New owner Les Hutchison talks about the takeover over the club, his background and the plans for the future of Motherwell Football Club.
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New owner Les Hutchison talks about the takeover over the club, his background and the plans for the future of Motherwell Football Club.
Join the ‘Well Society —> CLICK HERE
Motherwell FC and the ‘Well Society are today (Friday) delighted to announce that Les Hutchison has completed his takeover of the Club.
John Boyle’s majority shareholding has been transferred to Mr Hutchison, who is providing working capital to enable the Club to become one of the best-run community owned football clubs in Scotland.
Mr Hutchison’s input is in the form of an initial substantial then subsequent interest-free loans, which are repayable over a five-year period. The total sum required will be finalised over the coming months.
The ‘Well Society has committed to helping the Club with any repayments it cannot meet and will assume control of the Club if and when the loans are paid off within the five-year period. The ‘Well Society has also loaned the club £190,000 over the past two months.
Mr Hutchison has met with all the players and staff at Fir Park in recent days and a detailed business plan was ratified at a meeting of the new board this afternoon.
‘Well Society Chairman Brian McCafferty will now also Chair the Club board. Jim McMahon and Derek Weir also remain as directors.
Three new directors have been appointed – Ian Reid, Peter Kellie and Leanne Thomas, who is Mr Hutchison’s daughter.
All three are from the local area and have been nominated by the new owner to help transform the business across various areas of the Club.
Mr Hutchison said: “I’m very pleased today that we have begun this new chapter of Motherwell Football Club’s history.
“Hopefully we can change the agenda of the club. By my involvement it is now more of a philanthropic and community-based activity.
“The objective and the agreement that is in place with the fans is that in five years or less we make the improvements that are needed at the Club, that we move it into the position of being financially self-funded and then migrate the ownership to the ‘Well Society.
“I am extremely pleased with the Community Trust which operates from the Club, who assist some 35,000 local people in all sorts of ways such as kids at school, teens into football, ladies football, basketball and walking football for people my age. Some great work I am keen to encourage and support.
“During the time I am not taking any money out of the Club and none of the directors are taking any money.”
Mr Hutchison has appealed to Motherwell fans to back the project any way they can, for example by considering using the Club’s facilities for functions.
“The clear message which has to go to fans and sponsors and to everybody associated with the Club and community is that this project will not succeed without their active involvement,” he said.
“If we can have lots and lots of people involved in a small way then we can achieve our objectives.”
Motherwell FC Chairman Brian McCafferty added: “I would like to thank Les Hutchison for his generous loan and for providing his expertise and other resources to help transform the Club’s financial fortunes.
“We also owe John Boyle a huge debt of gratitude for facilitating the move towards fan ownership. He has selflessly put the Club and fans before his own interests.
“And everyone who has contributed to the ‘Well Society should feel very proud today – you have all played a significant role in keeping the Club in the hands of the community.
“The ‘Well Society now has a central role in the running of the Club and a clear route to ownership and we encourage all Motherwell fans to help us achieve that goal.
“I’m honoured to be taking on my new role and look forward to a bright new future which engages supporters and the wider community.”
John Boyle’s sixteen-year control at Motherwell Football Club has now formally come to an end. In addition, Andrew Wilson, Stewart Robertson, Graham Barnstaple and John Swinburne are stepping down from the Motherwell board to pave way for the new directors.
Everyone at Fir Park would like to acknowledge the significant contribution all five gentlemen have made and thank them for their tremendous efforts over the decades of combined service.
Motherwell FC can today announce the loan signing of highly-rated Nottingham Forest defender Louis Laing.
The 6ft 2 in centre back has spent the first half of the season on loan at League 1 side Notts County and performed excellently, tasting defeat just once in his 12 matches
The 21-year old former England Youth International started his career at Sunderland and made his Premiership debut for Black Cats against Wolves back in May 2011.
He also spent a brief loan spell at Wycombe Wanderers before signing for Stuart Pearce’s Forest during the summer.
He was farmed out to near neighbours County in September before opting to join on at Fir Park until the end of the current campaign.
The Steelmen have managed to beat off competition for his signature and he’ll go straight into the squad for Saturday’s match against St Johnstone.
