Motherwell Vision Set the Ball Rolling; FRASER MACKIE on How the Plan Was Hatched

Article excerpt

Byline: FRASER MACKIE

PICASSO painted a fairly accurate picture of the small inventor's lot when opining: 'You invent something, and then someone else comes along and does it pretty'.

It's not common knowledge that the first brush strokes of today's radical Scottish Premiership plans were made by Motherwell.

And far from being unhappy at watching David Murray and Fergus McCann add the 'pretty' touches in public, the visionaries are content in the knowledge that the historic idea was conceived in far less exciting times at Fir Park.

The financially-devastating losses of Paul Lambert and Rab McKinnon to Europe in the summer of 1996 was the trigger for change.

Attempts by Alex McLeish to replace the duo became extremely frustrating and downright alarming because Motherwell were unable to work the Bosman ruling in their favour.

While such European luminaries as Strum Graz and Basle appeared capable of offering out-of-contract British players healthy wage packets, one of Scotland's middle order sides could not promise rewards in that region.

Research showed that smaller clubs in Austria and Holland could be considerably more lavish because of their greater exposure and sale through television and sponsorship rights - the lack of which in Scotland was making Motherwell suffer.

The club was earning only around [pounds sterling]100,000-per-year in all other areas of revenue before TV income was included - crumbs compared to the feasts on offer in England. …