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    Statement from the ‘Well Society

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    Statement from the Board: May 2014

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    TV: Motherwell sign Josh Law

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    James McFadden to depart

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    TV: McManus pens contract extension

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    A message from the manager

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    TV: Highlights from Pittodrie

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    Aberdeen win in pictures

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    TV: McCall delighted with late winner

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    Aberdeen 0 – 1 Motherwell

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    Statement from the ‘Well Society

    Following yesterday’s End of Season Financial & Strategic Update, the ‘Well Society board today issued the following statement.

    Most of you will now have seen the statement the Motherwell board issued yesterday outlining the stark reality of the club’s financial situation and setting an ultimatum to the ‘Well Society. We welcome the clarity and will emphatically embrace the challenge.

    We would like to offer our thoughts on the way ahead but first of all we must apologise to ‘Well Society members for a lack of communication in recent weeks following the annual general meeting.

    There were a number of significant developments in the run-up to the meeting on May 2 and discussions with the club in the intervening period which made the situation very fluid. So, we felt it best that we wait to communicate with members once the club had outlined its position. But we acknowledge that communication must improve significantly in the weeks and months ahead.

    In its statement, the club explained that it posted losses totalling about £780,000 for Stuart McCall’s first two full seasons in charge and expects to record another deficit for the most recent season.

    The club has explained some of the reasons behind this performance: the loss of Rangers to the top flight; the continuing lack of league sponsorship; falling attendances (the average attendance at Fir Park was 700 lower this season than during Maurice Malpas’s campaign in charge, when we stayed up on the final day); redistribution of money to the lower leagues; the decision to reduce the prize money for finishing second in 2013; declining commercial income.

    Whatever you think of the financial decisions taken, the reality is that the club needs money to underpin these losses. In the past John Boyle plugged the gap but he is under no obligation or expectation to do so again having already donated his shares to the club. These shares were earmarked for the fans through the Well Society and can still be ours.

    In the past few months the ‘Well Society loaned the club £230,000 which helped it through a short-term cashflow situation, but the club also sought funds from a third party. The previous year the ‘Well Society made a £150,000 capital injection during a similar period of cashflow issues. In the difficult months of February, March and April next year the club is likely to again need money to see it through to the end of the season when the full SPFL prize money comes in.

    If the club cannot get the money from us, they need to seek it elsewhere. That means that time is running out for Motherwell fans to raise the money needed to meet the aims of the ‘Well Society – the main goal being a majority stake in the club. We have been given until the end of November to reach the £800,000 mark, with the total being just over £420,000 at the end of April.

    There are effectively three scenarios that will unfold from now onwards.

    (1) We do not raise enough money and the club raises cash from external sources.

    This could be soft loans from Motherwell-minded business people who are open to the idea of community ownership. We know the club retains the goal of fan-ownership as its priority and would seek to raise money under those terms. However, there is a possibility that the club could be forced to sell the shares donated by John Boyle to perhaps one individual or group. There are no guarantees that their motives and ideals would be shared by the Motherwell support, or that they could successfully run a football club.

    We have already experienced administration and it was fortunate that John Boyle took a financial hit and stayed around to put the club on a level footing and give us the opportunity to own the club. But who knows what could happen if a new owner comes in and gets the club into trouble? There are too many examples of Scottish football clubs suffering financial problems in recent years not to have some concern about the unknown.

    (2) Neither the club nor the Well Society raises enough finance and the Motherwell directors are forced to slash the wage bill.

    The club statement revealed that Motherwell would be forced into a “very substantial reduction in expenditure plans” if they could not raise capital in the coming season, which would “diminish our competitive capabilities on the field and create a negative financial spiral”. Inevitably, people will lose their jobs and more players will leave, and days like the other Sunday at Pittodrie and European trips will be highly unlikely to recur in the near future. Long term, the club could find itself fighting to maintain our top-flight status.