[pullquote]I want to play every game, everyone does, and help the team climb the table.[/pullquote]
Laing said: “I trained for the first time on Thursday morning and it was a good session. I like the way the manager speaks and he puts on good drills in training. The manager and all the coaching staff seem really good.
“All the lads seem like good lads, there are no bad eggs in the changing room.”
“I want to fight for a place in the team and stay in the team. It’s not going to be easy because there are some good players here but I want to play every game, everyone does, and help the team climb the table.
“I’m match-fit, I’m sharp, I feel good. I have been playing games at Notts County before this and there has only been a couple of weeks when I haven’t been playing. Even then I have been training well so no worries.”
Ian Baraclough feels the signing – which follows earlier deals to bring in Stephen Pearson and Anthony Straker – is a real capture for Motherwell.
“He’s a player that was sought after,” the manager said. “I watched him a couple of times at Notts County and I know about his character from speaking to people at Notts County.
“They put a bid in to buy him but Nottingham Forest wanted to keep him for another season and they were happy for him to come up to the Scottish Premiership. I’m really, really pleased about that because it was a coup for the club.
“He is a strong player who is comfortable on the ball. He’s got good pace and he brought a calmness and assuredness to Notts County. He will go on to be a top, top player I’m sure and we will aid him in that development.”
Motherwell FC can today confirm the loan signing of Grenada International Anthony Straker from York City.
Straker, who was born in Ealing in London but has eight caps for the Caribbean Island, may have been a Motherwell player several years ago, but a deal to bring him to Fir Park fell through.
The 26-year old, who can play either at left back or the left hand side of midfield, came through the youth ranks at Crystal Palace and was an England Under 18 International at the time, before dropping a level to play for Aldershot Town.
Straker played 229 times for the Shots, including their promotion-winning season of 2007-08. He then joined Southend United and enjoyed two busy seasons with the Shrimpers.
He was offered at new deal to stay at Roots Hall, but opted for a change and joined Nigel Worthington at York City, who had narrowly missed out on the play-offs in 2013-14.
The former Northern Ireland boss left the club after a poor start to the campaign and Straker has fallen out of favour with new boss Russ Wilcox.
[pullquote]I’ll come in and give my all. I want to show the supporters what I can do and come off the pitch knowing I’ve given everything for the team.[/pullquote]
With Stevie Hammell and Zaine Francis-Angol both recovering from surgery, he will provide cover on the left hand side of the pitch until the end of the current campaign.
Speaking to motherwellfc.co.uk, boss Ian Baraclough said: “Anthony is someone who I have known for some time now and I am delighted to get him on board.
“He is versatile enough to play either at left back or pushed on one at left midfield. He is full of energy, has got pace and a lot of experience being involved in promotion winning teams down south as well as playing International football.
“Most importantly though he is hungry to play and show what he can do. He’s the type of character we need at the moment.”
Straker added: “I can’t wait to get involved and hopefully being part of a team week in and week out.
“I’ll come in and give me all. I want to show the supporters what I can do and come off the pitch knowing I’ve given everything for the team.”
Henrik Ojamaa has informed the club he will not extend his loan agreement at Fir Park.
The on-loan Legia Warsaw striker, who was enjoying his second spell in North Lanarkshire, had been at the club since mid August, playing 20 times and scoring four goals.
The club wanted to extend that agreement until the end of the campaign, but the Estonian International has opted to try something different.
[pullquote]There is certainly no bad feelings or ill will, we made him the absolute best offer we could, but he wants to try something different. We respect that; that is football.[/pullquote]
‘Well boss Ian Baraclough said: “Both Henrik and his agent notified the club yesterday that he wouldn’t be taking up our offer.
“There is certainly no bad feelings or ill will, we made him the absolute best offer we could, but he wants to try something different. We respect that; that is football.
“We asked them for an early answer to ensure we could pursue other targets prior to the window closing next Monday.
“On behalf of the club, I would like to thank Henrik for his contribution and wish him every success in his new venture.”
Willie Collum will take charge of Saturday’s Scottish Premiership meeting with St Johnstone at Fir Park.
Regarded as one of Scotland’s best and most recognisable officials, Willie will be handling his fifth ‘Well game of the new campaign.
