GLF 28: Ah, GLF'rs
Article by GLF
Updated Sunday, 21st July 2002
Well, it hasn’t been the greatest start to a New Year we have ever had that’s for sure, and with no change upstairs at Fir Park it looks like another backs-to-the-wall effort for the remainder of the season. Although we ended January with our most emphatic Premier win since the Seventies, with the prospect of a definite Relegation place being available for the team who wants it most (in recent years Hibs) it’ll be no nails once again until we stuff the Sheep on the final day of the season.
I have to say I am pleased with the progress of Ian Ross and Lee McCulloch, who in recent weeks have come on an absolute ton. Ian’s performance at Castle Greyskull was, to quote the Pie Man from Radio Rangers, “different class” and he surely has snatched that attacking full-back role with both hands. Not since Rob McKinnon has anyone come close to doing so, but Roscoe is the man for the job. Lee is maturing brilliantly, holds the ball up with exceptional skill, and brings people into play with great anticipation. With Lee’s double against Hibs, his confidence will be sky-high and a great benefit to the team. Both Lee and Ian are definitely stars of the future, and no doubt envious eyes from the bigger clubs with the massive youth set-ups will attempt to steal our talent once again. With the advent of the “Super League”, and the hope that we will still be part of the top division next season, it should be easier for us to keep hold of the players that are coming through. Supposedly there will be copious quantities of readies available to everyone who is part of the elite, which should translate into a better financial footing for Motherwell. By that time, please, someone will have come in , bought the club, and put us back up where we do belong. No-one has the right to be there I know, but we are a Premier club and the players and especially us fans have premier ambitions for Motherwell FC. There are of course other players at Fir Park who are hammering on the door - I can’t comment on them as more often than not I am working and never get to reserves matches. The information I get is that Bell and s Ramsay are two excellent young players - that being the case I sincerely hope they get the chance to prove themselves. After all, our forward line is going to have a major overhaul at the end of this season and if there are lads doing the business in the reserves then we gotta get them firs-team experience, especially if they are to take over next season. Tommy Coyne and Dougie Arnott have done a sterling job for Motherwell, both are surely in the Fir Park Hall of Fame, but we have to get on and go forward to ensure we remain a Premier Club.
That recent match at Greyskull brings up the old chestnut of Referees again, and how they seem to be completely and utterly against Motherwell. The worst recent example was at Greyskull, how on earth could Willie Young (now there’s a name which would be welcomed at any Lodge in the country) possibly ignore 4 clear hand-ball incidents and have the temerity to say Tommy Coyne backed into Richard Gough. TC didn’t move, stood his ground like he was perfectly entitled to, and Gough (we know a song about him, don’t we?!?!) used TC’s back and shoulders in order to get to the ball. A foul no matter how you look at it, but not to our “friend” Willie. Oh no, Richard could never commit a foul on anyone, could he? And prior to that, Uncle Fester Porrini hauls down Owen as he races into the box - now, there was contact, then Fester poked the ball through to Sumo. That, as any intelligent person would tell you (Old Firm fans do not, by any stretch of the imagination, fall into this category) means it was either a penalty or a deliberate back-pass. NOT to our mate Willie. What does he give, but a yellow card to Owen for diving!!!! And then the elbowing of our other mate Gassbag, causing Mickey Weir to go off injured - Willie actually gives them the foul and warns Mickey. I know the problem of refereeing in Scotland is a long-standing one, and to accuse anyone of cheating is not on (simply because the truth hurts and these clowns don’t like it), but the interpretation of certain referees has to be drawn into question. They must be made to say why they came to a decision, we’d all love to hear what they have to say. I heard that the Referees here don’t want to follow the example of the Refs in England as they feel they have nothing to gain - bullshit, lads, you’d certainly gain a lot more respect from the fans as we’d at least know why you decided something. Thing is, half them would have to resign as it would be glaringly obvious who the dishonest ones were.
Re-construction is again upon us (has it never been away) though for a change it’s to save Hibs and not Motherwell. The idea of having a twelve-team league up to Christmas playing each other twice (22 matches) seems good, as is splitting the league into two and having the top six fight for the Championship and the bottom half relegation. It would mean, however, fitting 22 matches into the period between August and December (including, for some, maybe as many as five Cup ties and for the Old Firm a couple of European matches). Add to that a possible winter shut down say between mid-December and the end of January and you only have 20 Saturdays. Then there are Scotland matches to contend with, taking away probably three or four week-ends and it could be teams are playing every mid-week from August up to November. And if fixtures are postponed, being so important having the league complete it’s 22 matches before mid-December, it could lead to some severe pile-ups on the run-in. The remaining league sections would see each team again playing each other, though more than likely it would be Motherwell in the relegation scrap again and with only 10 matches it would be very tight. It also would mean the league would be finished for mid-April!! I would imagine there won’t be a winter shut-down if this goes ahead, and with only 32 league matches for the season (22 first section, 10 the second) they would easily be fitted into the season. It would deprive clubs though of gates from at least 2 matches, though with the projected cash from TV etc. this would be more than evened-out. I am fully in favour of this change, having something to play for the entire season would definitely entice folk back to the game. And if we get to the top six and are involved in the Championship pool, anything could happen as there would not be any “easy” matches for anyone.
On the topic of a winter shut-down I get the feeling most fans are in favour of some sort-of break. The age-old problem has been when to have it. I would much prefer our season to run March - October or something along those lines, but here that could never happen - we would have to shut the league down between May and open up again almost a year later, or abandon a season half-way through and start again. Or, the league could be started a month later over progressive years, or maybe two months later until it runs March -October. One thing is for sure, the period mid-December to the end of January is usually our worst weather wise, and I would welcome a break. In Germany they have the indoor tournaments, why not do the same thing here to keep players sharp. The Sixes was always tremendously successful. It could be played in different venues up-and-down the country, perhaps a short league of some sorts. That way the interest would be maintained and we wouldn’t have to go the six weeks without any football whatsoever. The tragic events of January 3rd certainly brought the Winter Shutdown back into the equation. I am sure I speak for all Motherwell fans when I say our condolences go out to the Family and Friends of the late Graham Sturrock. The game should never have taken place, it should have been postponed early as the forecast was for conditions to worsen. Conditions were farcical, and dangerous, but the fat cats of the football league seem to take the interests of the fans with a pinch of salt. It’s the “don’t worry, they’ll turn up no matter what” attitude they have which appals me, one day they will get a big shock, that’s for sure, when the fans decide enough is enough..
The TV coverage given to the Old Squirm is becoming so bad it’s unreal, take the draw we got against Crisis Park at the Field of Dreams (or Fir Park). Totally unbiased as ever, Rangers TV have a Celtic player and a former employee to review the action. All it did was to confirm Celtic players are totally thick. No mention of how well we had played, just constant re-runs of how Lambert’s fluke was “goal-of-the-millennium”. Now, I would have to admit it wasn’t a bad strike, Shaun should have stopped him anyway, but the goal was no more than a good shot - remember when Lambert scored a similar goal for us at Greyskull four years ago, I think they mentioned it twice and that was that. Then the robbery of Castle Greyskull, they have a Hun who played in the game, come on, be fair or get off the bloody air. Why not have people from neither team to review the match, that way you can virtually ensure impartiality. I mean, Marc Reiper aint going to admit that Larsson took a swallow, or McCall say the Ref was right not to give a penalty for the assaults by Porrini or Gough (we know a song about him, don’t we?!?!)
After our demolition on Hibs, things are looking up - please, everyone, the team needs us as much as we need them. Let’s not be as fickle as Old Squirm fans - remember, WE ARE THE MOTHERWELL FC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!