THE inevitable departure of Harri Kampman from Motherwell became a reality yesterday as he was replaced as coach by 34-year-old Billy Davies who has been a player at the club for five years.

At yesterday's press conference to announce the changes, the club's chief executive and player, Pat Nevin was at pains to point out that Kampman had not been forced out of his job by the new regime which has taken over at the club.

Nevin said it had come as a complete surprise when the Finn, who only joined Motherwell in March, decided to resign and that he had not divulged his reasons for leaving.

Even his No.2, Jim Griffin, who will retain that role under the new manager, said he had no idea why Kampman had decided to leave.

There has certainly been conspiracy theories that club owner John Boyle, who brought Nevin and Brian McClair to Motherwell, had planned to replace Kampman sooner rather than later with a new, high-profile manager who he had waiting in the wings.

However, the fact that Boyle issued a statement yesterday expressing his surprise at Kampman's departure, and the fact that the new manager is not the high profile appointment many Motherwell supporters were expecting, suggests that maybe the owner was set to persevere with Kampman for a few more months.

Nevin also said that when Kampman resigned Davies was the only person in the frame to take over, a statement which suggests a big name manager was never in their thinking.

From his point of view it seems Kampman, who is heading back to his native Finland to take stock, was becoming dis-

illusioned with life at Fir Park and he must have realised that the writing was on the wall for him after a string of bad performances and the fact that a new regime had taken control at the club.

Despite his resignation Motherwell supporters will remember Kampman as the man who helped their side retain its place in the Scottish Premier League after Alex McLeish left as last season was reaching its final stages.

He did have some sympathy from Motherwell fans who believed he was coming under extreme pressure by having some of Boyle's men in the ranks.

However, sympathy was starting to evaporate due to bad results and equally important, bad performances by the team which showed a lack of inspiration and seemed tactically to be bereft of ideas, particularly up front in recent matches.

Even the players seemed to be turning against Kampman the strongest attack on the Fir Park set-up coming from their veteran defender Shaun Teale after their 1-0 defeat against Dundee last month.

Teale was concerned at the play of goalkeeper Mikko Kaven and publicly called for Kampman to do something about it and admitted a delegation of senior players, including Nevin and McClair, had complained to the manager on the matter.

In many clubs such team politics are kept behind closed doors and Teale's outburst suggests all was not well, despite claims to the contrary.

The new man in charge at Motherwell, not surprisingly, was stunned yesterday by the speed of events and his elevation from player and under-21 coach to manager.

He said his aim was to

re-establish Motherwell as a good, footballing side and to try and return the club to European competition.

Davies, who began his professional career with Rangers and also played for St Mirren and Dunfermline, gained his SFA coaching licence four years ago and by all accounts has impressed people by his knowledge of the game.

He said he hoped to go to England to watch Manchester United and also abroad to study other team's training techniques to see what he could pick up and bring to Motherwell.

His appointment also means a fresh start to players recently put on the transfer list by Kampman, including Eddie May and Mickey Weir, who were among five players put on the list only last week.

''It will be a fresh start for everyone and I will analyse all the players before deciding what happens,'' said Davies.

Despite being only 34 years of age and still willing to play for the first-team, Davies said the challenge ahead did not worry him, nor did having to decide whether the man who offered him the manager's job, Nevin, was in the side or not.

He said he had been given a guarantee from John Boyle that he would have the final say on team selection and what players he would want to come to the club.

Nevin went further to suggest that Davies would end up doing more than Kampman on the transfer front, who seemed to identify positions he felt Motherwell were short in, rather than the players to fill those positions.

He went on to make clear there would be money available for Davies to spend on players and said he believed he was not too young for the job.

''Everyone has to start somewhere and Billy is the best man to take the team forward,'' said Nevin.

''If you look at managers like Paul Sturrock who started young but who has been successful and are still learning you realise that age isn't a problem.''