The first was at Rugby Park in late August, the home side running out comfortable 2-0 winners. The game didn’t pass without controversy, with Stuart McCall left frustrated at a number of decisions involving Manual Pascali and a missed handball in the box.
The second was the instantly forgettable 0-4 reverse against Hamilton Accies at Fir Park. When goals from Mickael Antoine-Curier, Tony Andreu and a double from Ali Crawford gave the Accies their biggest win at Fir Park in over 80 years,
He was the man in the middle for the 2-2 draw with Ross County when Tony Dingwall’s double, including a 94th minute equaliser, cancelled out John Sutton and Henrik Ojamaa’s goals.
Most recently, he took charge of Motherwell’s 2-0 defeat to Aberdeen, in which he controversially sent off Stephen McManus; a decision which was later rescinded after an appeal.
He took charge of three during the 2013/14 season too.
His first was a 3-0 win over St Mirren back in December when Lionel Ainsworth and a Henri Anier double separated the sides.
The second was at Tynecastle a few weeks later, John Sutton scoring the game’s only goal.
The last was the 2-1 win over Inverness back in May with goals coming from Sutton and a Gary Warren OG.
Willie is no stranger to ‘Well fans having been a top-flight whistler for a number of years, taking charge of six Motherwell matches the previous term too.
The first was the 1-0 defeat to Hearts in October 2012 when Danny Grainger’s long-range effort separated the sides.
He also took charge of both William Hill Scottish Cup clashes with Aberdeen in December.
In the first meeting at Pittodrie, Niall McGinn headed home a late equaliser to cancel out Jamie Murphy’s opener 10 minutes from time.
There would be disappointment for the Steelmen in the replay as goals from Rory Fallon and Joe Shaughnessy helped the Dons progress to the next round.
Motherwell were handed a lifeline in injury-time when Michael Higdon netted from the penalty spot, however Craig Brown’s side held firm in the final minutes.
He was also the man in the middle for the narrow 3-2 win over St Johnstone in January; Michael Higdon’s hat-trick sealing a terrific three points and also the disappointing 3-0 defeat at Ross County shortly after.
He also handled the James McFadden-inspired 4-1 victory over Hibs in March and, finally, the 4-3 defeat to Inverness Caley in the Highlands in May.
His overall record in charge of the Steelmen reads eight wins, fifteen defeats and six draws from twenty-nine matches (in all competitions).
In those games, Motherwell have scored 39 and conceded 54.
59 players have gone into the book, 30 wearing Claret and Amber, while five players have been dismissed – Ian Murray of Hibs at Easter Road five years back, Jerard Aafjes at Falkirk four seasons ago, Paul Dixon at the end of 2009/10, Henrik Ojamaa in that game at Caley fifteen months ago and Fraser Kerr down at Rugby Park. Stephen McManus was shown a red card against Aberdeen but that was later rescinded after an appeal
Willie will be assisted by Alan Mulvanny and Graeme Stewart with Gavin Ross listed as fourth official.
Under 20s boss Jonatan Johansson was satisfied with his side despite losing a last-gasp goal at East End Park tonight.
A very young Steelmen side were up against a far more experienced Pars and trailed early on, before getting their noses in front thanks to Chris Cadden and Dom Thomas.
The three points looked to be heading back to Lanarkshire but for a 91st minute leveler to put something of a dampener on things.
However, given it was the first game in five weeks and such an inexperienced side, the former Finnish International choose to take positives.
[pullquote]We looked quite comfortable and were winning the ball high up the pitch, but maybe showed a bit of naivety at the end, chasing more goals as opposed to seeing the game out.[/pullquote]
“Overall I am quite pleased,” Johansson said after the match.
“I thought we started quite poorly and you could tell we hadn’t played a competitive game in almost five weeks.
“We weren’t pressing hard enough and weren’t showing enough aggression and gave a away a goal from a set-play again. We’ve talked about that before and those goals are costing us this season.
“We then played quite well and deserved to take the lead when we did. We looked quite comfortable and were winning the ball high up the pitch, but maybe showed a bit of naivety at the end, chasing more goals as opposed to seeing the game out.
A youthful Motherwell U20s were held to a 2-2 draw by Dunfermline at East End Park this evening.
After going behind early on, Chris Cadden and Dom Thomas had the Steelmen in front and looking good for all three points.
