GLF 72:Ricky's casts his eye over the 'Well scene.
Headlong into a new season, and cautious optimism has replaced the concern which certainly abounded when Mr McGhee decided on accepting the second-best offer he's received in the last couple of months.Lots of anger attached to that, but with Mr Gannon at the helm, I think we can soon forget about his predecessor.
Some think that McGhee should be praised for what he did during the first season at Motherwell and yes, he helped get us third (by a distance) and into Europe.Thing for me, and others, is whenever he talks about his time at Fir Park it's always I this, and I that.Forgetting, conveniently, that without the guys on the park slugging their guts out week in, week out, none of it would have been possible.As well as that, we all played our part too but their ain't a lot of praise for us either.Instead, all he could do recently was criticise the Motherwell fans for the singing which took place.I'd agree, some of it was simply unnecessary but that apart, given the way he was trying to leave Fir Park duing his last 14 months or so in the job, he was hardly going to receive approval.It was strange to think that, in the space of twelve months, we'd gone from being very happy to having appointed McGhee to then having a feeling of extreme unrest when he was virtually on his way to Tynecastle.The very fact he thought about it stuck in my throat, and to only turn round and stay after we allegedly doubled his salary showed where his real interest lay.He failed to deliver big-time last season as he was so interested in leaving he forgot to actually make plans for the league campaign.Important players left and were not replaced, and by the time he decided to see if he could get the Shellic job by staying at Fir Park a wee bit longer we'd no chance of really getting folk in.Indeed, it got to the stage as 2008-09 progressed that it was just a matter of time before he walked.In the meantime, we saw just how badly his lack of interest told on the season as we struggled badly due to a think squad.I found it hard to believe Aberdeen fans were still happy to accept him when he openly admitted they were second choice and he still wanted the Shellic job!
My worry then was who Motherwell would appoint, and I'd have to say it was actually a surprise when Jim Gannon was appointed.Surprise as I never thought we'd any chance of attracting such a good man to the job.He's already proved to me he's going to be a big success.This is the best start to a season we've had for over 10 years (league wise we've never been unbeaten in the past decade) and only very bad refereeing saw us exit Europe to a very good side.Four unbeaten, okay three draws but outplaying the current champions and only a wonder save from a pen denying us all three points on the day.The signings made by Jim Gannon thus-far have been excellent, a goalie who definitely looks the part, and the fact he's giving our talented youth a chance to prove themselves (which they have done) tells me everyone will get the opportunity to do the job.He comes with a superb pedigree having done a brilliant job with little to spend down South and their loss is certainly our gain.I'm excited by his appointment more than I think I've ever been by a Motherwell manager as his honesty is refreshing.I feel lied to by McGhee, had he said up front he'd be here for one or two years regardless then you could've accepted that.Instead, he began to tout himself for any job going the minute he looked like a success for us.Forgetting we gave him the break when no-one else did, that's hardly honesty.Whereas Jim Gannon has clearly indicated he'd be here for the long haul.Our play is good, and although there has been some problems, given the chance Jim Gannon is going to be a big success at Fir Park.Mebbes, at long, long last, we can get another glory day in the next year or three.It'd be welcome that's for sure.
Scotland's failure to qualify for the World Cup is a big disappointment indeed given how relatively weak the group was.Second place was definetly there for the taking.Peopleblame Burley and yes, he's made errors.But Scotland kicking off at 3pm in Macedonia at the height of Summer was own goal number one.Then playing Norway away before our season has even begun was another.And Burley perhaps could have his share of blame to bear as well, but who can take over if he goes (and I suspect the SFA will give him the old gardening leave)?
Rumours abound of Wattie Smith taking over the job again but who's to say he won't leave the national squad in the lurch again sometime in the future, after all he couldn't get to Greyskull quickly enough when they sent some overtures previously?Someone who can motivate and get the very best out of even the most mediocre players is easy enough to say, but if the Irish Republic can attract someone of the calibre of Giovanni Trapatoni then surely Scotland can do so too?Doesn't have to be a Scot for me, I think the days of having to be Scottish to manage Scotland are long gone.
Bit like having to be born and bred here to play for the team.Eleven years since we made to a finals, this next appointment is going to be crucial ahead of January's draw for the 2012 European Championships in Poland and, perhaps, the Ukraine.Reading about that recently, it certainly looks like the Polish had better gear up to do it themselves as the decision (to be made in December I think) regarding Ukraine would seem to suggest they'll have to pre-qualify after all.
The collapse of Setanta was one of those things which most people could see coming a mile off.It's saddening to here of anyone losing their job, but to be honest, it could have been a whole lot worse given had ESPN and SKY not stepped in there would have been no TV money and clubs like Kilmarnock would most certainly have gone to the wall.I say their name as they had more or less openly admitted they would have been in serious bother and even the Old Squirm would've been feeling it massively.I love my weekly dose of the SPL, I hate it when folk knock our football up here without having actually seen it to be honest.I hear this on a daily basis with folk I work alongside, continually knocking our football.Aye, like any leagues, there can be some dire matches, but I've seen some absolutely chronic games in the reputedly "best" league in the world, the English Premier League.And that involved teams like Chelsea and Manchester United.
We do very well indeed for a country of just over 5 million people.5 Million, and money coming in to the game which is a mere fraction of that which goes into the likes of the EPL.We should be proud of what we have been able to achieve despite such restrictions, and I know I am.I, to be honest, get more up for an SPL game coming on than I do when the English Premier is about to show a game.Proud of being Scottish, I'm proud of what we have - just a pity that those two clubs at the very top ain't in the slightest…….
The beginning of the new Europa League highlighted to me just how desperate UEFA are to get money into the game.Was it really so bad when we had the European Cup, Cup-Winners-Cup and UEFA Cup?I can recall the old days as it were when the European Cup draw was hugely interesting as you could quite easily have Real Madrid playing Barcelona, or, as it was, Liverpool against Nottingham Forest (they were good once) in the first round.Them days, you had to win the European Cup as champions of something, be it the league of your country or as cup holders and do it by being consistent throughout.Nowadays, it's all about money, and ensuring as much as possible that the "big names" get through to the group stages.Now we have the ridiculous situation of a three preliminary rounds before a further play-off round before you get to the group stages of the Europa League - 23 games to actually win it in addition to whatever you play league/cup wise at home.Champions league - don't make me laugh, clubs who finish in fourth or fifth in some leagues get more of a chance than league champions in others!!!!It's sad to see.
As I say, this is a big, big season ahead.And one which I think we can honestly face wit a lot of confidence.Third place in the SPL is up for grabs, why can't we seriously be part of the bunch which chases this?Go for it boys, and let's get right behind them, eh?
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