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    Made in Motherwell: Ian St John

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    Elliott Frear: Settling in well

  • Archive

    TV: Highlights from Dumbarton

  • Archive

    Craigan: Mixed emotions after defeat

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    Celtic U20s 3 – 2 Motherwell U20s

  • Archive

    Huge opportunity for The Well Society

  • Archive

    New South Stand hospitality packages

  • Archive

    Craigan: We’re well prepared

  • Archive

    Motherwell Inside #4: Aileen Anderson

  • Archive

    Statement: Carl McHugh’s red card

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    Made in Motherwell: Ian St John

    A finisher of supreme quality ‘Ancell Babe’ Ian St John would serve his home-town club well as both player and manager. 

    Born in Motherwell, St John was at Hampden as a thirteen-year-old to witness the Steelmen lift the Scottish Cup for the very first time in 1952 and five years later he would sign for his boyhood heroes. Over the course of the next four years he would torment defences across the country netting 80 goals in 113 league games.

    His hat-trick in a League Cup tie against Hibernian in 1959, which was despatched in little more than two-and-a-half minutes gained St John massive exposure but his consistent rate of finishing had already alerted the attention of the international selectors and a host of interested managers; and it was in that same year he was awarded the first of his caps for Scotland.

    Making his international bow at the age of just 20, Ian would go on to net 9 times in 21 appearances for his country.

    In 1961 St John signed for Liverpool for £37,500 then the Anfield side’s record transfer fee paid and he would go on to enjoy a glorious decade with Bill Shankly’s side as they were transformed from the Second Division also rans that Shankly inherited.

    In 1973 Ian was tempted back to Lanarkshire putting together one of Motherwell’s most famous front-line partnerships in his former team-mate Bobby Graham and Willie Pettigrew.

    Sadly St John’s time in the dugout at Fir Park would last little more than a year when he was lured to Portsmouth by promises of finance and support that well outstripped what Motherwell could offer.

    In time St John would become involved in broadcasting and he became a household name to another generation of football fans. Linking up with former England striker Jimmy Greaves the duo’s ‘Saint and Greavsie’ shows were watched by close to six million viewers between 1985 and 1992.

    Whilst Liverpool had captured the former striker’s heart he often took the chance to portray his first love, Motherwell, in a positive light when the opportunity arose.

    In 2008 the striker was inducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame.

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    Elliott Frear: Settling in well

    Elliott Frear was on the brink of a switch to Motherwell in the summer transfer window, but with time running out, the 26-year-old Forest Green Rovers winger couldn’t complete his switch before the deadline.

    Marvin Johnson departed and he was never quite replaced, but in Frear, Mark McGhee may just have found the missing piece of his puzzle.

    Frear, on the face of things, looks like he could be a direct replacement for the dangerous Johnson, now at Oxford United in League One, however, the winter arrival is a different style of winger.

    Quick, tricky and with a terrific left foot, Frear boasts a number of qualities which will prove to be a huge boost for Motherwell and a big threat for other sides in the league.

    “I know that there was interest last summer, but it’s been good to get up here and I’m settled in now.

    “I knew a few of the boys here Motherwell before I came here from playing in the National League so I’m really looking forward to get going properly.”

    Since the departure of Johnson in the summer, a left-sided midfielder is a position Mark McGhee has been keen to fill.

    In Frear, the manager believes he’s found his man and he expressed his delight to secure Frear’s signature. He said: “We were delighted to secure Elliott’s signature in January, especially because we were keen to sign him in the summer.

    “He’s a true winger, a left-sider and I’m really pleased that we’ve secured his signature because he brings a bit of balance to the squad.

    “I look forward with anticipation to see him in action, he seems settled now and now comes the part where it’s all about impressing and getting in to the team. He has the right type of attitude which I feel is hugely important.”

    A number of ‘Well stars have made the switch north and went on to be tremendous signings for the Steelmen, which Frear admits played a big part in his decision to sign for Mark McGhee’s side.

    The winger said: “That was one of the main things really – along with signing for a big club like Motherwell – seeing the likes of Louis Moult and Marvin Johnson go on to do well here, so hopefully I can make the same impact and kick on.”

