Joe Wark ‘was one of football’s nice guys’

Joe Wark had dementia in recent times (Pic by Alan Watson)
Joe Wark had dementia in recent times (Pic by Alan Watson)

Former Motherwell star John Goldthorp has paid a fitting tribute to legendary ‘Well left back Joe Wark, a team-mate for over eight years in the 1960s and 70s.

Joe - who made 539 appearances for Motherwell between 1968 and 1984 - died last Thursday at the age of 67 after latterly having dementia.

And ‘Goldie’ - who played with Joe between 1968 and 76 - said: “I was very sad to hear of Joe’s death.

“He was one of the best; a really nice guy. There were no heirs or graces about Joe.

“It would be difficult to meet a more down to earth guy than him.

“Joe would speak to anybody about anything. Nothing was too much bother for him.”

John also paid tribute to the playing ability of Wark – who spent his entire senior career at Motherwell after joining from Irvine Victoria as a raw 20-year-old in 1968.

“Joe was a wholehearted player who always gave his best in every game,” John said.

“He was one of the best uncapped players in this country.

“He had rubber legs and was difficult to get past.

“Joe was full of enthusiasm at all times and competed in training as he did on the park.

“He played in every position for Motherwell – including in goal during one of his early appearances.

“He has got to be considered as one of Motherwell’s most loyal servants.”

One of John’s earliest memories of Joe was not long after the left back signed for ’Well in 1968.

“I’d only met Joe at one training session when there was a real coincidence a few days later when me and my friends bumped into him purely by chance when on our way to the speedway in Glasgow.

“Joe was always a very sociable guy and me and my wife always used to see him and his wife Maureen at club dances.

“Although I hadn’t seen Joe since 2008, he used to be a member at Colville Park Golf Club and I partnered him in a few two ball foursomes competitions there.”

Joe – who soon became Motherwell club captain after joining the club – helped the Fir Park team secure promotion to Scotland’s top flight in his first season.

He scored a memorable hat-trick that year against Montrose when he was the club’s Player of the Year.

Joe became the first person to complete a digital memory book as part of the ‘Remember Well’ project launched three years ago by North Lanarkshire Council along with Motherwell FC, NHS Lanarkshire and Alzheimer Scotland.

Key to its success was the use of old football pictures and memorabilia to help people recall players and trigger memories.

Motherwell FC skipper Keith Lasley and left back Stevie Hammell paid tribute to Joe on Twitter.

Keith said: “So sad to hear of the passing of Joe Wark, a true Motherwell legend.

“I never had the privilege of watching him in action but had the pleasure of meeting him on several occasions.

“The thoughts of myself and the current squad go to the Wark family.”

Stevie said: “Joe Wark is one of the greatest players to ever play for our wonderful club. A true legend.”