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Wednesday, 24 April, 2002, 09:42 GMT 10:42 UK
Motherwell in turmoil
Eric Black with assistant Terry Butcher
Eric Black (left) could be on his way to Coventry
The future of Motherwell Football Club is in doubt after the club was put up for sale by chairman John Boyle.

Manager Eric Black and chief executive Pat Nevin have resigned from their positions as a result, with Black's assistant, Terry Butcher, taking over as manager.

The club's board is seeking to gain a court order to put the club into interim administration as a result of serious financial problems at Fir Park.

Boyle said: "We believe this is the most realistic option to keep the club running.

"This means an administrator will be appointed by the Court of Session in Edinburgh to run the club while a buyer is sought.

Pat Nevin (right) at Fir Park on Wednesday
Pat Nevin (right) at Fir Park on Wednesday
"It does not mean the end of Motherwell Football Club and the club is not in liquidation.

"The club will continue to operate during this unspecified period of interim administration, the team will continue playing and the club's status with the Scottish Premier League is secure."

However, the board admitted that the move would lead to the playing staff being cut as well as job losses among non-playing staff.

Boyle said he had put 11m of his own money into the club but he would write the bulk of that off and would hope to attract a community-based buyer.

He outlined five reasons that forced the board to conclude that there was no prospect of the club making money in the forseeable future:

  • Dwindling gates because of the uncompetitive nature of the SPL, now dominated completely by Celtic and Rangers.

  • The loss of its 10-year association with redundancy-hit club sponsor Motorola.

  • The general collapse of income from television.

  • The Old Firm's decision to block the SPL's plan for its own, subscription-based television channel.

  • A general economic downturn that had caused firms to reduce the use of the club's corporate hospitality facilities.

Motherwell's chairman predicted that the club would lose 1.8m-2.1m next season unless there was a financial restructuring.

An emotional Boyle added: "This is a very sad and painful day for everyone involved with the club.

"Since I took over as chairman four years ago, everyone involved with the club has been fully commited to Motherwell, but we have watched with increasing despair as the financial situation deteriorated.

"We have tried everything in our power to turn it round, but the club cannot continue to trade insolvently.

Black (right) on his way to the media conference
Black (right) on his way to the media conference
"I am particularly sorry that Pat Nevin and Eric Black will be leaving the club, although I respect their decisions.

"Both men have done a wonderful job for the club and they have done absolutely everything that we have asked of them."

Nevin resigned as he disagreed with the decision to go into administration.

Black has refused to comment other than to read a prepared statement suggesting that he could no longer fulfil the promises made to the fans when he entered the job.

New boss Butcher has had previous managerial spells with Coventry from 1990 until 1992 and Sunderland in 1993.

Further reports suggest that Black, who was only appointed six months ago, is poised to take over as assistant manager to Gary McAllister at Coventry City.

At a media conference to announce his appointment, new Coventry boss McAllister would only say of the assistant's post: "I have three or four people in mind, but that probably won't happen before the end of the season."

BBC Sport's Andy Gillies
"John Boyle has been unable to turn Motherwell's fortunes around"
Motherwell chairman John Boyle
"I have done my best for the club"
Former Motherwell chief executive Pat Nevin
"I argued against this direction"
Former Motherwell boss Eric Black
"I understand the club is going through a difficult period"
See also:

25 Apr 02 |  Dunfermline Athletic
Dunfermline plough ahead
24 Apr 02 |  Scot Prem
Old Firm blamed for Well plight
24 Apr 02 |  Motherwell
Black 'will be great'
24 Apr 02 |  Europe
Dutch resurrect Atlantic League
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