Dundee United legend Maurice Malpas was given the managers role in the summer of 2006 after Terry Butcher left to join Australian side FC Sydney. It was not a surprise to the ‘Well faithful that Maurice was given the job as he had been Terry’s assistant for a number of years and also had a wealth of coaching experience at Dundee United as he had worked his way from the youth set up right up to being assistant manager before leaving the Arabs, as well as being under Motherwell’s employ he was caretaker manager of the Scotland under 21 squad.
His first act of business as manager of the club was to appoint his good friend and former team mate Paul Hegarty as his assistant. Maurice’s first addition to the squad came in the shape of highly rated Rangers youngster Ross McCormack who had famously scored in the Champions League to secure his side a 1-1 draw, following him to Fir Park would be Hearts starlet and Scotland under 21 ace Calum Elliot on loan, former Motherwell favourite Keith Lasley re-joined much to the delight of the fans after rebuffing the advances of Kilmarnock.
Malpas managerial debut was no easy task as Rangers were visitors to Fir Park, the side suffered a 2-1 defeat, and if truth be told it should have been a lot more but the side from Govan were extremely wasteful with their chances. Despite a stunning display against Kilmarnock in which the side won 5-0, most of the season wouldn’t bring to much joy as Inverness CT and Hibernian hammered the side 4-1 and 6-1 respectively.
Despite this being early in the season many fans were already calling for his head. Under Butcher the side fought and scrapped for everything and under Malpas the side appeared hugely unfit and lacked confidence. It was hoped a few fresh additions to the squad would help rejuvenate the clubs season but it wasn’t to be. In came Paul Keegan, Trevor Molloy and Danny Murphy from the Irish League and Kristian Vadocz joined on loan from French club Auxerre.
In the Scottish Cup, the side would play Airdrie United in a competitive game for the first time in the new guises history and thankfully won 1-0, this set up a live clash on BBC with St Johnstone the next opponents, the side were however embarrassed and lost 2-1 to the side managed by former ‘Well forward Owen Coyle.
At times the Malpas reign threatened to descend into a farce and as the season drew to a close 12th place Dunfermline Athletic won 4-1 much to the disgust of many fans. The result dragged the team into the relegation battle, only five weeks earlier the club were 16 points clear with a game in hand. This game was followed by facing the 11th place team St Mirren in front of a huge crowd at Fir Park. Motherwell threw away a 2 goal lead and lost 3-2 but thankfully the club’s SPL place was secure as Dunfermline lost elsewhere. By now of course ‘Well fans had their banners out in protest and threw there scarves and season ticket books in disgust, a number of disgruntled support even got onto the pitch to vent their frustrations.
The season finished at Tannadice with a dull 0-0 draw. With fans hoping for Maurice to step down from his role, Maurice showed no sign of quitting but after his assistant Paul Hegarty was sacked to make way for Scott Leitch he resigned in protest much to the delight of the Motherwell support.
Under his stewardship the side had a poor season finishing the 2006/07 season 10th in the league, only escaping the threat of relegation on the penultimate fixture and after a diabolical run delivered a mere seven points from the last possible 36 available. He would also have a spell managing English side Swindon Town where after a good start it wouldn’t be long before this role was met by a similar fate to that of his tenure at Fir Park. Mo would reunite with Terry Butcher at Inverness CT in January 2009 but couldn’t save the side from being relegated, they did however bounce back and turned the Jags into a decent outfit upon their return to the SPL.
|Name:||Maurice Daniel Robert Malpas|
|Date of Birth:||3rd August 1962|
|Place of Birth:||Dunfermline|
|Scotland U21 (Caretaker)||2005||2006|
|Scotland U21 (Caretaker)||2007||2008|