GLF77: Ricky's overview of all things Motherwell
More and more changes at Fir Park since the last GLF and you’d think we’d be used to it. Unfortunately the only thing change brings is inconsistency, and that has been proven. Still, at the time of writing, despite a rather lacklustre defeat at Rugby Park, we are still in with a chance of the Cup Semis and the Top Six.
The appointment of Stuart McCall hasn’t carried the approval that perhaps Brown and Knox and beforehand Gannon or McGhee did. Whilst he doesn’t carry the same experience in management that his predecessors did, one thing he does carry in abundance is passion for the game. It’ll take time for him to get consistency into the team and his own ideas and squad, really the summer will give him the opportunity to shape the squad and he must be given at the very, very least until Christmas time before judging how he has got on. There have been a few outstanding performances but this has been sadly balanced with several rather abjectly dismal showings.
Considering the squad he has inherited, I feel he’s done very well indeed with what has been at his disposal. John Sutton had been doing well in the appearances he’d got under Brown, but since being given a regular starting role he’s turned into a striker who has produced goals and excellent performances almost every week. Defenders don’t like his up-and-at-them attitude, some others could do with adopting this attitude of never giving the other team a moment. Making the Top Six is going to be pivotal to the securing of contracts for our key players, especially Sutton, and I’d like to think that in the remaining three games we have the players realise this and give us the six points I think we’ll need to get that place. Unfortunately I’ve noticed that a good few people don’t have the patience for this and I hear and read a great deal of negative talk about our prospects. You cannot judge the new manager based on simply three months of football. It can’t be argued that during this time there have been some great performances, and I wouldn’t for a second say that folk shouldn’t have their say.
But some of the vitriol I’ve heard has been unnecessary and way over the top, indeed some personal abuse directed at players has been simply wrong. I know folk pay their money, but having your say and then just simply abusing folk because they’ve been picked to play - I cannot understand how it can be seen as positive. I always remember the time when John Davies came on at Hampden in a League Cup tie against Queens Park, and he was booed by a section of our support as he prepared to come on. There’s no doubt that Davies was not a quality player, but in my book (and I’m sure many others) wearing the Claret and Amber is enough to command respect. How would any of us feel if we put the jersey on then got a torrent of abuse even before we stood on the pitch? You’d get fed up of it and want to leave, and it’d discourage others from wanting to come to Fir Park as well. The team, management and players alike will give us everything each and every game. Aye we’ve been inconsistent of late, but they do give us the effort looked for. Give them a chance, be patient, I’ve lost count of the amount the amount of times it seemed we were down and out – only for the lads to turn round and amaze us all.
Looking at the carry on with the Old Firm makes you all the more glad just how fortunate you are not to support either of them. Every game is more or less the same, most songs belted out have nothing whatsoever to do with football. The most recent league game led to calls for action. The only way to deal with it is to punish those who promote the sectarianism. There’s the old story of how at Ibrox one game the Police pulled me out of the crowd to warn me about my “behaviour”. I asked Strathclyde’s finest why I was being singled out and the many hundreds immediately to my left and right “supporting” the home side were not being spoken to and was met with a simple reply - “There’s more of them than you”. That sums up the attitude of why the problem never goes away. If you can make an example of them perhaps things will change. I guess deducting points might make Celtic and Rangers think twice about their policies. At Parkhead you had the Poppy protest and no-one can surely deny the officials there didn’t know about it. Immediately that should have been torn down, but it was left to roll on unhindered in any way. You must get at the people who allow and promote this. And although the problem I feel is mostly with the fans, the clubs actively promote things by doing virtually nothing to stop it. I don’t think playing behind closed doors is a solution as that will just drive the 50 or 60 thousand into pubs and the chaos that will come with that. Punish the root of the issue.
The reconstruction issue is about to be decided upon with a meeting at Hampden in the next month. Most fans want a bigger league, and given that football without the fans is pointless then surely that should be who gets to make the final decision. Unfortunately in this country the decision will be made by two clubs and whatever suits them is what is going to become the future of the game here. A ten team SPL will not work, it didn’t before and it won’t again. There are enough clubs and stadiums around to have a 16-team league and, whilst it will undoubtedly lead to meaningless matches at the latter end of the season, this happens in every league. To become established and build teams clubs have to have a period of stability which a bigger league would promote . All that a ten team league will promote is to keep the money in the pockets of two clubs as they chase an impossible of dream which will never happen – winning another European trophy or being admitted to the EPL. 16 team league means 30 games, but the Old Firm aren’t happy as they’ll only have one home Old Firm game a season. It’s all greed, self-preservation. We need a bigger league, they know it, but they will never allow it as it’d mean dilution of their income when they forget one thing – without the rest of Scottish Football, they would not exist in the first place.
This is the business end of the season. When everything is decided and, despite the inconsistency of Motherwell, that is why we went to Tannadice and thought anything could happen. That’s why we beat Celtic. That’s why we can do anything. It’s crucial to back the lads and cheer them on, even those you don’t particularly like.
Believe, anything is possible.
Forever ‘Well, Ricky
Back to GLF 77