The Year in Review 2011 (1)

The year began in the depths of a harsh winter and Stuart McCall on the touchline at new Douglas Park for a boring goalless draw.  We were sixth in the table though the chasing pack had games in hand.  Form had dipped and the manager's debut completed a six game run without a win.  Could he turn the tide?

well_crowd

The outlook brightened with a 4th round Cup win against Dundee at a snow lined Dens Park and the news that Stranraer stood between us and a quarter final did nothing to dampen hopes of a recovery.  Kenny Black joined as McCall's assistant but our league form remained poor.  We were to win only one our next six SPL fixtures when Murphy and Saunders scored against Hibs at Fir Park.

The gloom was interrupted by a League Cup semi final against Rangers at Hampden.  Motherwell were unlucky losers and the showing restored faith in the potential that we knew was in the dressing room.  Steve Jones joined up but Mike Grella fell foul of the rule book.  Jones and Sutton eased us to a sixth round cup clash with Dundee United with their goals at Stranraer.

Meanwhile Motherwell fans joined in the outcry that followed the SPL Strategy Group's proposal to revert to a 10 team league.  The club and the Trust held an Open Meeting and at a Fans Forum Neil Doncaster was made aware of the rejection of the idea.  Jeffers joined the list of McCall's recruits and Craigan reached the 50 cap milestone for Northern Ireland.

JB_BBC_Farewell

We had the first of several sweet victories over the deserters Brown and Knox, when Jeffers and Murphy found the net at Pittodrie on a chilly Tuesday in February. 

John Boyle then announced his intention to stand down.  His legacy was the gifting of his controlling interest to the fans.  The possibility that one of Scotland's top flight clubs could be under supporter ownership is one that has still to be formalised.  If it succeeds it could herald a way ahead for others.

Sutton scored early and late in a thrilling cup tie at Tannadice and, with the prospect of a semi final against either Brechin or St Johnstone up for grabs,  8,337 turned up for the mid-week replay.   It was a great night and we thoroughly deserved the 3-0 win.  At least one more visit to Hampden was assured.

win_v_celticCeltic defeated

League form recovered and we recorded a rare home win against Celtic (Sutton x2)  and the top six was all but guaranteed with another win over Aberdeen.  An exchange of handbags between Boyle and Brown after the match made more headlines than the incident merited but we were now free to concentrate of the Scottish Cup run.

The ease with which Motherwell overcame St Johnstone in the semi final surprised many.  Craigan certainly surprised us all when he headed home Hateley's corner and by half time expats were busy booking flights as we were three ahead.  Celtic earned the right to face us the following day.

The month between the semi and the final allowed plenty of time to enjoy the build up.   The players from the 1991 final were in demand and they did not disappoint.  One significant event saw Messrs Kirk, Boyd, McCart and McLean appear at a fascinating Trust forum.  Motherwell town centre put on a show and claret and amber bunting filled the streets.

As it happened anticipation proved to be the highlight as the day itself turned into a damp squib.  The incessant rain allied to a disappointing performance left us with a feeling that lost our way.   Celtic duly celebrated their 3-0 win.

Within a week Sutton had signed for Hearts and thoughts turned to summer holidays.  A new season beckoned.

The Year in Review 2010

The Year in Review 2009

The Year in Review 2008

The Year in Review 2006

The Year in Review 2005

The Year in Review: 2004

The Year in Review: 2003

The Year in Review: 2002

The Year in Review: 2001