News

Latest News

  • First team

    Get your tickets for Aberdeen clash

  • Club

    Rival connections: Tom Forsyth

  • First team

    Get your tickets for Rangers clash

  • Club

    Getting to know Nadir Çiftçi

  • First team

    Semi final tickets on sale

  • Club

    Motherwell’s international debutants

  • First team

    Semi final ticket information

  • Club

    The Cobra: Tommy Coyne

  • Club

    Can you name that tune?

  • Club

    ‘Well’s world class footballer of his time

  • First team

    Get your tickets for Aberdeen clash

    Motherwell host Aberdeen on Tuesday still in with a fighting chance of reaching the top six in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

    The Dons head to Fir Park for the rearranged top flight clash, which was originally scheduled for February 28.

    Kick off is at 7.45pm. Tickets purchased for the original match remain valid for this fixture.

    The Steelmen are still in the race for a top six spot in the Ladbrokes Premiership with two games left to go before the league splits. A lot has to go in our favour for it to happen but, first and foremost, a win is needed against Derek McInnes’ side.

    Tickets can be purchased in advance from the office at Fir Park or you can pay at the gate on the night. Get yourself along and let’s try and recapture the atmosphere of our 3-o Betfred Cup win against Aberdeen last year.

    Admission prices are as follows:

    ADULTS£23/£19
    CONCESSIONS£16/£15
    JUVENILES£12/£9
    FAMILY (1 ADULT + 1 JUNIOR)£29/£24

    The cheaper price is for the John Hunter stand. Concessions are applicable to 60 and over and full time students with a valid matriculation card. Juveniles are applicable to aged 15 and under.

    Away fans will be housed in the McEwan Fraser Legal South Stand. Cash gates are in operation.

  • Club

    Rival connections: Tom Forsyth

    Tom Forsyth was a hero to fans of weekend opponents Rangers during the 1970s but it was Fir Park where he made his name and would later return to taste more glory.

    The young Forsyth emulated the Motherwell heroes he watched from the terraces during his childhood and is still a regular visitor to Fir Park as a member of the former players’ club.

    Forsyth was spotted playing for his local club, Stonehouse Violet, and brought to Fir Park by manager Bobby Howitt in 1967. And his affection for the club which launched his career remains strong more than five decades later.

    “I played in a trial game,” said Forsyth. “I was playing with Stonehouse Violet, I was 16 and had a year with them and went on trial. It was Willie McSeveney, he is in the ex-players’ club as well, who had a word with Bobby Howitt.

    “I played in a reserve game up at Broomfield, I can’t remember if it was against Airdrie or maybe Cumbernauld Juniors. Willie McSeveney took the team and Bobby Howitt then came to watch me play for Stonehouse Violet and signed me. So it all took off from there.”

    Forsyth made his name as a tough-tackling defender but his versatility was evident in his early days.

    “I got in the first team when I was 17. I played as an inside-forward or a wing-half, would you believe. They got relegated but we came back up the next year.”

    That rare season outside the top flight for Motherwell in 1968/69 allowed the teenage Forsyth to develop as the Steelmen won the Second Division at a canter, scoring 112 goals and winning 30 matches out of 36.

    “Jackie McInally finished at Kilmarnock and came to Motherwell for the last two years of his career and he was a great goalscorer,” Forsyth said. “We were in the Second Division and believe it or not I scored 17 goals. Dixie (Deans) maybe got 40 and Jackie scored 20-odd goals.

    “I came as a centre-half but they played me in midfield and I scored a few goals. I think that helped me. When you go back it was a bit easier because there is not so much running to do as when you’re in the middle of the park.

    “I had a great time at Motherwell. My main disappointment was not getting through to the final of the Texaco Cup when we played Hearts in the semi-final. It was very, very disappointing. When I see my pal Davie Whiteford, we still talk about that game. It brings back the memories, we still say: ‘How did we not get to that final?!’

    “It was two-and-a-half minutes into injury-time when they scored and Donald Ford scored in extra-time to put them through. It was a great tournament. We had beaten Tottenham and Stoke and it was a great feeling beating these teams when you are underdogs.

    “We always loved to beat the bigger teams. We beat a lot of teams quite well. I used to go over to watch the Ancell Babes when I was a fan and then the likes of Joe McBride and then Dixie Deans, who I played with too.

    “The Ancell Babes were a great team – there’s a song: ‘When the boys in blue got beat 5-2 by the boys in claret and amber’.

    “We relished these games, they were great games to play in, especially when they came to Fir Park. It was a tight park and the fans were on top of them. We didn’t win all the time but we always gave them a good run for their money.”

    A Scotland career which ultimately saw the defender win 22 caps, play his part in consecutive victories over England and appear at the 1978 World Cup finals, also captaining his country once, began at Fir Park.

    “Bobby Brown was the manager, I saw him at Ibrox recently when I was working in the hospitality. He looked remarkable for 94. He gave Bobby Watson, Keith MacRae and me a call-up when we went over to Russia.