    We know the Motherwell board would do everything they can to avoid that scenario, but again there can be no guarantee of raising sufficient capital from other sources. John Boyle put the club up for sale several years before the ‘Well Society was founded and no suitable buyer emerged. St Mirren are among the best-run clubs in Scotland – a debt-free, top-flight club with a new stadium and training ground – but they have been up for sale for years without attracting an offer that is acceptable to their board. People are not queuing up to invest in Scottish football. As a support, we have possibly been spoiled by the safety net of John Boyle’s personal wealth in recent years. If we can afford to, it is time we took responsibility for our own club rather than taking our eyes of the ball and depending on another white knight to come along.

    (3) The Well Society meets a key target set to us by the club of raising £800,000 by the end of November.

    We stabilise the club’s finances and in return we would soon afterwards move into position to take majority ownership of the club while continuing to raise funds and increase our membership.

    For us to meet the long-term goals, it is imperative that fans come forward urgently to join the Well Society if they have not already done so. We appreciate it is not easy to meet membership fees on a one-off basis but there are flexible opportunities to pay monthly so you can contribute whatever you can afford. We are also urging members to upgrade their memberships – again there are ways to do so gradually. It is now or never to show we can grasp this opportunity.

    We are as frustrated as anyone by the lack of significant progress in raising funds. Some complicated issues have held us back – such as last year’s share purchase and the subsequent change of rule over lending the club money and ongoing discussions over renewal fees/benefits – when we should have been focusing on recruiting members and raising cash.

    As a board we have had relatively little time to raise enough funds, but we know now that time is running out and we need everyone to pull together to help raise money and support for the ‘Well Society. We will step up our fundraising efforts, re-launch our recruitment plans in the very near future and again try to simplify the model – but anyone can join at any time now.

    Another frustration is that we have not been able to engage the business community as much as we would have liked and need to, despite extensive efforts. One of the decisions made at the AGM was the election of Robert Montgomery to the ‘Well Society board, after Sandy Kilpatrick stepped down following 18 months of hard work. Robert will help focus ‘Well Society efforts on attracting business investment.

    We know that some fans might be reluctant to hand over money to the society amid uncertainty over whether it will achieve its goals. If we do not achieve majority ownership, our aim is to achieve a significant holding that can give the fans substantial influence in the way the club is run, and offer checks, safeguards and protection should a new majority shareholder come in. So every penny will count.

    We will have discussions with the club on the mechanics of this if we do not achieve our main goal, and the decision will also rest in the hands of the members, but the aim of the Well Society board is to become a significant shareholder, even if we fall short of full control. But full control remains the goal to which we must all be committed.

    To conclude our message, we make a general appeal to all those who can join the society or contribute more. Few fan bases get such an opportunity to own their club and protect it for future generations, outwith times of crisis, and sometimes times of crisis are too late. If the society does not raise enough funds in the coming months, we may indeed be too late.

    If you are a ‘Well Society member, please, please try to persuade more of your friends and family to join, or upgrade your membership, if you can. If you are not a member, please join now. Otherwise this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to secure majority ownership for Motherwell fans may be lost forever. And no-one can tell what the consequences will be.

    The ‘Well Society board
    May 22nd 2014

    To join the Well Society click on thewellsociety.co.uk/join-the-society/ or phone Alison on 01698 338006

  • Archive

    Statement from the Board: May 2014

    The Board of Motherwell FC today issued its annual End of Season Financial & Strategic Update.

    For the attention of Shareholders, Members of the ’Well Society, Season Ticket Holders and all Motherwell Supporters.

    Once again we are delighted to have celebrated an exceptional on-field performance in the league campaign. While results in both cups disappointed and we did not progress in Europe beyond the early stages, we cannot overstate the achievement in reaching the runners-up spot for the second year in a row.

    Given the turnover in core first team playing staff, the ability of Stuart McCall and his team to recruit, motivate and reconstruct the first team has been quite exceptional. He has done so while maintaining an excellent culture that is becoming the trademark of our family club.

