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    McCall looks ahead to Morton test

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    Law lauds the McCall factor

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    Jennings agrees contract extension

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    Nicky Law completes ‘Well move

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    SPL & Mitre agree new four-year deal

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    McCall pleased with general fitness

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    Players return for pre-season training

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    Youths kick-off against Hearts

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    New home kit for 2011/2012

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    Craigan’s testimonial match confirmed

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    McCall looks ahead to Morton test

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall admits he can’t wait to get back into games after seven days of intense training.

    The first-team squad returned for pre-season last Tuesday and have faced a gruelling week of double and even triple sessions.

    And whilst McCall is adamant that side of pre-season is crucial, he couldn’t hide his want to get back in the dugout for matches.

    “It’ll be good to get off the training ground and back on to a pitch tonight,” said the former Bradford boss.

    “Obviously, we are only about two-and-a-half weeks away from our first SPL game and despite the lads only being back for a week, they are already desperate for a game.

    “We’ll probably play two teams tonight; one in the first-half and the other in the second. In these games, the players all want to get a touch of the ball and any manager will tell you that it’s not all about the result; it’s about fitness and sharpness.

    “I am desperate for the lads to remain injury free after getting a good 45 minutes under their belt and finish the match after a good performance by all 22 players.”

    McCall is also hoping to use the game to not only work on SPL preparations, but also as a springboard for some of the younger talent in the Motherwell squad.

    Plenty of promising youngsters are on the fringes of the Fir Park first-team and the 46-year old former Scotland International is desperate for them to make a mark on the senior team.

    He explained: “As games progress, you start to work more towards what you plan on being your shape and personnel for the opening games of the season.

    [pullquote]Morton are good side who will be looking to push themselves in the First Division this year and I expect a very stern test[/pullquote]

    “By the time the Partick Thistle game comes around, we’ll probably be working more on how things are going to work as opposed to now, which is all about the lads getting their touch and their fitness and sharpness back.

    “You’ve also got to remember that we only have two new players at the minute – the rest of the squad is very familiar with how I like to play and how their teammates play. It’s different if you have six or seven new players and you are essentially trying to gel a team together. Having said that, we are pushing some of the kids like Carswell, Smith, Pollock and Lawless and others who I hope will make more of an impact at first-team level this season.

    “These lads, having played very little or never under Kenny and I, have to get used to how we operate and how we want things done.”

    With the Steelmen not finishing the campaign until after the Scottish Cup Final in May and the 2011/12 SPL season having been brought forward three weeks, it is perhaps the shortest close/pre-season ever.

    McCall admits that fitting things in has been a challenge but praised the professionalism of his squad, all of whom reported back for training in good shape.

    “I’ve been involved in an eight-week pre-season as a player, and that was with seven or eight weeks of a close-season too,” he recalled.

    “This year, the players got five weeks off; we finished after the Cup Final on the 21st May and we returned on the 28th of June.

    “Most teams have probably been back a week before us but we started last season before everyone in Europe and finished last in the Cup Final so it was important for them (the players) to rest both mentally and physically. We only have four weeks of pre-season and we’ve tried to cram a lot into the first week with morning and afternoon sessions.

    “Gone are the days though when players report back a stone overweight. I think it was Arsene Wenger who really started the trend of having his players come back in good physical condition so they can start using the ball almost on the first day of pre-season, as opposed to running for the first week to get guys back into shape and lose weight. We’ve managed to do that and, allied with the hard fitness top-ups we’ve done, the lads look in good shape and I am positive about things.”

    The Steelmen face a tough test against first division side Morton at Cappielow tonight and the ‘Well boss is expecting a stern test, “I think they’ve already had ninety minutes under their belt and were back in training before us so they might be a little sharper at the get go than us.

    “Morton are good side who will be looking to push themselves in the first division this year and I expect a very stern test. I am sure the playing surface will be excellent and both teams will enjoy getting the ball down and playing some football.”

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    Law lauds the McCall factor

    Nicky Law was full of praise for ‘Well boss Stuart McCall following his first weekend training with his new teammates.

    The former Sheffield United, Bradford and Rotherham midfielder joined the Steelmen on a two-year deal on Friday.

    Three training sessions later and the 23-year old was fulsome in his praise for the Motherwell manger.

    “I know the manager here at Motherwell, Stuart McCall, really well; I’ve worked with him at Sheffield United, as a kid, and again at Bradford City,” said Law.

