Motherwell FC News – Aug 2000
Motherwell FC News
Thursday, August 31
It appears that the bonus row has finally been resolved. Speaking today, Pat Nevin said:
“Much of the bonus negotiations had already been resolved but there was one outstanding area in particular which had to be sorted out. After a regular board meeting on Tuesday, the first since these discussions arose, I was able to go back to the players and come to an amicable agreement very quickly. The whole affair wasn’t as big a deal as it was made out to be and I was confident that it would be ironed out quickly. The lads aren’t an unreasonable bunch and certainly are not greedy in the way they were being depicted form sources outwith the club.”
The club held a press conference at Fir Park this afternoon. Our intrepid reporter Ricky Mullen was there, and he sends the following summary:
Present were Pat Nevin, Billy Davies and Greg Strong. Billy Davies said that training was going well, all the players had been working hard during the double-sessions. Those who missed on pre-season or had been injured/suspended were making tremendous progress and he reckoned all would be more or less back to full fitness come next week. He went on to mention that Lee McCulloch had received great confidence from his two recent goals and was looking sharper in training. Billy was excited about the next couple of matches and couldn’t wait for the Cup Tie to come around. He did welcome the break as it has given the players the chance to catch up. The Manager then went on to mention the injuries had been so rife that the club were unable to put the usual 5/6 first-team players with the Under-21s on Monday and had to instead draft several guys from the Under-18s who had a tough game on Saturday. He was, however, delighted with the progress of the Youth/Under-21 squads. Greg Strong then went on to say that there is complete belief in each other in the dressing room and the players feel strongly in things turning around soon. The fact we had won our Cup Tie and been unbeaten on Sunday indicating that the corner has perhaps been reached. A lucky break could be all that is needed to kick-start things. Pat Nevin finished off by saying the Bonus Row, which was anything but and blown out of all proportion, had been settled after a Board Meeting.
Although admission prices for next week’s League Cup tie at Dunfermline have been set at £10 and £5, Pars fans who present their season ticket at the gate will be charged only £8.
Wednesday, August 30
Admission prices for next week’s League Cup tie at Dunfermline have been set at £10 for adults and £5 concessions.
Tuesday, August 29
Billy Davies has vowed to put the players through a grueling ‘second pre-season’ following our miserable start to the season. With the SPL programme suspended this week, Davies will put his side through their paces with double training sessions:
“The break has come at a fantastic time for myself and Motherwell. There are several players at this club for whom the next 10 days are going to be vitally important. I have had a word with the players and they know what has to be done and what is required to win matches. We are going to treat this break as if it were a second pre-season and we have to give those players who have been out injured a chance to attain the level and standard of fitness they require. We are going to have to get through a lot of work and there will not be many hours left in the day for the players to go to sleep.”
Davies added that he doesn’t feel under pressure despite taking only two points from a possible eighteen:
“We are in a job and getting paid for doing something that we enjoy. This is all about doing an honest day’s work and giving it the best shot you possibly can. That’s not pressure.”
Club captain Andy Goram has also spoken of Motherwell’s poor start to the season:
“After doing so well last season, to start this campaign the way we have is really disappointing. But Motherwell do have the quality to have made a better start. Confidence comes into it a lot and when you struggle you tend not to get the breaks. We just need that break and it may come via something stupid like a deflection. We are in the position where we have to dig deep to get out of it. But there is no reason why Motherwell should be down where we are because we are a much better team than that. The players have put Motherwell in that situation and we have the players who can pull us out of it.”
The under-21s went down 7-1 to Aberdeen at Pittodrie last night.
Monday, August 28
Following yesterday’s result against Aberdeen, Billy Davies kept his team locked in the dressing room for an hour-long post mortem. He said:
“We cannot go on making excuses. Today there were absolutely none and the players’ attitude was abysmal. There was no hunger, no desire, and they will have to realise they have a fight on their hands now. The facts are there for everybody to see and the players did not look like a group needing three points. Days off will be cancelled and from now on it will be double sessions all the way because one or two players need to be sorted out. Their fitness is well below the standard, but that is not the only thing lacking.”