    We now look forward to European competition for the sixth year in the last seven. Once again a remarkable achievement given the economic realities facing our competitive position.

    We put on record our sincere thanks to the management and players and all the support staff for the great credit they have brought on both themselves and this club.

    Notwithstanding the excellent news on the pitch, the Board would like to draw the focused attention of our shareholders, members and supporters to the financial reality we face off it. In the last few years we have been at pains to ensure that our strategy is clearly understood and that we communicate both our financial performance and prospects with transparency. We did this in the summer of 2012, to allow members to make an informed judgement on the implications of SPL decisions as affecting Rangers FC. We do so again today to allow everyone who cares about Motherwell FC to understand the context of the decisions we have made as a Board and to allow time for individuals to determine their own actions before the Board determines the next set of strategic decisions that we must make.

    Strategic Context

    Our aim since the launch of The Well Society has been to create a sustainable model for the eventual fan ownership of the majority of the equity in the club. This required good governance structures to be created and function, fit and proper individuals to be nominated that could perform as full Club Directors and financial targets to be reached for the Society, that would provide the Club’s effective “strategic reserve”. From the outset, a figure of £1.5 million has been identified as the required strategic reserve.

    This strategy was created purposefully with the objective of stabilising the Club’s financial position on a sustainable footing so that we could maintain the financial strategy that has underpinned the Club’s competitive position which has produced the sporting success we have enjoyed over the last five years and more.

    Update on Financial Performance

    The following points should be considered in detail:

    1. We have made a full year loss in the last two years of just under £600k in 2011/12 and £184k in 2012/13 respectively.

    2. For 2013/14 we currently anticipate a loss moderately in excess of five figures for the year.

    3. These losses have so far been absorbed by existing cash reserves and then by the ongoing cashflow management of the club in anticipation of future income, underpinned by a number of measures we have outlined below.

    4. We have already recorded the reasons for these losses. In particular we have maintained our player budget in the face of falling central revenues and from gate and commercial receipts, as the Board judged the balance of risk to our competitive performance and the financial implications merited this, given all of the information at our disposal and having made reasonable judgements about likely outcomes. The main downside impact on our financial outcomes have been:

    • Last year’s (2011/12) in-season recalibration by the SPL of the financial rewards for second place, before our agreed bonus structure for the team could be changed, meant we received no net additional income from finishing second.
    • Overall the total pool of distributed funds by the SPFL to top league clubs has been reduced following the decision to pay more to the lower leagues.
    • Combined revenue from gate receipts and season tickets has fallen by approximately 10% since season 2010/11 meaning a cumulative loss to the revenue of the club over the subsequent 3 years of £200k. Our home attendances this year have not been as strong as anticipated given the strength of team performance.

    5. The governance of the ‘Well Society is working well and we have two Society nominees acting as full and equal club directors.

    6. The ‘Well society has recruited 869 adult and business members and accumulated total funds of just under £470k. This is equivalent to 21% of our season ticket holders. In other words when taking account of regular pay at the gate fans we have recruited less than 1 in 5 of our loyal core base to the society.

    7. The society holds 6% of the equity in the Club injecting £150k into the club’s balance sheet. In addition the society made available a bridging loan to the club of £230k in February 2014 and retain a further £40k in reserve. The total distributed/distributable sum at the disposal of the Society is therefore just in excess of £420k which is very significantly short of the clear target for the “strategic reserve” of £1.5 million.

    8. In the current financial year the Board agreed a short term asset finance loan of £125k which was underpinned by the personal financial guarantees by a number of our Directors. It is our intention to pay this back within the next 3 months.

    9. The Club has an outstanding historic loan to Mr John Boyle of just under £350k.

    10. The financial position of a number of our competitor clubs has stabilised and improved for a variety of reasons.

    Implications for the Financial Position and Future Strategy of the Club

    The figure of £1.5m as a strategic reserve was arrived at as a reasonable estimate, based on past experience, of the funds which the Club would require to have at its disposal to fall back on in the event of a series of losses being sustained.

