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Last Updated: Monday, 18 June 2007, 18:42 GMT 19:42 UK
McGhee out to make his mark
By Colin Moffat

Mark McGhee is the new manager at Motherwell
McGhee was a tough customer on the park

Mark McGhee brings a wealth of experience to his new role as manager of Motherwell.

And, if he still has the relentless desire for success he had as a player, the 50-year-old Glaswegian will prove a hard task-master.

It's worth remembering that even Dennis Wise behaved himself while McGhee was his boss at Millwall.

A powerful, aggressive forward during his days with Morton, Aberdeen, Hamburg, Celtic and Newcastle, McGhee was always a fierce competitor.

While there was so much more to his game than his intimidating presence, it was his win-at-all-cost attitude that really marked him out.

The striker, who scored six times during Aberdeen's successful Cup-Winners' Cup run in 1983 and netted twice in just four appearances for Scotland, was no stranger to the odd underhand manoeuvre in his quest for goals.

And then there is the Fergie factor.

Several of McGhee's old Aberdeen team-mates have gone into management, with Alex McLeish and Gordon Strachan being the pick of the bunch.

McGhee revealed that he had been in touch with his old pals before taking the job at Fir Park.

And all three owe a debt to their former mentor.

Sir Alex Ferguson built a formidable side at Pittodrie, with McGhee scoring 100 goals in 263 matches for the Dons.

The team was full of big characters and not all of them saw eye-to-eye with their old boss, but they will all tell you that his influence was huge.

McGhee, like McLeish, leaned on Ferguson for advice when embarking on the coaching route and they share some key characteristics.

And number one on that list is an almost phobic hatred of losing.

It's not difficult to imagine McGhee doing a fine imitation of Fergie's famous 'hairdryer' blast...

McGhee's first management job came at Reading in 1991 and he won the Second Division championship in his third season with the Royals.

With Reading flying high in the old First Division, he left for Leicester but was unable to keep City in the top flight and quickly moved on to Wolves.

MY SPORT: DEBATE

He failed to gain promotion to the Premiership after three seasons at Molineux and left in late 1998.

Close to two years followed before McGhee's next stop - Millwall.

He immediately won the Second Division title and went on to make the First Division play-offs in his second season at the New Den.

In October 2003, McGhee's contract was terminated by mutual consent, with Millwall just six points off the top of the First Division.

Two weeks later, he was back in the Second Division with Brighton.

Once again, success followed swiftly and promotion was secured via the play-offs.

However, the Seagulls struggled after the step up, avoiding relegation by a point the next season and finishing rock bottom at the end of the subsequent campaign.

With increasing unrest amongst the fans, McGhee was sacked in September.

A hard-nosed character, the Brighton experience was not the first time supporters have turned on McGhee.

Maurice Malpas's last days at Fir Park were marked by unrest in the stands and the people of Lanarkshire do not suffer fools gladly.

Motherwell were sucked into the relegation battle last season and head into the new campaign without the services of midfielder Brian Kerr and top scorer Scott McDonald.

The Australian striker and Richie Foran, who left in January, scored 30 of the club's 52 goals last term and McGhee's first task must be to find replacements.

"I'm a believer that any team is only as good as its strikers," said McGhee on his arrival at Fir Park.

If McGhee can use his network of contacts down south to find a forward even half as good as he was, the Motherwell faithful should have no problem warming to their hard-man manager.

SEE ALSO
McGhee named new Motherwell boss
18 Jun 07 |  Motherwell
Leitch welcomes new boss McGhee
18 Jun 07 |  Motherwell


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