    Frear may have made the bench against Rangers, Ross County and Hearts – but it was his brief taste of Premiership football against Rangers that Elliott admits has whetted his appetite.

    “It was a good experience and the pace of the game was a lot different from what I’m used to.” He admitted. “Hopefully after a few weeks of training under my belt I’ll be ready to go as soon as the manager calls upon me. I’m ready to step up to the challenge.”

    Louis Moult, Richard Tait and Craig Clay are just a few of the players who have made the jump from the English National League to the top flight of Scottish football, and the Englishman admitted he was encouraged by the success of both current and past stars who have come to Lanarkshire.

    Elliott said: “The players that have come up from National League level have gone on to do really well, so that was a big part of the decision I made to come up here.

    “I was interested in moving up to Scotland anyway, it seems like a nice place to be and while it’s a bit of a change I’m looking forward to it up here.”

    He added: “I played with Louis Moult at England C level and I’ve obviously played against Marvin Johnson when he was at Kidderminster.

    “Those players went on to do really well here of course and seeing that was part of the reason I made the decision to come up here.”

    The close-knit spirit of the squad is something Elliott has found encouraging so far.

    He said: “It’s been a change of lifestyle so far but I feel I’ve settled. I need to adjust to the pace of the league and the pace of training, but I’ve been made to feel really welcome by all of the boys and everyone around the club too so I hope we can go on to have a good second half of the season.”

    “I nearly joined in the summer so I was always keeping an eye on the results and how the team were getting on. I watched the Aberdeen and Rangers games and I got an idea how the team set up and it was hugely encouraging and something I wanted to be a part of.

    “I lived in Cheltenham when the potential move came about on deadline day in the summer, so it was a bit tough to get up to Glasgow in four hours and obviously Marvin Johnson’s move was a bit touch and go at that stage so it was all a bit too late.

    “I’m a little bit different to Marvin – I’m a winger who likes to cross the ball really and I may be a bit of a replacement but I’m a different style.”

  • Archive

    TV: Highlights from Dumbarton

    Extended highlights from the Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium as the Under 20s lose 3-2 despite a spirited second half comeback.

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    Craigan: Mixed emotions after defeat

    Under 20s boss Stephen Craigan was left with mixed emotions as his side went down 3-2 to Celtic this evening.

    The Steelmen found themselves 3-0 down inside 32 minutes as the current Development League Champions ran riot.

    However, the Fir Parkers quickly composed themselves and got back into things just after half-time when Jake Hastie won and then scored a penalty kick.

    Jacob Blyth further reduced the arrears with twelve minutes left to play and the comeback was really on.

    However, time got away from Craigan’s side, who couldn’t repair the damage done in a very poor first half.

    [pullquote]We’ll put the first half performance to one side and will focus on all the positives of the second half and how we can replicate that more often than not.[/pullquote]

    “We looked a bit overwhelmed and gave ourselves too much of a mountain to climb in the end,” the 56-times capped former Northern Ireland International told MFC TV after the match.

    “We lacked a little bit of belief – whether that was more from being leg-weary I’m not sure but we had a go at them at half-time.

    “It wasn’t about football ability, it was more about the challenges that face you; being physical, having the willingness to go and run, go and compete and win headers – the basics you need to go and win a game of football.

    “We asked them how they could improve  and impose ourselves in the game and I think the early goal helped. I wouldn’t say I am pleased but I am certainly happier with the second half performance.

    “We’ll put the first half performance to one side and will focus on all the positives of the second half and how we can replicate that more often than not.”

  • Archive

    Celtic U20s 3 – 2 Motherwell U20s

    Motherwell Under 20s went down 3-2 to Celtic at a freezing cold Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium this evening.

    Stephen Craigan’s men had a wretched first thirty-five minutes and found themselves trailing 3-0 at the interval.

    However, one of the hallmarks of this young Steelmen side has been there heart and never-say-die attitude and they pulled themselves back into things with two goals, inspired by the terrific Elliott Frear, who was outstanding on the flank for the Fir Parkers.

