Motherwell FC News – Dec 2000
Sunday, December 17
|Speaking after yesterday’s game, Billy Davies said: |
“I was not only pleased at the 2-0 win but also the performance. I felt we were up for it from the kick-off and produced a number of great chances and thought we might have been a couple of goals ahead by half-time. It looked as if we were never going to score and after we did we had to thank Andy Goram for some outstanding saves. I would also like to praise Antti Niemi who had a couple of magnificent stops to keep Hearts in it. Our aim was always to be in the top six and that is still our goal. We hope to keep going and get some more points before the Xmas shut-down.”
Saturday, December 16
|Motherwell recorded a thoroughly deserved 2-0 victory over Hearts at Fir Park this afternoon. We made a number of changes from last’s week’s game at Ibrox, with Stevie McMillan replacing the injured Benito Kemble at centre-half, and Derek Towsnley and John Spencer replacing Stuart Elliott and Keith Lasley, who both dropped to the bench. Motherwell dominated the first half and passed up several opportunities to take the lead, the most clear cut of which were when Kevin Twaddle missed with a free header from around 6 years, and Lee McCulloch blasted against the bar with an open goal at his mercy.|
However, we eventually went ahead in 56 mins when Derek Townsley headed past Niemi from a corner. The goal seemed to inspire Hearts and only a couple of brilliant saves from Andy Goram kept our lead intact. With the visitors pushing for an equaliser, gaps were always going to be left at the back and Motherwell missed several chances to kill the game off. However, with only 3 mins left Derek “Scholes” Townsley won the ball in midfield and set up substitute Derek Adams, who made no mistake with a close range shot. The win keeps us in touch with the teams above us in the race for a top six place.
More great pics of this afternoon’s game are available here, courtesy of Graeme Bell.
Friday, December 15
John Spencer has admitted for the first time he almost certainly won’t be at Fir Park next season. Spenny’s three-year contract expires in the summer and a new deal has not been discussed. Spencer, who insisted it would be “unprofessional” to discuss his future beyond the summer, said:
“When I signed here I knew it was going to be a three-year plan that the chairman had and the club have upheld their side of the agreement for three years. I’m hopefully going to do the same and if I do leave in the summer there will be no hard feelings. It’s just the way football is going in general, not just in Scotland. I think a few clubs in the English First Division are in the same boat. At the end of the season it might be different. You can never say never. If they turn around and offer me a contract you can never say that I’m not going to sign it.”
Billy Davies says he will be sorry to see his brother-in-law leave:
“It’s not something that’s been sprung upon us and we’re fully aware of it and we can appreciate that football is all about experiences and pastures new. It’s not a surprise to us – we knew it was there and that it was coming up. As John said, never say never, but we know what the most likely outcome is going to be. Obviously he is a quality player and he’s got a lot of good years left in him, there’s no doubt about that. One of the things that he does do is brighten up the dressing room each morning and there is never a dull day when he’s about the place. He has talents on the pitch – the background that he has and the experience that he’s got – and I’m just delighted that a club like Motherwell can bring players like John Spencer to the club. It’s disappointing from my point of view and the club’s but that’s the way
With a number of Motherwell’s top earners seemingly on their way out of Fir Park to reduce the wage bill, youth seems to be the way forward for the club. Speaking yesterday, Pat Nevin said:
“We are always keen to bring young players through to the first team, with the likes of Lee McCulloch and Stevie Hammell coming in, so it is not something new. Obviously, Billy was slightly concerned about throwing Keith Lasley in for his full debut at Ibrox, but he certainly didn’t look out of place and really showed what he is capable of. Keith is one of a number of young players that are quite close to breaking into the first team and if they are good enough then they will get the chance to prove it.”
Speaking about the Rangers game last Sunday, Nevin said:
“The goals we lost on Sunday could have been defended better, but Rangers had two or three good chances before they scored, while we never really created anything in front of goal. I think the turning point was the loss of Benito Kemble to injury while Rangers were forced to take off Flo which meant changing their system and that worked against us. However, the games against Hibs and Rangers were always going to be difficult and we must now look forward to the home game against Hearts. Confidence in the dressing room is still high and all the players are up for it, especially after they beat us early on in the season, so it would be nice if we could start another run.”
Further team news ahead of tomorrow’s game: Don Goodman will miss out once again as he is still struggling to shake of a hamstring injury which has forced him to sit out the last three games.
Thursday, December 14
Today’s Motherwell Times reports that Ged Brannan is very close to signing a new deal with the club. However, Ged’s recent booking against Hibs means he will miss the upcoming games against St Johnstone on the 23rd and Dundee on Boxing Day.