    “He was a massive part in me coming to this club, that and the chance to showcase my football on a platform that gets more coverage. The early signs have been good; I have a really good feeling about the move already.

    “He (McCall) was there when I made my debut for United when I was just seventeen; he was assistant manager to Neil Warnock at the time. When I was 18, I made my Premiership debut with the Blades and played in six or so games which was amazing.

    “I’ve always been very grateful to Stuart for the role he has played in my career and hopefully I can repay some of that faith here at Motherwell.”

    Law has never ventured out of England to ply his trade; indeed, the Thursday night before he joined on at Fir Park was his first ever time north of the border.

    He admits he has a lot to learn about the game in this country but has heard nothing but compliments from people who have previously experienced the SPL.

    “Being in England my whole career, I’ve got a lot to learn about the game up here,” Law explained.

    “I watched a lot of Motherwell last year whenever they were on Sky because of the connections with Stuart. My opinion, from a far, is that it’s a good league with some really good teams in it – on par with the bottom half of the Championship or the top of League One.

    “I know Gavin Gunning who came on loan at Rotherham and Steve Jones was on loan at Bradford at the same time as me and both spoke very highly of Motherwell and the people who work at Fir Park.

    [pullquote]I’ve always been very grateful to Stuart for the role he has played in my career and hopefully I can repay some of that faith here at Motherwell.[/pullquote]

    “They told me the fans are so passionate and the club means a lot to so many people locally and I can relate to that. I’ve been playing regularly for about fifteen years now and what with my dad being involved in the game, football is in my blood.

    “Others who I know who have played up here told me it would be a good move and I would enjoy it so I am certainly looking forward to seeing what is in store. I did have options at some League One clubs but after sitting down and speaking to Stuart McCall, this was my only choice.”

    Whilst Law doesn’t know much about Scottish Football, it would be fair to say that ‘Well fans may not be overly familiar with the midfielder either.

    When news of his imminent signing came to light in the days leading up to his official parading on Friday, fans have been reading up on the player who certainly has an impressive résumé.

    The description of his attributes is perhaps best left to the player himself though: “I am a midfield player who likes to get forward,” said Law, smiling – “I would say I am most comfortable through the middle but I have absolutely no problems playing on the flanks – I have done so many times before and enjoyed it.”

    “My main strength would probably be setting up goals. I am looking to get amongst the goals this year too – it’s something I am aiming to improve on.

    “I’ve spent most of my career creating and assisting goals and not grabbed as much as I probably should have myself.”

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    Jennings agrees contract extension

    Motherwell are today delighted to confirm that midfielder Steve Jennings has signed a one-year contract extension.

    The former Tranmere midfielder has been sensational in his two seasons at Fir Park and knocked back offers from another SPL club and England to stay on at the Steelmen.

    Jennings has been at the heart of two successive top-six finishes, playing 76 times in Claret and Amber, including several outstanding performances in Europe and a Scottish Cup Final last season.

    Speaking exclusively to motherwellfc.co.uk after penning his deal late this afternoon, Jennings said, “I am delighted to be staying at Motherwell; it’s a fantastic place to play your football.

    “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time working under Stuart McCall and he’s one of the main reasons why I wanted to stay here.

    “The whole thing dragged on a little longer than it should have to be honest. I should’ve signed a few weeks ago but I’ve had a wee bit of a fall-out with my agent and that held things up slightly.

    “But I am glad it’s all sorted now and I concentrate on playing football again. I really think we’ve got a real chance of doing even better than last season and I want to be a part of that.”

    “MotherwellMOBILE” subscribers learned this news first. Text CLUB MWELL to 88442 now!

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    Nicky Law completes ‘Well move

    Motherwell have today secured the signing of midfielder Nicky Law from English League Two side Rotherham United.

    The 23-year old has signed a 2-year deal with the club after his contract expired at the Don Valley Stadium.

    Law, subject of a £150,000 offer from Blackpool eighteen months ago, previously played under ‘Well boss Stuart McCall at Bradford City, enjoying two separate loan spells between 2007 and 2009.

    The Nottingham born player started his professional career with Sheffield United, progressing through their Youth Academy before making his Premiership debut against Newcastle back in 2006, aged just seventeen.

    He played ten times for the Blades over a four year period, the majority of which he spent out on loan at both Yeovil and the two aforementioned separate spells at Valley Parade.

