GLF61: Ricky takes a view at the start of the season.
Another new season is upon us, but what dramatic changes during it.Okay, not exactly overly surprising as it were, but with two key areas seeing change perhaps it was inevitable we'd get off to such a slow start.Would we expect anything else in the Fairground ride that is Motherwell?
Terry Butcher will go down as a legend in Fir Park folklore. Taking over at such a terrible time in our history and given his Managerial credentials up to that point, few could have foreseen how much of an impact the hugely likeable Englishman would have on us all. Even those who were his harshest of critics couldn't fail to be impressed with his achievements with so little to work with. He took us to a Cup Final, something only witnessed once before since the 1950s. We saw another couple of semi-finals and claimed a top-six finish in successive seasons when most tipped us for the drop. To replace him was always going to be a tough task and in Maurice Malpas many would say it's continuity but in terms of knowing the set-up only.
Mo is his own man, much quieter and whilst I prefer to see a Manager letting folk know when they've f*cked it up as it were, I imagine he takes a more private view to dealing with errors and the like. Butcher, on the other hand, was a man you would not like to have to face after the game despite the fact he would already have ripped you apart from the touchlines during the match itself. But he was a motivator, and got the best out of players in all but a very few occasions.Yes, he had his faults too; perhaps an unwillingness to make substitutions seemed to be most folk's bugbear. I remember that fateful day when we went into administration, when folk lost their jobs and for a while you wondered if you would have a club to actually follow in the coming years. Tel took over, we hammered Kilmarnock with a fantastic win, and although we hit the bottom and were saved from the drop due to the Falkirk Chairman lying to all and sundry, we still had some brilliant days even that season. No-one will ever forget thrashing Hearts 6-1 at Fir Park, and better managers would have loved to see their side do that. And he brought Faddy through too. Who could forget what Tel has done for us, he's to be thanked for his service and wished the very best in his time down under.
Maurice Malpas, as I've said, is his own man and much quieter than his predecessor.Like Butcher he was a top-class internationalist and I do think given time he will stamp his authority on the team in this respect.We have had a poor start, the worst since the 1920's to be exact, but the last couple of games have seen the injury situation improve dramatically, heralding an upturn in fortunes.There's no team in the land could have coped with losing three centre-halves at the one time, it just seemed like there would be a new injury reported every single day.His new job has been severely hindered and that has to be taken into consideration. I still have confidence that he will be able to turn it around.Certainly he will need time to bed in, there were already calls for the head of Malpas after the recent debacle at Love Street but what has to be remembered is we just don't seem able to play there!Joking apart, that won't be allowed to occur again.
The players responded and, Easter Road apart, have performed with the sort of attitude required.All you want to see from your players is commitment to the jersey, willingness to give it your all.I believe Malpas will get that from them, given time, and that's all you can give him.We aren't adrift; we are not the worst team in the league, just had a dodgy start but are recovering well.
Watched quite a bit of the World Cup and was pleased to see Italy win it, and to beat France in the Final.Not because I thought they played the best football, or entertained us more than anyone, just because my dream team at work was chocca full of their players and it saw me win!A few shocks in it, none more so for me than Brazil going out as I thought they would do it.Ronaldo McDonald, as he seems fond of eating his products, showed that he does still possess what it takes even if he needs a few more seconds to actually produce it.Brazil thumped Argentina 3-0 today, only a friendly granted but it convinced me that the best South American team is definitely the Brazilians and they should have ditched the forward line during the World Cup for the likes of Right Said Fred.Mebbes next time folks.
Scotland had a fantastic start to the European Championship Qualifiers by thumping the fishermen six goals to nil.I've been impressed with the way Walter Smith has got them playing, you have a Scottish team fighting for everything and no game is meaningless.This augurs well for the future, and when you recall how pathetic some of the performances were under Bertie Bassett you begin to appreciate Wattie and his clearly working methodology when it comes to the squad.The players clearly understand what it means to play for the jersey, they know what it means to the guys and gals in the stands, and they are responding.I can't imagine the likes of the French or the Italians are particularly looking forward to facing Scotland - okay, they might not be exactly shaking in their boots but it won't be the easy trip they would have experienced under the former manager.We might not qualify this time round, but there's no doubt Scotland will at the very least have a major say in who does make it to the finals.And with the squad looking younger and younger as the time progresses, in years to come Scotland will be that force again and be able to make the finals of the World Cup/European Championships.The dark days are over I'm sure, just a wee trek now until the good old days are back in town.
It is difficult to remain positive after the start we have had, but having supported Motherwell for over 25 years now I've seen worse teams manage to survive.We've had some howlers here at Fir Park, and this current crop is nowhere near that bad.In fact we have some very good players, we've added a terrific midfielder (welcome back Keith, you have been sorely missed and are a superb addition to the team) and the on-loan Elliott might see enough to want to stay.You can never say never in football, we would stop going if it became too predictable.
Just keep on believing, keep the chin up, and things will get better.We've already seen evidence of this, we are Motherwell fans after all and that's what sets us apart.Backing the team despite the downturns.Personal attacks on the players has never been clever, or ever achieved anything.
Remember what encouragement has done, it ALWAYS works.
Forever ‘Well,Ricky Mullen
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