Four Top Coaches Form The Shortlist For Motherwell Managerial Vacancy

You have to go as far back as Halloween for Motherwell’s last win and, unfortunately, the horror show has followed them all the way past Christmas. This has led to the resignation of manager Stephen Robinson but he should be remembered for the good moments.

Last season he led the team to a third placed finish in the league and reaching both domestic cup finals in the 2017/18 season was an incredible achievement – losing, on both occasions, to Celtic is nothing to be ashamed of as a manager in Scottish football due to the financial gulf. Robinson also managed the club through a period of significant player trading with the sales of Louis Moult, Cedric Kipre, James Scott and David Turnbull giving Motherwell a financial footing that should help the club for years to come. Let’s not forget that these players developed under Robinson’s guidance with Turnbull and Scott graduating from the Motherwell academy and being given the opportunity to play first-team football during his tenure.

A fair set of achievements for any manager outwith the Old Firm but in addition to poor results there had been a lack of playing identity and poor squad building choices leading up to this parting of the ways and now Motherwell have to consider a change in direction at Fir Park and look at who will be the right person to move them back into the top six and challenging in the cup competitions.

Here is a list of a few names that Pure Fitbaw think could be a good fit.

Graham Alexander

The former Scotland international was somewhat surprisingly dismissed by 5th placed Salford City in October 2020 considering that they were unbeaten at the time. He reached the promotion play-offs on a number of occasions in his previous roles with Fleetwood Town and Scunthorpe United and at the latter he was able to generate income of around £1.25 million due to his development and trading of players such as Conor Townsend and Duane Holmes for the then EFL League 1 club. Alexander would be our number one pick for Motherwell due to his ability to be pragmatic and work to players’ strengths by keeping the set up fairly simple in terms of quick, direct progressions and focusing on being effective without being flashy.

John Robertson

The current Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager deserves a chance back in the top flight, with his last stint as long ago as the 2004/5 season. Robertson has done an incredible job in developing talent with a long list of footballers that played under him now featuring in the Scottish Premiership such as Charlie Trafford, Shaun Rooney, Jamie McCart and Coll Donaldson. Motherwell have two themselves in Jordan White and Liam Polworth but it is the performances of some the current crop of Inverness youngsters such as Roddy McGregor, Cameron Harper and Daniel McKay that causes Pure Fitbaw to think that this could be a very beneficial move for the prospects of Motherwell academy graduates and, as a result, the Lanarkshire club overall. There would have to be some negotiations over compensation but it seems unlikely that Inverness CT would stand in Robertson’s way if he wanted to test himself at a higher level.

Shaun Maloney

The current assistant manager to former Motherwell player Roberto Martinez at the Belgian national team might see this as the prime opportunity to go from number two to number one as he’d be moving to a club where his first six months, as long as he avoids relegation, would effectively be a free hit. The makeup of the club and the platform it could provide to Maloney might seem more appealing than potentially a random move to the EFL at this nascent point in his career. A spell at Motherwell learning the role, playing good football, challenging for top six, making some smart moves in the transfer window, and he could potentially be viewed as a viable option if the Celtic managerial position was vacant. From Motherwell’s perspective even that could be considered a positive as they could demonstrate that they provide a platform for talent in the dugout as well as on the pitch. Maloney has impressed with his tactical analysis and, while this would be a gamble for both parties, it is one we would back.

Mitchell van der Gaag

An outsider selection, van der Gaag is currently the manager of Jong Ajax which is the gateway team that gives Ajax academy players senior minutes in the Dutch second tier. He performed well in his first season as manager there, finishing 4th with a team that has since graduated a number of players into the senior side. Fondly remembered for his short stint as a player at Motherwell van der Gaag would likely be a popular choice with many of the older fans and it would be intriguing to see what, or indeed who, he could take from the Ajax academy over to Fir Park. This may seem like an unlikely appointment but it is worth noting that his contract is due to expire in the summer, Jong Ajax have a tendency to recycle coaches at the helm of the prestigious B team quite often and van der Gaag may see this as an excellent pathway into coaching in the UK.

These four are Pure Fitbaw’s prime candidates for the role and could each add to the blueprint that Alan Burrows, Martin Foyle and the previous coaches have set out. This is the sort of move that to the right coaches will be very appealing so I would expect plenty of applications for Alan Burrows to work through.

Our final thought is that Motherwell would do well to avoid the obvious contenders such as Tommy Wright and Gary Holt. Both of these coaches have had reasonable success at their previous clubs in the Scottish Premiership but may not fit the current Motherwell set up. This does not mean they are not good managers or that they wouldn’t be a success at Motherwell in the short term but are list of four have a higher ceiling and are better suited to this specific club.

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