    He eventually left Bramall Lane in the summer of 2009 to join Rotherham where he became an immediate hit with a string of impressive performances. He was reportedly chased by bigger English clubs but remained with the Millers, playing 101 games in their promotion bid from League Two.

    However, when his contract expired, he opted to move north of the border to once again align himself with Stuart McCall.

    Speaking exclusively to motherwellfc.co.uk, Law said, “I am really pleased to be joining Motherwell and lining up with Stuart McCall again.

    “I have worked with the manager twice before, both at Sheffield United and at Bradford. He is one of the main reasons why I opted to move here and not stay down south.

    “That and Motherwell are a team on the up. Competing in Cup Finals and playing in Europe on a regular basis is something which the club has enjoyed in the past few years and I am desperate to be a part of that.

    “I just can’t wait to get going now; the first game can’t come quick enough.”

    “MotherwellMOBILE” subscribers learned this news first. Text CLUB MWELL to 88442 now!

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    SPL & Mitre agree new four-year deal

    The Scottish Premier League and Mitre today announced a four year partnership that will see Mitre continue as official ball supplier until 2015.

    Mitre has supplied the SPL with top quality match balls since the start of the league in 1998 and the Mitre TENSILE ball will continue to be used for the 2011/12 season, with each club having a personalised ball printed in club colours and displaying their club badge.

    As well as continuing as official ball supplier, Mitre’s partnership with leading sports retailer ACA Sports will enable supporters to purchase each club’s TENSILE ball as Mitre’s Official Online Retail Partners for the SPL.

    On the announcement, Neil Doncaster, Chief Executive of the SPL said: “Mitre has been a valued partner of the SPL since 1998 and I am delighted to announce their continued commitment to the SPL for the next four seasons.

    “This year the SPL distributed over £17 million to Clydesdale Bank Premier League clubs. We remain focused on supporting SPL clubs financially as much as possible. The partnership with Mitre is an important piece in that jigsaw.

    “Over the past 13 seasons of the SPL, 7,651 goals have been scored with Mitre balls and I hope to see many more over the coming seasons.

    Gary Hibbert, Managing Director of Mitre, commented on the deal, “The SPL is as passionate and exciting a competition as any and we’re thrilled to extend the deal to be the official ball supplier, continuing our long standing involvement in the Scottish game. We’re looking forward to further successes with the SPL over the next four years and with the additional partnership with ACA Sports – meaning fans can buy replicas of their club’s footballs – this only enhances our offering to fans and clubs.
    Mitre’s partnership with leading sports retailer ACA Sports will enable supporters to purchase each club’s tensile ball as well as other ranges of replica balls as Mitre’s Official Online retail partners for the SPL.

    ACA Sports Managing Director, Alistair Cameron, said; “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the SPL and Mitre. This landmark deal will allow every fan in the SPL the opportunity to buy their clubs match and replica balls for the first time in the league’s history – something we are all very excited about. “

  • Archive

    McCall pleased with general fitness

    Steelmen boss Stuart McCall was pleased with how his side looked as the players returned for the first day of pre-season training.

    After a mammoth 53-game season, the battle-weary ‘Well squad were given exactly five weeks to recover from what was an excellent 2010/11 campaign.

    However, the nature of modern football is that each player works on individual programmes during the close season meaning the days of gut-bursting running during early training sessions are, by and large, a thing of the past.

    Talking to motherwellfc.co.uk, McCall said, “Today was the first day; everyone came in this morning, weights were taken and, thankfully, they’ve (the players) all came back in good shape which, to be fair, I expected.

    “Gone are the days when I used to play when you would have eight weeks off and come back in a stone or so overweight.

    “Players are more sensible and are given programmes to do throughout the summer and first impressions today are positive to say the least.”

    There were plenty of familiar faces amongst those being put through their paces at Dalziel Park this morning.

    Indeed, the only new addition was that of former St Mirren ace Michael Higdon, who replaced striker John Sutton who opted to join Hearts at the tail end of last month.

    McCall explained, in detail, his thoughts on the squad and his hopes and aspirations ahead of the season starting on July 23rd against Inverness Caley at Fir Park.

    “I am pleased in one respect that we’ve not lost too many who had such a successful season last year,” he said.

    “John Sutton was perhaps one who we would like to have kept but we’ve already replaced him with the excellent Michael Higdon.

