Eddie (Steelman) Ferguson looks back at the end of the season.
They say one week is a long time in politics, well, two weeks in football is quite incredible!!! Back then I wrote an upbeat piece in OSB, about the future of this great club of ours with Erick Black firmly at the helm.Today, on the back of the humiliating 4-0 reverse at Easter Road, we find the club in turmoil.
First things first.The club continues to pay lip service to the hard core fans, who they repeatedly ask to dip into their pockets time and again for various money making schemes.I know that they invited some (four!!!!) fans to a meeting to look at ways to improve the dialogue between the fans and club (The fact that this meeting took place at all should be applauded) however, who decided that those four fans were typical of the support!
Don't get me wrong, I've nothing against Matt, Keith, etc., but how the hell do they get the opportunity to question the powers that be, and I don't even know the meeting is taking place!! All supporters deserve the chance to put forward their hopes (and fears) to Mr Nevin and Co. and not just the "chosen few". Had the Motherwell support been given the chance to table some questions through the four guys, and then everybody would have seen it as a giant step forward. As it is, all that happened was that the board know the opinions of four fans when they could've had the views of four thousand! It seems to me that the club, yet again, are treating the punters with contempt.
As has been said, the club blundered badly with the Cooper Stand fiasco, with Motherwell gaining £10,000.It sounds decent money until you see that £40,000 is on offer to finish tenth in the S.P.L, and we put in a display like today at Hibs!!
The players obviously don't give a toss about the money from the S.P.L, but the fans are messed around for a quarter of that sum.It just won't do.The "much talked about fans forum" would be a welcomed platform for us to ask questions.However, I believe that a share issue is the way we should be going. This issue would not be a money making exercise, more of opening the club up to the fans. It’s better than a fans forum as everybody would have a opportunity to buy a nominal amount of shares, therefore, increasing the number of people able to put forward ideas and opinions to the board.
Obviously JB, etc. have the experience of business, but we know the club inside out, and are the heart and soul of Motherwell F.C.Without us Mr Boyle, you will not succeed at Fir Park, give us our voice.Incidentally, I often talk about how condescending the club are towards the fans, well, why the hell do they persist in "kidding on " that J.B. writes a column in the programme, when everybody knows that it is Pat Nevin. If he writes the column then make it the bloody Pat Nevin column, nobody will be that concerned about it.
My second point concerns the decision to resign from the S.P.L.After one hundred-odd years the club, namely, Boyle, Nevin and god help us, Barron, make a monumental decision in M.F.C.'s history (and make no mistake this'll kill our cure Motherwell !!) without so much as a nod and a wink to the people that matter.In ten, twenty or even thirty years from now, god willing, we'll still be cheering on the Steelmen long after B, N & B depart to their next "project".
They have the audacity to ask us our opinions on a British Cup (pointless), yet take such a massive step without any input from ANY fans.Yet again boys, it just won't do. After all that, I do back their decision. My only doubt is that we are just bluffing the Old Firm. We've (the club) made our stand, be firm, don't back down. If indeed they did consult the fans I'm sure they would get huge backing for what they've done. This however may be why they didn't ask us. If they got a big response backing their current stance there is no way they could back down to the Old Firm, and I suspect that they would want to keep that avenue open for future use!As it stands we could be heading for an inferior league.Sure it'll be more competitive, but definitely of a lower standard. The one thing that we, as a club, have got back due to this "crisis" is our dignity, after years of being pissed upon from a great height by our friends from the big smoke. Mr Boyle/Nevin, whoever, don't do a U- turn.
Finally, I have become extremely worried about our financial state. The TV money is obviously in doubt, although, surely something will be put in place.It seems that we're struggling to get a shirt sponsor for next season.
And lastly we don't seem to be able to offer players a decent wage to show off their talents at Fir Park. All this and we've got two financial whizzkids on the board, one with £50 Million in his hip!! Something just doesn't ring true.J.B. has ,we're told,put seven million pounds of his own cash into M.F.C.(personally, I don't think he is that much out of pocket, but he is definitely down on the deal) and that has to be applauded. The fans have been told that the club would be running a tight ship from now on and we're pretty realistic about what standard we can expect over the next few seasons. However, over that last few weeks it seems that we can't even expect lower S.P.L mediocrity.If no-one is gonna give Eric Black money to attempt to improve the poor, poor squad we have is it any wonder he would look for any get-out he could.
We're informed that in a few years we'll see the benefit of our youth system, but we've heard that a million times before. Are we really to believe that messrs McLean, McLeish and Davies were so awful at youth development, and that we've finally got it right? Don't believe it. The next guy who comes in will hit us with the usual,"I'll need to re-vamp the youth system". If the powers that be truly believe in the youngsters for the future, then some money has got to be given in the short term to the manager.
The way Nevin speaks worries me. Last week he says that ninety per cent of clubs our size get relegated, and that we should expect it some time!! I mean you couldn't make it up, could you!? The top man at the club, at a time when he should be talking things up for season ticket sales, being quoted as saying we should expect to be relegated!!! It just appears that we are in a poorer state now thanwe were even in the Chapman years.I'm sure John Boyle would sell up given the chance, but you would need to be a nutter to buy into football at the moment and they are all in Carstairs!
Apathy is all around Motherwell fans at that moment, and I'm saying that only two weeks after writing that I"detected enthusiasm " around Fir Park for the first time in years. When we find ourselves in this position we should be able to look to the top of the club for guidance and reassurance that everything will turn out alright, just like a kid would look to his mother. nfortunately in this case the mother appears to see more problems than the kid, and is looking increasingly concerned. I began this depressing rant saying two weeks in football is a hell of a long time.
Hopefully by the Dundee game we'll be comparing the Claret and Amber wizards with Brazil 1970!!!
We can always dream.
Eddie (Steelman) Ferguson.
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