THE question “what does Motherwell mean to you?” is, depending on who you ask, that is likely to provoke a vast array of answers.

Strathclyde Park, Ravenscraig and a big Asda are no doubt some of the responses that are at least printable in a family newspaper. Ask the right people, however, and the reply may just come from the heart.

Like so many other outposts up and down Scotland, the North Lanarkshire town is possibly most famous for its football club. It may not be the biggest or the flashiest, it doesn’t need to be. Instead, Motherwell is attempting to rediscover its working-class roots of the past in order to allow its future to flourish.

The very question asked at the start of this piece is one that has been and will continue to be asked of the club’s support this season as they move forward into an era of fan ownership. Earlier this year supporters of the Well were asked to fill in a fan survey to explain what they wanted to see more of at Fir Park, and to identify indeed what Motherwell meant to them. They answered the call in their hundreds.

“The Made in Motherwell thing was born out of the survey,” explained Ryan Murrant, Motherwell’s fan engagement manager of the club’s social media campaign for season tickets launched this summer. “What we found was people lost what Motherwell was about, both as a club and a town.

“We wanted to take it back to what Motherwell means to you. Not your favourite goal or player, just what does it mean? People spoke quite emotionally about the club because their grandad brought them to their first game, it could be they live far away and don’t get their often. We tried to understand fans a bit more.

“There was someone with a teddy bear. There was Amber, whose sister is called Clare T so it’s claret and amber. Their stories are unique, but brilliantly unique. We can try and start to incorporating that into things.”

Murrant’s appointment last September was a signal of intent for Scottish football to not just open its eyes to a big world out there, but its ears. How many full-time fan engagement managers would you have seen kicking about 10 years ago?

The former Doncaster Rovers communications manager talks at length during our chat to explain and justify his job, perhaps an indictment on Scottish football and the hesitance towards change he’s met since moving here almost a year ago. Yet, the role of the man in charge of bringing in fans to a fan-owned club and its importance should be blatantly obvious to all.

“At Motherwell you have people who live within hundreds of yards of the stadium who want to go and watch Celtic and Rangers. That’s the biggest challenge in trying to change people’s mentality,” said the 39-year-old.

“But when we have changed things here, what I have found is that if the fans like it they will shout about it more. We had over 600 responses to our fan survey, which doesn’t sound like a massive number until you look at our average gate. Fans do want to be listened to.”

“Our season tickets are currently up 18 per cent year on year,” explained Murrant. “I’m talking to local businesses who are important to Motherwell, like the steel works, about putting branding up in the family stand to try and educate children about what the steel works is about and was about. That takes you back to what the place is about.

“We have to secure the next generation of supporters because if we don’t the club is always going to be suffering from just 3000 to 4000 fans coming every week.”