This week sees the release of Steelmen, a film commemorating one of Motherwell’s greatest teams, the 1991 Scottish Cup side. There’s no doubt this event was a massive landmark in Motherwell’s history but it somewhat overshadows the Steelmen’s greatest achievement- winning the league in 1931/32.
Motherwell’s best ever forward line and the greatest manager the Well have ever seen were at the club. Yet the names of Louis Moult, Steve Kirk, and Terry Butcher are names that spring to mind, rather than the great manager John ‘Sailor’ Hunter and record breaking goalscorer Willie MacFadyen.
The 91 squad is a well remembered piece of Motherwell history, so why isn’t the Steelmen’s league winning squad?
It was a bright period in Motherwell’s history. Victories over Real Madrid and a draw with Barcelona, along with a first ever Scottish Cup final appearance were just some of the highlights for the Fir Park side some 13 years after World War One. It was in 1931/32 where Motherwell peaked.
Motherwell will never do it again
Led by long serving boss Hunter, Motherwell won their only top flight championship. Scoring a remarkable 119 goals over the season, the Steelmen lost just two games that campaign. The Fir Park side finished a comfortable five points clear of Rangers, and a massive 18 ahead of Celtic.
The league title success was the first time a team had won the crown outside the Old Firm since Third Lanark had won the title back in 1904. It was also the only time the title didn’t go to Celtic and Rangers in the years between the two world wars.
Bob Ferrier, John McMenemy, George Stevenson and John Murdoch all played their part, but it was MacFadyen who really shined. He scored an incredible 52 league goals in claret and amber that season. It’s a feat that hasn’t and most likely never will be bettered by another player. This team have their place in Motherwell’s history no doubt, but for what they achieved, it isn’t talked about nearly half as much as it should be.
This isn’t a dig at any players or teams mentioned, far from it. Everyone who has been at Motherwell has their only special place in the club’s history. This is Motherwell’s greatest achievement though.
More has to be done to make sure this team stands out from the rest.