    However, they just ran out of time in the search for a leveller, crashing to only their second defeat since November, the other coming earlier in the week at Rugby Park.

    With Mark McGhee’s first-team having a free weekend, there were several experienced faces in the starting line up.

    Joe Chalmers and David Ferguson were in the back four; there was a welcome return for Jacob Blyth in attack who’s missed the whole season through injury and a first start in Motherwell colours for January signing Elliott Frear.

    However, despite the edge in experience, it was the hosts who came out the blocks on the front foot and Regan Hendry almost put his side ahead in the sixth minute, crashing a shot over the bar after good wing play and cross from Calvin Miller.

    ‘Well’s first effort at goal came shortly after, when the livewire Frear ghosted past two challenges before striking a low shot at McAdams who held on.

    The same player had another chance four minutes later, picking up from deep, charging forward before sending a stinging shot inches wide of target.

    However, Celtic’s next meaningful attack led to the game’s opening goal.

    A long, deflected clearance caused confusion for Barry Maguire, who slipped when trying to deal with the awkward, bouncing ball. That allowed Paul Joseph Crossan to collect, cut inside before hitting a shot that deflected off the sliding Joe Chalmers and past Ollie Pain to make it 1-0.

    It quickly went from bad to worse as Tommy McIntyre’s team doubled their advantage shortly after. Mark Hill picked up a loose pass from Davie Turnbull and he wasted no time firing at goal. Yet another big deflection left Pain with no chance as it nestled to give the denim-blue clad ‘Well a mountain to climb.

    Celtic were going for the throat and further chances via a Hill free-kick and a close-range effort from Michael Johnston came and went.

    However, the third wasn’t far away and when an enticing near-post cross allowed Crossan to nip in ahead of Chalmers, he made no mistake, bulleting his header past Pain.

    To their credit, Motherwell worked hard to try and steady the ship and slowly but surely worked their way back into the game.

    Frear was again at the heart of everything positive for the visitors and he worked the ball out towards Hastie whose cross-cum-shot almost caught out McAdams, who eventually palmed away.

    Frear had another two good cross balls into the box shortly after, headed over by Hastie and Maguire respectively.

    Having introduced James Scott midway through the first half, Craigan replaced Shea Gordon with Tom Fry and his side started the second much in the same way they finished the first.

    In fact, they got a goal back inside the opening few minutes when Hastie was tripped in the box by Hill. The young winger dusted himself down and slammed home his twelfth of the campaign.

    Motherwell were seeing a lot of the ball but Celtic continued to be a threat on the counter. On-loan Sunderland stopper Pain had to look smart to save well from both Johnstone and Jack Aitchison.

    At the other end, Frear again went close, needing no invite to let fly from distance, but his shot again landing just the wrong side of the post with McAdams at full stretch.

    Two minutes later, it was Frear yet again. This time getting on the end of a Livingstone ball over the top and seeing his fierce shot tipped onto the post and out for a corner.

    That led to another ‘Well goal as from the resulting Tom Fry kick from the quadrant, Jacob Blyth rose higher than a host of players in the box to head home from close range.

    With scintelating comebacks a feature of this young Motherwell side’s season, there was a real belief in the side that they could go on and wrestle something from the match.

    They almost goal level when a Fry free kick was headed on by Scott, but McAdams was well placed to save under pressure.

    Then, with just seconds left, Frear looked as if he was going to be the hero. The former Forrest Green man picked up a pass from Fry, skilfully nutmegged Sam Wardrop only to watch on as his goalbound looking shot was superbly blocked on route by the stubborn Celtic rear guard.

    The young ‘Well eventually ran out of time and lost the match, but left encouraged by a brave and determined second half showing.

    Motherwell: Pain, Ferguson (Armstrong – 68mins), Livingstone, Maguire, Chalmers, Campbell, Frear, Turnbull (Scott – 32mins), Blyth, Hastie, Gordon (Fry – 45mins)

    Subs Not Used: Pettigrew, Agyeman,

  • Archive

    Huge opportunity for The Well Society

    The Well Society is today pleased to announce it has received a particularly generous offer from former majority shareholder Mr Les Hutchison.