    “The problem was we had stopped playing for a while, maybe a month, because the season had ended. I think their season in Russia went on longer.

    “I went into train at Fir Park but I wasn’t really match fit. The sharpness wasn’t there and it was just disappointing. I was away a year but then I got back in the squad again.”

    Forsyth joined Rangers in October 1972 and became a hero at the end of his first season with the winning goal in an Old Firm Scottish Cup final.

    “I don’t think some Motherwell fans ever forgave me for going to Rangers but I just couldn’t turn it down,” he said. “My first game for Rangers was – you’ll never guess – against Motherwell at Fir Park. I kept giving the ball to Motherwell players.

    “I think I signed on the Thursday and the game was on the Saturday. I got a bit of stick but I had to go to take my career on.

    “But I’ll never forget what Motherwell did for me. They helped me get to the top in football and I am ever thankful. I have a great affection for the club.”

    That feeling was reinforced by 10 years working as Tommy McLean’s assistant during a period of major progress for the club. The former Rangers team-mates led Motherwell to the 1985 First Division title in their first season and left immediately after embarking on a serious title challenge to Rangers.

    But the highlight was the 1991 Scottish Cup final triumph.

    “It was great when we beat Celtic in the semi-final,” Forsyth said. “Tom’s brother Jim was the manager for Dundee United so it was a family things and their dad died a few days before the final, which was very sad.

    “But getting to the final and winning it was great. We went up to Aberdeen and Morton and beat Celtic in a replay, they were great games.

    “I think a lot of Motherwell fans came out the cupboards for the final, then they were on the park at Fir Park afterwards. It was incredible. For a wee club like Motherwell it was a great feeling.

    “I have always had a soft spot for them, they started my career and I can’t thank them enough.”

    Written by Gavin McCafferty.

  • First team

    Get your tickets for Rangers clash

    Motherwell come up against Rangers on Saturday as they keep pushing to make the Ladbrokes Premiership top six.

    The Light Blues are themselves fighting to stay in title contention and travel to Fir Park looking to arrest a run of two defeats.

    For Stephen Robinson’s men, the equation is simple. A win will keep them in contention to be in the top half come the split next Saturday.

    It’s already been a season to remember so far. But it isn’t over yet. Come and support the team and push them over the line.

    To buy, drop by the ticket office at Fir Park or call 01698 333333.

    Motherwell v Rangers

    Saturday, March 31, 2018
    12.30pm
    Fir Park
    Tickets on sale from the Fir Park ticket office

    Admission prices are as follows:

    ADULTS£27/£20
    CONCESSIONS£18/£16
    JUVENILES£14/£10
    FAMILY (1 ADULT + 1 JUNIOR)£27
    • Concessions are applicable to 60 and over and full time students with a valid matriculation card.
    • Juveniles are applicable to aged 15 and under.
    • Away fans will be housed in the McEwan Fraser Legal South Stand.
    • Motherwell fans who require ambulant or wheelchair access should contact Brian Davidson on 07428 225254 or tickets@mfcdsa.com. Fans must contact Brian by Wednesday night before the match.
  • Club

    Getting to know Nadir Çiftçi

    Nadir Çiftçi is the latest player in the hot seat in our Getting to Know series.

    The on-loan forward talks about his favourite food, who has the worst dress sense in the squad and also tries an impression of a team mate.

  • First team

    Semi final tickets on sale

    Tickets for Motherwell’s William Hill Scottish Cup semi final with Aberdeen are now on sale.

    Season ticket holders and Well Society members are entitled to purchase first on an exclusive basis. Each individual can buy up to five tickets each.

    The ticket office and Chapman office at Fir Park will be open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm for ticket sales. It will also be open from 10am until kick off, and for one hour after, at the match with Rangers on Saturday, March 31.

    A public sale will start on Monday, April 2. The ticket office will be open on this day from 9am to 1pm. It will be open from 9am to 5pm the rest of the week and will also be open until kick off ahead of the match with Aberdeen on Tuesday, April 3.

    The match at Hampden Park will be played on Saturday, April 14. Kick off is at 12.15pm.

    Ticket information for the match is as follows:

    William Hill South Stand and North Stand

    £30 Adult / £15 Concessions

    East Stand

    £20 Adult / £10 Concessions

    Concessions are regarded as those aged under 16 and those aged 65 and over.

    Additional information

    Telephone bookings will be taken. A £1 admin charge will be applied per telephone booking.

    Delivery is available for any fan who cannot collect from us and who is not local. Tickets will be sent recorded delivery but the decision to have tickets posted is at the supporter’s risk and reprints will not be available. A £2.50 admin/postage charge will be added to each ticket, capped at £10.

    Our singing section will be in areas F2 and F3 in the east stand.

    Any fan requiring ambulant or wheelchair tickets should contact Brian Davidson on 07428225254 or email tickets@mfcdsa.com.

