, at the present time no club will challenge the dominance off the big two. In recent seasons ourselves, Hearts and Killie have all done very well on the field and media had a great time complimenting us in that frustratingly condescending manner. However, despite not having it all together on the pitch yet, John Boyle was threatening to transform us into a big side. No other club had the bravery to cut prices to lure fans to games, even though it was a remarkably obvious thing to do when grounds are only a quarter full. And most importantly of all, no club has had a fan as chairman who as a multi-millionaire, can an afford to try to challenge the bigots. I know John Boyle has said he won't do a Jack Walker, but the point is that he can if he wants to. The threat of a small provincial side upsetting the Scottish football applecart offended the media considerably. They took revenge the only way they knew, and when Pat Nevin was appointed Chief Executive, it didn't take a brain surgeon to work out what articles about us would contain.

I do not blame Pat Nevin for Harri Kampman leaving. Unfortunately, I think his arrival gave the media the ammunition they needed to ensure that Harri did not stay with us for long. No offence to any Finnish club, but I think we are by a long way the biggest club Harri had managed. The fact that we were in a different country did not do anything to help matters. One morning, Harri wakes up to find every newspaper and television show questioning the security of his job, which he could already be concerned about due to the arrival of a new chairman. I am reliably informed by Finns on the Motherwell mailing list, that the Finnish media does not go in for making up rumours - so, all of a sudden Harri is reading that his job is not safe - that has never happened before, so surely there is no smoke without fire.

Since Harri eventually bowed to the pressure of the media, there have been even more unnerving rumours about the affairs of our club (something I will go into in another story) but I now believe that the media played as much a part in Harri going as John Boyle or Pat Nevin. The fact that we still are viewed as a mediocre, small team by the tabloids shows that they didn't have anything personal against Harri Kampman - I imagine they're just bitter about someone changing Scottish football by showing ambition. Even when we beat Rangers, they dragged out the usual cliches about a tired hun side underperforming - despite the fact that we attacked for most of the game with a 3-4-3 formation.

It was sweet to see Super Johnny on the back page after on the Thursday - but I'll bet it was only because they couldn't find a picture of Advocat yelling at the fourth official!

Derek Wilson

Visit the GLF archive.  Hundreds of articles.