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Alexander leaves Motherwell on eve of league season after Euro exit

The manager has left the Premiership side by mutual consent.

Graham Alexander leaves Motherwell on eve of league season after European exit to Sligo Rovers SNS Group
Alexander saw his team suffer embarrassing defeat in Europa Conference League qualifying.

Motherwell have parted company with manager Graham Alexander a day after the club’s defeat to Sligo Rovers in European qualifying.

Alexander leaves after eighteen months in charge, during which he secured a fifth place finish in the league and place in Europe, but saw the side suffer a shock 3-0 aggregate defeat in Conference League qualifying.

Motherwell were beaten 2-0 in Ireland on Thursday in the second leg of the second qualifying round tie, having lost 1-0 at home a week earlier.

The former Scotland international said on Thursday night that he would look to pick the players up after their European exit and aim to bounce back in their Premiership opener against St Mirren this weekend.

Chairman Jim McMahon has now revealed that the manager approached the club’s board on Friday morning to discuss his exit.

“Graham asked to speak with us early on Friday morning, and everyone agreed that it would be best to make a change,” McMahon said.

“We asked Graham to reverse our fortunes when he arrived eighteen months ago and he did that, before a really solid start to his first full season at Fir Park laid the foundations for what ultimately led to a fifth place finish and European football.

“However, things haven’t gone as well for a spell in 2022 and although the timing is not ideal, we hope a change will bring about fresh impetus for everyone ahead of the 2022/23 season.

“I would like to place on record our sincere thanks to Graham and Chris for all their hard work and effort and wish them every success in their future careers.”

Alexander told the club’s website: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Motherwell and leave with nothing but good wishes for the club in the future.

“I’m proud that we came in with the club joint bottom of the Premiership, and 18 months later leave having first secured our Premiership status, then qualified for Europe in our first full season. Our points tally in that time is only behind Rangers & Celtic.

“I also want to thank everyone who has worked so hard alongside us, and for the support I have received from Alan Burrows, Jim McMahon and the board of directors. It has been a pleasure to represent Motherwell Football Club.”

Alexander joined the club in January 2021 as successor to Stephen Robinson and the former Salford City boss guided his new team to an eight-placed finish. His first full season in charge saw mixed results, with the manager claiming his side hadn’t been given enough respect when they secured a top six place.

The team went on to finish fifth and qualify for Europe but Alexander was still questioned by some fans who noted that the team had lost more league games than they won, and struggled at times throughout the season.

The manager made signings in the summer, and some players left the club, allowing a fresh start but the European defeats took away any sense of forward progress and manager and club agreed to part ways.