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British Club Tops

Motherwell – PONY – 1997/98 Away

On a previous post, we spoke about the home jersey of the 97/98 campaign and the disappointing season that came with it but we had to make a separate post on this gem of a top.

The 90’s were a time of experimentation with tops and Motherwell were no exception to that, starting the decade off with Admiral’s great home and away jerseys which will always be remembered for a certain cup final, then moving forward to Hummel and the jerseys get more unusual with the 92′ white and claret tram track kit. Pony’s first few jerseys were normal enough with the candy stripe (which was remade in 15/16), their black 95/96 and white 96/97 away jerseys were solid additions as well but what even was this top.

We’ll start off with the elephant in the room, the colour. Probably the most un-Motherwell jersey to ever exist (some would say this seasons black away top). When you think of Motherwell you think claret and amber, if you are a fan you could even go as far as white or petrol blue but never neon yellow.

This was also the first and last season Motherwell featured player numbers on the front of the jersey. This obviously wasn’t as popular as once thought but I actually quite like the number on the front as it is so rare.

The top uses almost the exact same template as the white away jersey from the season previous which is mental considering that jersey is a solid 8/10 and this one I would probably rank a 3/10 as a Motherwell top. I’m not surprised Motherwell decided to move forward with XARA instead of sticking with PONY.

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British Club Tops

Motherwell – Pony 96/98 – Home Jersey

The 96/98 home strip is the last home top in Motherwell’s time with Pony and they certainly left with a bang. Still seen as quite controversial as it isn’t your average home kit but I love this top as the design is just so different from any other home top produced by Motherwell down to the “jester” style of the kit with the half and half colour scheme.

Obviously there is a reason this hasn’t been repeated as fans don’t have the best of memories as the 96/97 season almost ended in relegation after finishing 8th in the league but a strong end to the season, beating Rangers and Raith Rovers, who would end up relegated. A poor cup run also saw the well fired out the league cup early by Alloa Athletic and thrashed 4-1 in the Scottish Cup Quarter Final by Dundee United.

The next season Motherwell were even worse, finishing 9th and again reaching as far as the Quarter finals again in the Scottish Cup. This would be the season Alex McLeish would depart on the 10th of February with Finnish manager Harri Kampman taking over for the rest of the season.

Tommy Coyne was Motherwell’s league top scorer for both seasons, bagging 11 goals in 96/97 and 14 goals in 97/98. The Cobra really was Motherwell’s standout player during his 132 games for the club as shown by his 57 goals for The Steelmen.

A fun top that is good to look back on as it does a lot different such as adding a number onto the front of the top and on the sleeve, which also hasn’t been seen since. My respect goes to PONY for trying to do something different and change the look of football tops but unfortunately this was their last attempt with Motherwell.

With PONY gone, Motherwell looked to XARA who also made some fantastic strips, with some already featured on here and there’s more to come.

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British Club Tops

Motherwell 94/95 PONY

The 94/95 season was definitely one to remember as it was the first season to introduce the new league structure of a ten team league in Scotland’s top flight and was also the first season where three points were awarded for a win. Rangers won their seventh league title in a row and First Division side Raith Rovers won the league cup while Celtic finished fourth but still managed to win the Scottish Cup but as usual we’re looking into Motherwell’s performance that season and showing off a famous Pony made away top.

Motherwell finished second in the league, 15 points behind champions Rangers, after an impressive first campaign from Alex Mcleish after legendary manager Tommy McLean left in the summer of 94′. Mixed league form saw Motherwell beat Rangers twice, once at home and the other at Ibrox, but also lose games against Partick Thistle and lose 6-1 to an eventually relegated Dundee United.

League top goalscorer was given to Motherwell’s Tommy Coyne after his 16 league goals during the campaign, beating the likes of Billy Dodds (15) of Aberdeen, Mark Hately (13) of Rangers and Motherwell teammate Dougie Arnott (10).

This away top is first of many from the range of jerseys Pony produced between 1994 to 1998. Taking over from Hummel who made the infamous white and claret tram track away top the season before which is probably my favourite Motherwell top of all time and deserves more credit than it’s due as it is not like any other design that I’ve seen on a football top never mind Motherwell.

As for Pony tops this is far superior than any the other one they produced as the bright amber candy stripes jump right out at you while the pattern of chevrons is subtle yet noticeable the closer you look.

Absolute belter of top and not a bad signature on the back either.

