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  • First team

    Cédric Kipré joins Wigan Athletic

  • First team

    Scene setter: ‘Well travel to Easter Road

  • First team

    Main says team have winning confidence

  • First team

    Ryan Bowman sidelined with ankle injury

  • First team

    Robinson: We’ve stepped things up

  • First team

    In Numbers: Building up to Hibernian

  • Women

    Mulvey targeting ‘proudest moment’ title win

  • Club

    Get on board our bus to Livingston

  • Club

    The career of John Philliben

  • Reserves & Under 18s

    2018/19 reserve fixture list announced

  • First team

    Cédric Kipré joins Wigan Athletic

    Cédric Kipré joins Wigan Athletic

    Defender Cédric Kipré has left the club to join English Championship side Wigan Atheltic.

    The 21-year-old Parisian joined ‘Well in the summer of 2017 from Leicester City and made an immediate impression, following a string of impressive performances.

    The youngster, who also played for Paris Saint-Germain, became a fan favourite and broke into the Ivory Coast international side, playing for their Under 23s in a 5-0 win against Togo.

    He finished his rookie season having featured 49 times in claret and amber, playing more domestic minutes than any player in Scotland last term. He added a further three appearances in the Betfred Cup this season.

    Kipré joins the Latics for a significant fee, with the club also potentially earning more should the player excel at the DW Stadium. He has signed a three-year contract with the club.

    “Although it’s with a heavy heart that we lose Cédric, his progress over the last year has been remarkable and it’s little wonder English Championship clubs have been circling,” ‘Well boss Stephen Robinson said.

    “He has the potential to go all the way to the top in my opinion and we very much wish him well in his future career. He will always be welcome back at Fir Park.

    “We have been working on a potential replacement and hope to have something completed on that front as soon as possible.”

    The 6ft 3in defender is not the first Motherwell player to head south for Wigan, with Lee McCulloch and Stevie McMillan following a similar path almost 20 years ago.

    Kipré himself added: “I would like to thank everyone at Motherwell, especially the manager and the fans, for everything they have done for me.

    “I loved it at the club and it was hard to leave, but this is a really big move for my family and I and we are excited by the challenge.

    “Motherwell will always have a special place in my heart though and I will be cheering the team on wherever I am.”

    Chief executive Alan Burrows said: “The model we have at the club is built and based around the development and trade of players, everyone gets that.

    “That said, you always have mixed emotions at these times. Whilst you are happy for the player and share in the sense of pride at seeing someone develop and move up the ladder, it’s a wrench to see such a talented player leave for the last time.

    “However, when the full balance of the fee is paid, it will go down as one of the most lucrative in Motherwell’s history, with the potential to be the most depending on how Cédric performs at Wigan.

    “We believe that represents good business and we will be working with Stephen Robinson to try and find a replacement.”

    Everyone at Motherwell FC would like to thank Cédric for his contribution whilst at Fir Park and wish him every success in his future career.

  • First team

    Scene setter: ‘Well travel to Easter Road

    Scene setter: ‘Well travel to Easter Road

    The Ladbrokes Premiership kicks off for Motherwell on Sunday as we travel to take on Hibernian at Easter Road.

    Stephen Robinson’s men head into the match looking to start the campaign on a high, after their Betfred Cup group stage campaign ended successfully.

    Unbeaten

    Of those four competitive games played so far this season, the Steelmen are unbeaten. Three wins and a draw got the team through to the knockout stages, where they will travel to face Livingston.

    A 5-0 win over Edinburgh City was followed by a 1-1 draw at Stranraer, a 2-0 victory over Queen of the South and a comeback 3-1 win at Clyde.

    Hibs in Europe

    Neil Lennon’s side, meanwhile, have also been in competitive action already, playing four games in the Europa League qualifiers.

    In those matches, Hibs have managed to net 16 times, conceding eight. A 6-1 home win over NSI Runavik was followed by a 6-4 win away to the Faroe Islands side.

