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    Bert McCann: Lynchpin of the Babes

  • Club

    A coffee and a chat with Stevie Hammell

  • Club

    Take part in the Scottish Football Supporters Survey

  • Club

    Tickets on sale for Hearts clash

  • Club

    Suicide awareness event on Monday

  • Club

    Don’t miss our Ladies Day

  • Club

    Get your tickets for Hearts cup clash

  • Club

    Motherwell to provide free sanitary products at Fir Park

  • Club

    Cash Converters extend backing

  • Club

    Two new para-football teams introduced

  • Club

    Bert McCann: Lynchpin of the Babes

    Bert McCann: Lynchpin of the Babes

    On September 12, 2017, Bert McCann sadly passed away at the age of 84.

    A year after his death, we look back at his career as fondly recounted by feature writer Eddie Ferguson.

    A True Steelman

    On the face of it, the 15th of October 1932 wasn’t great for Motherwell fans of that time as the Steelmen, then Champions of Scotland, were going down two nil at Tynecastle Park engulfed in a light drizzle.

    However, sixty miles up the road to Dundee, a boy was being born who would light up Fir Park and become adored by everyone who wore claret and amber favours.

    Robert Johnstone McCann was born and bred in the City of Discovery.

    Although all indications are that young Robert had little interest in any football club south of the Perth Road, in the decades that followed there can be little doubt that this football club would hold a special place in his heart, as he has in a certain generation of Motherwell fans.

    He would become one of the all time greats at Fir Park, and be an integral part of the finest half-back line this club has ever produced alongside Charlie Aitken and John Martis.

    His early football experience came playing in the maroon and white of Dundee North End in the Tayside Junior Leagues, before being snapped up on amateur terms by legendary former Motherwell striker Willie McFadyen who was then manager of Dundee United.

    Even before he pulled a claret and amber jersey over his head, he had lightly etched his name into Motherwell folklore by being part of the Arabs side that took an early lead at Fir Park, only to lose twelve goals and be part of both Motherwell’s record win, and the Terrors heaviest defeat.

    He left Tannadice after a year for Queens Park where he had a terrific time, culminating in Bert gaining six Scottish International amateur caps, and being tracked by a host of top-flight clubs.

    It was the summer of 1956 when Motherwell reverted to their much-vaunted policy of identifying promising youngsters who would be allowed to develop in the Motherwell tradition.

    It was a process that had previously reared Motherwell legends and Championship winners like George Stevenson, Bobby Ferrier and Willie McFadyen.

    Despite interest from bigger clubs, Bert opted for life in Lanarkshire under the guidance of recently appointed Motherwell manager and fellow Dundonian, Bobby Ancell.

    Initially, the young midfielder signed on at Fir Park on part-time terms to allow him to complete his modern language studies at Edinburgh University.

    Indeed it wasn’t unusual for Bert only to meet up with team mates at a Saturday lunchtime to prepare for a first fixture, even on the occasions that he was captaining the side.

    Bert made his debut in a 4-2 reverse League Cup tie at Starks Park against Raith Rovers before making his Fir Park bow eleven days later as Airdrieonians were routed by six goals to one.

    From that point on he would pretty much be a regular in the line up for that campaign, only missing five games through injury as 1956 drew to a close.

    Not being particularly renowned for his scoring exploits, McCann endeared himself somewhat to the Fir Park faithful that debut season, scoring eight times, contributing to five important wins over Airdrie (twice), Queens Park, Dundee and Ayr United, as Motherwell finished a respectable seventh.

    The following campaign was difficult for Bert as injuries plagued the schemer, but season 1958/59 would see the young man blossom along with several of his peers before the watching eyes of not only Scotland, but the world.

    The renowned “Ancell Babes” introduced themselves to Scottish football as Bobby Ancell orchestrated a brand of football the likes had been rarely seen before, with Bert McCann the absolute lynchpin of everything that happened offensively on the pitch.

    Time after time he provided the front five, typically, Hunter, Reid, St. John, Roberts and Quinn, all internationalists, with opportunities and situations that they thrived on.

    Bert was an ever present in that campaign, playing in all 42 competitive matches as the Steelmen notched up 105 goals which had the fans on the East Terracing purring with joy and satisfaction as the Fir Parkers finished an impressive third, six points off the champions Rangers.

    The campaign that would take the club into the “Swinging Sixties”, which started with terrific optimism around Fir Park with concrete steps being installed onto the terracing to help bring the capacity up to 40,000.

    Training facilities also took a turn for the better as the club paid for the use of Motherwell Stadium for day to day training to help preserve the Fir Park pitch and keep it in top notch condition, which was vital to allow Ancell’s footballing philosophy to thrive.

