It was known that the club had been trading at a loss since John Boyle’s attempt at making us ‘the third force’ in Scottish football and the morning tabloids on April 24 2002 made bleak reading for ‘Well fans. It was suggested that the club was in big trouble.
Press conference 24 April 2002
An afternoon press conference was held in the Cooper Suite. The chairman faced the cameras and revealed the worst. The club was up for sale and an administrator was to be appointed. The killing of SPL TV was the final straw. JB was minded to write off most of his £9M debt to the club making it virtually debt free. Pat Nevin and Eric Black resigned.
Nine players had their contracts revoked and a further ten were released early. There were cuts in the back room and office staff. Terry Butcher was to take control of the first team. And the ‘Well Worth Saving campaign was launched.
The pundits had a field day at the expense of the board. They had us dead and buried. But a slow realisation began to take root that football clubs, despite their special position in the hearts of supporters, have to follow basic business rules. Other clubs tumbled to the notion that income has to match expenditure and a few have yet to go though the pain barrier.
A fund raiser was organised against Chievo and at that game and at the next SPL match at Rugby Park a healthy and emotional ‘Well support turned out in numbers to demonstrate their support for the club.
The summer pre season saw no summer camp in warmer climes but rather visits to Stenhousmuir and St Mirren. Our young squad was wildly inexperienced and clear favourites for the drop. Despite all expectations the boys turned to men within a few games. McFadden, Pearson, Kinniburgh and Craig showed that raw talent and enthusiasm could win games. Both Rangers and Celtic tumbled and the performance at the Hampden cup semi-final last week drew praise from all.
Terry kicks off the campaign
The WWS campaign lead to the formation of the Motherwell Supporters’ Trust and it is poised to take an active role in the affairs of the club when it comes out of administration.
No buyer has emerged and it looks like John Boyle will have to take the club off the market. The alternative would be that the club is liquidated and that the assets – Fir Park- be sold too the highest bidder. Fortunately, JB has made it clear that his prime intention is to secure the future of the club and though fans have mixed views on his stewardship there can be no doubt that his financial backing is of fundamental importance in the future of the Mighty ‘Well.
We have survived and the club’s income and expenditure are in balance. We have half a dozen games left to secure SPL status for the coming next season. Let’s have the same level of commitment and enthusiasm from the supporters as we had a year ago.
Have a look at the stories on FirParkCorner a year ago.