Joe Wark will be inducted to our Hall of Fame at our 2021 event.
Joe had begun his career in the Ayrshire juniors, running up and down Cochrane Street Park playing in the tangerine and black of Irvine Victoria. It wasn’t long before scouts from the senior ranks all over Scotland were alerted to the performances of the strong, tidy and creative player with a throw-in akin to a corner kick, which led to reports landing on managers desk up and down the country.
It was Motherwell boss Bobby Howitt who made the first move, and Joe was more than happy at the age of 20 to make the Fir Park dressing room his home for the next 16 seasons.
Strangely enough on his debut in a friendly against Tranmere Rovers in a pre-season friendly in October 1947, Joe spent 87 minutes in goal after ‘Well ‘keeper Keith McRae was injured. The clean sheet he achieved was to be the first small step on his journey towards legendary status at our club, as a Jim “Jumbo” Muir double won the game for Motherwell.
The fact that Motherwell had begun season 1968/69 in Scotland’s Division Two probably helped him make the step up in class a little easier. Joe was an ever-present in midfield, driving the club forward in a glorious romp to the title, netting 112 times, conceding 23 and losing a mere two matches along the way.
With Motherwell back in the top flight, Joe would make the left-back berth his own as he launched upon a remarkable career with the Steelmen.
Over 16 seasons he would amass 539 appearances, establishing himself as an all-time club legend. Unfortunately, an appearance in a cup final would elude him, with several heartbreaks in the last four of the major competitions, but memorably featured in several Anglo-Scottish Cup ties in which he shone against World Cup winners like Gordon Banks, Bobby Moore and Martin Peters.
Many Motherwell fans have waxed lyrical over the years desperately trying to describe what Joe meant to this club. On the field, his “Mr Consistency” tag was well earned, as on a weekly basis, he took his “teeth oot”, rolled up his sleeves and went to work, playing the game in the right way.
An immaculate tackler who went his whole career without seeing a red card, his time at Fir Park spanned eight managers, before he hung up his boots at the end of the 1983/84 campaign. It was a travesty that this true legend was never given a full Scotland cap, although he did gain a solitary Scottish League cap against England.
Joe died in 2015, at the age of 67, after a battle with Alzheimer’s. One of Motherwell’s most famous sons now takes his rightful place in our Hall of Fame.
Our Hall of Fame will welcome its new inductees in a special event in November.
Taking place at the Bothwell Bridge Hotel on Saturday 13 November, the event will induct the classes of both 2020 and 2021.
The event is priced at £60 for adults and £30 for children aged under 12.
We will induct both the 2020 and 2021 intake at the event.
Current Hall of Famers include George Stevenson, Willie Pettigrew, Phil O’Donnell, Ally Maxwell and James McFadden.