GLF75: Tommy welcomes ICT back to the SPL
Dear Terry Butcher,
I would like to wholeheartedly welcome you and Inverness Caledonian Thistle Football Club back to the SPL. Throughout last season I kept an eye out for First Division results and was pleased you managed a late surge to win promotion. You may question why a Motherwell supporter would be so pleased to see your return. You did, after all, make your name as an uncompromising defender for Rangers and England, and I am a fan of neither of these teams. You were also involved in George Burley’s Scotland set-up which was, at best, shambolic. Your tenure at Fir Park coincided with us almost going out of business. My happiness at seeing you back is genuine though. Let me outline the reasons why.
You became manager of Motherwell unexpectedly, as financial turmoil led to the departure of Eric Black. This was not an easy appointment; we really were in a bad state. You saw a team of players leave as the club went into administration and scraped enough money together to keep going. Somewhat unsurprisingly we finished bottom of the league in your first full season in charge. However, my prevailing memory of that season isn’t getting out of relegation on a technicality. It’s the emergence of James McFadden and the sometimes mercurial football we played that year.
You also gave us a cup final and this isn’t a common occurrence for Motherwell FC. Yes, our day out at Hampden was spoiled by the 5-1 scoreline but the failure to reach another final to date shows just how big an achievement that cup run was. Throughout a difficult period I remember you remaining enthusiastic and upbeat, two qualities which were absent in your successors. To tell you the truth, I never saw you as a master tactician. You were a motivator, and your passion seemed infectious to our players.
Another reason I wanted to see Caley get promoted is your number 9, Richie Foran. I don’t need to tell you what an instinctive, explosive player Foran can be at his best. He scored some cracking goals for the Well and I was happy to see him hit a rich vein of form in last season’s First Division.
Admittedly my delight at ICT league success isn’t entirely altruistic. Like you Terry, I myself have recently moved to the fine city of Inverness. It will be a bonus for me to watch Motherwell run out at the Caledonian stadium. Obviously I won’t be cheering you on that day, but for the rest of the season: all the best.
Visit the GLF archive. Hundreds of articles.