Kettlewell apologises to fans over lack of clarity on contract renewal

An automatic contract extension was triggered by securing Motherwell's Premiership status last season.

Stuart Kettlewell apologises to Motherwell fans over lack of communication on contract renewal SNS Group

Stuart Kettlewell has apologised to Motherwell fans over the lack of communication regarding his contract extension.

When the Fir Park boss was signed to a permanent deal it was initially announced that his contract would run until May 2024.

But the announcement made last year failed to inform supporters that an automatic extension until 2025 would be triggered if he avoided relegation, which he did with the Steelmen finishing seventh in the table.

The issue came to light for Kettlewell in recent days when talking to the club’s media assistant and the club clarified the situation at their annual general meeting on Wednesday and in a subsequent statement.

Motherwell missed the chance to announce the news when they were riding high at the end of last season after losing only two of Kettlewell’s first 14 games in charge, and the clarification comes at a time when they have only won two of their last 22 league games.

Speaking to the media on Friday, ahead of their game against Celtic on Sunday, he said: “Contrary to what people might think, if I sign a contract I know what I sign, so very simply from my side I am perfectly aware of it and have been since I signed it.

“It doesn’t really matter what I say here, there has been a miscommunication, I was sitting beside the chairman at the AGM and he put his hands up to it and possibly the bit I take a bit of heat for is I have not overthought about that communication following us staying up and the work that was done last season from February until May.

“It may have been something that I should have spoke to the media guys about but the chairman has put his hands up and said from our side and the communication side, it’s certainly not the fault of our media team here.

“I absolutely knew what I signed and probably just took it forgot with my head in the work that I had to do. So there’s an apology from my side of it to the people associated with the football club and the supporters and I can assure you that from that side of it we will be a little bit sharper going forward and make sure that the relevant people are fully aware of the situation.”

Despite their recent struggle for wins, Motherwell sit only a point behind Aberdeen and Hibernian and Kettlewell is hoping for the opportunity to build a long-term project at Fir Park as he admitted he would love to stay at the club beyond 2025

The former Ross County boss said: “I understand sometimes in football people believe the grass is always greener on the other side and I think we know it’s not.

“Very simply, I believe this club has been a fantastic fit for me. There have been some trials and tribulations but I have absolutely loved it from start to finish and I would love to continue that beyond 2025, because that suggests we are moving in the correct direction.”

There remains much uncertainty about Motherwell’s short-term future though both on and off the park.

Only eight first-team players are contracted beyond this season and the board and majority shareholders, the Well Society, are considering two serious approaches to invest in the club, one from an American individual and another from a multi-national company.

The latter option is based around major changes in the club’s recruitment policy, adding uncertainty to the squad rebuilding job.

Kettlewell said: “The first port of call has to be plan A and that’s something I have been working exceptionally hard on and have been for quite some time along with many other people at the club.

“But if it does change then it’s a good position to have a rough idea of what that can mean for the club.”

Motherwell host the Hoops on Sunday and have further fitness doubts on top of Andy Halliday, Blair Spittal and Calum Butcher, who missed last weekend’s defeat by Hearts.

Kettlewell said: “Without going into the real specifics, we think probably two or three have a chance of making it but we are probably going to be last minute ensuring they are fit and ready because if you start a player against Celtic, you have to make sure they are as close to 100% as they possibly can be.”

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