There is a sarcastic phrase in the business world concerning memos. A memo is apparently written not to inform the recipient but to protect the sender and that was the case with our statement last night. Fans may glibly talk about cutting cloth and accepting a further reduction in standards if a NO vote leads to a loss of income but, realistically, we know supporters and logic do not go hand in hand. If the club sold Randolph and Hutchinson now – and at vastly reduced fees – to fund the season ahead it would be met with howls of protest. The club wants to make it clear this is, in effect, what the fans are pushing to happen.
The club will host a forum to discuss things further with the fans, probably early next week, but the main focus will not be to hear fans' views (those are abundantly obvious already) – instead it is another chance for the board to explain exactly what will happen if we cut our revenue by a significant percentage ahead of the new season. Perhaps a visual aid of Law and Murphy walking out the door and a sack being placed over Gordon Young will make the point better than mere words.
But the reaction, hysterical as it was, does show beyond all doubt to the club that as hard and painful as it will be to cope without Rangers next season it is something which needs to be done. We can, through transfers and cut backs, survive a shortfall over the next months but we will never recover from a quarter to a half of our already limited fan base walking away. Alternatively we could just win our Champions League qualifier and our problems will disappear overnight...
More realistically of course is that the club votes NO and then turns to the fans and asks them to further increase their financial support. This will be tough in the current economic times but with power comes responsibility – and if the fans use their power to push the club into a NO vote, they must be prepared to do their bit in dealing with what comes next. That may be increased season ticket prices, drinking in the Cooper Bar rather than Jack Daniels, hosting functions at the club or signing over more direct debits to lottery schemes and ensuring that the Well Society membership grows.
Motherwell are in a difficult position presently and the feeling of the fans is obviously strong. But the club's main priority is the Society so it will, if perhaps grudgingly, do the right thing. This is a time for unity and not division.