Team news for Saturday’s match against Hearts: Stevie McMillan and Derek Townsley have both recovered from the virus which kept them out of the Rangers game, and Kevin Twaddle is also expected to be ok after suffering a neck injury at Ibrox. However, Benito Kemble misses out after suffering a hamstring injury against Rangers.
Wednesday, December 13
Today’s Evening Times reports that Crystal Palace are interested in Stevie McMillan. Apparently their manager has contacted the club with a view to signing the £650,000 rated left-back.
Tuesday, December 12
Motherwell are one of a number of clubs reported to be interested in East Fife’s teenage striker Steve Ferguson. A Motherwell representative will watch Ferguson in tonight’s Scottish Cup replay against Albion Rovers
Monday, December 11
The injury list now has two more additions after both Kevin Twaddle and Benito Kemble had to be replaced during yesterday’s game at Ibrox. Billy Davies said:
“Twaddle should be OK but Kemble has pulled his hamstring again. It’s been happening too many times in my opinion and we will have to be looking at that one very closely.”
BD explained why Andy Goram had been recalled to the side at the expense of Stevie Woods:
“I just thought Andy Goram was the right choice to play. I don’t think you can blame Andy for any of the goals.”
Ricky’s report of the Rangers game is now available.
Sunday, December 10
Motherwell went down 2-0 to Rangers at Ibrox this afternoon. We went into the game without McMillan and Townsley (both ill, apparently) and with Andy Goram back between the sticks in place of Stevie Woods. 21-year-old Keith Lasley made a surprise debut in midfield and can be proud of his performance. There was very little between the teams in the first half, with Motherwell enjoying as much possession as I’ve ever seen them have at Ibrox. However, the turning point came after around 30 mins when Benito Kemble went off injured and was replaced by Ange Ouiefio. Kemble had been marking Mols and virtually had him in his back pocket, and his departure caused a great deal of disruption to the defence and we never looked at ease during the remainder of the game. Just when it looked like we would go in at half time on level terms, poor defending allowed Rangers to take the lead from a corner kick. The home side had the better of the second half, with Motherwell never really looking like scoring, and the game was sealed when Barry Ferguson was given a free header after 78 mins to make the score 2-0. I suppose we can have few complaints about the final result, but it was disappointing the way we didn’t really put a poor looking Rangers side under any sort of pressure.
Speaking after the game, Billy Davies said:
“We have got to be much more professional from set-pieces. I felt prior to the goal we had adapted very well to the game. But the first goal was vital and to lose it that way was obviously very disappointing.”
BD has spoken about the situation regarding the out-of-contract players:
“Before the end of the winter break, I’d like to get one or two signed up, because that will send out the right signal to people. But unfortunately it is out of our hands. Players have a wide world of options out there because of the Bosman ruling, and if they decide to wait and see out their contract like Simo Valakari did, there is nothing we can do about it. It is just a matter of playing football between now and the end of the season. If you look throughout Scottish football, it is the same for everybody. We all have to be realistic. There has to be good house-keeping and we have to live within our means.”
The full article is available from the Sunday Herald website.
Friday, December 8
Billy Davies has spoken out about the speculation surrounding Motherwell’s out-of-contract players:
“We can’t stop stories coming out in the papers. On-going negotiations are taking place with many of our out-of-contract players. There will be people trying to stir things between now and the end of the season but the most important thing is that the club is heading in the right direction. We will be speaking to players in the coming months and trying to sort out things. Hopefully we can have one or two of those players on board for next season. Most managers have to sit down with the out-of- contract players and discuss their future. I don’t think our position is any different from most other clubs. We will be speaking to all the players concerned.”
Meanwhile, Pat Nevin admitted that not all the players had been offered new deals:
“We have spoken to one or two players but have not offered all those out of contract new deals yet. It is unsettling for players to read about their future in the press. We are trying to be fair to all the first-team squad members. All the players I have spoken to appreciate the situation and have been very mature about it.”
Nevin also spoke about the situation with John Davies:
“John was very honourable and did not need do what he did. He has given up half a year’s money and did not demand a pay-off to leave.”
Today’s Evening Times is linking John Spencer with a move to Preston North End and Ged Brannan with a return to Tranmere Rovers. The Times claims that Preston are willing to offer £400,000 for Spencer, who is out of contract at the end of the season and will be able to leave for nothing under the Bosman ruling. Meanwhile Tranmere are reported to have contacted Brannan’s agent, and are thought to have offered to better the £2,000 a week currently being offered by Motherwell. The Times reports that out of all the out-of-contract players, Motherwell are keen to hold on to Brannan, Twaddle, Townsley, Kemble and Woods, and will attempt to offload Goram, Spencer and Goodman. Derek Adams and Paul Harvey’s contracts also expire, but they won’t be looking for big-money deals.