    As detailed above, losses have been sustained but the strategic reserve has not been met.

    Qualification for Europe has allowed the Board, based on past revenues generated and making reasonable assumptions on income for the coming season, to maintain the playing budget at the same level for season 2014/15.

    However, this is the last year in which we will feel able to do this unless a very substantial improvement in our revenue position occurs and/or the targets for the ‘Well Society are reached.

    A sustainable step-change in our revenues is not likely to be enjoyed in the short-term unless we enjoy the windfall of unexpected player sales or exceptional Cup performances. Given our experiences in recent years the Board cannot, and has not, planned for either as a central assumption.

    This means we must turn our attention to the achievement of our strategic reserve target of £1.5 million as an urgent financial priority for the club.

    Achieving our Strategic Reserve Target of £1.5 million

    Following repayment of the loan to the Society, the Society’s reserves will sit at approximately £270k after the purchase of equity in the club. As noted above this, when combined with the equity injection amounts to 28% of our target and reflects the reality that fewer than 1 in 5 of our core support has joined the society. The number of 1886 and Claret members is significantly lower than we had hoped.

    While not wishing to diminish the simply outstanding work and commitment of so many people to make the Society a reality, this performance to date is disappointing and, to be crystal clear to everyone, does not represent the sustainable financial underpinning for the Club’s strategy that we hoped for and require.

    The Board met on the 7th May to consider our current financial performance in the light of our qualification for Europe and anticipating the scenarios we faced the subsequent Sunday in the play-off for second place. The Board agreed unanimously on the course of action we must now take in the interests of the Club:

    1. That we should give the Management clarity in the player budget to allow them to secure some stability on the field, as we face European competitive opportunities and an increasingly competitive race for the top six.

    2. That an increase in the capital available to the Club is essential and that such a capital injection should be pursued as a matter of urgency. The preferred source of that capital would remain the ‘Well Society, however, other sources of capital investment, including the sale of shares to private individuals have to be explored. A number of our competitor clubs have recently been able to raise significant funding from a small number of fans, further weakening our competitive position.

    3. That we should set a deadline for the Society achieving the goals that were set on its launch in November 2011. The next intermediate goal we set was for the society to achieve a reserve of £800k by the end of November 2014 in order to underpin the club’s finances and to prove that reaching the full reserve of £1.5m is achievable in the near future.

    4. In the event that this first target is not reached the Board has authorised officers of the Club and its Directors to consider alternative routes to achieve the strategic reserve target that the Club requires. In all circumstances we will do everything we can to ensure that the future fan ownership of the club can become a reality. But we will have to consider all proposals put to us.

    We urge all fans of the club to recognise the reality of the financial situation we face and to do anything they can to assist the club urgently.

    We recognise that our on the field success and the generally positive culture and atmosphere at the club has meant that there is no perception of “crisis” and therefore no imperative or urgency for many otherwise deeply loyal supporters to join.

    While we are not yet at a “crisis” position, we are flagging that we require to take action now to ensure the continued financial stability of the club. This action will either mean a substantial increase in resources towards our reserve or a very substantial reduction in our expenditure plans.

    This latter route would have the inevitable impact of diminishing our competitive capabilities on the field and creating a negative financial spiral. The consequences of this latter route are only too familiar to all supporters of the game in Scotland

    The Board of Directors continue to believe that the ‘Well Society can achieve its stated aim of raising sufficient capital to acquire and run the club on a sustainable basis. If the target figure of £800k is achieved by November 2014 the plan of fan ownership can be a reality. This can only happen if those who support this aim act now by joining or contributing further to the Society.

    We therefore ask all of our shareholders, members and supporters to reflect very closely on what we have set out above and to consider their position carefully. We know how much we have to rely on a very small number of people but we are all in the same position. We urge everyone who shares our love for the Club to act.