The League Cup tie against Dunfermline will go ahead on Wednesday, September 6.
Ricky’s report of the Aberdeen game is now available.
Sunday, August 27
This afternoon’s match with Aberdeen ended in a disappointing 1-1 draw. Our dreadful start to the season has now seen us take only two points from a possible eighteen, and we are already a massive fourteen points behind Hibs in the league table. Sadly, a point was all we deserved today against a truly woeful Aberdeen side, and once again the lack of creativity and invention in our midfield was all too evident. Aberdeen went 1-0 up early on through Robbie Winters, but we equalised shortly afterwards when Lee McCulloch fired home from close range. There’s very little to say about the rest of the game as we struggled to create any clear-cut chances, in fact I’m not sure that we strung two passes together all afternoon. If we can’t beat teams like this then there’s no chance of us finishing in the top six, never mind a European place. Absolute garbage.
In today’s Sunday Mail, Derek Townsley reveals that he has banned his family from attending matches after they were subjected to a torrent of abuse from ‘Well fans at Hampden on Wednesday night. The full sorry story is available from the Sunday Mail website.
Saturday, August 26
Our game against Hibs has been moved to Sunday December 3 with a 6.05pm kick-off to accommodate Sky Television.
Team news ahead of tomorrow’s game: Benito Kemble and Kevin Twaddle are the two main doubts, although Ange Oueifio is also having problems with a shoulder injury. Ged Brannan, Scott Leitch and John Spencer are expected to return to the side after missing the 3-0 win over Queen’s Park on Tuesday.
Friday, August 25
Speaking in today’s Daily Record, Billy Davies says that Motherwell’s poor start to the season is not the most troublesome time he’s known at the club, referring of course to December 1998 when under-21 player Andy Thomson died after celebrating his 19th birthday. Davies went on to once again criticise the minority of fans who have singled out several players for abuse:
“Since I’ve been in this job I have spoken to 95 per cent of Motherwell players about this as most of them seem to have been targeted for abuse at some stage. It has happened to the likes of John Spencer, Don Goodman but the most disappointing aspect for me is that other managers, referees and people from within the game seem to make comments about Motherwell supporters. So they certainly all can’t be wrong.”
Meanwhile, Pat Nevin is confident of resolving the bonus row as soon as possible:
“The domestic bonus has been sorted out and it is a specific part pertaining to the European bonus which has still to be settled. The players are not being outrageously unreasonable in their demands but I think the thing that brought it to a head was the fact that they stopped talking to the press and I told them so.”
The full article is available from the Daily Record web site.
Thursday, August 24
Motherwell will travel to face Dunfermline in the 3rd round of the League Cup. The tie will take place on either Tuesday September 5 or Wednesday September 6.
In this morning’s Motherwell Times, Ged Brannan says he hopes to be fit for Sunday’s game with Aberdeen.
In a recent interview with Football365.com, former Motherwell player Shaun Teale criticised the standard of football in Scotland. The full interview is available here.
Wednesday, August 23
Billy Davies has hit back at the ‘Well fans after a minority of the crowd booed John Davies when he came on as a second half substitute last night. He said:
“Derek Townsley has been getting it as well. They (the supporters) can do what they like. My main concern is to put players on the park who I think are good enough to play. The fans won’t influence me at any time this season. We will continually try to believe in the game we play and continue to work through the luck we’ve been having. I am quite happy to take the responsibility for what has taken place on the pitch because that is what I get paid for. I told the players to just carry on the job the best they can until we get a couple of more influential players back in the side.”
When asked about the second half injury to Ange Oueifio, Davies replied:
“Ange looks as though he has taken a bad one with his shoulder. We think he’s popped it out a little bit, but we won’t know the full extent of the injury until later.”