    Greek side Asteras Tripolis followed, with the team coming from 2-0 down at home to win 3-2 and then draw 1-1 away to progress.

    Past encounters

    Motherwell made two trips to Leith last campaign, taking a point from their opening encounter and narrowly losing the second.

    An early-season visit to Easter Road saw the Steelmen go 2-0 down to goals from Anthony Stokes. But the visitors rallied, with Louis Moult bagging a double to take home a point.

    An even contest on the second trip in January saw Motherwell go 2-0 down again. Curtis Main got one back late on and the prospect of another comeback draw was on the cards, but the hosts held firm.

    Absences to contend with

    Charles Dunne, Craig Tanner and Ryan Bowman are all on the sidelines through injury, while Allan Campbell and Barry Maguire are suspended for the trip to Easter Road.

  • First team

    Main says team have winning confidence

    Curtis Main believes Motherwell’s unbeaten start to the season will boost confidence going into the opening Ladbrokes Premiership game.

    The Steelmen travel to Easter Road on Sunday for the curtain raiser and the striker says having a winning habit will stand the team in good stead.

  • First team

    Ryan Bowman sidelined with ankle injury

    Ryan Bowman sidelined with ankle injury

    Ryan Bowman will be out for up to six weeks with an ankle injury.

    Manager Stephen Robinson confirmed ahead of the trip to Hibernian that the striker will spend time on the sidelines, after picking up the knock after being on the end of a tackle in the win over Queen of the South.

    “We’ve lost Ryan because of a tackle, which can’t really be prevented,” he confirmed. “It’s a contact sport and Ryan will be out for six weeks.

    “It is par for the course as a footballer, unfortunately. We also lost Charles Dunne with a strange injury and he’s also out for a period of time.

    “I’m confident with the other boys we’ve brought in. It’s up to them to step up to the plate and take the opportunity.”

    You can keep up-to-date with all the latest injuries and suspensions on our team news page.

  • First team

    Robinson: We’ve stepped things up

    Stephen Robinson says his Motherwell players have stepped things up in training as they prepare for the first Ladbrokes Premiership game of the season.

    The Steelmen travel to Hibernian on Sunday off the back of a four-game unbeaten run in the Betfred Cup group stages and are looking to continue their form into the league campaign.

  • First team

    In Numbers: Building up to Hibernian

    In Numbers: Building up to Hibernian

    The Ladbrokes Premiership campaign kicks off on Sunday as Motherwell make the trip to Edinburgh to take on Hibernian.

    Here are some key numbers and stats you need to know going into the curtain raiser.

    Eight

    The number of years since Motherwell lost an opening day fixture away from home.

    That result came in 2010 away to… Hibernian. The Steelmen had the lead early on through John Sutton but were pegged back through goals from Anthony Stokes, Paul Hanlon and Liam Miller, before a Jamie Murphy penalty rounded off the scoring in a 3-2 defeat.

    Since then, Motherwell have won five of their seven opening day fixtures, drawn one and lost one, with that defeat coming at home to Rangers last season.

    Also eight

    Eight is also the number of consecutive games Motherwell have scored at Easter Road.

    You have to go back to 2009 for the last time we failed to net in Leith, when Stokes netted a double in a 2-0 win for the Hibees.

    30

    The amount of goals scored at Easter Road in the last four games played there. A 5-3 win over Kilmarnock towards the end of the 2017/18 campaign was followed by a 5-5 draw against Rangers.

    The first two European games of the season saw yet more goal fests. A 6-1 win over NSI Runavik was then followed by a moderately calmer 3-2 comeback win against Asteras Tripolis.

    Four

    The low amount of goals scored in Motherwell’s last five games on their travels.

    Two 0-0 draws at Ross County and St Johnstone were accompanied by 1-0 victories at Dundee and Partick Thistle, and a 2-0 reversal at Hamilton Academical.

