THERE are even darker days ahead for Motherwell. If not, why did Stuart McCall choose to fall on his sword?
My gut feeling is that a hurricane is about to hit Fir Park and McCall wanted to save himself from the impending fall-out.
Usually, two things keep a football manager in a job: one being results, the other if the team is playing well and entertaining the punters.
McCall had done both in his time at Fir Park until this season and all that he had achieved was buying him time.
He wasn’t under pressure from the board. And, while the supporters were clearly not happy with results, at the same time they realised they weren’t going to get someone better to change the situation, so they were prepared to give him time to see if he could turn the situation around.
That being the case, he appears to have jumped ship instead of being pushed and it’s a strange one. He said he was having trouble sleeping, but sleep patterns aren’t great at the best of times when you’re a football manager, so it seems a pretty flimsy excuse, in my opinion.
I think a more likely explanation is that he could see foresee fresh problems ahead.
My understanding is that Motherwell are ready to turn off the lights again and administration is likely. McCall, it would appear, didn’t want to be put in a position of having to lay people off and face an even bigger uphill battle.
Certainly, as a player, he never struck me as someone who would just chuck it.
He was one of those guys you couldn’t shake off on the pitch; a real battler. He also strikes me as a decent fellow. I have met him a few times and have always found him approachable and easy to deal with.
He’s the type you wouldn’t mind having as a pal, so it seems to go against the grain for him to just suddenly up sticks and quit.
I am hoping that’s the case anyway; that he didn’t just chuck it and that something brewing in the background forced his hand.
My old man used to say you should never leave your job voluntarily until you’ve got another one to go to and that’s obviously not that case with McCall.
There are guys with even better records out of work and a big queue looking for employment. McCall hadn’t been out the door 20 minutes when the applications started to flood in.
He was strongly tipped for the Sheffield United job last year and, if there had been something in the pipeline, he might have left before now.
I don’t think the supporters would have thrown up their hands and complained if he had chosen to go onto bigger and better things.
But it seems strange that he didn’t put his shoulder to the wheel for a little bit longer until something else came along and he got out that way.
I would imagine McCall was on a decent salary, so why volunteer for a place in the queue at the Labour Exchange?
Football managers in general only want to give out good news and I have a feeling that something financially bad is about to break and McCall saw it coming.
If it leads to the club going back into administration, then that’s not a healthy way to try and run any business. Maybe he felt once the process started he would be forced into a similar position to Ally McCoist and have to come out and declare that he doesn’t do walking away!
Maybe it was simply a case of jumping off the bus before it crashed, for his actions seem out of character, as I have always viewed McCall as the sort who, if you were caught up in a pub brawl, would be the first one by your side.
He doesn’t strike me as the sort who runs away from anything – especially in football.
Personally, I don’t think Motherwell will be relegated. But, yes, they are going through a bad spell after losing a lot of players and people need to understand the situation.
But McCall had amassed a lot of brownie points and then didn’t use them. The majority of mangers are smart enough to utilise them at the right times and he had plenty in reserve, so that suggests to me that something heavy is about to hit Motherwell and McCall knows it.
The alternative is that he simply chucked it when the going got too tough. That kind of feeling would stick in the back of my throat, because I wouldn’t like to think of him in that way.
PICTURE COURTESY OF: Jeff Holmes Pix