Stuart Elliott has been called up into the Northern Ireland squad for the first time for next month’s opening World Cup qualifier against Malta. The call up comes after Elliott, who made three under-21 appearances, scored twice in the recent match at Rugby Park.
The draw for the next round of the league cup will take place tomorrow.
Ricky’s report of last night’s game is now available.
Tuesday, August 22
At last, a victory! Motherwell won 3-0 at Hampden tonight in the league cup, but to be honest this was another far from convincing performance at times against second division opposition. In fact, the result was always in doubt until around 20 mins to go when Motherwell’s second goal sealed the win. We took the lead early on when Greg Strong headed home from a corner, but instead of going on to secure a comfortable win as might have been expected, we allowed Queens to come more and more into the game and the longer the match went on, the more the second division side grew in confidence. They forced Andy Goram into a great save before half-time and then hit the bar in the second-half, until Paul Harvey fired home from around 12 yards to kill the game. Lee McCulloch added a third in injury time (probably his sole contribution to the game) but I think it would be fair to say that the result flattered us somewhat. In our defence, we once again were forced to go into a game with virtually half a team missing due to injury, and to make matters worse Ange Oueifio was stretchered off near the end with a serious looking injury and must be considered doubtful for Sunday’s game with Aberdeen. John Spencer also missed the game, and I can only assume he picked up a knock during the Killie match. I suppose the main thing is that we’re through to the next round, but tonight’s performance certainly left a lot to be desired and there were very few positives to take from the match.
Team news ahead of tonight’s game with Queen’s Park: Ged Brannan, John Davies, Kevin Twaddle, Scott Leitch and Benito Kemble are all ruled out, and it will be touch and go whether Lee McCulloch, Derek Adams and Paul Harvey make it onto the bench.
Billy Davies reckons a repeat of the performance in the 3-2 defeat by Kilmarnock at the weekend will be good enough to see us into the next round of the cup:
“The report I received from Rugby Park suggested we were unfortunate and that it was an injustice that we didn’t take at least one if not three points from the game. I don’t want to make excuses about injuries keeping a number of big name and quality players out of the team, but we are not carrying much luck. These things happen, but unfortunately it has happened at the beginning of our season and has set us back a bit.”
Motherwell’s plans to purchase a 10% stake in English non-league side Workington and to develop a coaching network in northern England have been progressing, and the club expect to make a formal announcement next week which will set out the terms of the agreement.
The Under-21s lost 2-1 to Kilmarnock at Rugby Park last night. ‘Well’s goalscorer was Colin Miller.
Ricky’s report of the Killie game is now available.
Sunday, August 20
Motherwell’s nightmare start to the season continued yesterday when we went down 3-2 to Kilmarnock at Rugby Park despite twice taking the lead. The result leaves us at the bottom of the league, although by all accounts our makeshift side was perhaps a little unfortunate not to take at least a point from the match. Lee McCulloch, Paul Harvey and Scott Leitch were added to the ever-growing casualty list, and interestingly Billy Davies also missed the match because he was suffering from a tooth infection. Pat Nevin and John Philliben took his place in the dugout. On the plus side, it was good to see Stuart Elliott score his first goals for the club, but sadly it sounds as though we once again conceded sloppy goals (although Killie’s second equaliser apparently came from a very dodgy penalty). The league table certainly doesn’t make good reading for ‘Well fans – after only five games we are already a massive twelve points behind Hibs and next Sunday’s game with Aberdeen is now looking like a real make-or-break clash.
Billy Davies insists he doesn’t fear the sack despite Motherwell’s poor start to the season. He said:
“John Boyle popped his head in the other day to say he was disappointed but that doesn’t mean I’ll be sitting around waiting on a tap on the shoulder from him. We all know the start hasn’t been good enough but everyone is working hard to rectify that and I know I’m responsible for getting it right. It would help if I could just get my strongest team out on the park and that’s something I would like to see happening very soon.”