  • Women

    Mulvey targeting ‘proudest moment’ title win

    Mulvey targeting ‘proudest moment’ title win

    Motherwell Ladies captain Suzanne Mulvey believes that capturing the SWPL2 title with the club would be right up there with her greatest achievements in the game.

    The striker has bagged 18 goals this season as the women of steel close in on promotion to the top flight of Scottish women’s football.

    ‘Well return to action after the summer break with a visit to McDiarmid Park on Sunday to face St Johnstone. Having built up a 13-point advantage at the top of the SWPL2 table, and with just eight games of the league season remaining, the title and promotion to the top division could be secured by the end of August.

    “I’ve won pretty much everything there is to win in the Scottish game, but this would be right up there with my proudest moments,” Mulvey said.

    “We’ve come so far and it’s a great reflection on Motherwell as a club and as a community. It’s a great time to be a Motherwell player and going forward it’s only going to get better.

    “I feel fitter, we’ve been worked very hard, because we had that two weeks break we’ve just been worked by Donald and Eddie even harder on our return. I feel that will show.

    “We’ve got a 13-point lead and the way we are training shows that we want to get the title wrapped up as soon as possible. It’s not over and done with yet, but if we can continue playing to the level we were before the summer break then I think there’s a good possibility we can win the league very soon.”

    News that boss Eddie Wolecki Black will be moving on to take up the position of head coach at Celtic in the coming weeks came as a disappointment to all involved with the ladies setup at Fir Park.

    Mulvey admits the team were sad to see their well-respected boss depart but is keen to stress Motherwell’s journey is far from complete.

    “It’s a fantastic appointment for Celtic,” she said. “They’ve got a fantastic manager and person in Eddie. I’ve worked with him a few times and have so much respect for him both as a coach and as a person.

    “For us though, Eddie has started the journey by putting together the players and the coaching staff. Although he is leaving, we have a lot of experience in both the coaching and playing staff.

    “We’ve shown already this season we are capable of dealing with a lot of things. We have the right people to keep things moving in the right direction.

    “We still want to carry on the journey, we want to win the league, to have a good run in the cup and from there carry on and continue to develop both as a team and as individuals.”

    Despite having racked up several emphatic victories during their opening 13 games of the league season, Mulvey maintains there are still plenty of challenging tasks ahead for the team.

    “Before we even kicked a ball this season, we were regarded as the top team and the team that everyone else wanted to beat,” she added.

    “There have been comments from opposition players basically ribbing our players about how many international caps we have – it’s the only time I’ve been slagged off for having Scotland caps.

    “I feel a lot of the teams have good young players, but perhaps lack that bit of experience. Going back to [the 1-1 draw with] Aberdeen, their best player was Susan Murray who had retired a few seasons ago, Aberdeen asked her to come back and help a bit and she made a big difference for them.

    “I’m more than happy with what I’ve contributed so far this season and I’d love to continue to score goals too. For me though, the main target is to win the league as soon as possible and hopefully give Eddie a good send off.

    “From there it’s not over. There is still the cup, as well as trying to remain unbeaten in the remaining games.”

    Over the course of the break, Sophie Gallacher departed the club, moving on due to work commitments.

    The ‘Well captain was keen to pay tribute to the striker’s contributions during her time at Fir Park and insisted she should be a part of the celebrations should the team secure the title.

    “Sophie is a fantastic talent. We didn’t get to see what she was capable of this season due to injuries.

    “It’s a real shame to see her go, but everyone who has kicked a ball, has been part of the coaching staff, contributed behind the scenes should all be part of the celebrations when we secure the title.”

  • Club

    Get on board our bus to Livingston

    Get on board our bus to Livingston

    We’re running buses and opening our Cooper Bar ahead of our trip to face Livingston in the Betfred Cup.

    You can come along to Fir Park and enjoy pre-match food and drink from 11am, before our departure for West Lothian at 1.30pm.

    Our buses will take you straight to the Tony Macaroni Arena for the game on Saturday, 18 August, before returning to our stadium for post-match drinks.

