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Casagolda

Motherwell FC - A Thread For All Seasons

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43 minutes ago, Casagolda said:

Yeah I didn’t think it was a real surprise about Frear, just one that seemed to slip under the radar a bit yesterday though in amongst the other departures.   

Imagine we’ll get the traditional official full list of ‘outs’ sometime tomorrow. Other than Cadden, I think the only other question mark would probably be Tanner. Not seen or heard anything about him for a while now. Other than that everything else has been pretty much covered already. 

Listening to Robinson this week though, I get the sense he’s fairly happy to have finally put all the uncertainty to bed and get on with the rebuild. 

Yeah, I thought there was a noticeable change in Robinson's mood when he "announced" Hastie was leaving a while back. He seemed quite happy just to get that whole thing fucked right into the sea.

One of the differences with the 'retained list' as they've taken to calling it in England is that we've already confirmed pretty much everyone who's away. Previously there's been a list of players who have offered deals then a couple of weeks of uncertainty. Cadden aside everything seems done and dusted. He said as much in his interview yesterday but I'd think the closure on that will have the upside that it allows everyone just to get on with it now rather than hanging about waiting on others giving an answer.

We know exactly what we need and in fairness probably have done for a while.

It's never really been clear what the story is with Tanner particularly since Robinson's consistently spoken about offering deals to 6 players and the assumption (on my part certainly) was that those were: Hastie, McHugh, Frear, Gorrin, Main and Cadden. The gist at the AGM was that we'd do right by Tanner so I'm pretty easy whatever happens tbh. I was watching a few YouTube highlights of those games where he properly found form last season and he was a great option to have.

Off the back of the Mo Ross interview it'll be interesting to see what happens with the Reserves whose deals are up for renewal. I could imagine there being quite a cull there.

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So - now the dust has settled, what's everyone's thoughts on the season?

For me, 50-odd points and a mid-table finish feels pretty acceptable - probably near our average over the past 35-odd years of top flight football - but it was really two seasons rolled into one and it's ended on a positive note.

Conventional wisdom is that you shouldn't read too much into pre-season and the LC groups - but it was apparent early, even without hindsight that something wasn't quite right (I'm still waking up screaming thinking about a Main/Sammon strike partnership) and that Robinson was struggling to find an effective team. Trying to continue with the style of the past couple of seasons without the right personnel was a huge mistake (and you'd hope a big learning experience) - it was a step too far and it led to some of the worst "football" we've watched in a while. The transfer window was not the best, the team looked unbalanced and it wasn't a stretch to think that we'd be in with the three teams that ultimately fought over relegation. Getting knocked out the LC at Tynecastle wasn't a disgrace but was still disappointing on the night and the early Cup exit to County was the low point of the season for me (and most I'd imagine). At this point, I was struggling to see how Robinson could stay in his job. Some of the games (Livi away, St Mirren and Killie at the end of the year) were getting me to the point that it was a grim chore to go to a game and I was fucking delighted when the "we go again" season ended in December (even if there was a chink of light at Douglas Park).

The other season after the County debacle has been brilliant IMO. Turnbull and Hastie winning games for fun , *finally* finding a solution of sorts to the Left Back problem by playing Grimmy at RB, Gorrin's emergence from total anonymity to be the player we all wanted Bigi to be, Gboly being a proper "worth the entry fee" player, Campbell being right back on it after looking knackered for the first half of the season, etc, etc. Going to Fir Park has been as much fun as it's been in ages and we've been watching football that we wouldn't have believed possible when we were struggling to make *one* decent pass earlier in the season.  Watching Turnbull [playerspeak] Smash it [/playerspeak] every week has been a privilege and one that probably won't be happening for much longer. The Young Motherwell season has been my favourite stuff since McCall's best team broke up. A lot of credit needs to go to Robinson for the Jan transfer window and the big rethink.

Ready for some time-off going to games and doing other stuff as always - but also looking forward to grown men getting into arguments about football strip templates and shite ITK transfer rumours...

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Fair summation of the season swello.

Overall it was a decent season in that it could have obviously been alot better but also could have been alot worse, indeed up until January it looked as though it was going to pan out alot worse than it actually did.

The first half of the season was dreadful and there is no other word to describe it. The awful transfer window of last summer set the tone for it and Robinson seriously hampered us by his decision to focus on strengthening the '12-18' instead of the first eleven and we suffered as a result. The League Cup group stages were poor but we did just enough to scrape through, but our exit to Hearts at Tynecastle in the QF was a dire performance, as was our exit to Ross County in the Scottish Cup. Our league form in this period was poor too and entertainment value was non existent as we hoofed the ball aimlessly every week and nothing looked like it would ever change. That Livingston home game in October when we were fortunate to scrape a 1-1 draw was one of the worst performances I've ever seen us put in in my time supporting the club.

Things took an up turn from late January onwards however, thanks to us finally changing formation and the emergence of Hastie into the side along with David Turnbull - the undoubted highlight of our season. I don't think we'll see him in a Motherwell jersey again unfortunately, but it's been an absolute privilege to watch this young man play for us, run the midfield and bang in crackers of goals since he came into the side. 