    Getting to Hampden

    The club are operating a bus from the Cooper Bar on the day of the game. The bar will be open before departure for food and drink.

    The bus, which will take supporters to and from Hampden Park, will cost £8. Supporters can buy by calling 01698 333333 or visiting the ticket office at Fir Park.

    Semi final hospitality

    Come and enjoy the day in style with our pre and post-match hospitality here at Fir Park.

    For just £80, you can get:

    • Your match ticket
    • Hot breakfast roll
    • Match programme
    • Official bus to and from Hampden Park
    • Pay bar facility at Fir Park
    • Hot buffet served at Fir Park on your return

    You can buy online or call to book on 01698 333333.

  • Club

    Motherwell’s international debutants

    With Trevor Carson having made his international debut this weekend, he’s joined a long list of players making their first appearances for their nation while signed with Motherwell.

    We’ve taken a look at a selection of those who first came to the attention of their countries while plying their trade in ML1.

    Paul Lambert (Scotland, 1995)

    Having been prolific at youth level for Scotland, midfielder Lambert was afforded his first appearance for the full squad, whilst a Motherwell player, in a trip to face Japan in the Kirin Cup.

    The young midfielder started and played 73 minutes in the 0-0 draw in Hiroshima, before coming on as a substitute in the win over Ecuador three days later.

    Having then moved on a Bosman to Borussia Dortmund… and the rest is history. A Champions League winner just one year after leaving Fir Park, he then went on to play all three games at the 1998 World Cup and also captained his country 15 times.

    David Partridge (Wales, 2005)

    Recruited by Terry Butcher to become a regular fixture in the Steelmen’s backline between 2002 and 2005, his time at Fir Park was then capped off by a first start for his country.

    Having represented the nation of his father’s birth all through the youth levels, he then received full honours at the age of 26 in a friendly win over Hungary.

    Fearing he had been forgotten about as a prospect for Wales, a scouting trip by John Toshack to watch John Hartson at Celtic alerted the manager to Partridge, who then went on to win a total of seven caps.

    David Clarkson and Ross McCormack (Scotland, 2008)

    It would be a rare occasion to see two Motherwell players debut for Scotland in the same match but that’s exactly what happened in Prague in 2008, as George Burley took the nation away to play a friendly against Czech Republic.

    Clarkson, the club’s current academy coach, had the debut to remember. The then-22-year-old was thrust into the action in Prague with his side 2-0 down. Gathering a cross in the box, he skillfully engineered some space before netting to give his side hope.

    McCormack would then join him on the pitch as the Scots surged to equalise against the Euro 2008-bound Czechs, but they would be denied by a further goal from Libor Sionko, who settled the tie 3-1.

    Chris Humphrey (Jamaica, 2012)

    Jamaican international Chris Humphrey could have represented Scotland because his mother was born in Kilmarnock.

    However, the winger was called up to play for his father’s country in 2011, at the age of 24, following two impressive seasons in claret and amber.

    Passport issues prevented the pacey wide-man from making his debut until a year later though, then in his third season with Motherwell. Humphrey came on at half time with Jamaica already a goal down, but the visitors held on to their slender lead.

    His first start came in a showdown with France, who won 8-0 thanks to goals from Antoine Griezmann, Karim Benzema, Blaise Matuidi, Yohan Cabaye and Olivier Giroud.

    Darren Randolph (Republic of Ireland, 2012)

    Giovanni Trapattoni couldn’t possibly ignore the form of Darren Randolph in his time at Fir Park.

    The 6ft 3in stopper made his international debut in 2012, in the same year he was selected in the PFA team of the year for the first time.

    The Irishman came on as a substitute to earn his first cap in a 4-1 win over Oman on 11 September 2012.

    He again came on as a substitute for his country in a 2-0 defeat against Spain during the summer he was set to depart Fir Park. The keeper produced a stunning fingertip save to deny Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla, but conceded from a neat Juan Mata finish.

    Zaine Francis-Angol (Antigua and Barbuda, 2012)

    At just 19 years of age, Francis-Angol got the nod to gain his first international cap for his country in 2012, just one year in to his spell in Lanarkshire.

    The London-born left back started for Antigua and Barbuda, his mother’s country of birth, as they slumped to a 3-1 defeat against Guatemala.

    The young defender made four appearances at international level during his four-year stint in claret and amber, which resulted in four defeats. Francis-Angol and his teammates came within seconds of drawing with the United States, but conceded in stoppage-time to lose 2-1.

    And not forgetting: Phil O’Donnell,  James McFadden, Stephen Pearson, Steven Hammell, Brian Martin, Rob McKinnon, Steven Saunders (all Scotland), Brian McLean (Northern Ireland).

  • First team

    Semi final ticket information

    Tickets for Motherwell’s William Hill Scottish Cup semi final with Aberdeen will go on sale on Monday, March 26.