    Bus tickets cost £6.50. Ticket information for entrance to Livingston’s stadium will be announced shortly.

    To book, you can buy your ticket online right now.

  • Club

    The career of John Philliben

    The career of John Philliben

    Born in Stirling in March 1964, it’s perhaps stating the obvious that the young man John Philliben, although being football daft, had little affinity to our football club 32 miles away.

    Indeed it was his local club Stirling Albion which held John’s affection. Having come through the ranks at the Binos, he quickly made his first team debut and began to represent his country at Under 18 level despite turning out in the lower leagues.

    John would become a key performer in the Scotland Under 18 squad, coached by Andy Roxburgh and Walter Smith, which won the European Championship in Finland in 1982. Having eliminated Holland, Turkey and Albania in the group stage, Poland were put to the sword in the semi final.

    John lined up in dark blue shirt again for the final against Czechoslovakia, and opened the scoring as the Scots ran out 3-1 winners and worthy European champions.

    Automatically they qualified for the following year’s World Youth Cup, where again the Scots were impressive, qualifying from a group consisting of hosts Mexico, South Korea and Australia.

    Sadly, an early goal from Poland was enough to knock the young Scots out of the tournament at the quarter final stage. After leaving Stirling for a three-year spell with Doncaster Rovers, Motherwell manager Tommy McLean lured John to a football club that had just survived its first season back in the top flight of Scottish football and facing the traditional “difficult” second season.

    After just a single defeat in the opening five games of the season, “Softie” was given his debut in claret and amber at Fir Park when Rangers came to town. 17,000 fans crammed into the stadium to witness a determined performance by the Steelmen, who ultimately came up just short against the Light Blues, who would go on to claim the championship.

    His first goal for Motherwell came down at Cappielow just over a year later against Morton. And it came in some style, rifling home a volley from 25 yards which almost took the net away along with the breath of the 2,500 punters who witnessed it amid a dull 1-1 draw.

    John quickly followed up the goal with another, which would help beat St Mirren at Fir Park two months later, and would prove important as ‘Well broke a run of six defeats in seven matches. Motherwell finished that season comfortably clear of any real relegation worries to ensure the Steelmen remained in the top flight for the fourth consecutive season with Philliben already amassing 81 appearances since his arrival.

    By now, the Motherwell fans had been impressed with John’s versatility, with him turning out all along the back four, and also in midfield on occasions, almost always being calm and assured in everything he did.

    Injury curtailed John’s games the following campaign as the defence again helped the club avoid the drop, only conceding 44 goals in 36 games as the strikers failed to produce.

    That summer of 1989 can be traced back to the beginning of an upturn in the fortunes of the club that most fans of that era had only previously dreamt about. Motherwell signed Nick Cusack and George Burley, as McLean looked to bring more professionalism and threat up top to the squad, and captured David Cooper from Rangers in a move that would transform the thoughts and opinions of everyone connected to the club.

    In February 1990, after beating Clyde 7-0 in the Scottish Cup third round, a massive Motherwell support gathered in the old open Gorgie terracing in anticipation of a memorable performance from their heroes against Hearts.

    Unfortunately, the occasion will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. A torrential downpour drenched the ‘Well fans as the home side ran riot in a disappointing first half to win the tie in impressive fashion. Such was the power of the rain, three quarters of the visiting fans had left by the hour marked soaked through and miserable, leaving only the defiant hardy souls who refused to show any weakness to the celebrating Hearts fans.

    In the famous Scottish Cup run of 1991, John was a strong influence in a resolute defensive performance at Aberdeen in the third round tie, which gave the platform for Cooper to roll a free kick to Stevie Kirk, who unleashed a shot that was too powerful for Theo Snelders to handle, and win the match.

    He also played his part in knocking out Falkirk in the next round before missing out in the two quarter final matches with a dogged Morton side. Although he was back in the fold for the two semi final matches against Celtic, he was overlooked in the final as manager McLean for once let his heart rule his head and named an obviously injured Colin O’Neill on the bench much to anguish of big Softie.

