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    Legend Kirk feared for his life

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    Hearts Hospitality

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    Book your Xmas Party Night

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    Youths face Celtic

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    Saunders makes Scotland debut

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    2010/11 Half Season Tickets

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    St Mirren Tickets & Travel

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    Sick Saunders cured by Scotland call

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    Officials appointed for St Mirren clash

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    Saunders promoted to senior squad

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    Legend Kirk feared for his life

    Stevie Kirk opened his eyes as he lay in a Florida hospital bed and asked wife Kay a simple question. “Am I still here?”

    Having battled through emergency heart surgery, the legendary Motherwell striker had come perilously close to dying while on holiday in America.

    Even now, after the most traumatic experience of his life, the 47-year-old admits he struggles to sleep at night. Kirk is scared he might never wake up. Incredibly, the former Fir Park striker almost became the fifth member of Well’s 1991 Scottish Cup-winning squad to die at a tragically young age.

    If it wasn’t for the medical staff at Orlando South Hospital, Kirk could have suffered the same fate as Davie Cooper, Phil O’Donnell, Jamie Dolan and Paul McGrillen.

    But his determination and will to live saw him survive to tell the tale.

    In his first interview since he suffered serious heart problems last month, Kirk recalls the moment where his life flashed in front of his eyes and how he’s coming to terms with the ordeal.

    He told Record Sport: “It’s been a devastating time for me and I’m still in shock at what happened.

    “It was so bad that at one point, I remember coming round in the hospital and I looked at my wife. My exact words to here were, ‘Am I still here?’

    “I was looking forward to our holiday so much, we all thought it was going to be great. On October 3 I felt unwell – it was a burning sensation and sharp pains in my chest.

    “I’d had the same feeling for two or three days so I went to a walk-in clinic in America. I was kept in hospital overnight. I got X-rays, scans, everything and the following morning I had an ‘episode’ on the monitor – my heart was racing.

    “I was transferred to Orlando by helicopter. When they did that I realised it must be something serious.

    “On October 5, they decided to cut my groin and slid an electrode up my artery to my heart. They try to replicate the beat of your heart but they couldn’t do it. The following day I had another ‘episode’ so they had to do it all over again.

    “This time they thought they’d fixed it and I was released on the Friday. All the time, the doctors had told me it wasn’t life-threatening, it was the top chamber of my heart.

    “But they wanted to fit a monitor. They did that and I was taking my son Stuart to the airport in Tampa the following day – he was coming home earlier than us.

    “I had two ‘episodes’ in Tampa, one in a car park and the other in the shopping precinct. It was sheer pain in my chest. At the airport I was hanging on to cars in a bid to keep myself up. I just wanted into my car to cool myself down because it was boiling hot.

    “In the precinct, my wife and daughter were in one of the shops when I felt it happening again. I was holding on to a railing before getting myself on to a couch, in the middle of the mall.

    “I couldn’t get my breath, it was the worst one I had. It lasted 35 minutes and a young girl came up and asked if she could help me.

    “I knew she was there but I couldn’t speak. In fact, I couldn’t tell you what she looked like because I had no focus.

    “All I kept thinking was ‘the doctor told me it wasn’t life-threatening’. But at that point, I thought I was done. I was convinced I would die and my life flashed in front of my eyes.”

    In the middle of the night, Kirk suffered more chest pains and couldn’t take it any longer.

    Kay immediately took him back to the hospital where it was discovered he had suffered another ‘episode’ which had come from the life-threatening lower chamber of his heart. His arteries were almost completely blocked and the reality of what was happening to him was gradually hitting home to Stevie and his family.

    He said: “They have put two stents in my heart, as the arteries were 70 per cent blocked. The stents are metal coils which will stay in there permanently.

    “The doctors didn’t see it coming, it was totally unexpected. In Tampa, it had come from the bottom chamber and I know now that’s life-threatening.

    “I was told I’d been very lucky. If the artery had clotted, it would have been burst and there would have been no way back.

    “When I got back I visited Stewart Hillis, the former Scotland doctor, and he read my records from America. It said they’d found scarring of the heart from a previous ‘episode’ in my life. That’s a heart attack I wasn’t aware of.

    “I’d led a normal, healthy life before this happened and it’s brought a lot of things home to me. It puts life in perspective and it was traumatic for Kay and the kids as well.

    “They were brilliant with me but my daughter Kirsten thought I was going to die in Tampa. That says it all really.”