However, with almost the last kick of the ball, Pars sub PJ Crossan fired a long-range shot bouncing past Brett Long to rescue a point.
For their first match back after the winter showdown, Jonatan Johansson made six changes to the team that lost to Aberdeen at Station Park. Gunnar Nielsen, Danny McNulty, Luke Watt, Morgyn Neill, Lee Erwin and Dylan Mackin all dropped out, replaced by Brett Long, Jack McMillan, David Ferguson, Adam Cummins, Craig McCall and Craig Moore.
The Pars, coached by ex ‘Well favourite Jim Paterson, were far more experienced and including first-teamers Lewis Spence, Ryan Thomson, Allan Smith and Faissal El Bakhtaoui in their starting eleven.
The Steelmen made the worst start possible when the Pars opened the scoring with their first attack.
Scott Mercer’s pinpoint corner from the left was perfect for fellow defender Declan O’Kane and he rose unopposed at the back post to head home from close range.
Incredibly, just seconds later, Motherwell might have leveled. A nice ball in from the right eventually landed at Steven Higgins and his sfirst-time hot looked net bound, but for a timely defensive block by Mercer at the expense of a corner.
Pars were setting the early pace though and El Bakhtaoui almost doubled his side’s advantage. The French-Moroccan front man skipped past a number of challenges only for his low shot to be kept out by a combination of Brett Long and the right hand post.
‘Well looked threatening on the counter and came close to leveling through Higgins again after good hold up play from Craig Moore, however the low bouncing shot went a yard or side wide of the post with Ryan Goodfellow at full stretch.
Higgins was proving the main threat for the Steelmen in the first half and he brought out a good stop from Goodfellow. Thomas and MacLean combined to create the chance, Higgins eventually smashing the shot at goal, forcing the Pars stopper to tip over.
It stayed 1-0 until the 38th minute when ‘Well got themselves level and it again came from a counter. MacLean put the Fir Parkers on the attack, eventually laying it forward for Moore. The little striker did well to keep possession before teeing up Cadden who flashed a low shot under Goodfellow and into the corner of the net.
Buoyed by their goal, ‘Well went immediately on the attack and should have been awarded a penalty when Moore was tripped in the area, unfortunately nothing doing from referee Scott Lambie.
At the other end, O’Kane had another header, this time from a free kick, but it was straight at Long who saved.
The Steelmen started the second half on the front foot and Thomas posted early intentions with a shot narrowly over the crossbar.
Mercer had a free kick straight at Long and MacLean had a similar effort from distance comfortably blocked by Goodfellow before ‘Well took the lead in spectacular circumstances.
Dom Thomas was the scorer, curling a superb free-kick high into the top corner after Stuart Urquhart had pushed Moore to the ground.
Confidence was up and ‘Well started to take control of the game. Within a minute, Cadden had brought out another save from the Pars keeper, who got down well to hold the low shot.
Thomas was tormenting the home defence with jinking runs and almost scored a wonder goal, beating two men on the edge of the area before dragging a shot just wide of target.
Play swung from end-to-end with both sides passing up chances to score. Higgins at one end, with Pars desperately clearing, and El Bakhtaoui at the other end sending a bouncing shot just wide.
The home side came within inches of leveling with a Mercer free kick that bounced inches wide. Thomas tried something similar at the other end, only for his effort to fly a yard or so over the bar.
‘Well had a chance to settle it only for Thomas to fire over before Pars leveled things up with the last kick of the ball. Substitute PJ Crossan collected an excellent forward pass, turned before striking it low past Long to earn his side a point.
Motherwell: Long, McMillan (McNulty – 76mins, Ferguson, Cummins, McCall, MacLean, Cadden, Thomas, Higgins, Moore (R.Leitch – 63mins), Hall
Subs Not Used: Currie, Campbell, Anderson, Watters
Jonatan Johansson’s Under 20s are in action tonight when they take on Dunfermline at East End Park .
The young Steelmen have had a mini winter break, with the previous two fixtures against Hearts and Partick Thistle being postponed due to bad weather.
A win could take the Fir Parkers above tonight’s opposition, whose last outing was a 3-2 defeat to Hibs two weeks ago.
The match takes place tonight (Monday 26th January). Kick off is 7pm.