Lee McCulloch was watched by representatives of both Preston and Wigan against Dunfermline last Wednesday night.
The latest on the bonus row is that an agreement has apparently been made regarding a “top six” bonus, but a “European” bonus has still to be settled. HA!
Michael O’Neill has signed for St Johnstone. The former Northern Ireland international trained at Fir Park last week but Motherwell decided not to pursue their interest in him.
Friday, August 18
The latest on the bonus row is that players’ union secretary Tony Higgins will tomorrow meet with Motherwell’s union rep Steve Woods in a bid to reach a settlement. It appears that a “European bonus” is at the heart of the dispute, although the way things have been going recently the players should have nothing to worry about in that respect. Pat Nevin said:
“I was asked if I would have accepted the first bonus offer that was on the table if I was still a Motherwell player. I replied that I would have done so without a moment’s hesitation. The bonus row problems have cropped up because there was quite an increase in the European bonus that the boys were looking for This has caused more of a problem than I suspected. But that won’t impact at all on the original bonus offer that was made to the players as they were getting paid that money anyway. The original bonus offer which was made to the players was a substantial increase on last year’s payments which themselves were a hefty increase on the year before and I felt they would be rubber-stamped. We are just disappointed that it has taken a while longer for it all to get sorted.
Unfortunately there will be no updates at all tomorrow (I’m going to a wedding!), so if you’re looking for the result of the Killie game check out some of the other Motherwell websites. Here’s hoping for three points!
Thursday, August 17
Billy Davies has admitted we got what we deserved from last night’s game against Dunfermline:
“I am very disappointed. Overall we didn’t put enough pressure on their goal and weren’t sharp enough to create anything. To be fair, we had decent possession but there wasn’t enough guile and imagination to break them down and we didn’t threaten enough in front of goal. We didn’t do enough to take the three points but we have to just take it on the chin. There is no doubt that it is worrying that we haven’t won a game yet. I can make excuses for the first couple of games but it’s a different ball game now. I don’t think the performance or the result had anything to do with the bonus situation. The players are professional enough and that had nothing to do with tonight.”
Pat Nevin also insists that the defeat had nothing to do with the row over bonuses. Nevin, who has contacted footballers’ union chief Tony Higgins in a bid to resolve the dispute, said:
“I was chatting to the players after the game. There isn’t a big black cloud hanging over us that means I can’t talk to the lads and they can’t talk to me. I understand where they are coming from and I have loads of respect for the guys in the dressing room. They took us to fourth last year and worked damn hard. It didn’t even enter my head, until I was asked by a few people, that this had any effect on the performance. I was a player for 19 years and that’s long enough to know that you don’t take that sort of thing out onto the park with you. You just get on with it. I know that I was professional enough to do it and I know that everyone here is professional enough to do that. I’ve been in industrial disputes before, and plenty of them, and I understand that it sometimes takes a little bit of time to sort out and I’m sure that we will. We’ll definitely have a chat with the lads and we’ll see, but the club didn’t feel that, under the circumstances, we could afford what the players felt the bonus should be. The club was a wee bit late in putting the offer to the players. It was just before the beginning of the season and, because it was an increased offer, I thought it would just be rubber-stamped and it would go through. That hasn’t been the case and it’s dragged on for a week or two now, but you won’t hear a negative word towards the players from me.”
A snippet in today’s Daily Record tells the sad story of Benburb wing-back Steven Swift, and how “penny pinching” Motherwell pulled out of signing him as they didn’t want to meet the £4000 asking price. According to the Record, the 20-year-old junior player lost his job because he took time off work when Motherwell extended his trial to a third week, and he’s now accusing Billy Davies of going back on his word when he promised Swift a deal.
Ricky’s report of last night’s debacle is now available.
