GLF 74: Geoff Baby has been watching events in Motherwell from the seaside.
MOTHERWELL Busy days down Motherwell way. Normally a manager departing after six months would be a bit of a shock but many were not surprised to see Jim Gannon go. We couldn’t continue our run of, err, form at that time so, never mind Jim’s personality bypass, something had to give. Now we seem to have a bit more confidence and togetherness. In terms of achievement our season could well be over. Surely we can’t get dragged into a relegation battle from here but surely Hibs and Dundee Utd are uncatchable. That leaves us one target. Sixth place would be good going and would maybe give Craig Brown some money in his summer kitty. The season might not be completely over but I remain to be convinced. If I’m thinking like that then how many others are doing the same, and how many of them will decide not to bother turning up at Fir Park if there’s nothing at stake? That could well be our biggest problem and it’s one we share with a lot of other SPL clubs. A little bit of consistency and who knows how far we could go, but we wouldn’t be Motherwell then, would we?
JIM GANNON Turns out he wasn’t the messiah, just a very naughty boy. Or was he? Just what will be the legacy of his brief tenure at Fir Park? He inherited a first team squad that consisted of a first team and nothing else. While many of us may have thought we had some youngsters that could be developed, he put them in the first team and gave them a run. Bonus for us being they got some much needed big match experience. Along with his loan signings this meant that places were hard to find for some of our more experienced players and this meant disquiet behind the scenes. Gannon has been described as very difficult to work with and definitely single-minded, but would we have got the benefit of that if he had been allowed to carry on? We’ll never know. Opinion is certainly divided as to whether he was trying to work his passage out from the club towards the end. How many of us actually know what happens at the club behind the public façade and the rubbish disguised as news in the Rancid or Sun? What cannot be denied is that Gannon rubbed John Boyle up the wrong way, and there’s an image? No man is bigger than the club. No manager can be bigger than the chairman. It would have been interesting to see just what Jim Gannon could have done if allowed free reign to complete his work at Fir Park. Aspects of that would have been unpalatable to some and it would have taken the rollercoaster to new depths and potentially new heights. Sadly, Jim’s own personality and nature means we’ll never know just what would have happened. There’s going to be a lot of locals watching Peterborough.
BROON Lock up your daughters. In Craig Brown and Archie Knox we have more experience than we could ever imagine. With these two at the helm the club seems a happier place to be and the players seem to be showing some desire and passion again. Craig is a master of man-management as he has already shown in post match interviews. Players who had wondered where their future lay are receiving individual praise and must feel ten feet tall. When he was Scotland boss Craig tended to rely on the old guard. Whether he will do the same at Fir Park remains to be seen but as Scotland boss his options were limited. Stephen Craigan must be glad he’s in charge and we have benefited in turn with some displays like the Craigan of old. Brown’s time at Preston brought a degree of success but fans there do not remember the style of play with great fondness. He had no reputation for cavalier play but he seems to have forgotten that recently. Yes, we still get everyone in the box to defend corners, a favourite tactic of Craig, but would you rather have that or the Gannon ‘no man on the posts’ routine. If he can keep our defence relatively shored up then there might just be life in the old dog yet.
MCGARRY Effort - 100%, Ability - somewhere way short of that mark. One of Jim Gannon’s outcasts he was not backward at making his thoughts and feelings known. Fair enough, Gannon may not have given him much of a chance but, be honest, how would we have felt if he had earned another contract at the club? If we wanted to advance then we have done the right thing. There’s no room for sentimentality in this game and Steve was not quite good enough and not doing enough to justify staying at the club. Thanks for your efforts but time to move on for your benefit and for Motherwell’s
SLANE Opinions aplenty on Paul Slane’s move to Celtic. Pretty obvious answer to both unless he surprises us hugely in the next few seasons. He will struggle to get near the first team, particularly under Mowbray who would definitely see him as a luxury player. On the other hand he will pocket a lot more cash than he would have made at Motherwell, he will keep his bigoted Dad happy and he will be in the employment of his bhoyhood heroes. More importantly, and this is the bit he and his family should have considered, he will lose the chance to play first team football at a crucial stage in the development of his career. Imagine what he could have done for himself if he’d done a Reynolds and racked up a couple of hundred games by his early twenties.
CUP RECORD Inverness away was a sore one but not totally unexpected. It was never going to be an easy game and so it proved. Another to add to a long list of disappointments. What’s particularly galling is that on our day we are capable of beating anyone. Conversely on our day we are capable of losing to everybody. But surely that kind of record means we should be regarded as a cup team? We certainly aren’t consistent enough to be a league team! I’m not asking for much, just to consistently reach at least the quarter final stages of tournaments and to not go out with a whimper.
BLACKPOOL Still there or thereabouts at this stage of the season. Things are going reasonably well and particularly considering the lack of cash around. Despite only holding around ten thousand, Bloomfield Road seldom if ever sells out. When the South Stand opens and increases capacity to about 14,500 just where will the people come from to swell the coffers? Could Pool end up in a similar situation to Motherwell in that if they want to sell out the ground then more sides of it will have to be made available to visiting fans? And just when does this stand open? November last year, December, then January. Heaven knows. The latest delay is caused by making sure that the supporter’s bar is up to standards, so at least they’re looking after the important issues.
SPL I cannot believe just how much poorer this league keeps getting year after year. As the Old Firm money dries up they are left squabbling for players lower down the English market and they do not have the financial wherewithal to fight off bids from over the border. Many have commented this season on just how bad a team Rangers are, yet they gubbed us comfortably, along with a few others, and sit clear at the top of the table. Celtic are caught in a crisis of redevelopment and have had a busy transfer window. Surely that would mean an ideal opportunity for one of the diddies to stake a claim. So far Dundee United and Hibs have taken up that challenge. It just remains to be seen if they have the resources to carry that on till the end of the season. And will our friends the Scottish referees allow such a challenge to develop or am I just getting even more cynical in my old age?
JIM JEFFERIES Turfed out of Rugby Park he turns up within weeks at Tynecastle. Just what do chairmen see in this grumpy old codger? He must be rubbing his hands in glee at walking into a job so soon. I know that Falkirk fans fancied him to take over from Eddie May but I’ve just never seen what everyone else seems to see in him. On the bright side it means that he won’t be coming to Fir Park, after all there’s no way that mad Romanov will have him ousted by summertime. Then again..
Come On Ye Well
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