    Kirk was working as a community coach with Motherwell before the illfated holiday in America and aims to be back at Fir Park in the next fortnight helping local kids develop their skills.

    He became a hero with the Steelmen when he scored the winning goal against Dundee United at Hampden 19 years ago to help Well lift the Scottish Cup.

    No one could have predicted the tragedy that would beset Tommy McLean’s squad in later life, with Cooper, O’Donnell, Dolan and McGrillen dying before reaching their 40th birthday.

    Craig Paterson, another starter in the Cup Final XI, suffered a cancer scare two years ago, when he had a growth removed.

    Kirk admits he’s still trying to come to terms with what happened in America and can’t understand the “bizarre” curse which has struck a number of his former team-mates.

    He said: “Thankfully my problem has been fixed and it’s unlikely to happen again. I’ve still to get a monitor fixed this week to make sure my heart is beating properly.

    “But I should be back in Motherwell in two weeks, doing a bit of coaching with the kids.

    “I’ll take it from there but I have to be careful – I won’t be running around like a mad man and won’t be appearing in charity games any more.

    “I’m struggling to cope with what happened to me. It’s hard to get over it. I find it difficult sleeping – I’m frightened in case I don’t wake up. I’ve had a lot of positive feedback from medical staff but it’s a personal, psychological thing. I was sitting the other night and it hit me just how close I was to dying.

    “Most professional footballers think this will never happen to them. I thought I was bullet-proof.

    “But obviously I look at Davie who had an aneurism and Phil and Jamie had heart problems. We’ve also lost Paul.

    “You’re not safe in life. You think you’re untouchable but sometimes you have to take stock and calm yourself down.

    “It’s very bizarre what’s happened to some of the boys from the cup-winning team.

    “When it’s actually happening to you, you do think about it. I just thank God I was in the right place to be treated.”

    Words: Scott McDermott, Daily Record

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    Hearts Hospitality

    Motherwell face Hearts next Sunday (28th November) as the battle for third place hots up.

    Jim Jefferies brings his side to Fir Park with both teams jostling for the best of the rest position.

    ‘Well ran out comfortable 2-0 winners the last time the teams met back in September but the Gorgie side have picked up significantly since then.

    And you can enjoy the big match in style from our recently refurbished Centenary Suite.

    You will be welcomed on arrival with a glass of bubbly, then sit down to a fantastic three course meal.

    Complimentary Motherwell labelled wine will be served at your table and a pay bar facility is available via our attentive staff offering a drinks service to your table.

    Relax until before kick off with your complimentary matchday magazines and teamsheet before taking your seats in the centre of the Phil O’Donnell Stand for the match.

    Half time refreshments are served again in the Centenary Suite and a pay bar is available after match.

    Prices start from as little as £79!

    We also have amazing packages available in both the South Stand Boxes and the Millennium Suite.

    If you are interested, then contact Diane or Wilma on 01698 338062 or email commercial@motherwellfc.co.uk.

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    Book your Xmas Party Night

    If you’ve still to book your Christmas Party Night, then why not come along to Fir Park and enjoy a night to remember.

    We’ve only got two nights left, Friday 3rd and 17th December, and time is running out for you to book your spot at Lanarkshire’s premier venue.

    Christmas parties at Fir Park are always a night to remember and this year will be no different.

    We’ve all the ingredients for a great party; high quality catering, lively entertainment and excellent service.

    Enjoy a glass of bubbly on arrival followed by a fabulous three-course meal in the Centenary Suite.

    Then afterwards, dance the night away with the live band “Spirit” and entertainment.

    All this for an unbelievable £30 per person*

    Demand has already been high so to avoid disappointment, confirm your place now. Phone Wilma or Diane on 01698 338008/338062 or email commercial@motherwellfc.co.uk.

    *A £10 deposit is required before the night itself.

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    Youths face Celtic

    Gordon Young’s Under 19s side return to action this Saturday morning when the face Celtic at Lennoxtown.

    Following last Friday’s postponement when Dundee United were due to visit the Creamery Park, the youths haven’t been in Clydesdale Bank U19s League action since 29th October.

    In between times, the Fir Parkers crashed out to Livingston in the SFA Youth Cup but still sit third in the table, joint with Saturday’s opponents and Aberdeen.

    Celtic’s only defeat of the campaign came last week when league-leaders Rangers ran our 4-2 winners at Barrowfield.

    The match will take at the Celtic Training Centre, Lennoxtown, with kick-off at 11am.