    The Board of
    Motherwell Football Club
    21st May 2014

  • Archive

    TV: Motherwell sign Josh Law

    Motherwell FC is today (Wednesday) delighted to confirm the signing of midfielder Josh Law.

    Law, 24, is the brother of former Steelmen playmaker Nicky and has most recently been playing for Skrill Premiership outfit Alfreton Town.

    The Nottingham-born player, who knocked back offers from League 1 and League 2 to move north, spent some of his youth career with Sheffield United and Chesterfield before signing professional with the Spireites.

    He joins the club on an initial one-year deal after his contract expired with the Derbyshire side earlier this month and is ‘Well’s first new signing of the summer.

    Speaking exclusively to MFC TV, Josh said: “I am really delighted to be signing for Motherwell and I can’t wait to get started.

    “Nicky obviously enjoyed two great years at the club and couldn’t speak highly enough of the place, the people and the fans.

    [pullquote]I’ve been about for games and training so I think I’ve got a good feel for it. It’s obviously a step-up for me from my previous club, but it’s a challenge I am relishing.[/pullquote]

    “I’ve been about for games and training so I think I’ve got a good feel for it. It’s obviously a step-up for me from my previous club, but it’s a challenge I am relishing.”

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall added: “We’ve had Josh up for training several times last season to look at him and we think he’ll really add something to the squad.

    “He’s a similar type of player to his brother in that he’s a midfielder who likes to get on the ball and create.

    “We are really pleased to have him here and I am sure he’ll add something a bit different to what we have currently.”

    Although Josh signed his contract with the club this morning, he will have to wait until June 10th to be registered when the International Transfer Window reopens.

    -WATCH JOSH’S INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV

    MFC TV

  • Archive

    James McFadden to depart

    Motherwell FC can today confirm James McFadden will leave the club when his contract expires at the end of this month.

    Faddy, 31, exploded onto the scene as a teenager before securing a big money move down south to play for Everton, Birmingham then, latterly, Sunderland.

    He returned to the club in February 2013 and made an instant impact, helping the club finish second in the table.

    He signed on again last summer and started 23 times during the last campaign, scoring five goals, again assisting the Fir Parkers to finish as top league runners-up.

    Stuart McCall said: “I had James in last Friday and we had a discussion about the future and everything was very amicable.

    [pullquote]I cannot speak highly enough of his attitude, desire and professionalism whilst he was here, particularly when going through a difficult patch or when he was injured.[/pullquote]

    “I cannot speak highly enough of his attitude, desire and professionalism whilst he was here, particularly when going through a difficult patch or when he was injured.

    “In the past, we could possibly have used James in a number of positions, but I think he is at his best when played through the middle as a striker.

    “We have five different options in that position and need to utilise the budget in other areas of the squad.”

    The club is still in discussions with a number of other players and hopes to announce details of these soon.

    In the meantime, everyone at Fir Park would like to sincerely thank James for his huge contribution during his two spells at Fir Park and wish him all the best in his future career.

  • Archive

    TV: McManus pens contract extension

    Motherwell FC is today delighted to confirm defender Stephen McManus has signed a new two-year contract at the club.

    McManus, who joined from Middlesbrough last summer, was a virtual ever-present for the side during the 2013/14 campaign, playing 42 times, missing just one (the Boxing Day win at Pittodrie).

    He also scored vital goals against Hibs, Aberdeen, Partick Thistle and St Johnstone, which helped the Steelmen into a second place finish.

    And the 26-times capped former Scotland skipper spoke of his delight at extending his stay in North Lanarkshire saying: “Last season couldn’t have gone any better for me personally.

    [pullquote]I wanted to come here at the start of last season, play as many games as possible and, hopefully, bring something to the team.[/pullquote]

    “I wanted to come here at the start of last season, play as many games as possible and, hopefully, bring something to the team.

    “I’ve really enjoyed it and the decision to extend really was a no brainer.”

