Review of 2002

2002 was an eventful year for Motherwell and will go down as one of the most important in the illustrious history of the club.  Relive the highs, lows and downright desperation as FPC takes a look back at the year just gone.

We started the year with 18 points from 21 games.We were five clear of St Johnstone who had just defeated us at Fir Park in the last match of 2001.2002 started with a loss at Parkhead but crucially St Johnstone failed to capitalise by losing at home to Hearts.

 

Ned's last game

The Scottish Cup was a total non-event with a large ‘Well support being badly let down at East End Park.A more lethargic performance in a big game you will struggle to remember.The interest really started after the event when news of a dressing room bust up between striker David Kelly and manager Eric Black emerged.Kelly was dismissed while the fans recalled Black’s dressing room bust up with Mark Viduka at Parkhead.

 

With Kelly gone, we were left with the worryingly lightweight front duo of McFadden and Elliott.The pair were written off in the pubs before they played but when Dundee were ripped to shreds by an electric display of skill and pace, people changed their tune.Dundee United were disposed of at Fir Park before we returned to East End Park, determined to vanquish memories of our cup exit.That didn’t happen as we were pathetic again.However, a third home consecutive home win against Kilmarnock, including Dirk Lehmann’s first goal, elevated us to ninth in the table.We were a massive 14 points clear of the drop and our competitive season appeared to be over.

 

Hat-trick hero

Along with Dirk Lehmann, a small Frenchman named David Fererre had also arrived.After one of the worst performances ever witnessed in the U21s, it was surprising he made another appearance.He was quiet again but a thundering right foot shot suggested he could be some of some use.He made his debut off the bench at half time in a dire game against Hibs and the rest, as they say, is history.A rocket free kick from ten yards inside the Hibs half alerted everyone to his ability.Hibs did not learn though and left him unmarked to score a remarkable hat-trick in a 4-0 win.

 

The next run of games was uninspiring in the extreme but a win at McDiarmid meant that we were virtually safe.We did not make the top six but the fixtures allowed us to guarantee our SPL place on the first week back by taking a point off St Johnstone at Fir Park.Paul Hartley gave St Johnstone a 1-0 half time lead but when Stuart Elliott bundled in a rebound, we could officially plan for next year.

 

Two of the worst games in history saw us lose a total of five goals at Tannadice and Easter Road and it looked as though the end of the season could not come soon enough.However, no one could be prepared for the events of the next week.

 

Bye Pat

Wednesday April 24th will go down as one of the worst days in the history of Motherwell FC.The morning was horrific – the Sun had an exclusive claiming that we were bust and staring liquidation in the face.Urgent and increasingly desperate phone calls to Fir Park revealed nothing other than that there was a press conference scheduled for later in the day.Mobile phone companies and publicans would have been rubbing their hands with glee as text messages and alcohol were used furiously.By mid-afternoon, a tearful John Boyle was announcing that his grand plan for Motherwell was in tatters and the club was entering interim administration.He stressed two things, most importantly that the club was not in immediate danger of folding but that a lot of work would be needed to save us.Eric Black and Pat Nevin were leaving the club with immediate effect while the administrator – Bryan Jackson of PKF – would decide who could be made redundant in the near future.

 

Strong and Butcher

A large Motherwell support travelled to Kilmarnock and volunteers were already forming the ‘Well Worth Saving group.The players turned in an exceptional performance and sent the fans home delirious with a 4-1 win.Many knew that this would be the last time they would play together and to play the way they did was superb.Terry Butcher led the team that day and he has since been given an improved contract.That, of course, means little when you are in administration but if nothing else, it was a good gesture to Terry for sticking by us when he could have thrown in the towel.

 

Bryan Jackson met with all the staff individually on the Monday after the Kilmarnock game and several left the meeting unemployed.Players like Andy Dow, Kevin Twaddle and Roberto Martinez were getting exactly what they deserved.Others, such as Greg Strong, Karl Ready and the office staff were extremely unlucky.The view of the fans was that if this was required to save the club, then so be it.

 

Cheers Stuart

4000 turned out for a fund raising game against Chievo which turned into a bad tempered 1-1 draw.McFadden was again the star, this time showing his ability against higher quality opposition.When the administration episode was announced, we were overwhelmed with the support and encouragement we received from all over Britain.The FPC message board was filled with good luck messages and fans of various teams turned up to the Chievo game.

 

The final match of the season attracted 6500 as we defeated Dundee 2-1.The season finished on a high, despite the circumstances, but people were already beginning to worry about season 2002/3.Would we survive the close season?And how could our youthful side even contemplate avoiding the drop?


The Year in Review: 2002 (2)