Thursday, December 7
Today’s Sun reports that John Spencer is on his way out of Motherwell as the club introduce a cap on wages. Spenny has apparently been told he will follow Andy Goram out of the Fir Park door, and he is now available to go out on loan. Spencer earns around £7,000 per week, but that is over TWICE what John Boyle intends to pay new signings in future. Goram has been offered a new deal on half what he is currently earning, and is set to walk away.
The Sun also reports that John Davies has quit the club to seek first team football. Apparently he grew tired of the abuse he received from the fans, and asked brother Billy to release him from his contract. Morton, Raith Rovers, Airdrie and Ayr United are reported to be keen to sign him. Looking back on his 18 months with Motherwell, John Davies feels nothing but bitterness towards the fans:
“I´m disgusted. I´ve been a professional footballer for 18 years, been First Division Player of the Year, played for Rangers, Airdrie, St Johnstone and Ayr United and never had anything like this before. I don´t even know what it is. Is it because my brother´s the manager? These so-called supporters don´t even deserve to be called fans. It was Billy´s scouts that recommended me to him, not the other way about. The final nail in the coffin was the League Cup match against Queen´s Park, when I wasn´t even on the pitch and was being booed. I don´t mind people giving me stick because I´m not playing well, or constructive criticism, but that was absolutely disgusting and mindless.”
The Motherwell Times is reporting that Andy Goram will be back in the side for Sunday’s trip to Ibrox. Motherwell have doubts over Lee McCulloch, John Spencer, Don Goodman and Derek Adams, although Billy Davies is hopeful that at least two of them will make it.
BD has revealed that the deal to take Stevie McMillan to Bradford is officially dead:
“The deal is dead as the two clubs could not agree on a method of payment. It has been a difficult period for Steve. People do not understand what is going through the boy’s mind. We thought about whether or not we should play him against Hibs but Motherwell want to use their best players and Steve McMillan is definitely one of those. He is disappointed – the chance to play in the Premiership does not come along every day. However, whether it be now or in six months’ time, he will graduate to bigger and better clubs than Motherwell.”
Speaking about his manager of the month award, Davies said:
“It was a good month but then we got a kick up the backside from Hibs on Sunday. Now we are looking at the next five or six games before the winter break to pick up as many points as we can and get into a challenging position. There has always been an excellent atmosphere in the dressing room but there was a great feeling of togetherness in the past month or so. That stems from the activities days we organise at least once a month. The players, management and chairman have all tried their hand at 10-pin bowling, go-karting and curling this season. This helps galvanise team spirit and gives us a break from training.”
New Celtic signing Neil Lennon has revealed he spent three years with Motherwell as a teenager, but returned to Belfast because he didn’t feel he had been properly treated by the club. Lennon trained at Fir Park between the age of 13 and 16 when Tommy McLean was manager.
Wednesday, December 6
Billy Davies has been awarded the Bank of Scotland manager of the month for November. This is BD’s third award and comes after the club picked up 10 points out of a possible 15 last month. The Scottish Football Writers Association, who decide the winner each month, praised BD for turning the team around after a disappointing start to the campaign.
“Motherwell have enjoyed a superb month culminating in an impressive victory over St Mirren on Wednesday. Billy Davies has deserved his third award – the fact that Motherwell are now maintaining their challenge to secure a place in the top six of the Premier League speaks for itself.”
Today’s Sun reports that we are interested in Wigan’s Northern Ireland centre-half Pat McGibbon. Apparently Billy Davies watched the former Manchester Utd youngster against Brentford last weekend.
Tuesday, December 5
The Sun reports that Motherwell are interested in Carlisle striker Scott Dobie, but are certain to be put off by the English side’s £1 million valuation.
Monday, December 4
Speaking after last night’s game, Billy Davies said:
“We started the first five minutes well but in reality the difference between the teams was night and day. They passed better, moved better and thoroughly deserved their victory. We under-achieved tonight, let our fans down and it’s a matter of getting our sleeves rolled up and working hard. There’s been a lot of talk about contracts around the club this week but that’s no excuse. All clubs are in this situation because of Bosman so there can be no excuses. We’ll sit down tomorrow and talk the game through and prepare ourselves for our next game.”
Pat Nevin has confirmed that Stevie McMillan’s £600,000 move to Bradford City is off, because of a disagreement about how the fee should be paid up:
“As far as we are concerned, the deal is now off and Stephen is staying here, which we are quite happy about.”
Ricky’s report of the Hibs game is now available.