One thing that has been an irritation throughout the season for me, and I've touched on this before, and I know it's minor and doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things, but our insistence on wearing that Claret away kit in just about every away game we've played even when the colours don't clash. Why?? And to make matters worse our record while wearing it is rotten.

So here's to season 2019/20 and hopefully a new away kit which only gets worn away to Hearts, Aberdeen and Dundee United(probably).

 

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4 hours ago, Swello said:

So - now the dust has settled, what's everyone's thoughts on the season?

For me, 50-odd points and a mid-table finish feels pretty acceptable - probably near our average over the past 35-odd years of top flight football - but it was really two seasons rolled into one and it's ended on a positive note.

Thinking back to last summer one of the main things for me this season was seeing if Robinson could evolve his style of play (spoiler: reader, he has).

His fire-fighting to salvage the McGhee season showed he can shit-fest with the best of them, the direct approach got us to 2 cup finals and a comfortable mid-table finish while the tears that resulted were great value but the warning signs were there in the 2nd half of the season where we were struggling to break teams down (Accies at NDP and Killie at FP immediately spring to mind).

I'm actually inclined to give Robinson the benefit of the doubt re: the first half of this season. Nothing against the big man but I'd be amazed if Conor Sammon was anywhere near our first choice target. We went from everyone's favourite mercurial genius to Sammon, it was hardly like-for-like. 

I could be miles out but the more I look at last summer the more I feel we may have missed out on our first choices and ended up having to re-work our plan (to the fabled 12-18 strategy). Similarly I don't blame Robinson for sticking with a fall-back approach that, for the most part, served him well enough the previous season.

There's not a lot about the first half of the season that hasn't already been said but ultimately Robinson deserves a huge amount of credit for figuring it out in the end. The fact that he's essentially on his 3rd re-work of a team (in terms of style and personnel) and more importantly is making it work says a lot about him as a coach along with his staff.

The praise he was getting in the MFC Podcast with Maurice Ross is testament to the fact that more than anything Robinson is a really, really good coach.

If you'd said at the start of the season we'd finish on 50+ points (18 points off 10th), reach a QF, establish a #YoungMotherwell brand, have 2 players up for both PFA and SFWA YPOTY awards (and have 1 win) along with having a midfielder sitting on 15 goals for the season while adding flair and creativity to a Motherwell side that is actually pleasing on the eye I think most would have taken it.

I said it in another post but it feels like a 6.8 of a season to me. There are some really fucking obvious downers (losing to Accies and St Mirren along with the cup exit to Ross County and the absolute doing at Ibrox for starters) and it's hard to go too overboard about an 8th place finish but when it comes down to it the 2nd half of the season has been smashing.

I'd imagine that this season has been far more educational for Robinson than any of those he's had previously at the club.

Edit to add: I'm a big fan of this stats site and now the season's finished it's an interesting read: https://www.soccerstats.com/team.asp?league=scotland&stats=6-motherwell

Absolutely mental to see the disproportionate number of goals we've conceded between 31 - 45 mins. Like, really, really weird.

Edited by capt_oats

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I was very impressed with Donnelly the other night. I've been quite disparaging about him before, but having now seen him play in midfield for the first time, I think he could be an option in there.  He played an utterly sublime cross field pass in the first half that I was almost salivating about. My only reservation about him being used in there would be his injury-proneness. If our two options for the "six" role as Robinson called it are Fane (if he is the defensive midfielder signing tomorrow) and Donnelly, then I foresee a time where both could be on the treatment table.

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6 hours ago, Swello said:

For me, 50-odd points and a mid-table finish feels pretty acceptable - probably near our average over the past 35-odd years of top flight football - but it was really two seasons rolled into one and it's ended on a positive note.

Absolute sadsack that I am I actually checked this out.

In the 3 points for a win era (including this season):
Avg league position: 6.68 Avg pts:  47

2 points for a win (and also just after Promotion):
Avg league position: 7.44  pts: 34.11

All the seasons in the spoiler below. Sourced the bulk of it here.

Spoiler

18/19: 8th - 51 pts (Robinson) 
17/18: 7th - 48 pts (Robinson)
16/17: 9th - 38 pts (McGhee/Robinson)
15/16: 5th - 50 pts (Baraclough/McGhee)
14/15: 11th - 36 pts (McCall/Baraclough)
13/14: 2nd - 70 pts (McCall)
12/13: 2nd - 63 pts (McCall)
11/12: 3rd - 62 pts (McCall)
10/11: 6th - 46 pts (Brown/McCall)
09/10: 5th - 53 pts (Gannon/Brown)
08/09: 7th - 48 pts (McGhee)
07/08: 3rd - 60 pts (McGhee)
06/07: 10th - 38 pts (Malpas)
05/06: 8th - 49 pts (Butcher)
04/05: 6th - 48 pts (Butcher)
03/04: 6th - 46 pts (Butcher)
02/03: 12th - 28 pts (Butcher)
01/02: 11th - 40 pts (Davies/Black/Butcher)
00/01: 8th - 43 pts (Davies)
99/00: 4th - 52 pts (Davies)
98/99: 7th - 41 pts (Kampman/Davies)
97/98: 9th - 34 pts (McLeish)
96/97: 8th - 38 pts (McLeish) 
95/96: 8th - 39 pts (McLeish)
94/95: 2nd - 54 pts (McLeish)