    Season ticket holders and Well Society members will be entitled to purchase first on an exclusive basis. Each individual can buy up to five tickets each.

    The ticket office and Chapman office at Fir Park will be open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm for ticket sales. It will also be open from 10am until kick off, and for one hour after, at the match with Rangers on Saturday, March 31.

    A public sale will start on Monday, April 2. The ticket office will be open on this day from 9am to 1pm. It will be open from 9am to 5pm the rest of the week and will also be open until kick off ahead of the match with Aberdeen on Tuesday, April 3.

    The match at Hampden Park will be played on Saturday, April 14. Kick off is at 12.15pm.

    Ticket information for the match is as follows:

    William Hill South Stand and North Stand

    £30 Adult / £15 Concessions

    East Stand

    £20 Adult / £10 Concessions

    Concessions are regarded as those aged under 16 and those aged 65 and over.

    Additional information

    Telephone bookings will be taken. A £1 admin charge will be applied per telephone booking.

    Delivery is available for any fan who cannot collect from us and who is not local. Tickets will be sent recorded delivery but the decision to have tickets posted is at the supporter’s risk and reprints will not be available. A £2.50 admin/postage charge will be added to each ticket, capped at £10.

    Our signing section will be in areas F2 and F3 in the east stand.

    Any fan requiring ambulant or wheelchair tickets should contact Brian Davidson on 07428225254 or email tickets@mfcdsa.com. .

    Getting to Hampden

    The club are operating a bus from the Cooper Bar on the day of the game. The bar will be open before departure for food and drink.

    The bus, which will take supporters to and from Hampden Park, will cost £8. Supporters can buy by calling 01698 333333 or visiting the ticket office at Fir Park.

    Semi final hospitality

    Come and enjoy the day in style with our pre and post-match hospitality here at Fir Park.

    For just £80, you can get:

    • Your match ticket
    • Hot breakfast roll
    • Match programme
    • Official bus to and from Hampden Park
    • Pay bar facility at Fir Park
    • Hot buffet served at Fir Park on your return

    You can buy online or call to book on 01698 333333.

  • Club

    The Cobra: Tommy Coyne

    Thomas Coyne was born in the shadow of Ibrox Stadium on a cold damp November day in what was the vintage year of our (m’lud) 1962.

    Thomas had grown up, like many of his peers, playing and loving the beautiful game. Schools and boys club football soon followed for Tommy before Jack Steedman, Chief Cook and Bottle Washer, at Clydebank spotted the young striker playing for Hillwood boys club from Pollok. That particular boys club has served Motherwell well incidentally over the years, with Alex McLeish, Owen Coyle, Ross McCormack and Lee Hollis having all turned out for them.

    Coyne joined a very good Bankies side in a first division that included a certain football club from South Lanarkshire, at the beginning of 1981/2 season.

    It would be a decent start for the talented front man with nine goals in thirty-one appearances in red and white, finishing fourth in the table. Of course that was the campaign that Motherwell FC blew all other contenders away. Ninety-two goals and twenty-six victories helped the Fir Parkers return to the top flight at the third attempt.

    After improving his strike rate the following season as the Bankies narrowly missed out on promotion, bigger clubs began to take some notice of him. The start of 1983-4 season saw Coyne hit a purple patch with ten goals in eleven games which convinced legendary Dundee United manager Jim McLean to spend £60,000 on the hit man.

    There is little doubt that his 18-months at the bottom of Tannadice Street was a disappointment with only nine domestic goals to his name. He did, however, hit a very important goal at home to Lens at Tannadice to earn a place in the next round of the 1986/87 UEFA Cup – a cup run that would eventually see the Arabs famously eliminate the Catalans of Barcelona.

    Tommy was allowed to move up the road to Dens Park as Dundee manager Jocky Scott sought to make some inroads towards the dominant Tangerines of that time.

    The move to the Dark Blues was a success as he struck up a memorable partnership with Keith Wright. Fifty goals followed in thirty months, including finishing as top goal scorer in the 1987/88 Premier League, netting thirty-three goals.

    His strike rate was enough to alert Celtic manager Billy McNeil, who sanctioned a £500,000 bid for TC which was accepted.

    Tommy had mixed fortunes during his spell in Glasgow’s East End, and after a little over 100 appearances for the Hoops, he was off to English Championship side Tranmere Rovers.

    His brief time on Merseyside coincided with Tommy’s darkest hour, when his wife passed away in tragic and truly heartbreaking circumstances.

    With Tommy and his three young sons needing family around them, Coyne looked for a move home. After taking some advice from his big brother Jim, Motherwell boss Tommy Mclean offered terms and Tommy Coyne arrived at Fir Park. It’s fair to say that the tall blonde strikers arrival at Fir Park wasn’t welcomed with undiluted joy from the Motherwell fans, who were wary of time as an Old Firm player.