Sunday, December 3
Hibs won 3-1 at Fir Park this evening, a victory which if anything was much more convincing than the scoreline suggests. This was a woeful performance from a Motherwell side lacking any shape or creativity, and we never looked like taking anything from the match. Billy Davies made only one change from the team which beat St Mirren in midweek, with Stuart Elliot dropping to the bench and Bradford target Stevie McMillan taking his place. The first half was a virtual non-event with few chances for either side, but with only five mins left Motherwell gifted Hibs the lead with some schoolboy defending. The ball was played into the penalty area and Steve McMillan had plenty of time to either pass back to the ‘keeper or clear the ball upfield, but he hesitated and allowed Zitelli to nip in and score. Then in 48 mins, the game was dead and buried thanks to more amateurish defending. An attempted clearance from a corner kick appeared to hit Derek “Paul Scholes” Townsley and ended up in the back of the net. If the first two goals were comic-cut, then Hibs’ third was a cracker when Zitelli blasted the ball high past Woods from a tight angle. Motherwell grabbed a consolation goal with only seven minutes left when Stuart Elliott fired into the net after beating a couple of defenders, but the game was long since finished. There were absolutely no positives to take from this game and things do not bode well for next week’s trip to Ibrox.
Saturday, December 2
Bradford’s move for Steve McMillan appears to have fallen through, for the time being at least. Apparently the stumbling block has been the method of payment, with Motherwell wanting a straight cash deal.
McMillan is likely to miss tomorrow’s game against Hibs as he is carrying a groin strain. John Spencer, Don Goodman, Derek Adams, Paul Harvey and Jamie McLen are all carrying knocks and are rated as doubtful.
Motherwell have confirmed that they will not be heading abroad for the winter break.
The club have introduced a “Golden Games” offer, a five match package which gives savings of up to £17 on normal gate entry prices. Full details are available from the Official MFC Page.
More juicy gossip is available from the rumours page!
Friday, December 1
Today’s newspapers confirm that Bradford City boss Jim Jeffries has made an offer for Stevie McMillan, ranging from £700,000 to £750,000 depending on what paper you read. According to the Daily Record, the clubs are close to doing business and the player could be paraded at Valley Parade by the weekend. Pat Nevin is quoted as saying:
“I’ve spoken to Jim Jefferies and the clubs are nearing an agreement. The only stumbling block would appear to be the method of payment. Bradford have made bids and we are a miniscule amount apart.”
Meanwhile, the Sun reports that John Boyle has stalled on the deal and is holding out for £1 million. Jim Jeffries is quoted as saying:
“It looks like the deal is going to fall through. We just couldn’t agree a fee. We made an offer which I felt was fair, but they rejected it. I rate the lad but our interest has cooled.”
It’s looking more and more likely that Andy Goram will not be with the club next season. The 36-year-old ‘keeper has rejected Motherwell’s offer of a new one-year deal and is free to talk to other clubs outside of Scotland from January 1. Pat Nevin said:
“Andy was made an offer and he has not accepted it yet. We did not have a shouting match and there was no row. As to whether or not Andy will be around next season that is something myself, Andy and his agent will have to discuss. I’ve spoken to Andy and he was quite cool about it all but talks are continuing.”
Goram was keen to point out that discussions so far have been amicable:
“I want to make it clear I was not being greedy. I wanted a three-year deal with the same money I have been on for the past two years. Motherwell have offered me a one-year deal with substantially less money as they are working within first-team budget constraints and as a provincial club I can fully respect that decision. But Motherwell know I am perfectly within my rights to start talking to other clubs from January 1 and they understand my position and respect that fully.”
Billy Davies also played down suggestions of a row brewing with Goram:
“There is no problem with myself and Andy Goram whatsoever. The decision to drop Goram was a football one pure and simple. I thought Stevie Woods was justified to come back into the side. We made a football decision and Andy has to accept that. He has been out a long time through injury but he came in training with the rest of the players after the St Mirren match. I still feel Andy needs a couple of more games under his belt. It was a tough decision to make but that is why I am the manager of Motherwell Football Club. I don’t think age matters to be honest and Andy is a player who I believe can go on for a number of years because of his ability. Things have changed at this club and in Scottish football in general and players have to be realistic about the situation and what is going on. The Bosman ruling is a wonderful thing for players as they now have options to sit back and see what’s available to them. Motherwell have to work within the parameters of our budget and we will make our offers to the players. If that is acceptable great, if not and they can get better deals elsewhere then that’s football. That is the way the game is going now and we would be delighted if these guys signed new contracts. But players are very clever and two months down the line they know they can maybe get better deals elsewhere. Players are perfectly within their rights to do that but at the same time we have a football club to run here.”
BD added that Goram would remain ‘Well skipper:
“Andy Goram is the captain of the club. Ged Brannan is only the skipper when Andy does not play and nothing has changed on that front.”
A new Monthly Poll is now online!
Last month’s news