Winger John Gahagan was able to fulfil the dream that many Motherwell fans had as children, namely playing for the team he supported.
Johnny had a false start in the senior game with Clydebank but after an impressive spell with Shettleston juniors joined Motherwell in 1979.
His time at Fir Park lasted twelve seasons in total during which he served under Ally MacLeod, David Hay, Jock Wallace, Bobby Watson and Tommy McLean; a contribution that fully merited the testimonial he was awarded in 1990.
John would help Motherwell to the First Division title on two occasions in 1981’82 and again in 1984’85. He was there for almost the full journey as the Steelmen rose from the First Division to become an established top flight side; and then pushed on to win silverware and secure European qualification.
Better known for his creative wing play John was well capable of finding the net too and scored 38 times in 291 league games, a very respectable tally given a remarkable number of John’s performances came as a substitute.
It was on one such occasion as a sub his passion for the club was clear for all to see. Warming up behind the goals as stand-in keeper Stevie Kirk saved a spot-kick at Tynecastle, Gahagan could be spotted leaping off the ground and celebrating as wildly as any fan behind the goal.
If anyone in the Motherwell squad who posed for 1990’91 season team photo was deserving of a place in ‘Well folklore for winning the Scottish Cup it was Gahagan. Yet his contribution to Motherwell’s Cup run was actually as an opposition player, having moved on to Morton earlier in the season. Netting an equaliser in the Scottish Cup Quarter Final replay Gahagan came as close as anyone to ending Motherwell’s Scottish Cup aspirations.
After initially moving into coaching upon his retirement from playing Gahagan has become an after dinner speaker delighting and entertaining audiences every bit as much he did when playing for Motherwell.