    His debut was in a 1-0 win over Partick Thistle at home on 30th November in front of over 5,000 punters, where Phil O’Donnell had nicked the winner. Tommy had came to a club that was clearly on the up, and when you look at the Steelmen’s line up that day, it was probably as good a side as a Motherwell fan could ever expect. In a 3-5-2 formation, Dykstra, Martin, McCart, Krivokapic, Shannon, Kirk, Lambert, O’Donnell, McKinnon, Arnott and Coyne.

    A little over a fortnight later, Tommy hit his first goals, a brace, for Motherwell in a 3-2 defeat at Easter Road. Four days further on, as the Steelmen returned to the capital to face Hearts, TC again hit a double, this time backed up with a Rab McKinnon drive to secure what was at that time a rare win at Tynecastle.

    Coyne played in all twenty-nine competitive games that the Fir Parkers played before the end of the season. His return to Scotland had yielded a decent thirteen goals as he began to strike up a terrific partnership with Dougie Arnott.

    The day where he perhaps turned the Motherwell fans firmly in his favour was when his head flick over the flailing arms of Carl Muggleton in the Celtic goal was enough to knock the Glasgow giants out of the Scottish Cup in a third round tie at Fir Park, much to the joy of everyone in claret and amber.

    Heading into April, Motherwell were firmly in the Championship race with Coyne now flying and the fans now declaring their undying love for him through the medium of song. At Easter Road, he was again on target before a late Krivokapic second secured a vital win, triggering wild celebrations behind the goals from the visiting fans.

    Next up were Rangers at Fir Park, and yet again the Fir Park side rose to the occasion as a Coyne penalty and a John Philliben pile driver sent the Light Blues home, desperately worried about the title challenge from South Lanarkshire.

    Four days later Tommy came up trumps again, netting the only goal at home to Kilmarnock leaving a Championship win well within our grasp with three games to go.

    When Dundee United visited mid week in May, ‘keeper Sieb Dykstra, who’d been a stalwart throughout the campaign, had his shakiest of ninety minutes, as our title hopes were extinguished in a 2-1 reverse.

    The arrival of Coyne had helped the Steelmen to their highest league position in thirty-five years, since the days of the Ancell Babes. Finishing just four points off the title with a team that was simply going to get better gave the Fir Park faithful major hopes that something special was about to be achieved in the near future.

    It was not only Motherwell who had benefited from Coyne’s contribution to the season, Republic of Ireland manager Jack Charlton had also taken a shine to the man the ‘Well fans had now christened “The Cobra.” Tommy had played himself into the starting line up of Ireland’s World Cup finals campaign in the United States. His appearance in the Republics 1-0 win over Italy in New York made him the first ever Motherwell player to feature in a World Cup finals tournament.

    When the Cobra showed up for pre-season back at Fir Park, he found one big difference. Tommy McLean, who without a shadow of a doubt is up there with Hunter and Stevenson in how this club has been shaped over the years, had left following a disagreement with the board over how the club should continue its evolution.

    Aberdeen and Scotland centre half Alex McLeish was the man the Motherwell directors turned to in a player-manager capacity, a move again the Fir Park support didn’t whole heartedly take to.

    McLeish didn’t alter things initially, pretty much leaving the squad McLean had left him alone, apart from signing two goalkeepers – Stevie Woods and Scott Howie.

    The change in management didn’t seem to hamper Coyne as we went into the new season. Tommy scored in five of his first six games against Havnar Boltfelag (UEFA Cup), Clydebank (League Cup), Rangers, Hearts and Kilmarnock (Premier League) as Motherwell made a steady if unspectacular start to the fledgling campaign.

    Our only defeat had been a controversial opening day one at Ibrox Stadium where a ten man Motherwell side lost out to a Duncan Ferguson winner for the hosts seven minutes into injury time, so Motherwell were yet again looking promising for the season ahead.

    After eliminating the Faroe Islanders, Havnar from the UEFA Cup, it was German cracks Borussia Dortmund who stood in the way of further progress in Europe. However, on the eve of the first leg in Germany, Motherwell accepted a bid of £1.75M upfront from Celtic for our young exciting midfielder Phil O’Donnell. It was an offer the club could not turn down, and off we went to the Westfalon Stadion minus a big part of our midfield.

    The performance by the Steelmen that night was immense against a team full of world class footballers. In particular, Coyne along with striker partner, Dougie Arnott caused all sorts of problems. Indeed twice, Tommy Coyne was inches from securing a result that would have shook the world. In the end, it was the home side who won it with an Andy Moeller second half strike.

    The disappointment of the much awaited second leg, which took place on a Tuesday afternoon to take advantage of the substantial cash on offer from German TV was soon forgotten as Motherwell again became a force domestically.

    After that first day defeat to Rangers, we went unbeaten for fifteen league games with the Cobra striking fourteen times. Included in this fabulous run were never to be forgotten wins at Pittodrie with goals from McKinnon, Kirk and Coyne, and Tynecastle with Shannon and Coyne the heroes.

