We wish to clarify remarks made by our former player Richard Tait on the BBC Sportsound programme on 21 June 2020.
Firstly, we are not normally moved to make public statements on matters relating to player contracts. We always, with very limited exceptions, conduct all of our business in private.
However, Richard’s comments to the BBC require us to make completely clear the events, which led to his decision to leave the club at the end of his contract on 31 May 2020.
Earlier this year, the club entered negotiations and made contract offers to Richard, which he rejected. He is perfectly entitled to do this, as we would expect over the course of any negotiation.
Shortly after the league was stopped due to the Covid-19 outbreak, with the majority of our staff working from home, Richard returned a signed contract to the club, accepting an offer made to him which he had previously rejected. This contract was signed only by him, and not by any member of staff at Motherwell FC.
At this point, we informed Richard that we would not be in a position to sign off on the contract, given we were in the midst of complete uncertainty over our financial position going forward in the wake of a global pandemic.
Nevertheless, we reassured him we wanted him to stay at the club, and we would be back in touch once we had certainty over where we stood.
Towards the end of May, Richard was offered revised terms, with the full explanation this was being done in light of a predicted much-reduced football budget.
Richard told the BBC that it was his view “[Motherwell] were taking advantage of a bad situation” in doing this.
As a fan-owned club operating in hugely uncertain financial times, it is imperative that the board exercise the maximum caution to safeguard the club.
At the time Richard was offered revised terms, we were unsure when the 2020/21 season would commence. We are still in the situation where we do not know when a crucial revenue stream – having supporters in the stadium – will be available to us again.
Despite this, we offered Richard a new contract in the hope he would stay with us. The basic salary of this contract was less than the previous offer, but on no lesser basic terms than he had been on at the club during his time here.
It also included the incentive for us to pay for him to undertake coaching qualifications, with a view to him being a member of our coaching staff once his playing career came to a close.
Additionally, we made a promise to Richard that we would look to review his contract at a later date, once there was greater clarity over supporters being able to return to stadiums.
We are disheartened that someone who has been part of the fabric of our club for four years would make an accusation that we would try and take advantage of a grave situation like Covid-19.
It should therefore be noted that Richard chose to reject the new terms offered to him by the club. We did not withdraw the opportunity for him to remain part of Motherwell Football Club. He is fully entitled to follow this path and we respect his right to do so.
Richard remains part of the history of this club. As captain of the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final winning side over Aberdeen, a member of the squad which reached two cup finals, as a man who made 142 appearances for our club and as a hugely respected and well liked figure at Fir Park.
We reiterate our sincere thanks for all he gave to the club and wish him all the best in his future career.