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall added: “On the pitch, Stephen is a rock for us at the heart of the defence as well as a real influence in the dressing room and around the club.

    “He played more than anyone at the club last season, missing just one game, so we’re thrilled he has extended his stay.

    “We hope to be in a position to confirm new deals for other players in the very near future too, with preparations for next season already well underway.”

    -WATCH STEPHEN’S INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV

    MFC TV

  • Archive

    A message from the manager

    Good afternoon ‘Well fans,

    It has been too long since I penned my last mail to fans and I felt today was a good day to bring it back. I will endeavour to return to a more regular email next season, as it’s something people often ask me about.

    Some of the staff and I are just about to enjoy a short break so I’ve put this down before I go.

    Needless to say, it has been an incredible twenty-four hours for everyone involved at the club. The players, staff and everyone at Fir Park really deserve everything they got yesterday and don’t let anyone, anywhere tell you different.

    It has been a monumental effort this season, to win 22 games from 38 has been absolutely fantastic and something I am extremely proud of. It has certainly been our greatest achievement in my three and a half years at the club.

    The game yesterday was a battle but, in many ways, typified what has worked for us this season: hard work, determination, focus and a real desire to win. We had a game plan to keep things tight until the closing stages then go for it, and that’s exactly what the players did and we got our rewards.

    Yes, there was an element of luck attached to it, but it’s luck we have very much deserved, particularly if you look back at some of the previous matches against Aberdeen this season, where it has been us on the end of contentious calls.

    That brings me onto this summer and your input as supporters. The backing we’ve had this season has been fantastic and you can sense the real bond we have between the lads, the club and the fans. The colour and noise is a huge positive and I thank you for that.

    The club currently has Season Tickets on sale now and I am personally asking each and every one of you who can, to consider buying one. It’s a vital part of the year which helps us plan budgets for various areas of the football club.

    We’ve seen a steady rise over the last few years and it would be brilliant if we could keep that trend going. Next season is going to be another test, but we’ve got great foundations to kick-on. Together, we can carry on this fantastic story.

    Cheers

    Stuart McCall
    Manager

    CLICK HERE FOR ALL THE 2014-15 INFORMATION AND PRICES

  • Archive

    TV: Highlights from Pittodrie

    Extended highlights from Pittodrie as Craig Reid’s late strike stunned The Dons to send The Steelmen into second place in a dramatic climax to the season.

    -WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV

    MFC TV

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    Aberdeen win in pictures

    Action pictures from this this afternoon’s incredible 1-0 win over Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

    Snaps courtesy of SNSPix.

    [svgallery name=”aberdeen110514″]

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    TV: McCall delighted with late winner

    Stuart McCall couldn’t hide his delight as his side took all three points to secure second place in a dramatic showdown against Aberdeen this afternoon.

    ‘Well went into the encounter knowing only a win would do for them to take second place and with a goalless draw on the horizon, Craig Reid popped up with the crucial strike to send Motherwell into dreamland with only seconds left on the clock.

    “It was an incredible finish and I have to pay tribute to the staff, the players and the supporters; it’s a fantastic day for everyone connected to the club.”  said a proud McCall to MFC TV after the match.

    “This season we have had criticism, and rightly so. We have had some poor days on the park but what we’ve always managed to do is bounce back. Last season everyone saw us as a really good team when we got eighteen victories but this season we have won twenty-two games.

    [pullquote] To win the last three games, which we needed to do, is fantastic. We knew we could do it but we knew we would all have to be in it together and we were. [/pullquote]

    “We’ve lacked a slice of luck for the majority of the season but we got our share today. The goal may have been given as a foul but whatever we got today, we have deserved over the course of the season.

    “I’m delighted and what a fantastic way to end what has been a fantastic season.”