    The heartache John suffered that afternoon must’ve been in stark contrast to what he’d felt two weeks earlier as Rangers had came to Fir Park looking to win the title on our patch. John produced an instinctive finish to score one of Motherwell’s goals in a famous 3-0 win with Dougie Arnott joining in on the fun with a glorious late double.

    As a result of the cup win, Motherwell qualified for the European Cup Winners Cup for the following season, allowing John to be part of a very special Motherwell XI, the one that led the club into Europe for the first time. Thomson, Griffin, McCart, Philliben, Nijholt, Dolan, Russell, McLeod, O’Donnell, Cooper and Kirk all took the field in Katowice, Poland alongside the local crack outfit GKS. I can only surmise that this actually happened, as I was part of the famous bus trip that had left Fir Park on the Monday morning only to arrive at the match nine minutes from the end, just in time to see GKS score, what would be an important second goal.

    The buses arrived back in Motherwell on the following Saturday morning, in plenty of time to see Softie open the scoring at home to Dunfermline Athletic on a wet Lanarkshire afternoon. Jamie Dolan and Bobby Russell both added goals to secure a comfortable 3-0 win over the Pars as the Steelmen returned to league action.

    In the second leg of the Euro tie, John was again involved, although this time from the bench. Despite a brave display by the Fir Parkers, GKS narrowly progressed to the next round on the away goals rule.

    Slowly but surely, Tommy McLean was moulding together a terrific Motherwell squad who were respected by everyone in the country as a dangerous team to come up against. Performances and results were pretty much improving year on year and as the 1993/94 season loomed over the horizon, there were grounds for optimism amongst the club and its fans.

    John played 32 times for the Steelmen as the title came tantalisingly close to landing at Fir Park for the first time in 62 years, with Motherwell finishing four points behind champions Rangers, and four points ahead of Celtic. It was also Phillibens’s most prolific campaign of his career scoring three times, against Partick Thistle along with Tommy Coyne in an entertaining 2-2 draw, scoring the opener against Rangers, where Coyne again joined him on the score sheet hitting the winner in a 2-1 success.

    Softies third goal would be a memorable one. A week after winning in the league at Tannadice, Motherwell returned on Scottish Cup duty to Dundee United after previously eliminating Celtic with a Tommy Coyne flicked header, which evaded the clutches of Carl Muggleton in the visitors goal. Cup hero Stevie Kirk opened the scoring before United hit back with a quick fire double from Craig Brewster. When Tommy Coyne missed a penalty it left Motherwell in trouble as the clock ticked down. Three minutes into injury time, the Steelmen won a corner kick and as the ball came over, panic ensued in the penalty box before John lashed the ball high into the net to spark wild scenes of celebrations on the park and bedlam in the stands of all decked in claret and amber. In the post match interviews, Softie famously stated that he was “happy to have secured another crack of the cherry”.

    Of course the following campaign saw a change in manager for the first time in a decade with Tommy McLean disagreeing with the Motherwell Board of Directors over the future development of the club and deciding to leave. In came Alex McLeish who joined from Aberdeen as the clubs first ever player/manager. The change at the top didn’t affect John’s status in the squad, with McLeish continuing the previous managers confidence in Johns ability and the importance of his presence in the Motherwell line up. The Steelmen went on to claim runners up spot in the top division for the first time in 61 years in McLeish’s first season in charge, with John yet again playing a prominent part of that success, appearing 39 times in what was as good a Motherwell side as I have witnessed in my fifty years watching the “Mighties”.

    Despite Big Eck dismantling the Motherwell squad over the next two seasons, John still maintained a significant presence in claret and amber, representing the club another 61 times over the next two seasons through to the summer of 1997.

    His last goal for the club came in a memorable afternoon down at Rugby Park in November 1996. Motherwell won 4-2 as Tommy Coyne stole the show with his only hat trick as a Motherwell player. A clever lobbed finish after a mistake in the Killie defence clinched the match ball for the Cobra before Philliben round off the scoring to send the ‘Well fans in the 7,000 crowd back to Lanarkshire in fine fettle. The following campaign would see John play out his last days at Fir Park, appearing 20 times.

