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    Open Day not to be missed

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    Cédric Kipré signs for the Well

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    TV: Highlights from Livingston

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    Livingston win in pictures

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    Robinson: Game time the priority

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    Livingston 0 – 2 Motherwell

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    2017/18 revamped hospitality

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    Summer soccer camps underway

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    The Foreign Legion: Simo Valakari

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    Highlights: Stirling 0 – 2 Motherwell

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    Open Day not to be missed

    ‘Well fans will have the chance to meet first team players and take part in fun activities at an upcoming open day.

    Taking place on July 30th at Fir Park, the Claret and Amber faithful will be able to come along and collect their 2017/18 Season Tickets, meet the players and take part in some fun games.

    There will be a Junior Season Ticket Holders vs MFC XI match, MFC Community Trust showcase, along with a Well Society 7-a-side tournament from 1pm.

    Face painting and fun and games will also be included on the day, which all gets started from 10:00am and will run until 12.30pm before the Well Society event at 1pm.

    [pullquote]It’s a great opportunity for our supporters to come and meet their heroes, enjoy some fun activities and to get down to Fir Park before a promising season starts the following week.[/pullquote]

    There will also be a special visit from the Police and Fire Departments amongst other things.

    According to Marketing and Fan Engagement Manager Ryan Murrant, it’s one not to be missed.

    He said: We have had a lot of requests, either through our latest survey or through social media for the return of the open day and as a result we are genuinely excited to be bringing it back.

    “It’s a great opportunity for our supporters to come and meet their heroes, enjoy some fun activities and to get down to Fir Park before a promising season starts the following week.”

    He added: “We have seen a real positive reaction so far in our season ticket sales and with these still up by 19% year on year we hope the day will be a success as our supporters also come and collect their season ticket books.”

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    Cédric Kipré signs for the Well

    Motherwell FC is today delighted to announce the signing of central defender Cédric Kipré on a one-year deal.

    The ex-Leicester City and Paris Saint Germain youngster has agreed terms with the Steelmen following a trial period with the club, where the 20-year-old impressed Fir Park boss Stephen Robinson.

    Positive performances in the club’s pre-season friendlies and during training has resulted in the Frenchman being rewarded with a contract with the ‘Well.

    And the 6ft 2in central defender, who was bought by the Foxes for an undisclosed fee before becoming a free agent this summer, boasts a number of impressive attributes.

    Powerful, gifted with the ball at his feet and with an eye for a pass, the Frenchman is also strong in the air and has his best years ahead of him.

    [pullquote]I’m feeling very good and I’m very happy to have signed here. I’ve been in for a couple of weeks now so I’ve had a chance to see everything, see the facilities and everything so yes, I’m very happy.[/pullquote]

    Speaking to MFC TV after signing for the club, Cédric said: “I’m feeling very good and I’m very happy to have signed here. I’ve been in for a couple of weeks now so I’ve had a chance to see everything, see the facilities and everything so yes, I’m very happy.”

    He added: “I’ve met everyone too and everyone is really nice. We got to know each other better when we went away to Ireland.”

    ‘Well boss Stephen Robinson added: “We’re very happy that Cédric has agreed to join us and becomes our eighth new arrival this summer.

    “I managed to get a very good look at him over the past few weeks and it was never a doubt in my mind that we’d offer him a contract – so I’m delighted he’s agreed to sign.”

    He added: “He’s only 20-years old but his development is staggering, he is incredibly strong and will complement the boys we’ve got at the back already.

    “I very much look forward to working with Cédric this season. I’m also looking to bring in one more defender and another striker before the window shuts but I will have to ensure there are some outgoings first.”

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    TV: Highlights from Livingston

    Extended highlights from the Tony Macaroni Arena where Motherwell continue their pre-season preparations with a 0-2 win over Livingston.

    MFC TV

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    Livingston win in pictures

    Images from tonight’s 0-2 pre-season win over Livingston.

    Snaps courtesy of SNSPix

    [svgallery name=”livingston040717″]

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    Robinson: Game time the priority

    ‘Well boss Stephen Robinson reflected on his sides 2-0 victory over Livingston as the Steelmen continue their pre-season preparations.

