Time to look back

2001 was a mixed year for 'Well fans, with plenty of the usual ups and downs that come from watching a team like ours. Also as usual, the bad times outweighed the good by some way and most people won't be too sad to head into 2002 albeit with little confidence.
Farewell Spenny
Our problems in 2001 started towards the end of 2000. It was clear that we couldn't afford to retain our 'star' players and by Christmas time it was obvious that Goodman, Goram, Brannan and Spencer would be moving on. This resulted in some highly questionable performances and despite our massive wage bill, we never looked like finishing in the top six. Thanks to St Mirren and Dundee Utd, we didn't have to worry about relegation but by this point, 'Well fans were beginning to ask serious questions about the ability of Billy Davies as manager.


Billy and the lads in France
The third round of the Scottish Cup was an early highlight, with 2000 'Well fans enjoying a committed performance and a thoroughly deserved victory. It wasn't to be our year though and a diabolical performance at home to Dundee Utd ended our chances of a trip to Hampden. By early March, Spenny had signed for Colorado, Don Goodman moved to Walsall and Goram was on his way. Wigan had pinched Brannan and then returned to snatch McMillan and McCulloch for £1.5m. But, as we seem to do so often, we pulled out a cracker in the face of adversity. A trip to high flying Hibs looked a daunting prospect with our shadow team but every man in claret and amber turned in a blinder to earn a 1-1. The cup tie at Love Street may have been more enjoyable but few people would argue with this game being described as uplifting moment of the year.

The youngsters kept working away but predictably the rest of the season faded away. We finished a respectable eighth in the league but more importantly, there was hope for the next season. Billy Davies had build one relatively good side, he just needed to do it again on a fraction of the budget.

After a slow start to the close season, we began to sign players at a tremendous rate. Andy Dow, Mark Brown, Robbie Martinez, Karl Ready, Stephen Cosgrove and Eddie Forrest were just a few to arrive at Fir Park but despite trying various formations, Billy Davies just couldn't make the team click. A 3-0 loss at Ibrox in September left us bottom of the league and BD was duly paid off in the following week. John Philliben and Miodrag Krivocapic took over in a caretaking role and the team responded with a tremendous 2-0 win over Hearts. Admittedly we were knocked out the League Cup by some First Division diddy team but a vital win at McDiarmid Park gave us an early edge in the relegation battle.


The new boys in town

A few good results weren't enough to keep Mio and Softy in charge and Eric Black was appointed as the next saviour. Things since then, have been mixed. Stirring performances against Aberdeen and Rangers have been counter-balanced with some truly awful displays. The last St Johnstone game was disgraceful and our away record is absolutely woeful. As it is, we're five point clear of the Perth Tractor Crew with a game in hand, but there is no way we can describe ourselves as safe. Eric Black certainly knows a lot about football but the Motherwell jury is still out on him.

We are starting a crucial few weeks - Dunfermline in the league and cup and Dundee Utd in the league. All these games are winnable and could set us up for a good run. If on the other hand we continue to underperform, the First Division route map be needed for next year.

Whatever happens it will be exciting. And whether things turn out good or bad, always be proud to be a 'Well fan - happy new year!