This is an excerpt from this week's Claret and Amber Alert, a free Motherwell newsletter written by Graeme McGarry that goes out every Thursday at 6pm. To sign up, click here.

IT’S not always the best idea to go back. Particularly when a footballer has left a club as a hero.

The excitement at the return of James McFadden to Fir Park a few years back now wasn’t quite matched by his output in the end, with injuries having taken their toll on the bold Faddy by that point in his career. Though, in fairness, when he returned to Motherwell the first time around there were more than a few glimpses of the old magic.

Then there was the return of Louis Moult last season, which was frustrating for both the player himself and the fans as a niggling ankle injury limited his game time.

There was a tantalising glimpse of what could have been as he and Kevin van Veen were partnered to great effect in the second half of a game at Tynecastle, but alas, sightings of ‘King Louis’ were all too fleeting, and that probably played a significant role in Stuart Kettlewell’s decision not to pursue him in the summer.

Ironically, he is now flying and banging in the goals for Dundee United, but hindsight is 20/20 and all that.

READ MORE: Stuart Kettlewell may be the key to tempting Kevin van Veen back to Motherwell

The latest of the Motherwell legends to be linked with a move back to Lanarkshire is that man Van Veen himself, who has made no secret of the fact he wishes to return to Scotland.

The big man has had a tough time of it over in his homeland since his summer move to FC Groningen, with his trademark frankness landing him in a spot of hot water with his current manager.

On top of that, his partner is in Scotland, and is due to give birth shortly, leading Van Veen to flag his potential availability to Scottish clubs this week through the media.

Understandably, that has sparked excitement among the Motherwell faithful, who are salivating at the prospect of a front two pairing of Van Veen and Mika Biereth. The problem is, there are another three senior strikers on the books just at the minute, each taking up a wage.

Given the fact that Motherwell couldn’t offer anything within the same stratosphere as to what Groningen were willing to pay Van Veen in the summer, it stands to reason that the chances of negotiating a loan move back to Fir Park in January would be highly improbable, if not impossible.

Even supposing that Groningen manager Dick Lukkien is desperate to get rid after Van Veen’s less than complimentary words about him recently, it would take an act of charity on the Dutch side’s behalf to sanction a move to Motherwell for the percentage of his wage that they would be able to pay.

Furthermore, while Van Veen himself would no doubt jump at the chance to rekindle his love affair with his adoring Lanarkshire public, there will surely be other suitors in Scotland with deeper pockets than Motherwell who would fancy having a striker that bagged 29 goals in the country last season on their books for the second half of the campaign.

I have no doubt that if it was the player’s choice, he would plump for a return to Motherwell and a chance to resume his working relationship with Stuart Kettlewell. The manager seemed to know exactly how to handle Van Veen, whose talent has never been in doubt, but whose inconsistency had blighted his career.

Kettlewell had him performing at a high level week in-week-out, and the pair remain close. But as he said himself earlier today, no matter how much both parties may desire a reunion, ultimately, the decision may be out of their hands.

READ MORE: The danger of short-term panic at Motherwell

Where Van Veen differs from McFadden and Moult when they first returned to Motherwell is in the fact that he only left a matter of months ago. He hasn’t been suffering from injuries, and despite his troubles in Dutch football, he has still been in decent goalscoring form.

So, it would clearly be an incredible bit of business to get him back in the door if Motherwell were to pull it off.

But as much as the Fir Park faithful may be getting excited by the prospect, the financial obstacles mean that they shouldn’t be getting too carried away just yet.


It is back to domestic business this weekend after the sweet respite of the international break, but any excitement at seeing Motherwell in action once again is rather tempered by the rotten run of results the team are on, and the fact that a visit to Celtic welcomes the team back to Premiership duty.

Given that an Aberdeen team who recently plundered four goals at Fir Park were roundly cuffed 6-0 at Celtic Park a couple of weekends ago, it is safe to say that simply avoiding a similar scoreline could be seen as something of a small moral victory.

Certainly, that would help preserve morale heading into fixtures after the Celtic game that – no matter what the manager or players may say – are clearly of greater importance to Motherwell and their prospects this season.

If they can repeat the feat of late April when the aforementioned Van Veen’s stunner helped them smuggle a point back to Lanarkshire, then all the better, but as long as they return without their confidence being shattered further then that will do for now.