    Mr Hutchison has offered to match the total amount of funds raised by the Society in the calendar year 2017 by reducing the same amount from his loan to the Club – to a maximum amount of £500,000. In effect, this means that every £1 raised will count as £2.

    This is an outstanding chance to improve the financial position of both the Club and the Society.

    As owners of Motherwell FC, the Board and members of the Society must try and make the most of this fantastic opportunity.

    We know that there has been some reluctance from potential members and indeed from some existing members to either join and/or contribute more of their hard earned funds to the Society due to concerns that those funds would be used to repay the loans of previous owners.

    The opportunity which now exists is for that debt to be reduced by up to half a million pounds by contributions being made to and retained by the Society and the Club.

    We want to rally the troops and urge you to think how best you can support the Society in our aim to raise £500,000 in 2017.

    You may be an existing member who has ceased to contribute or can now afford to contribute more.

    You may now be persuaded to become a new member. You may now have the opportunity to persuade a friend or relative that now is the time to join the Well Society to become an owner of Motherwell FC and to contribute what they can.

    This is a wonderful opportunity to substantially improve the financial position of the Club as we continue down the road as new owners. Together we can make the most of it. It is up to us.

    To pledge, click here.

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    New South Stand hospitality packages

    Motherwell Football Club is delighted to offer supporters two all new, laid back hospitality options during match days at Fir Park.

    If you want to enjoy the hospitality experience but want smaller meals, casual attire and smaller prices, then the new ‘Bois Club’ and ‘Twist and Pout’ packages are ideal for you.

    Situated in the large South Stand boxes, holding up to parties of twenty, packages include:

    • Hot one-course buffet served with complimentary drinks
    • Padded seat within the box with excellent view
    • Matchday Programme and teamsheet
    • Half-time pies or sandwiches
    • Full-time: one hour complimentary drinks

    Cost: £70pp +VAT – complimentary drinks include beers, wines and soft drinks (no spirits or champagne)


    Cost: £90pp + VAT – full range of complimentary drinks available (no champagne)

    Dress code: Smart casual

    New Head of Commercial & Marketing Suzanne Reid said: “We are launching these new hospitality packages based on some really positive feedback from our supporters and guests. Even in my short time here we have been asked for something which is designed to appeal to the more casual diner.”

    “We have created the Bois Club and the Twist and Pout packages to cater for two very casual and fun markets. The packages are in short a party in a box, and they are the perfect way to celebrate a birthday, stag or hen events or a boys and girls day out whilst taking in the football and making Motherwell FC your starting place for a night out.”

    She added: “We have had a soft launch with some of our regulars who have already started booking the packages so we are very confident moving forward that they will be a real success with our current fan base and beyond.”

    Fan Engagement Manager Ryan Murrant added: “From the recent survey the club conducted it was clear that some of our supporters wanted something like this, so fair play to Suzanne and her team for instigating this change.

    “The packages offer something different and unique to our supporters which is what this club is about.”

    He added: “Listening to feedback and acting on it will only help this club grow and engage further with our supporters on every level, so again we thank those that take the time to feedback and embrace what we are trying to do here and now look forward to seeing a few Saturday nights start with a party in a box.”

    To book, phone 01698 33 33 33 or email hospitality@motherwellfc.co.uk

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    Craigan: We’re well prepared

    U20s boss Stephen Craigan believes his side are ready to go ahead of tomorrow night’s Development League clash with Celtic.

    The young Steelmen travel to the Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium in Dumbarton, and the Northern Irishman feels that his side are well prepared.

    Speaking to MFC TV, Craigan said: “The boys are fine, we haven’t trained an awful lot since the game the other night but I think it’s important to keep them as fresh as we can.

    “We’ve had a couple of meetings, looked at some tactical stuff – just to reaffirm the message that we’re always speaking about both in possession and out of possession.”

    He added: “The boys covered a lot of distance the other night, and with GPS you can kind of monitor it a bit better.”

