The bulk of striker Dirk Lehmann’s career at Fir Park was at a crucial period in Motherwell’s history with the club in administration. The German would make a vital contribution when the club’s need was at its greatest.
Dirk was brought to Fir Park a few months into Eric Black’s reign in charge as a replacement for former Ireland striker David Kelly.
Signing for the Steelmen in early 2001, Lehmann was already well known to Motherwell fans from his time with Hibernian. Indeed it was against ‘Well that Dirk made his Hibees debut, where he netted twice in a thrilling 2-2 draw at Easter Road on the opening day of the 1999’00 season.
Following his spell with Alex McLeish’s side the German moved on to Brighton. His stay on the English south coast was brief and he made a speedy return to Scotland with Motherwell after little more than six months in England.
Having made his debut from the bench against Dunfermline four days earlier, Dirk netted on his first start for ‘Well on 23rd January 2001 as the Steelmen beat Kilmarnock 2-0 at Fir Park. He would develop an excellent understanding with the emerging talent James McFadden and the duo’s goals did much to ease Motherwell away from the relegation zone.
Before the close of the season, Lehmann would net a further three goals including one against his former club Hibs in a 4-0 romp, and one on an emotional day as Dundee were beaten 2-1in the final game of the season.
As the team walked from the park that May afternoon, the future of the club was uncertain. But Lehmann would return as part of a core of experienced pro’s in a streamlined squad under the command of Terry Butcher.
Season 2002’03 was a season of struggle for Motherwell but Dirk’s goals helped ensure Motherwell remained competitive throughout. He netted at both Tynecastle and Parkhead and scored in the memorable 6-1 thrashing of Hearts in December 2002. He also found the net in the Scottish Cup Quarter Final win over Stranraer that helped take ‘Well to Hampden to face Rangers in the Semi Finals.
As the season progressed however, Dirk found his place under threat from another youngster in the shape of David Clarkson with Steven Craig, brought in from Raith Rovers, providing further competition still.
With the club remaining in the top flight, albeit on a technicality, and having had a hand in the development of a number of exciting young talents, it was a sense of “job done” for Lehmann who chose to move on to Yokohama in Japan upon the conclusion of his Motherwell contract.
Retaining a place in the German’s heart, Dirk pledged his support to Motherwell’s fan ownership ambitions when he signed up as a ‘Well Society member in April 2016.