Avg league position: 6.68 Avg pts:  47
-----------------------------------------
93/94: 3rd - 54 pts (McLean)
92/93: 8th - 35 pts (McLean)
91/92: 10th - 34 pts (McLean)
90/91: 6th - 33 pts (McLean)
89/90: 6th - 34 pts (McLean)
88/89: 9th - 27 pts (McLean)
87/88: 8th - 36 pts (McLean)
86/87: 8th - 34 pts (McLean)
85/86: 9th - 20 pts (McLean)

Avg league position: 7.44  pts: 34.11

 

Edited by capt_oats

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70 points to 36 from 13/14 to 14/15 is a mental drop off :lol: Surely nobody else in recent memory has essentially halved their points total in a season.

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39 minutes ago, capt_oats said:

13/14: 2nd - 70 pts (McCall)
12/13: 2nd - 63 pts (McCall)
11/12: 3rd - 62 pts (McCall)
10/11: 6th - 46 pts (Brown/McCall)
09/10: 5th - 53 pts (Gannon/Brown)
08/09: 7th - 48 pts (McGhee)
07/08: 3rd - 60 pts (McGhee)

Mind we used to Qualify for europe?

 

Was it 10/11 the only time in that period we didn't?

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I was a student and worked in a supermarket when we used to qualify for Europe so could never afford to go. As soon as I started working full time we turned to shite and haven't been near Europe since.

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3 hours ago, YassinMoutaouakil said:

70 points to 36 from 13/14 to 14/15 is a mental drop off :lol: Surely nobody else in recent memory has essentially halved their points total in a season.

It's the other side of the mountain from Malpas --> McGhee

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Mind we used to Qualify for europe?
 
Was it 10/11 the only time in that period we didn't?

Was that not the year we got the fair play award and got in?

Gannon’s team played in Europe the next season, who can forget those games at airdrie

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14 minutes ago, steelmen said:


Was that not the year we got the fair play award and got in?

Gannon’s team played in Europe the next season, who can forget those games at airdrie

Gannon was before 10/11.

 

With out loooking it up I am sure we never qualified as I mind being a bit peeved cos the cup runner up wasn't getting in and that was relatively new to me.

Edited by Busta Nut

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12 hours ago, Ron Aldo said:

I was a student and worked in a supermarket when we used to qualify for Europe so could never afford to go. As soon as I started working full time we turned to shite and haven't been near Europe since.

Same! Would very much appreciate it if we could start being good at football again. 

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I made it to Nancy, Reykjavik, Bucharest, Odense, Athens and Valencia during that run and loved every trip (and had previously scraped together enough to make it to Dortmund on a bus when I was a student) - so I don't have the same hankering for more european stuff at the moment TBH. There was definitely a point where the interest began to wane a bit after we were getting  in there every year and being quite bad at the actual football part of it. 

Nancy was the example of what happens after a long break from it coupled with an easily accessible location - the whole thing was brilliant because a huge part of our core support made it over.  

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Nancy, Iceland and Athens, for me.

Athens remains the most burnt I've ever been in my entire life, and a huge regret after my camera broke and ate all my photos. Upsetting.

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Nancy, Llanelli (yes, it fucking counts!) and Valencia for me.  I missed Athens as I'd just that week moved into a new flat so couldn't make it so was very determined to make the Levante game just after.

Nancy was the trip of a lifetime.  Bumping into just about every Motherwell fan you knew for three days, drinking the supermarkets dry.  I also ordered myself a cheese & ham baguette, in French, in one of the proudest moments of my life!  Merci, cunto!

I spent the game itself hiding behind folk as the game was live on BBC One Scotland and I'd phoned in sick from work for the week!  Some bounce about for the penalty save considering I don't think we got near their goal over the 90 minutes.

 

Edit - Since my last European jaunt, I've got married and have a young family so I'm more than happy to wait, say, 10-15 years until the next one... ;)

Edited by Desp

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1 hour ago, thisGRAEME said:

Nancy, Iceland and Athens, for me.

Athens remains the most burnt I've ever been in my entire life, and a huge regret after my camera broke and ate all my photos. Upsetting.

Athens was mental - remember getting off the BA flight at 2am or similar and the temp was 35 degrees. The day of the game it was like an oven, still can't believe our players were able to deal with that (although obviously we got pumped)...

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Speaking of Levante, I was at their game vs Eibar back in March and there are mentions of Motherwell in a number of places around the stadium as we were their first ever European opponents.

 

They were still selling half and half Motherwell/Levante scarves (which a decent number of people in the crowd were wearing) and had copies of the pre-match line up picture of the game at Fir Park in their club shop.

 

We spoke to a few of their fans at the game who were delighted when they found out the majority of us were Motherwell fans, mentioned they came over for their away leg and said a lot of Levante fans keep an eye out for our results.

 

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