STUART McCall says it will take “something special” to persuade him to leave Motherwell after confirming he has turned down the chance to return to England and take charge of Sheffield United.
Following weekend talks with the Bramall Lane club, which he previously served as both a player and assistant manager, McCall rejected the offer to fill their managerial vacancy and opted to remain at Motherwell.
The 48-year-old former Rangers and Scotland midfielder, who has two years left on his current contract at Fir Park, admitted his decision had not been reached without a considerable degree of soul-searching.
“It has been a really difficult last few days,” said McCall. “As most people probably know, I spent five great years at Sheffield United. I was grateful to the Motherwell board for allowing me to speak to them, but I went with an open mind. I had no
desire to leave Motherwell after enjoying two-and-a-half great years at the club.
“There is no doubt Sheffield United are a fantastic club but, after careful consideration and deliberation, I am more than happy to continue my current role at Fir Park. I have built up a tremendous feeling for Motherwell, the people who work at the club and the supporters. It would take something really special to tempt me away.
“Along with the rest of the coaching staff and the board, we will continue preparations for the new season, adding new players to the squad and looking forward to a return to European football in early August.”
Since replacing Craig Brown in December 2010, former Bradford City manager McCall has been a conspicuous success at Motherwell. His first few months in the role saw him lead the club to a top-six Scottish Premier League finish and the 2011 Scottish Cup final, which they lost to Celtic.
In his first full season in charge, the 2011-12 campaign, Motherwell finished third in the SPL and reached the qualifying rounds of the Champions League as a consequence of runners-up Rangers’ financial collapse.
Despite the loss of several key players last summer, McCall has built on that success in the season just ended. He led Motherwell to a second-place finish in the SPL with a record points tally of 63. They also scored 67 league goals, the most the club had achieved in the top flight for over 50 years since the celebrated side managed by Bobby Ancell. McCall was named Clydesdale Bank SPL Manager of the Season for his efforts.
He will have to reshape his squad again for next season. Goalkeeper Darren Randolph has joined Birmingham City, while midfielder Nicky Law has signed for Rangers. The club are currently trying to agree new contracts with defender Tom Hateley, winger Chris Humphrey, forward James McFadden and top-scorer Michael Higdon. So far, McCall has managed to secure one new face for next season with midfielder Paul Lawson moving from Ross County under freedom of contract.
Motherwell chief executive Leeann Dempster said: “Our admiration for Stuart and the job he has done at Motherwell is certainly no secret. However, we think it is only right never to stand in our staff’s way if a big offer comes in. That is why we granted permission (to speak to Sheffield United) and respectfully remained silent during the process.
“That being said, we are absolutely delighted our manager has decided to stay with us. Stability and continuity when we are changing the squad is very desirable so it’s a huge bonus to have Stuart continue in his current role. We are excited about the future and the focus of everyone at the club will be to give Stuart and his staff all the support they need.