    Again it would be a most entertaining season for the Motherwell spectators, with their favourite’s just failing to score on four occasions throughout the whole campaign of 44 matches.

    It was only the famous forward lines of both Hibernian and Hearts that scored significantly more goals than the Steelmen.

    1960/61 saw Bert once again be an ever present for Motherwell as the club mixed it with Scottish footballs big boys. No more so than when Motherwell were drawn against champions elect Rangers in the Scottish Cup.

    The fans were treated to a thrilling tie at Fir Park where the visitors raced into a two goal lead as they threatened to blow the Steelmen away.

    Gradually, backed with a fervent home support, Motherwell got a foothold back in the game, as McCann fed Ian St John who slammed the ball low into the net a minute before half time.

    The second period was end-to-end stuff before Bert McCann secured a replay, calmly firing home from fifteen yards.

    The Ibrox replay, in front of a sell-out crowd, would go down in Motherwell folklore.

    The Fir Parkers started brightly – taking the lead, but by the break the Light Blues had fought back and were ahead.

    Nobody could have seen the performance the Steelmen produced in the second half, inspired by manager Ancell’s team talk.

    Pat Delaney rifled home an equaliser from a free kick given for a foul on McCann. And before the hour had arrived Bobby Roberts got to a ball before the Rangers keeper to prod the third over the line as Motherwell turned on the style.

    The Ibrox crowd watched on stunned and mesmerised as the Steelmen scored twice more to complete a 5-2 thrashing of the Glasgow giants.

    Legend has it, that almost every Rangers fan stayed until the end to applaud Bert and his team mates off the turf, such was the display the Fir Parkers had produced.

    With the new season on the horizon, the exciting Motherwell side were beginning to be dismantled as the vultures circled ML1 looking to snap up the emerging talent, particularly striker Ian St. John who departed for Bill Shankley’s Liverpool for £375,000.

    Despite Ancell’s attempts at replacing the obvious quality with promising youngsters, the performance almost inevitably took a dip.

    It would be a season of injuries for McCann as Motherwell finished a disappointing 9th of 18 clubs.

    The first game of 1962/63 season saw Falkirk visit Fir Park in front of the magnificent newly extended main stand.

    Bert McCann was the man of the match, expertly dictating play as the Steelmen ran riot.

    Bobby Russell scored five times with Pat Quinn helping himself to a mere four in a stunning 9-1 victory in front of an enthralled audience.

    Mid-table obscurity would be a recurring theme for the remainder of Bert’s time running up and down Fir Park with his last goal rounding off an emphatic 4-1 home win over Morton before his final appearance in an ill-fated clash with Rangers at Fir Park.

    Bert McCann’s career at the top level was effectively brought to an abrupt halt by a horrible tackle inflicted in a league game at home to Rangers in April 1965.

    The Motherwell club doctor of the time was quoted as saying it was the worst football injury he’d ever seen with studs marks being gouged across Bert’s thigh muscle.

    That summer, Bert made the short hop over the Clyde to join the Accies for a season before retiring at the age of thirty-three, and using his academic qualifications to become a teacher.

    Bert had gained five Scottish international caps and also five Scottish League appearances in an era where the domestic game was awash with terrific talent.

    His international debut came in May 1958 in front of over 100,000 fans as West Germany were defeated 3-2 in a friendly match at Hampden Park, alongside fellow debutants and ‘Well players Ian St. John and Andy Weir, who scored.

    Further appearances in Dark Blue came against Northern Ireland, Wales and England before his final Cap, which came in horrible 9-3 defeat against the “Auld Enemy” at Wembley in May 1961.

    Bert McCann made 246 appearances in claret and amber, captaining the side on many occasions and returning 21 goals for the cause.

    Until his sad passing last year, Bert took an enthusiastic interest in Motherwell FC, being part of the former players club and part of the Well Society.

    On the park, Bert had the ability to play in any midfield position.

    A consistent performer, who initially relied to a large extent on his vision and ability, but developed a cogency and timing in the tackle that brought a respect from his opponents, and adulation from his Motherwell supporters.

    Despite not being the biggest or most robust of players, he had the strength to play a defensive role if required and the talent to be creative just off the centre forward.

    However, he was probably best suited to being the architect of the team, dictating the tempo, direction and structure of any given match.

    And if that team happened to be one of the finest this club has produced in 131 years, then surely Bert McCann was one special player that fully deserves never to be forgotten around these parts.

  • Club

    A coffee and a chat with Stevie Hammell

    Academy director Stevie Hammell sat down for a coffee and a chat in the next episode of our regular feature. 