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British Club Tops

Super Richard Tait

Richard Tait arrived at Motherwell, aged 26, having just won Grimsby promotion into League Two from the National League via the playoffs after beating Forrest Green Rovers 3-1 at Wembley. The arrival of Tait wasn’t the only signing made from the English lower leagues as Ben Heneghan arrived from Chester, Carl McHugh from Plymouth Argyle and Ryan Bowman from Gateshead.

He would make his debut on the first day of the season in a 2-1 win away from home against Killie at Rugby Park. It would take Tait until the end of October to score his first goal in a 4-1 victory against Ross County. In March of his first season at the club, manager Mark McGhee was sacked and up stepped Stephen Robinson.

We all remember Robinson’s first full season, memorable cup final runs where we would see defeat at the hands of Celtic both times but that’s after the memories this team would give us such as Moult’s brace against Rangers, Curtis Main’s goal against Aberdeen or even Carl McHugh’s late strike against Hearts in the quarter final at Fir Park.

This top comes from Tait’s last season at the club in which he helped Motherwell qualify for the Europa League as they finished the league in third place, only bettered by the two Glasgow sides.

Tait was mainly utilised as a right back/right wing back but was often asked to fill out on the left hand side of defence where he would be played when Cadden was used as a right wing back.

A great full back and a top professional, Richard Tait will go down as a Motherwell player to remember. After all he was better than Cafu…..

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Liam Kelly – Motherwell’s #1

Liam Kelly has been Motherwell’s first choice goalie for almost a year now since arriving in January 2021. In this time he has cemented himself as number one, forcing Trevor Carson out between the sticks and even the club due to Kelly’s incredible shot stopping ability and cat like reflexes.

Starting his career out in the blue side of Glasgow, it wouldn’t be until a move to Livingston FC before he would really catch the eye as a future Scotland prospect. You would imagine a move down south to QPR would help his case for the Scotland squad but a mid table finish and not getting a fair run of games made him surplus to requirements.

QPR’s loss was Motherwell’s gain as the 6ft 2′ shot stopper has been vital to the well’s strong finish to the 20/21 season, bagging himself Motherwell Player of the Year. Signing on a three year deal has also outlined Alexander’s ambition for the club by putting his faith in Kelly to lead the line for years to come.

Kelly’s fine form has also seen himself get a call up from Steve Clarke for two Scotland camps but unfortunately is yet to receive a cap for his services. As it looks, Kelly will be battling Zander Clark for the Scotland Number #1 shirt.

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British Club Tops

John Sutton – Scottish Cup Final 2011

On the 126th Scottish Cup final Motherwell made their way to Hampden where they would come up against Celtic in Scottish football’s most prestigious knockout competition.

This jersey comes from John Sutton who had a terrific campaign as he finished the Scottish Cup as the competitions top goal scorer with six goals out of Motherwell’s 14 goals en route to the final. He would score in all games except the quarter final replay with Dundee Utd and unfortunately in the final against Celtic as the well lost 3-0 which would be Neil Lennon’s first trophy as Celtic manager.

Over the course of Sutton’s Motherwell career he would play just over 200 games for the steelmen and score a respectable 78 times. Arriving the first time from Wycombe Wanderers after spending a good spell in Scotland with St Mirren. After the Scottish Cup final, Sutton would move on to Hearts where he would find himself back at Fir Park in another three years.

After Motherwell, Sutton would move to St Johnstone and St Mirren for a second spell before moving to their local rivals Greenock Morton where he would retire in 2019 to begin his coaching career.

Made by Puma, this top uses Motherwell’s iconic hoop around the middle of the body which has featured on most home tops of recent times. Another great thing about this top is the Phil O’Donnell signature just above the Puma badge which speaks for itself.

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British Club Tops

C. I. S. Insurance Cup Final 04-05

Motherwell’s first cup final since the well remembered Scottish Cup final of 1991 would see them kick off against Rangers, in the so called “Davie Cooper Final”, at Hampden on the 20th of Match 2005. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be for the steelmen as the gers ran riot on the day putting five past Motherwell goalkeeper Gordon Marshall. This would be Marshall’s last season in football after he retired at the grand age of 39.

This Marshall top comes from the semi-final game at Easter Road against Hearts where Motherwell had put up a good performance by giving themselves a two goal lead but then seen it slip in the last 5 minutes after conceding twice, taking the game into extra time. With all Motherwell fans on the edge of their seat and with penalties on the horizon up steps Fitzpatrick to fire the Well’ to Hampden.

Marshall started in the final at Hampden alongside players such as Phil O’Donnell, Steven Hammell, Stephen Craigan, Martyn Corrigan, Scott McDonald and Kevin McBride with the latter being who’s top we also have here.