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    Saunders makes Scotland debut

    Steven Saunders won his first cap as Scotland ran out comfortable 3-0 winners against the Faroe Islands at Pittodrie this evening.

    The youngster was a 70th minute replacement for Sunderland’s Phil Bardsley and looked assured and confident in the last twenty minutes of the match.

    Scotland had earlier put themselves into a commanding lead when Liverpool’s Danny Wilson got on the end of a Charlie Adam corner to smash past former Steelmen stopper Gunnar Nielsen.

    Seven minutes later Scotland doubled their advantage; Charlie Adam was again the creator, whipping in a fantastic low ball which was flicked home by Derby County winger Kris Commons.

    On the stroke of half-time, the home side killed off the match courtesy of QPR’s Jamie Mackie. Barry Bannan’s whipped cross was turned back across the face by Wilson and the striker was on hand to blast home from close range.

    The second half wasn’t quite as fluid as Levein choose to introduce a host of younger players. Cammy Bell, Craig Bryson, James McArthur and David Goodwillie all joined Saunders in winning their first cap as the Scots played out the rest of the match in a fairly comfortable fashion.

    Scotland face Northern Ireland in early 2011 and hopefully other ‘Well players get their chance to make an impact.

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    2010/11 Half Season Tickets

    Motherwell Football Club have today confirmed prices for our fantastic half-season tickets which have gone on sale at Fir Park.

    Craig Brown and the players have made a superb start to the 2010/11 campaign, spending most of the season so far in the best of the rest third spot in the SPL table as well as progressing to the Semi Finals of the Co-operative Insurance Cup.

    We need you to play your part in the push to confirm third place and a fourth consecutive spot in European football.

    Prices start from as little as £45 for juveniles and £140 for adults and will include at least nine home games, including clashes against both halves of the Old Firm (Half Season Tickets will commence from the Rangers game on Boxing Day).

    There is also an incredible family offer in the Davie Cooper Stand where an adult can take up to two juveniles for just £150!

    Half season tickets are a fantastic way to introduce a youngster to the unequalled rollercoaster that is Motherwell Football Club. Give them the present that every kid wants and join us in the race for third place!

    Chief Executive Leeann Dempster said, “We had some fantastic uptake of season tickets in the summer with numbers up 13% overall.

    “That is predominantly down to the Kids go Free offer in the Cooper Stand with many people taking up what is one of the best ticketing initiatives in the SPL. Fans tried out the Motherwell experience in Europe and many returned to be a part of the Motherwell experience.

    “We are keen to encapsulate that sprit once again and ask you, the fans, to help the team and play your part in pushing the team towards great things in 2011.”

    There are two easy ways to book your seat and enjoy all the fun in 2011

    1. Phone our Box Office enquiry line on 01698 333 333

    2. Pop into the Fir Park Ticket Office

    For a full stand-by-stand price breakdown, CLICK HERE.

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    St Mirren Tickets & Travel

    Motherwell will hope to bounce back from Saturday’s defeat at Hibs when they take on Danny Lennon’s St Mirren in Paisley.

    ‘Well fans making the short journey along the M8 will hope the Steelmen can continue a very impressive away record; Brown’s men picking up wins at Kilmarnock, St Johnstone, Hearts and Inverness.

    However, Saints have enjoyed a recent upturn in fortunes having taken all three points at Tannadice and only lost to Celtic courtesy of a late, late Gary Hooper goal in the dying seconds.

    The Buddies also proved tough opponents at Fir Park last month when it took two late goals, a Tom Hateley penalty and a Jamie Murphy strike to settle the teams.

    Motherwell fans will be housed in the usual North Stand with tickets available from the Fir Park Ticket Office priced at:

    Adult: £20
    Concession: £10

    * Concessions are listed as Under 18’s, OAP’s and Wheelchair Users
    * The concession ticket for a wheelchair user also includes the admission of a helper/carer.
    * The away ticket office at New St Mirren Park will be open from 1pm on the day of the match but operates on a strict cash only basis.

    SUPPORTERS ASSOCIATION COACHES

    Three Supporters Association coaches will make their way to the match:

    WISHAW BRANCH

    The Wishaw branch bus to Paisley on Saturday 20th will leave Wishaw at 1.15pm. To book seats phone Anne (01698) 470601 or email andrew.sim48@btinternet.com.

    CENTRAL BRANCH

    The bus for Paisley will leave the Bentley Hotel at 1.30pm. Phone Jim on (01698) 299650 or e-mail Christopher on christopher_hutton@btinternet.com.