    Goals from Gaël Bigirimana and Ryan Bowman secured the Fir Parkers second victory in four days as Robinson aims to see his side gain some valuable playing time ahead of competitive football getting underway in just under two weeks.

    Speaking to MFC TV at full time, the Northern Irishman said: “I think the most important thing is getting minutes and game time in to peoples legs.

    [pullquote]I think the most important thing is getting minutes and game time in to peoples legs.[/pullquote]

    “There was some very good stuff played at times tonight, from both sides I have to say, Livingston popped the ball about very well.”

    He added: “We made a lot of changes so the game lost it’s pattern a little bit but I have to say the players who came on did very well too so it bodes well.”

    You can watch the manager’s full post match interview on MFC TV’s YouTube channel.

    MFC TV

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    Livingston 0 – 2 Motherwell

    Motherwell continued their pre-season preparations with a 0-2 win over Livingston this evening.

    The Steelmen went ahead shortly before half-time when Gaël Bigirimana slotted home from close range.

    It stayed that way until the 86th minute when substitute Ryan Bowman rounded the goalkeeper and finished to confirm the win.

    It was a cold, wet and damp Tony Macaroni Arena that greeted both teams. Sadly, there was little in the early exchanges to warm the 824 punters inside the ground, with both teams enjoying spells of possession, but nothing of note in the final third.

    The first chance came on twelve minutes when Danny Mullen’s low shot was blocked by Charles Dunne at the expense of a corner.

    Motherwell’s first real chance came five minutes later when a lovely little reverse ball from Craig Tanner played in Bigirimana whose square ball looked perfect for Alex Fisher, but the former Inverness man blazed over from eight yards.

    ‘Well continued to create and Fisher was the creator for Andy Rose shortly after, but the midfielder’s shot from distance took a slight deflection en route and bounced inches wide of target.

    Matthew Knox had a free-kick sail high over the bar on 26 minutes before going within an inch of putting his side in front, when his looping shot from distance was brilliantly tipped over by Griffiths in the visitor’s goal.

    That was to prove an important stop from the young stopper as with their next attack, the Steelmen took the lead. Burundi International Bigirimana broke up a Livi counter before playing a neat one-two with Tanner and slid the ball past Maley to put ‘Well a goal up at the break.

    Stephen Robinson introduced the impressive Cédric Kipré at the interval, alongside Stevie Hammell and Richard Tait who replaced Charles Dunne, Bira Dembélé and goal scorer Bigiramana.

    The Fir Parkers made a positive start to the second period and Rose had a shot wide before Chris Cadden looked set to score, but for a goal-saving challenge by Livi sub Rafa De Vita. Then, shortly after, Tanner had a low free-kick that was comfortably held by Maley.

    As the hour mark approached, both teams started to change things with substitute every few minutes intrupting any real flow to the game.

    One sub, Ross MacLean, almost grabbed a goal himself with a driving shot from distance, but Livi’s trialist keeper, introduced for Maley shortly before, held on well.

    However, he was powerless to stop Ryan Bowman just four minutes later, when the big striker got on the end of a tantalising Hammell pass, rounded the goalkeeper and slotted home from an acute angle.

    Bowman almost had a third in the dying seconds, when he got on the end of a Tuton cross, but his header was somehow bundled off the line. When it broke out to young sub Jack McMillan, he blazed over.

    It was the last action of the game. The Steelmen will now travel south to Gateshead on Saturday for game three of four in the pre-season schedule.

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    2017/18 revamped hospitality

    With the opening home game of the 2017/18 campaign less than three weeks away, you can now book in to our newly revamped centenary suite for when we face Greenock Morton on July 22 in the Betfred Cup. 

    This means that you can enjoy the relaxing environment, a 3 course meal, a premium match seat and half-time refreshments for just £50 per person with concessions at just £35 (60 or over & under 16’s)

    If you are interested in our McEwan Fraser Legal box suites, which offer a free bar before and after the game, a hot one course buffet, half time pies and the comfort of a padded seat during the game for just £75, give our team a call now.