    [pullquote]We’ve had a couple of meetings, looked at some tactical stuff – just to reaffirm the message that we’re always speaking about both in possession and out of possession.[/pullquote]

    As far as selection for tomorrow night, Craigan admitted he will have to make a few changes.

    He said: “There will be a few changes as normal with under 20s, you’re chopping and changing a lot, there’s lads coming in from the first team and lads out on loan.

    “Dylan and Tom won’t be involved because of that and factors like that mean you don’t always get the team you would ideally like.

    “But we’re ready for the game, we feel well prepared and we’re looking forward to it.”

    One of the main things Craigan tries to drill in to the youngsters is the knack of finding consistency in their game, and after the Kilmarnock match on Tuesday night, he admitted that he is still adapting as a coach.

    He said: “Having watched Tuesday night’s game back there wasn’t an awful lot wrong really.

    [pullquote]Perhaps I could have simplified it for them a bit and matched up with Kilmarnock but there’s things you learn as you go – it’s as much them being consistent as it is me.[/pullquote]

    “We changed our shape to play against them and I probably should have changed it again to allow us more width.”

    He added: “Because we were playing with a diamond, it meant we lacked that width and couldn’t get many crosses in to the box to cause that threat.

    “Perhaps I could have simplified it for them a bit and matched up with Kilmarnock but there’s things you learn as you go – it’s as much them being consistent as it is me.”

    With some senior players perhaps set to step in for game time, Craigan admitted they have played a big role in setting an example for the youngsters this season.

    He said: “We’ll be expecting some senior players to drop down but I’m not sure who yet.

    “It’s important that when the senior players do come in that they perform and set an example and more often than not this season they have done.”

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    Motherwell Inside #4: Aileen Anderson

    ‘Motherwell Inside’ returns and in it’s fourth instalment looks at the work of physiotherapist Aileen Anderson.

    Aileen talks about her duties on a match day, her work with injured players and how she prepares players ahead of matches to help avoid injury.

    For exclusive content, subscribe to MFC TV’s YouTube channel.

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    Statement: Carl McHugh’s red card

    Motherwell Football Club today (Wednesday) released the following statement in relation to Carl McHugh’s red card during Saturday’s match with Heart of Midlothian.

    The club decided not to appeal the red card shown to Carl McHugh on the 53rd minute of last Saturday’s match at Fir Park.

    The recent experience with Scott McDonald’s appeal for a similar sort of offence, with the onus being on the club to prove an obvious refereeing error, convinced management that, although we greatly respect the process and the individuals involved, any further appeal would not only be futile, but also a waste of the club’s time and money.

    The club has subsequently written to the Scottish FA’s Head of Referee Operations to seek clarity on the guidelines surrounding serious foul play and in particular, “excessive force”.

    Given a fairly broad set of criteria has been issued by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) when judging a challenge during the intensity of a match, it’s now so open to individual interpretation by each match official it could and has lead to significant inconsistencies across games.

    A number of challenges in various SPFL Premiership matches (and high profile matches in other major leagues) over the last few weeks would more than meet the criteria both Scott McDonald and Carl McHugh were judged by, and subsequently ordered off for, but only cautions were issued.

    This causes a great deal of confusion and frustration for our playing staff, coaching staff and supporters, and it is making it increasingly difficult to say with any certainty what is and isn’t a red card offence when talking about ‘excessive force’.

    Everyone involved in football understands that, at times, clubs will be on the end of honest mistakes or incorrect calls, it is part and parcel of the game. In addition, it is also acknowledged and accepted that match officials do not set the laws of the game, only enforce them.

    However, that means they need to be applied consistently across the board and any law or criteria that allows for such a broad scope of individual interpretation is, in Motherwell FC’s view, a flawed one.

    In addition, the club has also asked for, and has been granted, time with the Scottish FA’s Head of Referee Operations to go through with the playing squads some of the recent examples which have merited a red card and those that, for what look like identical offences, have only been issued with a caution to explain what, if any, differences there are and detail fully what IFAB advise when considering excessive force.

    Motherwell FC very much appreciates this time and look forward to that meeting in the coming weeks.