    Also there was that game many Motherwell fans talk about as being the finest half of football ever seen at Fir Park as goals from Coyne, Davies and Arnott secured a win over Partick Thistle. In addition, who can forget the 2-2 draw at Hampden Park against Celtic, as Parkhead was getting rebuilt, when the Cobra struck twice to silence a massive home support.

    McLeish’s first season in charge ended with the Fir Parkers in the runners up spot for the first time in sixty-one years, although in truth a championship challenge was always some distance away from us.

    The next three seasons saw McLeish struggle to replace the quality side he had inherited with Tommy Coyne having to produce the goods in a team that were now flirting with the drop, only at Motherwell could we go from championship challengers to a relegation dog fight in twelve months!

    The 1995-96 season was a bit of a write off for Coyne with a knee injury hampering him for most of the campaign.

    The following season began with the loss of Paul Lambert and Rab McKinnon who both took advantage of the new Bosman ruling, and with money in increasingly short supply, the club began looking towards the youth system for replacements.

    A month after a memorable hat trick for Coyne at Rugby Park, two such products of the academy put their name in lights. After Scott Howie had been injured in a game against Celtic at Fir Park, Jamie Dolan took over the gloves with aplomb, leaving Ian Ross to bundle in an injury time winner to spark wild celebrations around three quarters of the old stadium.

    If the victory over Celtic was sweet, the win at Rangers five months later was simply divine. Motherwell were desperately trying to avoid a relegation play-off against Airdrie, whilst Rangers were looking for a point to clinch the much sought after “nine in a row”.

    Tommy Coyne played an integral part in a 2-0 win that forced the Rangers Directors to cancel a Championship party they’d arranged, and the planned “Conga” of Rangers fans from Ibrox to George Square after the game was ditched due to lack of interest.

    Season 1997-98 was another struggle for Motherwell, and would prove to be the Cobra’s last one at the club. With manager McLeish deciding to move to Hibernian in February, the club looked to Harri Kampman to try and change the downturn in fortunes. Coyne hit a double in Kampman’s first game in charge to seal a win at home to St. Johnstone, but come the end of the season for whatever reason, Tommy left the club to go back up to Dundee.

    Sixty-three goals in a little over four years, almost a goal every two games, was a great return considering a quality Motherwell squad was gradually being dismantled during his time. Tommy had a great ability to hold the ball up and play clever passes to retain possession. He was a number nine who perhaps lacked a yard of pace, but was good in the air and could protect the ball with ease. Coyne was never just a goal scorer, he was much more than that, being blessed with a football intelligence rarely seen below the top echelons of the game.

    Tommy rarely dealt with the press, and was never really one who interacted with fans, but for one special reason he’ll always be one of my heroes.

    He came over to my Dad’s house in May 1997 to watch the Scottish Cup final on TV as my ol’ man was in his last months, fighting a terminal illness. Tommy had known how big a ‘Well fan Fergie “senior” was, and couldn’t do enough to make his day. For a couple of hours Tommy wasn’t Motherwell’s star centre forward, he was one of the lads having a couple of beers, watching and talking about the football on the telly.

    That afternoon I found Tommy Coyne to be a quiet, intelligent, witty and kind man. A top bloke who had come through some tough times, but also happened to be a helluva football player.

  • Club

    Can you name that tune?

    With Motherwell Makes Music starting on Friday night, the players go head to head with the coaches in a game of name that tune.

    The event returns for a second year with more than 30 bands performing in the town from March 16 to 18.

    Organised by Derek Watson from The Banter Thiefs, the event has attracted bands from all over the country, as well as big crowds.

    Tickets are available to buy here, as well as on the door each night.

  • Club

    ‘Well’s world class footballer of his time

    The legend of Robert Ferrier began in Sheffield when he was born to a father who himself was a football icon of the local “Wednesday” football club.

    His dad had previously turned out for his local side Dumbarton at a time when the Sons were operating at the very top of Scottish football, winning the title twice in successive seasons, before being transferred to Sheffield Wednesday in the summer of 1894.

    Ferrier senior, “Rabbie”, spent 12 years in South Yorkshire appearing 329 times for the side, who at that time, played at Owlerton Park. The Scot played his part in helping the Owls gain promotion to the top division in England, and then, securing two league titles in 1903 and 1904.

    Rabbie it seems, was a fine wing half who to this day is revered at Hillsborough, where he can still be seen on the walls of the stadium with his team mates complete with, ankle high football boots, knee length shorts and excellent moustaches. Three weeks after his birth, young Robert was brought back to Dumbarton, and lived there for the rest of his life.

    Ferrier’s career at Motherwell, his only club, was incredible not only in its length and quality, but in its achievement. For eight seasons in the period between 1926 and 1934, Motherwell were never out of the top three in Scotland. When the Steelmen won the championship in 1932, they were the only team outside the Old Firm to do so in 44 years.