    “You look around the league and Kilmarnock and St Johnstone are bringing a lot of faces which can obviously be good for any club. But you’ve got to remember that they’ve lost quite a few, particularly in the case of Kilmarnock.

    “We’ve managed to retain the core of our squad which I am really pleased about. Again, this season we’re probably going to look at carrying a squad that is possibly small in quantity but large in quality. When you go down that road, you’ve obviously got to be lucky with injuries and suspensions but I am happy with what we have.

    “We’ll add a midfield player at the end of this week who is still under contract in England. That’ll leave us strong in that area of the park, particularly as young Stuart Carswell has pushed himself into contention and Ross Forbes has returned for pre-season in great shape.

    “Beyond that, our budget extends to one, maybe two more faces. We’ve only really got five defenders so that remains a priority. Of course every manager would like more players but we’ve got a budget that the club simply won’t go beyond and rightly so. As much as our overall budget from last season has remained the same, we took the conscious call to tie a lot of our younger talent down to two and three year contracts.

    “In that instance, players’ wages increase in the second and third year and that has happened to us, so much so it’s probably the combined equivalent of a first-team player. Our fans, I am sure, are sensible enough to grasp that and it’s a strategy that will, I am absolutely certain, pay-off and bear fruit in the long term.

    “Every year you’ve obviously got to try and improve your squad but there’s no point filling the place with players who aren’t good enough; just to have numbers. Particularly if you are hopeful that some of your more promising kids, like Carswell, will break through and give you something extra. Some of the fringe guys – players like Jonathan Page and Robert McHugh – will also be given a chance to prove themselves as the club have invested in these guys.”

  • Archive

    Players return for pre-season training

    Motherwell’s first-team squad returned for pre-season training as Stuart McCall’s men aim for a repeat of last season’s success.

    As ever, our friends from SNSPix were at Dalziel Park to capture the best and worst of the action.

    [svgallery name=”preseason280611″]

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    Youths kick-off against Hearts

    Gordon Young’s Under 19s side will start the new season with a home clash against Hearts on Saturday August 13th.

    The Jambos narrowly missed out on the title last season, losing out on the last day despite beating Rangers 1-0 at Riccarton, and will prove sturdy opposition for the young Steelmen side.

    The youths will then face Kilmarnock away the following week before St Johnstone visit the Creamery Park at the end of August.

    Other notable fixture include Celtic at home in early December, the only scheduled game that month, and Rangers on the final day of the season at the end of March.


    Please note that dates are subject to change.

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    New home kit for 2011/2012

    Motherwell Football Club are delighted to showcase the new PUMA home strip for the 2011/2012 season.

    It is Motherwell’s second year with manufacturing giants and the first with new principle sponsors Cash Converters.

    The kit retains a traditional claret and amber look and feel with a commissioned badge celebrating the clubs’ formation 125 years ago.

    Motherwell’s retail manager Alan Provan said, “We are very pleased to be launching the new PUMA home kit in what is a historic season for the club.

    “PUMA have successfully managed to marry together their design with the traditional style of Motherwell FC.  It was vital that we maintained a look which stayed true to the heritage of the club.

    “We are also very excited about the commemorative badge that we have introduced for this season which pays homage to the two clubs (Glencairn and Alpha) from which Motherwell FC was formed in 1886.

    “Both teams are mentioned around the crest; it is a nice touch and we will be using it on a variety of 125th anniversary products throughout this very significant milestone year.”

    Roger Harrison from PUMA said, “The new Motherwell kit is a refined and classic design that features the PUMA two stripe. As well as looking good, it has excellent technical features that will give the players the confidence to perform on the pitch. ”

    Russell Thomas from genesissports added, “We are really pleased with the kit and our partnership with Motherwell FC and we look forward to serving the Club throughout the 2011/12 season.”

    Strips are available to pre-order now for a late July launch both in store and online from www.motherwelldirect.co.uk.

    The new PUMA 2011/2012 away kit will be showcased in the next few weeks with an early August release.


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    Craigan’s testimonial match confirmed

    Motherwell will play Partick Thistle at Fir Park on Wednesday 13th July (KO 7.45pm) in Stephen Craigan’s testimonial match.

    The 54-times capped Northern Irishman, who has turned out a total of 351 times in Claret and Amber, will be a part of a Motherwell side that will face Craigan’s only other senior side – Thistle – to celebrate his fifteen seasons at Fir Park.

    Further information on ticketing arrangements etc will be confirmed soon.