Wednesday, August 16
Motherwell’s poor start to the season continued tonight when we went down 1-0 to Dunfermline at Fir Park. It was a truly abysmal performance and clearly something will have to be done if we are even to challenge for a top-six place. Dunfermline arrived at Fir Park to play for a point and when they scored a soft goal early in the second half (not unlike Dundee United’s equaliser on Saturday), completely against the run of play, they simply got everyone behind the ball and packed the defence. The complete lack of invention and imagination in our midfield was all too evident as we failed time and time again to break them down, indeed we could have played all night without scoring. Where was Elliott? He certainly couldn’t have been any worse than Derek Townsley, who after a shocking performance at Tannadice produced an equally inept display tonight. Steve McMillan, played once again in midfield, was little better. At the back, neither Strong nor Oueifio looked comfortable against the pace of Mendes, while upfront Lee McCulloch was once again rank rotten and was subbed in the second half. It’s very difficult to take anything positive at all from tonight’s game, with perhaps the only ray of light being the performance of Stevie Hammel who was once again outstanding at left-back. It’s difficult to know where we go from here, but at least the players won’t have to worry about bonus payments if they keep producing performances like they did tonight.
Did you see Ricky and myself on the pitch before the game to present Don Goodman with his Player of the Year award?
Ged Brannan missed tonight’s game due to a hamstring injury and could be out for three weeks.
Everyone’s favourite newspaper, the Daily Record, today reports that the players are at war with the management over bonuses, and as a result are refusing to speak to the media. Apparently the squad have been offered bonuses increased by six times the rate of inflation over last year, but they have decided that is not enough and want more.
Benito Kemble and John Davies are very doubtful for tonight’s game against Dunfermline, while Kevin Twaddle is definitely out after picking up an ankle injury to accompany his fractured wrist. Speaking of Twaddle injury, Billy Davies said:
“The wrist isn’t a problem now but Kevin has also taken an ankle knock and has been to see a specialist. We’re a bit concerned as to why there is still swelling there. The quicker we can get him back the better because he is a very important player for this club.”
Recent signing Scott Leitch has revealed that he could have earned more money had he stayed in England, but he was delighted to join his home club. Leitch, who started off his career as an apprentice with Motherwell 14 years ago under Tommy McLean, said:
“I’ve been down the road for five years and I’m delighted to be back at my home club. I was very impressed with the set-up here and that’s what made my mind up so quickly. Also, my wee boy has just started school and my wife was quite keen to come back up the road. I had a couple of other options in England but I was just amazed at the progress Motherwell have made since I’ve been away. The facilities have come on leaps and bounds and at least I’m not cleaning the terraces anymore. Under Tommy McLean there was a lot of that. The football up here is different class now. It is so much better. Every team, even the ones in the First Division, try to play football and that didn’t happen before. I also think I can win things here at Motherwell. I saw how well the boys did last year and I think we can qualify for Europe this term.”
Speaking ahead of tonight’s game, Billy Davies insists there is no need to panic despite picking up just one point out of a possible nine so far:
“It is very important for us to win. We have only picked up one point from the first three games but the team has been playing some good stuff, to be fair. I certainly felt we deserved three points on Saturday – where we played a lot of good stuff. We have just got to take Saturday’s first-half performance into the game against Dunfermline. It is going to be a tough match. They have one or two guys who will want to put in a good performance after playing here before. But we have just got to continue the way we have been playing and we will see what happens from there.”
Tuesday, August 15
Pat Nevin has credited the Old Firm for their honesty over the proposed new European League, although he would like to see it opened to further Scottish clubs. Nevin, who wants Motherwell to be part of any new set-up, said:
“The fact is that the Old Firm have kept us informed and made us feel a part of it so we can understand where it is going. It is something that was talked about at the strategy meeting in the summer. The most interesting and positive thing is that neither Celtic nor Rangers have been playing cloak and dagger here. They have kept all the clubs informed about what was happening. This is a very big story but it is still a long way off and it is very early days. Some people might say it is going to happen anyway so you might as well be on board and drive it as opposed to being driven by it. Maybe that is the best way to look at it. Personally, I would like to see three or four Scottish teams in it from the start and with an opportunity to increase that number. If it did go ahead, it would be a fight to get into that position to join that major League.”
