GLF 59: Eddie looks back over the season.
A Season's Report Card
Usually when a season draws to a close the microscopes come out and fans of all persuasions examine the pros and cons of the campaign just finished.We'd be searching for any morsel of hope that maybe will signify a glorious future next year or more worryingly the first signs of disaster on the Lanarkshire horizon. Being able to conduct these conclusions in February says it all about our season.
2005-6 was one which at times held so much promise only for it to crumble before our collective eyes.January in particular killed our entire seasonal aspirations with that rank performance in Paisley,some rank bad refereeing decisions and a rank,rank moment of madness at Hampden Park.The League Cup had Dunfermline waiting for us in the final,whilst the Scottish Cup is still there for the taking by anybody who can string a couple of decent performances together.We could've had a cup double !!I suppose we've still got a Top Six place to fight for,if you can really call that anything to crow about.I know there is a few more sheckles to be had playing the better teams after the split,but really,who gives a toss ?
Our goalkeeping has shown a marked improvement this term and whilst I think Smith it a touch small and has still got some learning to do,the signs are good that a decent goalkeeper might be about to appear at Fir Park.The trouble is that by the time he's really good he'll be off on a Bosman .Defensively it would appear that both full backs will be moving on to pastures new and with no obvious replacements it seems a couple of defenders will be on the summer shopping list.Big McLean has done some decent things and he does bring a bit of ( much needed ) height to the team,but he is far from the complete article and I don't feel he's ready to be first pick in the SPL.That may come though.
Midfield has been a major problem for us for quite sometime now.We have some nice neat footballers,but we really lack a bit of dig and pace in there.Leitch and O'Donnell will maybe last another year,and Fagan is nothing more than a stand in.McBride has failed to produce since he actually signed for the Club which leaves Kerr,in my opinion,with too much on his plate.
Up front is also an area that doesn't look strong enough to me.McDonald is a decent striker,but gives away possession far too easily and is far,far too selfish.He'll always score spectacular goals,however despite the similarities to Dougie Arnott,as a team player he couldn't lace wee Dougie's boots.Jim Hamilton has done well,but again we can't expect him to produce the goods on a regular basis given his history.Richie Foran has been a player for us this season despite his many critics.I don't see him hiding too often when the chips are down and that to me is a good sign.Young Clarkson desperately needs a run of games and goals to get his confidence back up,and I could see a big season for him next year and a return to the goals if he can get off to a flier.
By my assessment it looks like we could do with 2 / 3 defenders,a couple of midfielders and a striker for next season to give us a good shot at winning something next term.More than likely though we'll have to settle for something like three signings and the rest promoted through the ranks.That scenario would only promote a status quo to this term and I don't think many fans would get excited about that !Our management team has come under fire this season from some fans,and to a degree the criticism has been justified.The amount of late goals conceded has been alarming and the inability to deal with nothing more than big strong teams over the last few years has been nothing short of unacceptable. Check out recent results against Caley,Killie ,O'Neill's Celtic and whoever Big Marvin Andrews is playing for !!
I suppose it all comes down to what we as fans see as success for Motherwell FC.Fans my age ( 44 years young ) have seen Motherwell relegated and in the doldrums in ( it seems ) the not too distant past,whereas because we're just completing our 21st year in Scottish Footballs top flight, a generation of fans have grown up knowing nothing but Motherwell FC being a major player in our footballing scene.It's these guys I suppose who are critical of us not being in the Top Six.
I see us as possibly 9th or 10th in the pecking order and therefore to me,avoiding relegation is relative success.Some of you may disagree and see that as unambitious,but that to me is reality.I still have ambition for my Club to do well,and it's not too long ago that we blew a chance to win the League, and I believe we'll have that opportunity to win it sometime again. Jimmy Hill once said “ you have to know were you are in the greater scheme of things to know what you can actually achieve”.I know we're in the top ten and I know we can achieve No.1, but anything in-between is pretty decent.Anyway,I'm off to stick a fiver on Motherwell to win the Champions League before the year 2015 at 5,000/1……it's a stick on.
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