Football: Goram signs for Motherwell

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The Independent Online
THE FORMER Scotland and Glasgow Rangers goalkeeper, Andy Goram, last night ended eight months of uncertainty by signing for Motherwell - and then revealed that it was fear of ending up injured that led to his dramatic walk-out before the World Cup.

Goram will return to Scottish football after a turbulent period following his last appearance in the country in the Scottish Cup final in May last year.

Goram has since had a brief spell at Notts County and a two-month loan period at Sheffield United but recently saw a move to join his former Ibrox team-mate, Brian Laudrup, at FC Copenhagen fall through.

His legacy to the Scottish game, however, appeared to be his decision to abandon Scotland's pre-World Cup training camp in Colorado and retire from international football amid allegations about his private life.

After signing on at Motherwell until the end of the season, however, the 34-year-old indicated the uncertainty over his future beyond the World Cup finals and Craig Brown's apparent preference for Jim Leighton were crucial factors in his decision.

"I retired from international football and it wasn't accepted. But Jim Leighton did the same and it was okay," he said. "It was the way people construed it. Whether that had an effect on what has happened since or not I don't know, but I made my decision at the time and I don't regret it.

"People said that I was still the No 1, but I was probably not the most important person's No 1.

"I had been told indirectly that was no longer the case and if I had gone off to France and got injured I could have had no club for nine months."

His return to Scottish football now suggests a desire to re-establish his former reputation, but Goram was quick to dispel any idea idea of an international comeback.

"Once you retire, you retire," he declared.

"You can't pick and choose your games. That is just part of history now, and I've probably got more chance of playing in the cricket World Cup.

"Besides, Scotland are sorted out for goalkeepers with Jonathan [Gould] and Neil [Sullivan] and the young lad at Dundee, Robert Douglas. They have got plenty to choose from."

Goram insisted he never despaired of finding another club, despite the apparent reluctance of managers to contemplate taking a chance on an often controversial character.

But even he admitted he was surprised by the speed of the deal that finally signalled his return to football after months of waiting by the phone.

"I think the fact that people thought I was going to Copenhagen scared a few clubs off," he said. "But I was always hopeful that somebody would come in for me. Right up until three days before I was due to leave I thought I was going. But then the new coach came in and changed his mind, and it was back to square one.

"But I was training with Ayr for a couple of days and then I came up here yesterday morning and within an hour everything was signed and sealed."

Motherwell's manager, Billy Davies, said: "I had no hesitation in bringing him here. He is a first-class goalkeeper - among the best in Europe - and he will be a tremendous addition to the squad.

"He is a top man as far as goalkeepers are concerned, and I don't think you lose that. His experience and knowledge can only give the other lads here confidence, and it is up to us now to get him training and back in the swing of things."

Goram will fly out with the rest of the squad for their winter break in Tenerife tomorrow and is expected to go straight into the side for their Scottish Cup tie against Hearts on 24 January.

Davies also confirmed he hoped to seal a deal with Everton over the next two weeks to keep striker John Spencer at the club on a permanent basis. He has had no indication that Walter Smith wants him back at Goodison Park.