The good natured banter covered lots of topics, some were specific to Motherwell but many issues relating to the new SPL and McLeish proposals were covered. The well placed panel members were able to illuminate the topics from their different perspectives and it is to be hoped that the views of the audience would be taken on board as information flowed in both directions.
The inclusion of Neil Doncaster in the panel was particularly relevant as the SPL seems set to undergo another transformation. Time and time again he made it clear that we are not living in an ideal world and that the financial imperative of securing the best TV deal was one of the main reasons that led to the hope of a ten team top division. He also felt that a season starting in early July would help to fill the TV schedules with ‘our product’ when our neighbours south of the border were still on their summer break. The introduction of Colt teams would, in his view, help to promote the development of young players.
Leeann Dempster, our Chief Exec, accepted that some of the ideas in the proposed package were acceptable but suggested that others would need further discussion. She pointed out that there would have to be compromises on all sides. The search for a new manager was going well. There was lots of interest and it was hoped that initial discussions with candidates could start very quickly. She expected that some good news regarding use of the Ravenscraig Facility might be announced in the near future. She stressed the importance that the club placed on working in and with the community. We must encourage the lost generation of youngsters to find the habit of watching live football.
Gordon Young was delighted at the attitude of the squad following the departure of the manager. There were no prima donnas needing their egos massaged and they were working hard. He echoed Leeann’s thoughts about our young fans. His job in youth development was to bring in lots of youngsters and search for the elite in the hope that they could be developed. If that didn’t happen then his job was to ensure that they became Motherwell supporters.
Bill Leckie entertained with his football views that, at times, were at odds with the establishment. Should the Old Firm get out of Scottish football? “I’ll drive the bus”! Has glad that there seems to be a growing transparency in the SPL and that should be encouraged. He was sad that football was now seen as a business where “the bottom line” seemed to be everything. Football was better before that idea became rooted.
Questions from the audience made it clear that there should be provision made for safe standing areas and that prices are excessive. There was no support for the ten team league. It would lead to over familiarity and an all pervasive fear factor. Neil Doncaster countered that the scrap at the bottom would deliver “excitement”.
Trust chairman, Joe Smith, closed the night by thanking all participants and presented them with a gift. The Trust signed up more members on the night. If you have not joined yet then visit www.mstonline.net.