SPL fixtures announced as ’Well board face ‘no win’ situation

Former Motherwell player Derek Adams welcomes his old club to Victoria Park to open the SPL season.
Former Motherwell player Derek Adams welcomes his old club to Victoria Park to open the SPL season.

MOTHERWELL open the new SPL campaign with a trip north to face First Division champions Ross County.

The match at Victoria Park on Saturday, August 4, will be the first ever competitive meeting between the sides having only ever played each other in a pre-season friendly in 2006.

There will be a familiar face in the home dugout though as former ’Well striker Derek Adams leads the SPL new boys against the Champions League hopefuls who include his former Fir Park teammates Stevie Hammell and Keith Lasley.

Following the trip to the Highlands, ’Well’s first home match on Saturday, August 11, will see them take on St Johnstone, who enjoyed a fine season to finish in the top six.

The Fir Parkers round off August away to Kilmarnock and at home to St Mirren.

With the Rangers saga still ongoing ’Well will have its first meeting with ‘Club 12’ on Saturday, September 15, but whether this is a trip to Ibrox to face a newly formed ’Gers or Dens Park to First Division runners-up Dundee remains to be seen.

The Motherwell board this week released a statement regarding the ‘newco’ Rangers’s application to be transferred the ‘old’ Rangers’s SPL share and will discuss the matter with fans.

It reads: “Motherwell FC are in the process of arranging a forum to discuss the issue with supporters of the club, following which the board will meet and agree the club’s position.

“The ‘newco’ issue is often portrayed as a straight choice between preserving sporting integrity and clubs accepting a reduction in gate money together with potentially a significant amount of commercial revenue.

“The consequences of five or more clubs voting no to ‘newco’ do also need to be understood and fully taken into account.

“In addition to lower gate receipts, we are likely to lose an as yet un-quantified amount of commercial revenue with a specific risk around TV payments.

“The common response to the potential loss of revenue is that clubs need to cut their cloth accordingly. Of course this could be achieved over a period of time, by reducing both on and off the field costs, but it cannot be done overnight.

“It is vital that we honour player and employee contracts and meet all our other obligations.”

The club admits it already knows that the majority of its fans are opposed to Rangers being automatically allowed back into the SPL and that it is in a no win situation.

The statement continued: “We are fully aware that an overwhelming majority of our fans and most others, who have so far expressed an opinion, are totally opposed to a ‘newco’ being allowed immediately back into the SPL.

“Our board of directors is predominately made up of lifelong Motherwell supporters and we fully understand that fans are the single most important group within the club.

“History shows that any business which ignores the wishes of its customer base rarely prospers in the long term so a decision either way is likely to have a significant impact on at least one of our key income streams.

“Instead of the usual process of deciding what is best for the club, we are currently faced with trying to decide on which is the least worst option.”

The SPL clubs will meet to decide Rangers’s fate on Wednesday, July 4.