    -WATCH STUART’S INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV

    MFC TV

  • Archive

    Aberdeen 0 – 1 Motherwell

    [tab:Match report]

    Gavin McCafferty at Pittodrie

    Motherwell snatched second place in the SPFL Premiership in the most dramatic circumstances after Craig Reid scrambled an injury-time winner against Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

    The visitors had rarely threatened to get the win they needed in a cagey encounter but they stole a 1-0 victory with almost the last kick of the ball after Keith Lasley’s free-kick from just inside his own half caused chaos in the Dons box.

    Aberdeen goalkeeper Jamie Langfield appeared to be impeded by Motherwell striker John Sutton, and the ball bounced over him and off the crossbar. An almighty scramble ensued with Fraser Kerr denied on the line but Reid followed up to force the ball home.

    The goal punctured the anticipated celebrations for the majority of the 17,016 crowd but sparked wild celebrations among the Motherwell players and their 1,500 fans.

    Both teams had already qualified for Europe but there was plenty at stake other than the prestige of runners-up spot. The difference in prize money is £240,000 while there was extra time off available for the players, with a third-place finish meaning a July 3 start in the Europa League rather than July 17 for second spot.

    Despite their need for a win, Motherwell manager Stuart McCall brought in defender Kerr for forward James McFadden and played with a 3-5-2 formation rather than the more typical 4-4-2.

    Lionel Ainsworth, who scored the only goal when the clubs last met at Pittodrie on Boxing Day, was employed in a central role alongside Sutton to provide pace on the counter-attack but he lasted only 17 minutes before being replaced by Henri Anier after taking an early kick from Jonny Hayes.

    Ainsworth had been controversially flagged offside after being sent through but Motherwell otherwise sat back for most of the first half-hour, surviving without major scare.

    Hayes caused problems with an early run and cross which Lee Hollis pushed away but the goalkeeper was otherwise untroubled, saving a deflected Niall McGinn shot. Barry Robson had a free-kick blocked by the wall and Scott Vernon just missed a Ryan Jack cross.

    Motherwell did not really threaten on the break although Anier got their first shot on target in the 42nd minute after Lasley played the ball into the left channel, Langfield making a comfortable save at his near post.

    Motherwell were the first on the attack after half-time and Jack tripped Lasley right on the edge of the box, but Iain Vigurs hit a weak free-kick straight at the wall.

    Mark Reynolds glanced a Robson free-kick wide at the other end and Shaun Hutchinson made two goal-saving tackles on McGinn, the second after the Motherwell defence expected a flag following Shaleum Logan’s ball forward.

    Hollis then prevented Russell Anderson heading home when he punched clear following a corner and saved Reynolds’ headed follow-up.

    Aberdeen were continuing to push Motherwell back and, although McCall made a change in the 72nd minute, it was an enforced one which did not affect their tactics. Jack Leitch replaced Vigurs, who was struggling with a hamstring strain.

    The tactical switch came with 14 minutes left as McFadden replaced Stephen McManus and Motherwell pushed the play up, but they were almost caught on the break with only a contentious offside decision stopping Peter Pawlett finishing off Vernon’s through-ball.

    A goal continued to look unlikely until the sensational finale, which sealed a second consecutive second-place finish for the visitors.

    [tab:As it happened]

    Ally Reilly at Pittodrie

    Unbelievable scenes here at Pittodrie as ‘Well nick second place with the last kick of the ball!!

    WOOOWWW!!!

    FT: Aberdeen 0 – 1 Motherwell!!!!

    REID MAKES IT 1-0!!!

    GGGOOOAAALLLL!!!

    Only 1 minute added on

    88mins: Just two minutes left and still 0-0.