    Even then, Scottish football was dominated by the two large Glasgow clubs. Ferrier was captain of the title winning side and always maintained that they were the greatest team he ever played with, although he rated the Motherwell side of the early 20s, including stars like Willie Rankin, Davie Thackeray and Hughie Ferguson, almost as highly.

    The Motherwell championship winning team was a side of moulded talents allied with a supreme elegance and style. That season 66 points were won from a possible 76, with 119 goals being scored in 38 matches, with legendary striker Willie McFadyen netting 52 times.

    Bobby Ferrier had a long, lazy and deceptive stride which allowed him to float past defenders with ease. He could flick, clip and back heel in the air, balls any other player could not reach. His was a game of spaces and angles played with infinite grace, and his control of a ball through the air was often quite exquisite. He could float, chip, hook or slice crosses to his liking with a left foot which many commentators claimed was akin to a magic wand.

    That left peg also possessed enough strength to allow him on occasion to the drill a ball into an opponents net with accuracy and power. In 1929-30 Ferrier scored 32 goals from 37 games playing in his favoured left wing position, often scoring from the touchline, beating goalkeepers at both the near post, and drifting a cross by them, and nestling the ball inside the far post.

    Ferrier was a cultured footballer in an era where many hard men were playing the game. Players like Meiklejohn and McPhail of Rangers, with McGrory and McGonagle at Celtic, would rejoice in repeatedly going in heavy on Ferrier, but the Motherwell man would routinely get up dust himself down and continue his task of mesmerising full backs.

    It all began for Bobby as the Great War was nearing a conclusion in December 1917, when he signed as a teenager for Motherwell from Junior outfit Petershill.

    He would go on to be an integral part of the football club for an incredible 22 seasons. His first two goals for the club came almost a year later on a cold crisp day down at Rugby Park, with the visitors earning a good 2-0 win in front of 4,000 hardy punters.

    A week later Bobby would open the scoring at Fir Park against champions-elect, Celtic, as the Glasgow hoops were swept aside with ease by the Steelmen. His final goal of his debut season came on Ne’erday at Douglas Park, as 10,000 excited Lanarkshire folk witnessed a terrific derby.

    Hughie Ferguson had netted twice for the ‘Well before the Accies pulled one back. As the second half wore on, and the game raged from end to end, Ferrier broke free and fired home to send the Motherwell fans back across the Clyde wishing all and sundry a Happy New 1919.

    That first full season for Ferrier saw the club finish a very respectable fifth in an 18-team top division, with Bobby appearing 16 times. The following few years saw him firmly establish himself in “Sailor” Hunters’ first XI, as Motherwell became a major threat in domestic competitions.

    However in season 1924/25, injuries impacted greatly on the manager’s ability to put a consistent team on the park, resulting in a disappointing campaign. One of the few highlights of that season came in January with a 1-0 win at Parkhead, as the Fir Parkers produced a sparkling performance to beat Celtic.

    The decisive winner came after Ferrier had weaved his way through the home defence and fired in a fierce drive, which the Celtic ‘keeper could only parry into the path of Hughie Ferguson. The prolific Motherwell centre forward then gleefully swept the ball home in front of the 12,000 crowd.

    At the end of that season there was a shock for the Motherwell fans when Bobby turned down the terms offered by the club in a new contract, and was promptly placed on the transfer list with a fee of £100 on his head. Happily by the time the squad had reported back for pre-season, the left winger had signed on again, and he could continue his career where he belonged, at Fir Park.

    In March 1926, as per terms of his new contract, Bobby was given the gate money from the league game at Fir Park against Celtic. This was seen as a benefit for his years of great service to the club, and was made captain for the day. As far as we know, this was the first time that a Motherwell player had been awarded a benefit or testimonial of any kind.

    Happily, it would turn out to be a victorious occasion for Ferrier and his teammates. Dick Little had fired a free kick passed the Celtic ‘keeper, before Tennant latched onto a Ferrier pass and buried an accurate drive passed the helpless visiting custodian to secure a 2-1 win in front of an ecstatic home crowd.

    By the summer of 1927, Motherwell were keen to exploit the world’s developing love of Scottish football by arranging lucrative tours during the close season. That summer, Spain and France were the destinations, where eight games were arranged for a Motherwell squad now captained by Ferrier.

    The captain had a very productive time of it on tour with goals against both Swansea City and Real Madrid, a double against Celta Vigo and a hat-trick in Paris against Red Star Olympique. Six games were won, with only one loss, and scoring 23 goals in the process.

    This successful tour, combined with the excellent season that had gone before, had set Motherwell up for an unprecedented run of success over the next decade, as they put up a sustained challenge to the two Glasgow clubs who had dominated league football in Scotland since the game had turned professional in the late 18th century.

    A cracking start to the following season by the Steelmen meant that there was a great deal of anticipation for the visit of Rangers to Fir Park in September. The club had announced that it would be bringing in “horses to help cart ashes to extend the capacity of the ground.” As it turned out, the game drew 30,000 fans who witnessed a rather tame 1-1 draw.

