Bringing the older supporters back
Motherwell FC Community Trust offers a Football Memories programme and walking football as a means of connecting to the older generation of supporters.
General manager Dawn Middleton is conscious that she doesn’t just want to pay lip-service to helping older members of the community and says there are further projects in the pipeline.
Dawn said:“One of our trustees, Kevin O’Neill, is a partnership manager with NHS Lanarkshire, who said one of the biggest impacts on health over the next 20 years is going to be social isolation, so we need to look at that.
“Kevin has probably forgotten he said that, it was 18 months ago, but that impacts on everything we do now.
“We’ve just received funding from the Robertson Trust and we’re about to go to press with an advert for a development officer that will look at older people’s programmes.
“The easy hits are the young people – you could put a soccer centre on any day of the week and it would be booked out the door, but what do we do for the older members of society?
“We do walking football. We’ve just entered a team into the over-50s walking football league at Ravenscraig, they’re playing in the Scottish Cup in a couple of weeks, which is fantastic, because for a lot of these guys their dream has been to pull on a claret and amber shirt and we’re now giving them that opportunity.
“We have that on a Monday and it’s so popular that we’re about to start a second session on a Wednesday evening at 8.30pm, to get more along and say‘come and represent Motherwell’.
“The club and the Community Trust is a member of the European Football for Development Network, the EFDN, so we can now send a team of these g gentlemen to represent Motherwell at the European Masters tournament, against the likes of Feyenoord and Barcelona.
“We also have a Sporting Memories group, and we have a group with not just memory issues but older people who want to work.
“We had a fantastic session in the lead-up to the Scottish Cup final where they shared reminisces of the 1952 cup final, the 1991 cup final, and that was a great session with over 30 people in the Centenary Suite talking about it all. That’s a fantastic programme, it matters to our people that we can do things like that.”
Dawn added:“It struck me when I worked with Greenock Morton in the past, when they said that on a Saturday the shipyard workers went to Cappielow, that’s what they did on a Saturday.
“It came to me that Motherwell is in the same position, because this is where the steelworkers went on a Saturday, but those steelworkers are retired, perhaps, they maybe don’t have a job, so they don’t have the wherewithal to do what they always did.
“We’re looking at a project called‘Steel Game’where older citizens can come along to games. We’ll give them a pie at half-time and we won’t charge. That will be part of our job, to get them to games, take them back to what was good, give them that outing, something positive that takes them back to where they were.
“Financial constraints should never be an issue at a community club like Motherwell. And the club is fantastic – they give me a huge number of tickets for home games, to enable me to do my job properly and bring these people to Fir Park.
“I think that’s critical for this club, because they are almost‘forgotten p people’, but it’s so easy to do.”
Sweet memories Fans love to reminisce about the 1991 Scottish Cup win