    We also have places available in our Millennium Suite. This gives you the ultimate match view from our directors box, complimentary food and drink on arrival and at half time plus a match programme and team sheets. Adults tickets are £60 with concessions just £50.

    To secure your seat call 01698 333 333 or email  hospitality@motherwelfc.co.uk

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    Summer soccer camps underway

    Motherwell Football Club Community Trust’s Summer Soccer Camps are underway!
    The trust will be running the camps for 7 weeks at the Fir Park astro turf for children aged 5-12.
    Camps will run from Monday 3 July through to Wednesday 16 August and will boast fun football sessions and mini games.
    As well as the fun activities, the youngsters will have a chance to win competitions and family tickets for League Cup fixtures.
    Themed days will include tournaments, skills challenges and World Cup Wednesdays.
    Community Trust General Manager Dawn Middleton said: “Our camps have been going from strength-to-strength over the past year and we’re looking forward to providing a summer of fun for youngsters in North Lanarkshire.
    “We have a new football structure within the Trust and children will have the opportunity to be coached by some of Scotland’s most highly qualified coaches. It’s important, however, for a club like Motherwell to support the local community and we continue to keep costs low for families.”
    To book, visit the trust website here: www.motherwellfcct.co.uk
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    The Foreign Legion: Simo Valakari

    There was some transfer activity undertaken by Alex McLeish whilst in charge of Motherwell that makes fans of a certain vintage still shudder to this very day.

    Without question, however, the capture of Simo Valakari was one of his best pieces of business as ‘Well boss.

    The first half of the 1996’97 season had been very up and down for the Steelmen. Losing the likes of Coyne, Van der Gaag and Arnott for extended spells contributed to some erratic results and performances and McLeish looked to freshen his side up for the latter part of the campaign.

    A swap deal that saw Jamie Dolan move to Tannadice to secure the services of Owen Coyle meant that ‘Well were in the market for a central midfielder and McLeish turned his attentions north.

    With the perception that signings from Scandinavian leagues offered better value, the 1990’s saw an influx of players into Scottish football from Europe’s northern leagues. Motherwell were no different and Valakari’s countryman Johni Lehtonen was already at the club when McLeish made his move for Simo.

    Making his debut in a 2-2 draw with Aberdeen on 8th February 1997, Simo quickly became a favourite with the Motherwell support. Without perhaps possessing the tigerish tenacity of say a Colin O’Neill, the artistry of a Bobby Russell or the box-to-box pace of a Phil O’Donnell, the Finn still proved to be a perfect all-rounder in the centre of the Motherwell midfield.

    Comfortable in possession with an intelligent range of passing, Valakari quickly became one of the first names on McLeish’s team-sheet and latterly a mainstay under both compatriot Harri Kampman and Billy Davies thereafter.

    It was no coincidence that after Valakari’s signing the Steelmen became a more resolute outfit losing only three of the last eleven games of the season culminating in avoiding relegation on the final day of the season after a late equaliser against Dunfermline.

    Valakari developed his game considerably during his time at Fir Park becoming established in the Finnish national side.  For a time, until he was surpassed by Stephen Craigan, he held the honour of being club’s most capped player.

    In the summer of 2000, after four seasons in Lanarkshire and 104 league appearances, Simo took up an opportunity with Derby County in the English top flight.

    If there was one element of Simo’s game that was lacking throughout his Motherwell career it was that inability to find the net. No matter how hard he tried and how desperate the ‘Well support were to see him break his duck it sadly never happened.

    There would be wry smiles aplenty however when less than a month into his Derby career Valakari tucked home with aplomb from the edge of the box against Charlton Athletic.

    Moving into coaching, Simo has been successful in his native Finland prompting links with a return to Fir Park on more than one occasion.

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    Highlights: Stirling 0 – 2 Motherwell

    Highlights from Forthbank as a goal in each half gives Motherwell a 0-2 pre-season win over League 2 Stirling Albion.

    Apologies that. due to a technical/cabeling fault,  there is no audio on this afternoon’s highlights.