However, John Spencer has admitted that he will be disappointed if the Old Firm leave:
“It is great to go to Parkhead and Ibrox to play against them in front of the big crowds. It would be disappointing to see the two clubs leave. Hopefully it won’t come to that – but we will wait and see.”
A report on the Mailing List suggests that Motherwell won’t be signing Michael O’Neill as apparently his fitness is not up to scratch.
A Daily Record article on John Spencer is available here.
Monday, August 14
At long last, the results of the Player of the Year poll are now available!
Reports suggest that the former Hibs and Dundee Utd winger Michael O’Neill is set to sign for Motherwell. The 31-year-old former Northern Ireland international is training at Fir Park and played well in the under-21s 1-0 win over Celtic. O’Neill left Easter Road for Coventry but failed to settle at Highfield Road, and was loaned out to Aberdeen before playing for both Reading and Wigan.
A couple of snippets today. Firstly, if you were wondering what had happened to Tony Thomas’s much vaunted comeback, apparently he has been sidelined by an unrelated injury to his “other” leg and will visit a specialist on the 17th of this month. Also, it turns out that Billy Davies’ much publicised list of players he wanted to sign was in fact headed by none other than Greg Strong and Stuart Elliott, and below that were a wide range of possibilities which included Scott Leitch. So there you have it!
Billy Davies was unhappy at dropping two points at Tannadice on Saturday, saying:
“To lose that header was bitterly disappointing. He (Paterson) could try that 100 times and it would never go in. It’s all the more upsetting because we generally defended well. But it was great to see Spencer and Goodman back playing again and at times we played some good stuff.”
Ricky’s report of the Dundee Utd game is now available.
Sunday, August 13
Former Motherwell striker Tommy Coyne has been appointed player/coach at Clydebank.
The CIS Insurance League Cup tie against Queens Park at Hampden will take place on Tuesday, August 22 with a 7.45pm kick-off. Admission prices are Adults £8, Children/OAP £4, Parent & Child £10.
A report in one of today’s newspapers suggests that on Wednesday officials from Fir Park met agents representing players from Paraguay.
Saturday, August 12
This afternoon’s game at Tannadice ended in a 1-1 draw. After John Spencer had given us an early lead, we sat back and in true Motherwell tradition tried to hold out for a 1-0 win, only for United to score a late equaliser. We had chances aplenty to kill the game off, but the longer it went without scoring a second goal the more and more likely it was that United would sneak something. At least we now have our first point (and goal) of the season, but this really must be looked upon as two points dropped.
Reports today are suggesting that Rangers and Celtic could be set to quit the Scottish League in season 2002/2003 to join a new 16-team Atlantic League, comprising the biggest clubs in Scotland, the Netherlands, Belgium and Portugal, and possibly several from Greece and Scandinavia. The smaller clubs left behind would receive financial compensation and there would also be an opportunity to join the new league through promotion. I have a feeling we’ll be hearing a lot more about this over the next few days…
Motherwell will wear their new away strip at Tannadice this afternoon. Derek Adams is still struggling to shake off an ankle injury, but new signing Scott Leitch could be on the bench.
Friday, August 11
Billy Davies believes that Motherwell’s poor start to the season can partly be put down to the fact that we’ve faced clubs under new management and haven’t know what to expect from the opposing team. Davies, who fears the same outcome when Alex Smith takes charge of Dundee Utd for the first time tomorrow, said:
“It seems to be the way it is that we seem to be testing all these guys and losing out every time. Scottish Premier League games are always hard regardless, but when a new manager comes in players always want to impress. Alex Smith is great at working with players and you would expect there to be a reaction to his arrival this week, but we cannot allow it to affect the way we play. I don’t think United will be any more motivated than they would have been. If you watched them against Celtic on the opening weekend it wasn’t for lack of effort and desire that they lost that game. There are a lot of good professionals up at United and they’ve never gone into games not giving their all. They’ve always been a very hard-working team so that won’t change.”