    83mins: Pawlett is a yard onside there but the linesman’s flag goes up! A real let-off as he was through 1v1 #AFCvMFC

    76mins: Motherwell sub, McManus off for McFadden #AFCvMFC

    75mins: Jack whips in another dangerous ball but thankfully it’s too high for Vernon and it drifts wide #AFCvMFC

    70mins: Motherwell sub, Vigurs hobbles off for Leitch. #AFCvMFC

    From the corner, a bit of a scramble ensues, but Hollis gathers eventually #AFCvMFC

    61mins: Another superb last-ditch tackle from Hutchy, again to deny McGinn #AFCvMFC

    58mins: Corner to Aberdeen swung in by Robson, punched clear by Hollis #AFCvMFC

    54mins: Superb last-ditch slide tackle from Hutchinson to deny McGinn an easy scoring oppportunity #AFCvMFC

    53mins: Reynolds’s header loops just wide of the post from Robson’s inswinging free-kick #AFCvMFC

    50mins: Danger averted as Hayes bursts into the box however Reid does enough to put him off and it rolls out for a goal kick #AFCvMFC

    47mins: Free-kick to ‘Well right on the edge of the box…Vigurs fires it straight into the wall #AFCvMFC

    Lasley and Vigurs get the second half underway. #AFCvMFC

    Players back out for the final 45 minutes of the season. Second place still on a tightrope. #AFCvMFC

    HT: Aberdeen 0 – 0 Motherwell #AFCvMFC

    1 minute added on

    41mins: ‘Well get their first shot on target. An Anier snap shot from just inside the box on his left foot. Gives Langfield a test.

    40mins: Vigurs booked for a clumsy challenge on Flood. #AFCvMFC

    39mins: Decent bit of build-up play from ‘Well but as Anier backheels it to Kerr, Anderson gets in ahead of him to clear. #AFCvMFC

    36mins: Bizarrely, Hayes’ deep ball into the box deceives everyone and comes back out off the post :O #AFCvMFC

    32mins: Lasley dispossesses Robson on the edge of the box but as it falls to Vigurs, he shoots high and wide #AFCvMFC

    30mins: Aberdeen have been on top in the opening half hour. ‘Well struggling to even test Langfield. #AFCvMFC

    19mins: Vital interception from Hammell to stop Hayes’ cross to McGinn who was free inside the box #AFCvMFC

    17mins: Motherwell sub, Ainsworth off for Anier. Lionel looked to have picked up a knock. #AFCvMFC

    16mins: Bit of a defensive mix-up allows Jack some space to cross for Vernon who is inches away from connecting with his head. A let off.

    13mins: McManus penalised for a foul on Jack on the edge of the box. Dangerous position…..phew, the wall does it’s job! #AFCvMFC

    10mins: Reid gets enough on Pawlett’s 25 yard shot to take the sting out of it. Hollis gathers with ease #AFCvMFC

    7mins: Ainsworth is an inch or so offside, otherwise he was clean through on goal! #AFCvMFC

    4mins: Hayes drills in a low ball across goal which Hollis does well to get a hand to, to clear the danger #AFCvMFC

    Pawlett and McGinn get the game underway! #AFCvMFC

    Out come the teams at a packed and noisy Pittodrie….

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    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “I’ll be honest, I’ve only seen it once and not from a good angle, and it’s possibly a free-kick but whatever we’ve got today, Sutty’s goal a yard onside in the League Cup would have made a massive difference, the goal Russell Anderson scored in the last kick of the game at Fir Park, when he forearm-smashes it over and takes Leitchy out on the line.

    “They say swings and roundabouts, and it evens itself out, and whatever we got here we more than merited it.”

    Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes:

    “There were a couple of mistakes I feel from the officials that led to it. I think he was right to call the foul back, because he had tried to play on. I’ve no complaints about that.

    “It may well seem a small thing, but in the context of what happened, it’s a big thing – there was a considerable distance from where the foul was committed and where it was taken.

    “And then there is a foul on Jamie Langfield. I’ve seen it several times and Sutton barges into him and doesn’t get any connection on the ball and takes Jamie Langfield out, and they have scored on the back of it. It’s a decision we feel has cost us the game.

    “But I need to say congratulations to Motherwell because over the course of the season they have done well. I don’t want to sound as if it’s sour grapes because I have to recognise the effort from them.”

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