The waiting is almost over
Updated Thursday, 26th July 2012
The long wait is almost over. It's been eleven weeks since we've seen the men in claret and amber kick a ball in anger but on Tuesday evening Motherwell will start season 20012/13 with their first appearance in the Champions League.
After a successful league campaign last time many observers could be forgiven for thinking that we will be one of the leading lights in the restructured SPL as the new challenge begins. Unfortunately the squad under McCall’s command has not strengthened over the summer months. Craigan, Jennings, Clancy and Forbes are the notable omissions from what was a slim dressing room and there has been only one replacement. Simon Ramsden, another of the manager’s former Bradford colleagues, has signed on for a year to add some comfort to our defensive line but the gaps further up the park will for the most part be filled with promotions from the Fir Park youth department.
Odense were our last opponents in Europe
Opportunity will knock for McHugh, Carswell, Hetherington & Cummins this term and the leadership of new captain Lasley and the experience of Hammell and Higdon will be a needed to ease those players from juniors to seniors.
In earlier seasons, Motherwell have used early rounds of the Europa League in part as preparation for the start of the SPL but this time is different. A win in either the 3rd qualifying round of the Champions League or the qualifying round of the Europa League would lead to a cash windfall that might see us through the season untroubled by the absence of a couple of visits from oldco Rangers.
The prospect of the rewards that would come with advancement in either European competition mean that the league games move to the back burner during August. That’s not to say that we’ll be sending out a weakened eleven in Dingwall next week but the chance for us to make our mark on the big stage cannot be undervalued.
Every new season brings the chance for a squad to make its mark in Motherwell’s history. The gents who don the claret and amber on Tuesday can write a new page in the record books. Good luck!
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