Starting at right midfield of a 4-4-2, McBride would play majority of the match before coming off as a substitute in the 83rd minute for Paul Quinn. After his original loan spell from Celtic, McBride would join the Steelmen on a permanent basis on a two year deal before leaving on a free in 2007.

Since then, Motherwell have featured in another three finals. The first being the 2011 Scottish Cup and the next two coming in the same season in the 17/18 after an impressive season from Stephen Robinson’s men. All of which have unfortunately been played against Celtic at Hampden.

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British Club Tops

Motherwell 76 & 81

On todays feature we’re showing off two pretty unique Motherwell tops with one coming from the late 70’s and the other from the early 80’s.

The first being Admiral’s first away kit worn by the well but as you can see there is no badge on this top and instead the Admiral badge is on the white side of the top instead of on the stripe. It wouldn’t be until later in the season when the badge was introduced.

The first time this top was ever worn was in the Scottish Cup Semi Final against Rangers in 1976 where Motherwell would go 2-0 up after an hour into the game before crumbling to the Gers and losing 3-2 with the last coming in the 85th minute. Joe Wark and Willie Pettigrew both played with the latter scoring Motherwell’s second that night.

Motherwell finished a respectable 4th, 3 points off Hibernian who would claim the second UEFA Cup spot that season.

The second top being showcased is an Adidas number from the 81/82 when Motherwell were promoted back into the top division after beating Killie to the title by ten points. They also managed a +56 goal difference after scoring 92 goals. During the season, they eventually changed this top to a darker yellow top with a tighter neck.

This top was worn by Junior Burns who only started a few games for the well but did manage to score a winning goal at Ibrox which resulted in John Greig resigning from the Gers.

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John Ruddy – Motherwell 09/10

Starting his career with Cambridge United, he would only play the one season before getting his move to the Premier League with Everton for a fee around £250,000. While at Everton Ruddy would go on loan a total of nine times but his most successful spell would be his last, moving up to Scotland with Motherwell.

Starting off as an initial 6-month loan in summer of 2009, Ruddy would take the first team spot in his stride, doing so well that he would extend his stay for the rest of the season.

Ruddy would finish the season with 15 clean sheets in 34 appearances with one of the highlights of this season coming in the second last game of the season, a 12 goal thriller against Hibernian at Fir Park. Hibs would go 6-2 up with Motherwell leaving it late with a 90+3 screamer from another Everton loanee Lukas Jutkiewicz.

After leaving Motherwell, Ruddy would move to Norwich to work under former Motherwell man Paul Lambert. In his first season with the canaries, he would become pivotal in Norwich’s promotion to the Premier League. Ruddy would also be voted Norwich’s Players Player of the Season in his first Premier League season keeping them in the league with a very respectable 12th place finish.

He would make his England debut against against Italy in a friendly in August 2012 after he was ruled out of Euro 2012 due to a broken finger but things worked out as he married his wife Laura on 2 June 2012. Prior to the Euro 2012 tournament, he jokingly cited breaking his finger as the reason he was able to have his wedding on that date.

Currently 34, Ruddy is backup keeper at Wolves but was key to helping them get back into the Premier League as he won the 17/18 Championship Golden Glove with 24 clean sheets and represented Wolves in the PFA Team of the Year. He was then replaced by Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio in their return to the Premier League.

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James Tavernier

Signing from Wigan in 2015 for £200,000, with teammate Martyn Waghorn, Tavernier would start his Rangers career in the Scottish Championship. Scoring a free kick on his debut in a 6-2 victory against Hibernian in the first round of the Scottish Challenge Cup, Tav would also score his first league goal against Alloa Athletic in a 3-0 victory.

A free scoring right back who has racked up a very impressive 18 goals in 46 games while also assisting 11 last season (20/21). Not only an attacking threat but also a defensively sound player as he was part of the defence who conceded 13 goals in the league last season.

Also worth noting that he was the man to captain Rangers to their first league title since 2010/11 and stopping city rivals Celtic from winning the coveted 10 in a row.

This is the first kit made by British manufacturer Castore who signed a five year deal with the club. The first thing you notice is badge that features the five stars to symbolise their fifty league titles. The league badges on the sleeves also match up with the tops colours red, white and blue. A small message reading “follow follow” can be found behind the collar.

There is also faint diagonal lines running through the top in a darker blue to the royal blue that is used for the main body of the top.

It is also worth noting that Rangers re-released a special edition to mark their historic league win that featured a golden badge and Castore badge with some embroidery reading “Champions 55, 20/21”.