Stephen Robinson: Summer 2019 busiest transfer window yet for Motherwell FC manager

Motherwell FC manager Stephen Robinson
Motherwell FC manager Stephen Robinson

With 39 players either leaving or coming in during the latest transfer window, it’s been a very lively summer for Motherwell FC manager Stephen Robinson.

The 12 arrivals and 27 departures at Fir Park (including loans) - the most recent of which on Thursday saw Ugandan centre half Bevis Mugabi join on loan until January - make it the most busy window of Robinson’s tenure since he took over in March 2017.
However, if you think such a vast amount of activity would make it the biggest turnover of players by a mile in a single window during the Northern Irishman’s leadership, you’d be wrong.
Back in summer 2017 – just a few months after Robbo took over as gaffer from Mark McGhee – there were 16 new faces brought into the Fir Park squad and 21 departures, for a total of 37 transactions.
Summer 2018 was positively quiet by comparison, with a mere eight arrivals and 11 departures.
The January transfer windows of 2018 and 2019 saw six and two players brought in respectively, with five and seven respectively heading for the exit door.
Prior to Robinson’s instalment as manager and the shrewd leadership of Alan Burrows as chief executive, Motherwell FC were frequently short changed in the transfer department, with the contracts of prized assets like Darren Randolph, Nicky Law and Michael Higdon allowed to run down before they left for nothing by way of compensation.
However, those days are thankfully behind the Steelmen as a glance at recent player sales proves.
The summer of 2017 saw ’Well receive an undisclosed fee for centre back Ben Heneghan, before they benefitted to the tune of £500,000 when star striker Louis Moult was sold to Preston North End in January 2018.
Summer 2018 saw the Steelmen receive a whopping £1 million when cult defender Cedric Kipre moved to Wigan Athletic.
Robust forward Ryan Bowman earned Motherwell an undisclosed fee when he moved to Exeter City in January 2019, before Jake Hastie, Chris Cadden and Reece McAlear left for Rangers, Columbus Crew and Norwich City this summer to the tune of several hundred thousand pounds.
The Fir Park coffers would also have been boosted by a further £3.25 million – a club record fee received by an astonishing £1.5 million – had star midfielder David Turnbull’s transfer to Celtic gone through as planned.
That was scuppered when a medical identified a serious knee injury for which Turnbull has subsequently needed an operation on.
News that Turnbull is now walking without crutches is a major boost for the Fir Parkers with him likely to be fit and available to play again in the second half of this season.
This season’s new-look ’Well squad is sitting in the lofty heights of fifth place in the Scottish Premiership thanks to their impressive 3-0 home win over Hibs in their last league fixture on August 31.
The squad strength is such that the recent installation of centre back Peter Hartley, left back Jake Carroll and right back Liam Grimshaw – along with outstanding defender Declan Gallagher – saw experienced defenders Richard Tait and Charles Dunne as unused subs against the Hibees.
Robbo said: “I thought Carroll and Grimshaw were outstanding against Hibs.
“The credit will go to the forward players, the invention and the chances we created.
“But you do nothing without a solid base and in the last two games we’ve been so solid. The back four against Hibs – including Deccy and Peter as well – more experience.
“The big thing against Hibs was how we managed the game. In the end we thoroughly deserved to win.”