    His final bow came as a substitute at home to Kilmarnock in April 1998 when a Stefan Lindquist shot was enough to earn a draw at home to Kilmarnock as new Motherwell manager Harri Kampman struggled to get to grips of his new surroundings.

    John left to move back to his first club, Stirling Albion, initially as player-manager before giving up the former after almost forty appearances. However, he continued his link with Motherwell, coming back time and again to recruit players and even selling the embryonic talent of Stephen Nicholas to the Fir Parkers. After Billy Davies had began to lose control of an expensively put together squad in September 2003, he was relieved of his duties. The club turned to the coaching team of John Philliben and Miodrag Krivokapic as John Boyle began the search for a new permanent manager. The change certainly worked as goals from David Kelly and Stuart Elliot turned over a visiting Hearts team in style, winning 2-0.

    Three days later though, any real chance the duo had of securing the post full time pretty much vanished. Motherwell were knocked out of the League Cup at Airdrie after a youthful Keith Lasley scored a late own goal to send the Diamonds into the next round.

    Days later, two Stevie Nicholas goals helped the Steelmen win 3-2 at McDiarmid Park before Celtic came to town a week later. A very encouraging display by Motherwell just came up short as the Hoops won by the odd goal in three, with Greg Strong notching at the back post for the ‘Well.

    Within days, a new management team of Eric Black and Terry Butcher were in place as Philliben and Krivokapic left the club.

    A very popular defender, John was a whole hearted performer whose sheer professionalism always shone through. Missing out on the 1991 Cup final was a harsh blow for John, but he stayed loyal to the club despite what looked like a snub.

    John had been one of Tommy McLean’s finest buys, being snapped up in September 1986 for £20,000 from Doncaster Rovers. 367 appearances, with 8 goals shows just how important and reliable John was to this football club.

    In his twelve seasons in North Lanarkshire, John only failed to play at least thirty games in any campaign just three times, two of which were as a result of injuries.

    Ten years after leaving the club, John was awarded a much deserved Testimonial year, with the centre piece a game against West Ham United in July 2008 which allowed the Motherwell support to show their affection and appreciation of John’s efforts over the years.

    John was one of a rare breed these days, a player appreciative of his life as a professional footballer and respectful of both his club and supporters. I doubt there has ever been a Motherwell player who has given so much to this club, and yet be so unassuming as he was. A quality footballer who loved his craft, knew what he was good at, and gave everything he had in every game he played. More importantly, John Philliben has probably been the most universally popular player I’ve ever seen playing for Motherwell, and given some of the comments I’ve heard over the years from some sections of our support, that I can tell you, is no mean feat.

  • Reserves & Under 18s

    2018/19 reserve fixture list announced

    2018/19 reserve fixture list announced

    Motherwell’s reserve side will open their season with a home match against Hearts in the SPFL Reserve League.

    The game, which will be played at our ‘home’ ground of Forthbank Stadium in Stirling, will be played on Monday, 20 August. Kick off is at 2pm.

    The newly formed SPFL Reserve League will see us play 17 fixtures across the 2018/19 season. Each team in the 18-club league will play each other once.

    All games are currently scheduled to kick off at 2pm on Mondays. You can see our full fixture list for the campaign here.

    Reserve League Cup

    Also included in the match calendar for the 2018/19 campaign is the introduction of a Reserve League Cup.

    Mirroring the format of the Betfred Cup, Motherwell will play in a five-team group with Dundee, Dunfermline Athletic, Morton and Queen of the South.

    Our first game will be against Dundee at home on Monday, 10 September.

    Irn-Bru Cup

    The Motherwell ‘Colts’ side have been drawn to face East Stirlingshire in the first round of the Irn-Bru Cup. The match will take place at the Falkirk Stadium on 14/15 August.