‘Bittersweet’ day for Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson

Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson had little time to savour being confirmed as the Ladbrokes Premiership’s third-placed team before telling a number of players they were no longer needed during a “bittersweet” day.
Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson.Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson.
Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson.

The former Northern Ireland international had been waiting for the clarity of the SPFL’s decision to call the season to make difficult calls to several players including forward Christy Manzinga. The club will release a full list at a later date.

While Motherwell fans could enjoy the achievement of finishing in the top three for the fifth time in 13 years on Monday, Robinson and assistant Keith Lasley started on an assignment made all the tougher by the lockdown and the economic climate.

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“As much as we were happy with the achievement and getting the European spot, I had the unenviable task of phoning players and telling players through Zoom and WhatsApp calls with Las that they weren’t going to get contracts,” Robinson said.

“It was a bittersweet moment really, the hardest bit of football.

“It was no great surprise to a lot of players that I spoke to. We just had to get the basis of squad we are committed to, and three or four more players we want to sign.

“Difficult conversations but I think it was only fair to them to do it as quickly as possible to give them a heads up on their livelihood and career as up until then there was still a remote chance we may have come back to play the season out.

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“There were one or two we probably, if finances dictated, would have given another year to see them progress. There’s a couple of boys we brought into Scottish and UK football for the first time that we felt another season would develop them.

“But we are not in a position to take gambles.

“Some of the younger players I feel now need to go and play football. They are not going to be in my first team. I think that’s only fair as well.

“But it’s tough. Really, really tough.”

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