    BELLSHILL & DISTRICT BRANCH

    The St Mirren bus will pick up at the Fir Park Club, Motherwell at 12.10pm then the Holytown War Monument at 12.20pm and finally the Carousel Bar, Bellshill at 12.30pm. To book seats, contact Brian Worton after 6pm on (01698) 747644

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    Sick Saunders cured by Scotland call

    Steven Saunders was physically sick when he heard he was in the Scotland squad.

    The Motherwell defender revealed it was a virus and not nerves that had laid him low. In fact the call-up for Saunders, originally named in the Under-21 squad, was the perfect cure as he quickly got the all-clear from the doctor and joined Craig Levein’s squad for tonight’s Pittodrie clash with the Faroes.

    Saunders, 19, said, “I wasn’t feeling too good on Sunday with a stomach bug. I was sick a couple of times and spent the whole day in bed. I couldn’t get my temperature to settle down and I couldn’t eat anything.

    “Then I got a call on Sunday night from the SFA. I was shocked when I was told I had been promoted to the full squad. The first thing I had to do was get a doctor’s appointment for the following morning to make sure I was all right to travel.

    “I was feeling a lot better and had started eating again by then. Now I would love to get a run out but even just being part of the squad is a great achievement.”

    The right back admitted he was shocked to learn he had been picked ahead of Well team-mates Mark Reynolds, Jamie Murphy and Chris Humphrey.

    “It was a bit of a surprise Mark, Jamie and Chris never got a call-up because they’ve all been in good form,” he said.

    “Mark has been doing it for a couple of years while Jamie and Chris have been flying. They have done well in the league so I thought they may have been called into the squad.”

    ‘Well boss Craig Brown was equally as thrilled for Saunders after his first senior call-up.

    The former Queens Park defender is the only player to receive a senior call whilst Brown has been in charge and he was quick to congratulate his young protégée.

    “I am delighted for Steven; it’s a massive boost to not only him personally, but the club,” said Brown, who managed Scotland for a record 70 matches.

    “He has been progressing well and I know Craig Levein rates him. Hopefully he gets some action but even being a part of the squad and the preparations will be an invaluable experience for him. Hopefully he isn’t the last Motherwell player to get the recognition in the months ahead.”

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    Officials appointed for St Mirren clash

    Referee for this Saturday’s Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League clash with St Mirren is Alan Muir.

    It will be Muir’s first ‘Well game of the season but he’s a familiar face to Motherwell fans having taken charge of three games last term.

    The most recent was certainly one to forget though; a 4-0 defeat by Celtic in Glasgow at the start of May this year.

    He also oversaw the 3-2 extra-time with over Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the Co-operative Insurance Cup Fourth Round and the lively 2-2 draw against Dundee United back in late November 2009.

    The latter was infamous for two red cards, shown to Prince Bauben and Danny Swanson, and a missed red card for Jennison Myrie-Williams which prompted the then United boss Craig Levein to remove him from the game almost immediately.

    The season before last, Muir was the man in the middle for the 1-0 defeat to Kilmarnock at Rugby Park in October, the 0-0 draw with St Mirren at Love Street in January and the 3-0 victory over Hamilton Accies at New Douglas Park in May.

    In those games he produced 15 yellow cards, six of which were shown to a player in claret and amber, and one red card, given to former defender Paul Quinn for a professional foul on David Fernandez in the 1-0 defeat to Killie.

    The 35-year-old has taken charge of five SPL games so far in this campaign, including Celtic’s 9-0 annihilation of Aberdeen which produced three yellow cards, two red cards and three penalty kicks.

    His other appointments have come at Tannadice when Inverness Caley hammered Dundee Utd by 4-0, New Douglas Park where a 90th minute goal by Kenny Miller gave Rangers all three points against Hamilton.

    He’s also been at the Caledonian Stadium as Inverness drew with St Johnstone and again at Tannadice when Kilmarnock held the Tangerines to a 1-1 draw.

    He will be ably assisted on the day by Allan Cunningham and Stephen Allan, with Eddie Smith on fourth official duties.

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    Saunders promoted to senior squad

    Motherwell FC are today delighted to confirm talented young star Steven Saunders has been promoted to the Scotland International squad.

    Saunders, 19, was set to be involved in the Scotland U21 as Billy Stark’s men take on Northern Ireland at Firhill.

    But a series of withdrawals has left Craig Levein short and the defender will join Paul Caddis and Murray Davidson as late call-ups.