No-brainer for Clarkson to follow heart
Striker insists return to Motherwell was easy – even after being snubbed by Fir Park side last summer
DAVID CLARKSON has insisted he had no hesitation in becoming the latest former Motherwell player to return to Fir Park despite having been rejected by the club a year ago.
Clarkson spent seven seasons with Motherwell before moving to Bristol City in 2009 and then Bristol Rovers three years later. However, he was not offered a deal last summer by Stuart McCall, having spent the entire pre-season with his old club, and eventually signed for Dundee.
Now the 29-year-old is back at his spiritual home under Ian Baraclough following in the footsteps of Keith Lasley, Stevie Hammell and Stephen Pearson, all of whom left and came back. It is a common occurrence as James McFadden, John Sutton and Henrik Ojamaa have also had two spells at the club.
Clarkson said: “If you enjoy a club then it’s easy to come back. If you ask former players like myself, Hammy and Las, we had great times here and there are a lot of great people at the club.
“There are folk who have been here for years and there is a good feeling around the place. It makes it a lot easier to say yes when they offer the chance to come back. It’s a place you enjoy and you know you can fit in pretty quickly.
“There are a lot of new players but there’s still the same atmosphere. That never changes. There are staff behind the scenes and I’ve got friends here that were here 10 years ago. It’s a club that is close to my heart having been here a number of years.”
Clarkson, nephew of the late Phil O’Donnell, admitted it was a major blow when McCall opted not to sign him last season. However, he has completely bought into Baraclough’s philosophy and hopes to help the Lanarkshire outfit get back to a more stable position after landing in the Premiership play-off last season.
He said: “If you go in somewhere, you are hoping to get a contract. But from the start, the gaffer said to me they were looking for something different. So it was never a case of me knowing I was going to get something.
“It was about me trying to prove myself – and having that against me that I wasn’t the type of player he was looking for. Hopefully, this year will be a lot different. I spoke to Ian Baraclough – and Stephen Robinson [Fir Park assistant manager] – the day before I signed and was impressed by his attitude and approach to things.
“It was a bit of an up-and-down season last year but they managed to stay in the league through the play-off. They want to improve things next season and get the club going forward. I was impressed with how he wants to play and go about things. That drive to go forward and put right what went wrong during last season was a big part in my decision to come here. I want to be part of it.”
Clarkson made an astonishing start to his Dundee career last season by scoring in each of his first eight matches – whereupon he embarked on a scoring drought lasting until April.
However, he feels he can make an impact at Fir Park as Motherwell look to build on a strong finish to the season. He said: “I started well and the scoring run I went on was fantastic. But then we all kind of struggled around Christmas-time and I don’t think we won a game around then.
“When the team struggles to create chances, it is hard to score. There was a bit of everything in it. I never scored but you go through spells like that in football. The side finished the season well last year, so we need to start the way we finished.”
Motherwell, who also signed striker Wes Fletcher last week, have sealed a new two-year deal for winger Marvin Johnson, who joined last January from Kidderminster Harriers.
Johnson said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my first six months at the club and when I was asked to extend it further, I had no hesitations.
“I really believe in the manager and what he wants the team to do, and if we can kick off the new campaign the way we finished the last, I am hopeful we can enjoy a good season.”
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER: David Clarkson was rejected by Motherwell last summer but persevered.