Speaking of our poor start to the season, Derek Townsley said:
“It’s very important that we start getting points on the board very soon because we don’t want to fall by the wayside. With the greatest respect to Aberdeen, we don’t want to be having a start like they did last time round. We’re all confident that it’s only a matter of time before we put matters right.”
Radio Clyde has confirmed our earlier rumour that Scott Leitch has signed a two-year contract with Motherwell.
John Spencer hasn’t ruled out returning to England when his Motherwell contract expires at the end of the season. Spenny, who had spells at QPR and Everton before arriving at Fir Park, said:
“I was very low when Everton bundled me out and all the big clubs were scared to touch me. But Motherwell showed their faith in me and helped me rebuild my career – I owe them a lot. I’m still only 29 and I wouldn’t rule anything out at this stage. But this is a big season coming up for me – the last of my contract – and I want to really turn it on for the club that has shown me such support.”
An unconfirmed report claims that Stevie McMillan will be allowed to leave Motherwell for £500,000 which, conveniently enough, is exactly the price Barnsley have in mind for him. Barnsley are likely to have a scout at Tannadice tomorrow to watch McMillan in action. Meanwhile Lee McCulloch is being linked with a move to Crystal Palace.
Thursday, August 10
Motherwell have been drawn against Queen’s Park in the second round of the CIS Insurance League Cup. The tie will take place at Hampden on August 22nd or 23rd.
This morning’s Motherwell Times reports that Don Goodman and John Spencer will both be added to the squad for Saturday’s trip to Tannadice, and Derek Adams could also make it. Goodman has recovered from his calf injury while Spenny has completed his two-match ban. With John Davies suspended, it appears we will be more or less at full strength!
Wednesday, August 9
Today’s Daily Record claims that Steve McMillan and Lee McCulloch are at the centre of a “multi-million pound transfer war”, with Crystal Palace and Barnsley keen to sign them.
Tuesday, August 8
Following Saturday’s controversial game at Celtic Park, Billy Davies believes the SFA should consider using TV evidence to help clear player’s names:
“There is a definite argument for TV and video evidence in certain matches. But managers have to watch what they say concerning these things although we’d love to able to talk openly about it. It is difficult for referees as they make decisions on the spur of the moment and you have to accept their decisions and get on with it.”
Billy Davies has spoken more about Motherwell’s injury-hit start to the season which has seen him forced into fielding several youngsters:
“It was a case of ‘needs must’ when I had four first team regulars out. But we have got to have faith in our young players and I was pleased with the way they handled themselves in such surroundings. Ideally, I would have preferred to have started the season with the more experienced guys to get a hold on things, and give the young lads like Martin Wood a taste of the big time by bringing him on from the bench with about 15 minutes to go. Martin was very nervous and we kept talking to him during the game but you could hear him looking about himself and the 60,000 crowd, the TV cameras and everything else. Over the years that will help him progress a lot quicker. I would love to play these guys more often during the season but the Premier League is so tight and narrow that you have often got to fall back on experience to pull you through. But I wouldn’t be afraid to pull in these guys again. For the future of the club and for the game itself we have got to give these young lads the opportunity for you won’t know until you throw them into the bigger games and the bigger occasions whether or not they’re going to make it at that level.”
Monday, August 7
Speaking after Saturday’s game, Billy Davies said:
“We gave Celtic too much space and respect in the first half. We were sloppy for the goal, although a few of the lads thought Berkovic was offside. I thought young Steven Hammell was excellent. He, Stephen Nicholas and Martin Wood give us hope for the future.”
