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Motherwell FC - A Thread For All Seasons


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Also, there was some chat questioning Slattery's lack of first team games given his age.
It's interesting to compare Slattery to Hearts' signing from Everton, the excellently named Beni Baningime.
Both the same age, both coming from EPL clubs. I suppose it puts into context what you're getting in terms of "experience" from that level.
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I'll not lie this kind of feels relevant to me because Joel Sked's words about Slattery having not played a lot of football for his age were literally in my ears when Hearts announced their boi Beni. No shade on Joel like, it just gave me a wee laugh. 


Same Joel Sked who balked at oor Graeme for suggesting we could finish top 6 whilst happily declaring hearts should finish top 6 cause their squad was about the fifth best in Scotland? That Joel Sked? The hearts squad largely unchanged that lost vs Brora? That Joel Sked?
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6 hours ago, MP_MFC said:


Same Joel Sked who balked at oor Graeme for suggesting we could finish top 6 whilst happily declaring hearts should finish top 6 cause their squad was about the fifth best in Scotland? That Joel Sked? The hearts squad largely unchanged that lost vs Brora? That Joel Sked?

Yeah I mean what’s he thinking? Losing to a team 3 divisions below* when we lost to one only two. Must mean we’re finishing ahead of them.

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Fwiw I like Joel and for the most part I thought he was pretty even handed (if a bit skew-whiff on a couple of points) and oor Graeme more than made the preview. In fairness, we're probably a pretty difficult team for outsiders to cover at the moment since there are still a ton of unknowns and plenty seem to be judging us on how iterations of our Reserves got on in the LC groups and deciding that's our team for the season.

Going by the other pods Fowler seems to have decided we're shite while Craig Cairns and Tony Anderson were also throwing shade our direction. For...reasons. I mean, people are entitled to their terrible opinions but Cairns' "Motherwell will be fine but it might take a change in manager" take was pretty fucking weird.

Anyway, there's yer #Grezza talking about recruitment again.

Quote

Alexander still wants to add a couple of new faces to his squad before the transfer window closes next month.

He said: “There is still a bit of work [to be done]. We are still a bit light in certain areas but we are really happy with our recruitment so far.

“We’ve brought in a real mix of good quality, experience and youth but we are certainly still a bit light.

“We want to carry, maybe, two or three more players than we first planned because of the issues with Covid - they are not going away.

“We could lose players at any point through no fault of our own. We have to be strong enough to withstand that as the season goes through.

“We are still looking and working hard. We’ve got some players that we are trying to get over the line and we’ve still got an open mind about what we might find being let go by other clubs.”

Link

On a purely numbers level we have 26 current "First Team" bodies. It's pretty difficult to see how we have "some players we're trying to get over the line" and are keeping an open mind about players getting let go by other clubs without there being a handful moving out from our side tbh.

Edited by capt_oats
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51 minutes ago, capt_oats said:

Going by the other pods Fowler seems to have decided we're shite while Craig Cairns and Tony Anderson were also throwing shade our direction. For...reasons

I'm probably the reason for this fwiw. I was just having a good day when I recorded so was feeling a lot more upbeat about us than I have recently.

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I enjoyed the preview (and not only because Lionel got mentioned) - but like @capt_oats, I don't see any reason why non-'Well supporters would have a hugely informed opinion at the moment because none of us do either.

We know that Kelly, Watt and O'Donnell are good pro's at our level and we know that some of remaining squad from before fit squarely into the 12-18 jobbers category - but other than that, we are betting the farm on a lot of unknowns (even if they come with decent pedigree), some of which haven't even been signed yet. 

Despite watching us for a long time, I'm erring on the side of optimism this season - and hoping that drags me through to Halloween when the team might be up to speed. I fear a bit of a bumpy start...

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I enjoyed the preview as well but I kind of understand where fans of other teams are coming from in thinking that we might be in bother this year.
Looking purely at the 'headlines', we've lost key players in Gallagher, Campbell and Cole from last season and our additions are predominantly unknowns to Scottish football, albeit unknowns that seem to come with a decent pedigree. From an outside point of view it probably looks like we're moving very slowly in getting replacements in but we all know that it's a deliberate change of tact this season. 
There's no doubting that we were absolutely guff in the LC group but I'm not sure if other fans are totally aware of just how far away those line ups are likely to be from our best XI come the close of the transfer window. We didn't see any of Ojala, Shields, Mugabi, O'Hara, Grimshaw or Slattery (barring 10 mins) who are all likely to be in the match day squads at a minimum this season- and that's before any further additions. 
I also think that the opinion of other fans might be skewed by the few thumping's we took early on in GA's tenure last season, and they've not realised that we were actually 3rd in the form table for the second half of the season. Some of the posts in the Sack Race thread regarding GA were interesting... 
 

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1 hour ago, Swello said:

We know that Kelly, Watt and O'Donnell are good pro's at our level and we know that some of remaining squad from before fit squarely into the 12-18 jobbers category 

This is kind of it for me, aye.

There's a core of decent to good players in our squad; Kelly, O'Donnell, Carroll, O'Hara, Donnelly, Watt. All of whom who have contributed in one way or another.

If even roughly half of our new signings/young players in O'Connor, Van Veen, Ojala, Cornelius, Maguire, Woolery, Parker, Justin, Johnston kick on to a decent level then we'll be absolutely fine and probably quite good. 

The flip side is that if they don't, we'll be playing that Airdrie United game all season long, but it's day 0 so lets be optimistic.

 

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I did crack up laughing at having to swerve McGinley as the unsung hero. Against Airdrie he was hopeless, but he was even worse against Annan. Hopefully he gets himself sorted out though. 

