Reconstruction: Motherwell in finances analysis

Motherwell chief exec Leeann Dempster is joined by newly appointed board members Graham Barnstaple and Brian McCafferty. Picture: SNS
Motherwell chief exec Leeann Dempster is joined by newly appointed board members Graham Barnstaple and Brian McCafferty. Picture: SNS
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MOTHERWELL chief executive Leeann Dempster hopes to discover the financial implications of league reconstruction today.

Last week the 12 Scottish Premier League clubs agreed to push for a new merged 42-club body with top-flight play-offs in time for next season.

The proposals, which are still to be put to the Scottish Football League, would ensure a 12-10-10-10 system with the 11th-placed team in the top flight involved in four-team play-offs at the end of the season.

Dempster does not yet know what extra money – if any – those proposals would provide for the Lanarkshire club who are hoping to hold on to several key players, including top scorer Michael Higdon, Chris Humphrey and James McFadden.

She said: “First and foremost we have to see the final financial analysis so we are not making any firm projections until we see that, hopefully today or tomorrow. But the point about reconstruction isn’t necessarily around short-term finances, for this season upon us, it’s about the longer term.

“I don’t know if I would say I expect proposals to go through but I am very hopeful. There is enough in the proposals for everybody and even if it was deemed as a starting point for the next three or four years, it’s a good starting point.”

Dempster is especially keen to hold on to McFadden, whose short-term contract, paid for by two directors outside of the club’s normal football budget, comes to an end next week.

The 30-year-old former Everton forward has rolled the years back since returning for his 
second spell with Motherwell in February, and scored the opener in Sunday’s 2-0 win over Ross County.

However, with finances up in the air, Dempster remains cautious. “We will wait and see what happens with James at the end of the season,” she said.

“Clearly we would love to have him here next season, that is a no-brainer.

“James has proved his fitness and proved everything we 
knew he had. He was superb 
yesterday and the whole time he has been here.

“So I am sure James will have many suitors after his signature but should other things not transpire, we would love to have him here next season.”

While goalkeeper Darren Randolph and midfielder Nicky Law are set to leave at the end of the season, with the possibility that others could follow, Dempster is also aware that the Fir Park club could face a challenge to hold on to manager Stuart McCall, who has recently been linked with Sheffield United.

“He has proven his managerial skills and we are delighted to have him here,” she said.

“Inevitably when you perform well in any business there is a good chance that you will be asked to move on elsewhere.

“I hope it doesn’t happen but if it does it will be recognition of his time at the club.

“If it does happen I will shake his hand with our best wishes but hopefully I won’t be shaking his hand for a bit of time yet.”

Dempster was speaking on the day that Motherwell’s two new board members, Brian McCafferty and Graham Barnstaple, both board members of The Well Society – the organisation created to oversee fan ownership of the Lanarkshire club – met the media at Fir Park.

Dempster claimed the appointment of McCafferty and Barnstaple represented a “watershed moment” for the club.

She said: “Brian and Graham have joined the board from The Well Society, they are not fans’ representatives, they are fully-operating board members.

“That is a distinction so it a watershed moment for the club, it’s the first step on our journey.

“We have achieved just short of £400,000, the target is 
£1.5 million and that is to be kept as a war chest when things are tougher financially.”

McCafferty said: “It is a privilege to be voted by the members on to the society board and also to be voted on to the club board.

“I live in North Yorkshire and come up several times a week because I am a fanatic supporter of Motherwell.

“We will support the club with our heart but will run the club with our heads.”

Barnstaple said: “It is a transformation from fan to board member, so there is a different pressure.

“One of the roles we will be having will be articulating to the fans and that is important.”