Billy Davies added that his brother John would be fined by the club following his red-card at Parkhead.
Today’s Daily Record reports that Motherwell, Aberdeen and St Johnstone will watch Clydebank’s French trialist Eric Taborda in the CIS Cup-tie against Alloa tomorrow night. The 30-year-old midfielder, who has already trained at Pittodrie in the close season, was apparently Bankies’ star performer in their 2-2 draw against Stirling Albion on Saturday.
Ricky is back his hols, and his report of the Celtic game is now available!
Saturday, August 5
Motherwell went down 1-0 to Celtic at Parkhead this afternoon, in a game which saw John Davies sent off in the first half, and Celtic’s Jackie McNamara and Chris Sutton red-carded in the second 45 mins. We defended well throughout, with Kemble and Strong particularly outstanding, but sadly we rarely threatened upfront. More later…
Friday, August 4
The Daily Record’s preview of tomorrow’s game at Parkhead is available here.
Speaking of the Scott Leitch situation, Billy Davies said:
“Scott Leitch is currently training with the club after coming up from Swindon Town and I’ll be keeping a close eye on him over the next few days and we will see how things go. I think Saturday is probably too early for him to be honest. I wouldn’t imagine he would be ready to step in that quickly but we’ll see how it goes. There are one or two things taking place at the club and hopefully over the next week or so we will be able to add the squad. “
Leitch, a left-sided midfield player, made 89 league appearances for Dunfermline in three seasons and scored 16 goals before being moved to Hearts in season 1993-94. He turned out 55 times for the Tynecastle side and scored two goals before moving south of the border to join Swindon in 1996. Notts County are also reported to be interested in him.
A couple of snippets regarding two former Motherwell players. Brian Martin is now playing for Lanark Utd, while Steve Kirk will be turning out for Hill o Beath this season.
Thursday, August 3
Today’s Motherwell Times reports that Derek Adams has recovered from his ankle injury and should be fit for Saturday’s trip to Parkhead, but Don Goodman’s calf injury will force him to miss the game. Lee McCulloch will return but John Spencer is still suspended.
Teletext reports that former Hearts player Scott Leitch is currently on trial at Fir Park. The 30-year-old midfielder, who was released by Swindon Town at the end of last season, will train at Fir Park over the next few days but won’t play on Saturday. (NB: This story first appeared on our rumours page!)
Partick Thistle have signed ex-Motherwell goalkeeper Michael Brown.
Tranmere Rovers have ended their interest in Sasa Curcic. The former Motherwell player had been with Rovers on trial but suffered a back injury and experienced visa problems on their pre-season tour of Ireland.
Tuesday, August 1
Reports this morning suggest that Kevin Twaddle’s wrist injury might not be as serious as was first feared, and he could be back within a few weeks. Billy Davies said:
“Kevin was still in pain when he visited consultants this morning to have another look at the x-rays, but we are hoping it’s not as bad as first thought. Nevertheless, we are looking at him being out for at least two weeks. We knew it would be difficult going in against an unknown Dundee side without influential players like Spencer, McCulloch, Goodman and Adams – but there was a bigger disappointment in losing Twaddle so early in the game.”
Billy Davies looks set to move into the transfer market as our early season injury crisis continues. He said:
“People have said we need more in midfield, but as far as I am concerned the whole squad could be a little deeper and a bit stronger. I feel we need to add one or two more players to the squad. Without making excuses for Saturday’s defeat, a club like this can’t afford to lose John Spencer, Lee McCulloch, Don Goodman, Derek Adams and now Twaddle and expect to win matches with 17-year-old kids in attack. I’m sorry, but that just doesn’t happen at this level. That is not an excuse, it’s a fact. But we are sitting down just now with the chairman and we’re discussing the need to add to the squad. I would hope that in the next couple of weeks we can bring one or two fresh faces in.”
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