A shite transfer window in the summer, followed by whatever curse the goalkeepers managed to invoke on themselves done us in last season. So it would be nice if we could look a wee bit competent this season. 

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2 hours ago, thisGRAEME said:

I'm probably the reason for this fwiw. I was just having a good day when I recorded so was feeling a lot more upbeat about us than I have recently.

:lol:

That actually explains a lot.

There seemed to be a few strong opinions that I was giving some heavy side-eye towards considering (at the time or recording/listening) there was the possibility of a pile more players coming in and as @dezz says above there's a bunch of players around the squad who haven't played a minute yet.

Edit: I see there's a bit more to that recruitment chat from Alexander from his press conference earlier that Not The Old Firm have published:

Quote

Having played in Finland, Switzerland, Russia and Denmark most recently with Vejle Boldklub, Alexander believes Ojala shows Motherwell are leaving no recruitment stone unturned: “It’s not just the English market that we are looking at. We’ve brought in Ojala from Finland and he’s obviously been around Europe.

“We’ve got an open mind and we’re scouring everywhere that we think that we can entice players from. We will see what happens in the next month or so. We look for certain attributes from certain types of players. We need a strong spine down the centre of the team.

“It’s been a bit of a difficult process to get Juhani but from my first conversation with him, he was so excited about the opportunity. He has captained Finland and played in four or five countries at the top level."

“We are still looking and working hard. We’ve got some players that we are trying to get over the line. We’ve still got an open mind about what we might find being let go by other clubs. It’s that [waiting on developments in English market] but it’s also the Scottish market.

“As you can see with some of our signings, we are outside the UK market. English clubs start later than us so there are timing issues.  Also in Scotland, some players will wait until the end of pre-season and realise that they aren’t first choice at their clubs. That might push people so sometimes it is a waiting game and you need to be ready to pounce.”

Link

"Also in Scotland, some players will wait until the end of pre-season and realise that they aren’t first choice at their clubs. That might push people so sometimes it is a waiting game and you need to be ready to pounce."

🤔

"can't wait to see you in a few weeks 👀" indeed?

Edited by capt_oats
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Since 2015/16 we've alternated pretty much every season between starting well and finishing meekly or having a a dreadful first half of the season only to turn it around from January onwards.  By my reckoning that means we're due to be 4th at Christmas until all our centrebacks get injured at the same time and we don't win again until April.

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34 minutes ago, capt_oats said:

"Also in Scotland, some players will wait until the end of pre-season and realise that they aren’t first choice at their clubs. That might push people so sometimes it is a waiting game and you need to be ready to pounce."

🤔

"can't wait to see you in a few weeks 👀" indeed?

As soon as I read it I thought about Jordan Roberts, with a tepid shrug. Then became completely and maddeningly overexcited about the prospect that this was a not-so-veiled indicator that there’s still a chance that Operation “Launch Ricki Lamie And Robbie Crawford Into The Sun,” is still feasible.

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Signing a midfielder who had played for Southampton in the Premier League on a three-year-deal and signing a 32 year old international centre back with seemingly a bit about him has certainly raised my mood ahead of the season. Southampton have a reputable academy and you don't graduate from that to the first team without having a bit about you. Similarly, you don't get 22 Finland caps and play in so many top leagues if you're a mug. They seem like they are both measured signings, rather than punts that we are hoping might come good. Another one signing of proven quality in central midfield and I'd say we've got at least the makings of a good XI.

I also keep forgetting that Shields has signed for us with his injury. Hopefully he's not out too long and that should be a boost to our attacking options.

However, even considering all of this, we need to be realistic at what is a good season for us. Celtic, Rangers, Hearts, Hibs and Aberdeen will all be heavily tipped to finish above us from the get go. St. Johnstone are fresh off a double-winning season and there's two other city teams in Dundee and Dundee United. Don't get me wrong there's been many years the league has been that strong and we've succeeded expectations, but we will need our wits about us to do well.

 

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20 minutes ago, CSmith said:

As soon as I read it I thought about Jordan Roberts, with a tepid shrug. Then became completely and maddeningly overexcited about the prospect that this was a not-so-veiled indicator that there’s still a chance that Operation “Launch Ricki Lamie And Robbie Crawford Into The Sun,” is still feasible.

The line that made me wonder about Operation "Launch Lamie and Crawford" was:

Quote

“We’ve got an open mind and we’re scouring everywhere that we think that we can entice players from. We will see what happens in the next month or so. We look for certain attributes from certain types of players. We need a strong spine down the centre of the team."

Link

Possibly an unintended consequence of effectively limping through the group stages with a Reserves midfield and central defence is that it's given Alexander a deeper view of the squad than you'd have previously got in those games.

If we're still actively looking for players then you'd have to think there will be some sort of movement in the other direction.

Edited by capt_oats
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1 minute ago, YassinMoutaouakil said:

Surely we can convince Thistle or someone to take Lawleff back

Lawleff looks like he'd rip the utter pish out of anyone in a game of fives but he runs like his shoelaces are tied together. If someone fancied taking him off our hands so we could bring back Roberts I'd be on board with it. 

Maybe limping through the group stages and being a total calamity at the back in every game will show Alexander that several of these folk are absolutely nowhere near good enough.

Bobs Burgers Straws GIF

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It begs the question then what was GA trying to achieve with the instructions (as reported by OTF) he gave his 2nd string midfielders in those games. It does seem like they were hobbled.

As for Crawford, seems like after only a few months he’s already been considered not up to the job. Something most of us seen well I advance of him being offered a contract extension. So why offered it in the first place?

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