    ‘Well captain Ferrier had put Motherwell into the lead before a penalty, which was converted, brought parity.

    By the time the 1929-30 season kicked off, Motherwell fans had every reason to be upbeat, as they had an astute set of directors, a visionary manager, a much improved ground with a group of loyal and talented players who were seen as second to none in the country.

    The ground improvements had seen over £1,000 spent on a new concrete wall around the pitch, a “state of the art” drainage system installed, and work done to extend the playing surface to 100 yards by 70 yards. These improvements allowed the capacity of Fir Park to be increased to 35,000 with plans in place to extend that further to 40,000.  The season itself was tremendous, with the club finishing runners up, five points behind Rangers.

    A trip to Celtic Park in March gives us a flavour of how the Steelmen were performing. It was reported that Motherwell produced a stunning exhibition of football to overcome the Glasgow club 4-0, thanks to a Dowall hat trick and a Ferrier strike.

    On Christmas Day 1930, manager Hunter left out centre forward Dowall at Firhill against Partick Thistle. In came Willie McFadyen, and for the first time Motherwell’s “Famous Five” forward line played together in a 3-0 win, in which three of them scored.

    For the next few years the names of Murdoch, McMenemy, McFadyen, Stevenson and Ferrier, were on the lips of every Motherwell fan.

    By April 1932 the Fir Parkers were on the verge of achieving something special, with captain Ferrier only having missed one game in all competitions, and scoring 16 times in that campaign. With three league games to go Motherwell, travelled to Firhill looking to confirm themselves as champions with a win, and as a result a huge army of fans headed through from the Steel Town to the north side of Glasgow in anticipation of a wonderful occasion.

    The 32,000 crowd, including legendary entertainer Harry Lauder, were largely disappointed with the dull 0-0 draw which left Motherwell still looking for a point from the last two games.

    A 3-0 win at home to Cowdenbeath, in which Ferrier opened the scoring, left a chasing Rangers outfit with no margin for error. That margin was lost the following midweek when the Ibrox club could only draw leaving Motherwell as champions of Scotland by the time they took the field for the final game of the season at Fir Park against Clyde.

    The title triumph was dedicated by the players to manager Sailor Hunter, who had spent years developing a squad and a way of coaching which was years ahead if its time.

    In an interview shortly after the success, John Hunter explained his strategy. “I give the players a square deal, make sure they are happy and have harmony in the dressing room,” he said.

    “As an old player, I am conversant with the ups and downs of the players. Make your ambition theirs, get their confidence, exercise discipline reasonably and the best that is in them will emerge spontaneously.”

    The following season saw a spirited defence of the title which fell tantalisingly short, finishing narrowly behind Rangers.

    That championship was ultimately decided in an action packed February afternoon at Fir Park. The Steelmen had taken the lead with a typical Ferrier dribble and shot. Shortly after the visitors had equalised, an incident saw Rangers forward, Sam English deliberately charge into ‘Well ‘keeper, Alan McClory, who retaliated and was sent off on the advice of the linesman.

    Bobby donned the gloves, but was beaten by the resultant penalty and the Light Blues held on for a controversial and decisive victory.

    April 1937 saw the great man’s final goals for Motherwell, a brace in a 6-0 demolition at Fir Park against Dunfermline, whilst his final season registered as a player was 1937/38. After the summer of 1938, Bobby, with his boots hung up, was appointed Motherwell’s first ever assistant manager. This meant the break-up of one of the greatest wing partnerships the game had ever seen, lasting almost 15 years.

    Much of Motherwell’s success can be laid at the feet of the partnership of George Stevenson and Ferrier, and the club’s refusal to sell them on. This, despite the number of blank cheques offered by other clubs to remove this golden partnership from Fir Park. During his Motherwell career, Bobby played 697 games, scoring a grand total of 345 goals, 262 of which were in the league.

    The adulation he experienced in Lanarkshire from the Motherwell fans would surely have been replicated throughout the country had he been eligible to play for Scotland. Having been born in England, something he always cursed, and stayed only for a matter of weeks, it was enough to stop Bobby from representing “his” country.

    Bobby Ferrier was without question Motherwell FC’s greatest ever outside left. He had all the qualities that a winger requires: great skill, peerless dribbling and pin point crossing. Of course, he also made innumerable opportunities for others with a vision and a passing ability second to none. With a knack of shooting with power and accuracy, he was also a prolific scorer in his own right, notching close to 350 career goals, an astonishing return for a wide man.

    Robert “Bobby” Ferrier died in April 1971, aged 71, and is buried in Dumbarton. Revered in his time by Motherwell fans, he should still be revered by Motherwell fans today, because if ever we had a truly world class footballer at our club that we should celebrate, then Bobby Ferrier is that man.

    Eddie Ferguson