    The ‘Well legend discussed the ongoing work at Braidhurst, as well as his hopes and aims for the future.

    Our interview was filmed at the Windmills Cafe in Motherwell.

    Windmills is a social enterprise cafe in the heart of Motherwell which is committed to ensuring young people with learning disabilities have equal access to meaningful work experience opportunities. For more information, visit Windmills Cafe’s website.

  • Club

    Take part in the Scottish Football Supporters Survey

    Take part in the Scottish Football Supporters Survey

    Motherwell fans are being asked to take part in this year’s Scottish Football Supporters Survey.

    Operated by Supporters Direct Scotland, officially recognised as the lead supporters’ group in Scotland by the SPFL and Scottish FA, they have established a formal means to engage with the game’s key decision makers and represent fans’ views overall.

    You can participate in the survey by clicking here

    Last year’s survey results were presented to the Professional Game Board and at the Scottish FA Congress in December 2017. Almost 14,000 supporters participated in 2017, with overall outcomes including:

    • The consideration of value for money, which was regard as “the biggest threat to the future of the game in the next five years”.
    • Ticket pricing, kick off times and the relationship fans have with their clubs were considered to be the three most important factors in decision to attend a game.

    You can read more about the results of the 2017 survey, and the resulting “asks” by visiting scottishsupporters.net.

    The Scottish Football Supporters Survey will run annually over the next three years to allow them to continue to measure results and improvements, covering the topics of value for money, fan experience and supporter engagement.

    This year’s findings will be reviewed by Supporters’ Direct Scotland, the SPFL, the Scottish FA and also an insight group consisting of key media and communications staff from various SPFL clubs.

    The survey will run for two weeks closing on Sunday 16 September.

  • Club

    Tickets on sale for Hearts clash

    Tickets on sale for Hearts clash

    Motherwell return to action on Saturday when Hearts come calling in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

    There were a succession of exciting clashes between the two teams last campaign, especially at Fir Park, and this weekend promises to be no different.

    Carl McHugh’s wonder strike to defeat the Gorgie side on their last visit to ML1 will live long in the memory, as will the atmosphere that day as we booked our place in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi final.

    You can buy your tickets online now. You can then choose to print them at home, have them delivered or collect from the ticket office at the stadium.

    Adult prices start at £20, while we also have a host of great prices for concessions and children. Kids go for just £3 all season long at Fir Park.

    Hearts supporters can also get their tickets through our online platform. Away fans will be accommodated in our south stand.

    There’s also great hospitality options

    Fancy watching the game in a bit more style? We’ve a whole host of hospitality options, whether you’re looking for some pre-match food and drink or even fancying seeing the match from the comfort of one of our corporate boxes.

  • Club

    Suicide awareness event on Monday

    Suicide awareness event on Monday

    The club will host the first of a number of suicide prevention and awareness events at Fir Park on Monday, 10 September.

    Organised by the SIWY Fanzine, in partnership with the Motherwell FC Community Trust and North Lanarkshire Council, the hour-long event will start at 7pm in the Community Trust offices in the Davie Cooper Stand.

    You can book your place online now. The talk is designed to offer support to you, or someone you know, who is affected by this topic.

  • Club

    Don’t miss our Ladies Day

    Don’t miss our Ladies Day

    Our popular Ladies Day event returns for another year when we host Livingston in the Ladbrokes Premiership on Saturday, 6 October.

    Hosted by Radio Clyde’s Alison Robbie, you’re invited to join us for a full day of fun at Fir Park, with a host of activities going on.

    As well as enjoying the match, you’ll be treated to a two-course meal and a cocktail provided by Tullibardine. Once the match is done, there will be a DJ on hand from 6pm for you to dance the night away.

    You can buy your tickets online right now. Tickets are priced at £55 per person, or £45 to upgrade if you have a season ticket.

    Thanks to our sponsors Cadzow Nursery School and Manor Estate Agents, a best-dressed competition and other prizes are on offer.

    There’s also a special mystery guest you won’t want to miss, so get your friends together and get your seats booked now.

    For more information, you can email hospitality@motherwellfc.co.uk or call us on 01698 333333.

     

  • Club

    Get your tickets for Hearts cup clash

    Get your tickets for Hearts cup clash

    Motherwell stand one game away from another trip to Hampden Park, as they travel to face Hearts in the quarter finals of the Betfred Cup.

    The Steelmen head to Tynecastle Park on Wednesday, 26 September and your support can help the team push for another last four place.

    You can buy your tickets online right now through our online ticketing platform.

    Adult tickets cost £18, over 65 and students go for £10 and under 16s can get tickets for £8.

