When looking back on 2020, many of us will reflect on the ways in which we passed the time during difficult circumstances.
Whether it has been turning our hands to DIY, testing ourselves in a Zoom quiz against friends and family or lacing up our trainers with the aim of taking on a 5K – keeping busy has been the name of the game.
Others have demonstrated their creative side and after being furloughed from work back in May, ‘Well fan Pete Smith put his artistic skills into action and launched ‘Steelmen Pins’ – a collection of pin badges celebrating Fir Park heroes both past and present.
It is an idea that has quickly captured the imagination of Motherwell fans young and old – with many turning into obsessive collectors in a relatively short period of time.
“After being placed on furlough I started some sketches on my iPad and showed them to a couple of my friends,” Pete explained.
“To be honest I wasn’t overly aware of the growing trend of badge collecting when I started on some ideas for Motherwell based designs.
“Louis Moult was the first player I used for a design and I then tried one for Michael Higdon, my friends advised to check out the work by badge makers at Celtic and Kilmarnock which helped show me how good they can turn out and how excited people get about collecting.
“It’s sort of like the Panini stickers with your got, got, needs – everyone wants to complete their collection. I wanted to keep the numbers low at the start, but at the same time keep everyone happy too.
“So far the badges have gone down really well with the Motherwell fans. It can be tricky trying to gauge quantities sometimes as I certainly don’t want any of those who bought from day one missing out.”
With a new badge release on the last Friday of every month, fans of Steelmen Pins have learned they have to be quick off the mark to ensure they can add to their collection.
Last week, a batch of 125 Louis Moult badges were snapped up in less than two hours, leading Pete having to request a further batch in order to cater for demand.
Commemorating Louis’ wonderful second goal from the 2-0 Betfred Cup semi-final victory over Rangers, the man himself got in touch to give the badge design his seal of approval.
Pete admits he feels humbled by the reaction from the players featured in the badges, as well as from supporters of the Steelmen and has enjoyed seeing the ways in which they display their collections.
However, he feels there is still one thing missing – seeing fans display his badges inside Fir Park.
“It’s so rewarding seeing that heroes of mine and so many ‘Well fans for that matter, are delighted to see themselves being made into enamel,” he added. “When the time comes that we’re back inside Fir Park it would be crazy to see fans with my badges on their scarves – I’d love that.
“I would say a cork board is a good way to display your badges, though I’d recommend keeping the backers on.
“I’ve seen it mentioned that Steelmen Pins has helped spark memories of watching our greatest players and it has been brilliant getting to speak to some of those who have bought a badges and hear their stories on their favourite moments watching that particular player. It’s fantastic that a small pin can spark such memories into life.”
Another major positive for Pete has been the opportunity to contribute to the club through sales of his pin badges – with £1 from each sale being donated to the Well Society.
Steelmen Pins has also recently supported ‘Cardiac Risk in the Young’ charity through sales of a special Phil O’Donnell charity double pack and will be supporting the Community Trust’s backing of Clyde One’s ‘Cash for Kids’ over the festive period.
“Motherwell are a positive community club, and it goes without saying that Motherwell fans are incredibly generous,” Smith explained. “I think it’s important that we give back to the club when possible, especially given we can’t get to Fir Park at this moment in time.
“’I’ve been going to the football with my dad since I was five, but never had much more of a contribution to the cause. Steelmen Pins has been a great thing to be involved and I hope the craze continues.
“The Phil O’Donnell pins are the badges that I’m really trying to push just now. I had an extra allocation of those ones made up to help raise as much money for the two charities as possible.
“I think the pin recreating a young Phil celebrating winning the Scottish Cup is my favourite one yet.”
Having reacted positively to the final designs of 2020, fans of Steelmen Pins are already anticipating what comes next and Pete already has set the wheels in motion for what he hopes will be another big year.
When it comes to making requests for their favourites to be made into enamel, the ‘Well supporters have made their feelings known and there is one name that is proving to be extremely popular.
“Tommy Coyne is definitely one of the most requested players and I can’t wait to release his badge,” he smiled. “I’d love to complete the set of the full squad from the 1991 Scottish Cup final too. If I could get to that point it would be great.
“We are lucky as ‘Well fans to have had so many cult heroes and brilliant players. I have had requests from players from our league winning team in 1932, right up to members of our current squad such as Allan Campbell. There’s so much choice and I’m delighted that people have generally agreed with the players featured so far.
“It’s good to hear requests from those buying the badges and I’ll see what I can do to squeeze them in without over saturating obviously.
“I’m really enjoying doing Steelmen Pins and hopefully that can continue into next year. I think a few badges would make the perfect stocking filler and it would be great for the ‘Well fans to wake up to them on Christmas morning.”
It is not just Steelmen Pins that are proving to be a must-have this Christmas. The ‘Well shop have a massive selection of Motherwell merchandise, guaranteed to bring a smile to a smile to any fan of the Steelmen this Christmas.
Here is a look at our top-three gift ideas:
2020/21 away shirt
This season’s Motherwell away kit pays homage to our original colours when we played our first game in 1886 and has been one of the most popular ‘Well tops ever. Back in stock in all sizes, you will have to be quick to avoid disappointment – these are flying off the shelves yet again.
Who else is desperate to see the back of 2020? The official Motherwell FC alendar. will help you plan for better times, has space for to add all ‘Well fixtures and make note of those important dates that may have previously slipped your mind…
Why not celebrate your support for Motherwell with a unique pair of Ready2Music wireless headphones? The popular RIVAL model connects with any Bluetooth device, can be used for music, phone calls and gaming with an in-built microphone. The headphones are also easily foldable making them perfect for travelling too.
By Andy Ross.