    There is also a family ticket option for one adult and two under 16s priced at £30. This can be purchased at the ticket office or by calling 01698 333333.

    Fans have until 4pm on Friday to order their tickets for delivery. After then, collections and in-person sales will be available on Saturday from 1oam-1pm and on Monday from 10am-1pm. Final collections and sales will be available until 4.30pm on the day of the match.

  • Club

    Motherwell to provide free sanitary products at Fir Park

    Motherwell to provide free sanitary products at Fir Park

    Motherwell Football Club has become the latest Scottish Premiership club to provide free sanitary products in its stadium, thanks to its sponsors Paycare.

    The Steelmen’s official shorts partner and health and wellbeing partner has sponsored the club’s trial of free sanitary products. They will be available within all 14 of the female toilets in the concourse area at Fir Park.

    The campaign will run throughout the season, with the health cash plan organisation contributing towards the initial cost.

    Many countries are calling for more support for women from low-income backgrounds who cannot afford basic menstrual products and are victim to ‘period poverty’.

    This is said to affect one in 10 women aged 14 to 21 in Britain, and nearly one in five in Scotland.

    “As a fan-owned club, we’re immensely proud of our history and our commitment to inclusivity for our fans, visitors and staff alike,” Suzanne Reid, head of commercial and marketing, explained.

    “Period poverty is a very real issue impacting many women from lower income families, and it can subsequently have a huge impact on the quality of their day-to-day lives.

    “We’re pleased to be launching our trial to freely supply our female visitors with free sanitary products, kindly part-funded by Paycare, our official health and wellbeing partner.

    “Feedback so far has been great, and we very much hope to implement it as a permanent benefit within Motherwell Football Club.”

    The campaign follows similar initiatives launched by Celtic FC, which introduced free sanitary products within its stadium earlier this year, as well as the Scottish Parliament building, which provides free products for all staff and visitors.

    Kevin Rogers, chief executive officer of Paycare, added: “As a health cash plan organisation, we’re passionate about helping individuals access support for services they genuinely need, and we’re humbled to be part of such a vital project which is another step in a positive direction.”

    A well-respected and dedicated not-for-profit health cash plan provider, Paycare has helped individuals, families and businesses across the Black Country and Wolverhampton protect themselves against everyday healthcare costs and bills for over 140 years.

  • Club

    Cash Converters extend backing

    Cash Converters extend backing

    Motherwell Football Club and Cash Converters UK have renewed their partnership for an eighth consecutive year.

    As part of one of the longest-running partnerships in Scottish football, Cash Converters will continue to have branding around the stadium, including the main apron of the John Hunter stand, which has recently been rebranded.

    The new three-year deal will also see Cash Converters commit to ticket giveaways to help families in the local area to attend home matches.

    “We are delighted to continue the already very successful and positive partnership we’ve enjoyed with Cash Converters,” Motherwell FC’s head of commercial and marketing Suzanne Reid said.

    “Their continued support makes a real difference to the club and the surrounding community. It is fantastic to announce this extended three-year partnership.”

    Cash Converters UK’s head of marketing Michelle Byrne added: “This is a fantastic opportunity for us to build on an already strong and healthy relationship with Motherwell FC.

    “Our partnership is more than promotion of our brand. It is an opportunity to integrate in and support the Motherwell community, similar to what we have shown with Saint Helens RLFC in England.”

     

  • Club

    Two new para-football teams introduced

    Motherwell Football Club have introduced two new para-football teams.

    The new teams will provide opportunities for both physical disability and learning disability athletes.

    They will play in the PAN Para-Football National League, which is open to individuals aged 16-60.

    “This is another part of what Motherwell means to its local community,” Motherwell’s community trust general manager Dawn Middleton said.

    “We want to see that every person feels part of this club. Introducing these new teams shows that they too are part of Motherwell Football Club.”

    The community trust was initially approached in May this year by James Lawrie who, along with two colleagues from Locality Support Services, had set up a disability football team.

    The team has been supported by North Lanarkshire Council and has grown into a large squad of 20 to 25 regular players.

    “It’s brilliant to see developments like, especially from a big club like Motherwell,” North Lanarkshire Provost, Councillor Jean Jones, added.

    “Working so closely with the local community and the council shows it is a real community team.”

    All administration and support will come from Motherwell FC’s community trust, which will provide a coach, strips, access to the minibus and training facilities for the players.

    First team players Charles Dunne and Craig Tanner were present at the launch of the two new teams, passing on tips and support to the squad.

    “It’s positive for the community,” Dunne said. “If you have a disability, it doesn’t matter. Football is still open to you.”