2013-2014

Season Diary

Aug 5th 2013... The first competitive match for new manager Alan Johnston was never going to be easy up at Pittodrie and that proved to be the case with the home team going two goals up before our prodigal son Kris Boyd was introduced and did what he does best, put one in the back of the net. Our midfield was lightweight and overrun far too easily and the defence was ropey to say the least, we should have conceded more, but there are signs there that given a few games to settle in we should be able to steer clear of relegation despite all our off field troubles. Our fans turned up in numbers and were resplendent in the blue and yellow protest colours, giving the chairman pelters and the team backing in equal measures. There is no doubt that everyone wants Johnston to go, just no consensus as yet on the best way to do that. Change is inevitable, the sooner it happens the better.

Aug 13th 2013... It was a welcome change for us to actually take a point from St Johnstone as they have been our bogey team for the last few years, but we will still need to do better than that. The match was pretty even with the away team tired after their European exertions and Killie eager to make our mark in our first home match and it was Boyd who came closest to breaking the deadlock with shots off both the post and the bar and a claim for a hand ball in the box turned down. The crowd was only 3550, with a poor show of 250 from Saints, but the big miss were the Killie fans that stayed away in protest at Michael Johnston. 1,000 down on our average (without Celtic) last year is a sad indictment of where he has taken us.

Aug 20th 2013... Another bumper away crowd of over 1,000 Killie fans travelled with the team on Saturday. They were rewarded with a 1’1 draw but it could have been a lot different had Boomer not lost the plot with Goodwin and lashed out at the treatment he’d been receiving all game. We kicked the game off with three debutantes, Irvine, Nicholson and Clohessey (with sub Stewart becoming a 4th!) and they all seem to be reasonable enough signings; but the first half was not anything to write home about and the nil each score line accurately reflected the play up to that point. The second half we fared better and that culminated in an excellent strike from the prodigal son after a fine ball in from our new right back. He was mighty please with his own effort and so he should have been, such a pity that he was goaded into taking that swipe at Goodwin and we couldn’t hold out with ten men for all three points. The Trust have sold out our initial allocation of tickets for the Charity Ball on September 7th so we have got the room extended to allow for 50 or so more bodies, hopefully the Rett Research and Ayrshire Hospice will benefit from more fans attending.

Aug 27th 2013... The natives appear to be getting a bit restless based on the last few results as we failed to beat a Hibs side, which also does not have its troubles to seek of late. We started well enough in the first half and took the lead through a cracker from new signing Nicholson, at 35 on the day maybe not one for the future but some welcome experience in the side. The second half proved to be a different ball game though and slack defending cost us all three points yet again. As far as I am concerned it is early days yet though and we have to give Alan Johnston time to get to grips with the squad and how he wants them to play, the long ball stuff does not appear to be winning back many fans, but I’m confident that is a short term measure and when we get the likes of Clingan, Pasca and Boyd back in the team we will come good. The crowd was the lowest for a Saturday in the last 20 years, strangely enough though the media who always seem keen to point out our lack of numbers in recent seasons have failed to pick up on the fact that a lot of fans are deliberately not going in protest at the chairman, you have to wonder if he’s worried yet after stating last week that he wasn’t bothered. The fans can’t seem to agree a way forward, but everyone agrees that is not a reason for Johnston to stay.

Sep 3rd 2013... I got into trouble the other week from my mate Rab who says that there was a Hearts game at Rugby Park that was worse attended than the Hibs game...I’m sure that means everything is fine then! Things on the park looked to have improved on Saturday with the return of Boomer and we did manage to open the scoring but ended up coming away with nothing from the game. If the standard of play continues to improve like this then it is only a matter of time before we start to move up the table, it is not nice being stuck down near the bottom with Hearts who have galvanised behind their fan ownership drive. The stats, and I stand to be corrected again here, tell us that this is our worst league start since 1977, I’m sure Rab or someone else will let me know if I’m wrong again, it does not make for good reading whatever the case and we could have done without the international break before facing high-flying Inverness at Rugby Park. The word on the street is that there will be a call for an all-out boycott of that match to hopefully bring things to a head with the bank, if there is I sincerely hope that will be an end to this sad time at the club and we can all get back to normal again. Saturday sees the Trust Charity Ball at the Fenwick Hotel, there are still tickets available, see the website for details.

Sep 10th 2013... It was all about fans and former players this weekend with the Killie Trust Charity Ball taking place on Saturday night in the Fenwick Hotel. It was a black tie event and you can see all the glitz and glam on the Trust’s Facebook page but the important thing was the 10th Anniversary celebration and the two charities benefiting from the night. The big news was that Marie Macklin of the Klin Group gifted (yes, that’s free gratis Mr Johnston) over 45,000 shares to the Killie Trust, retaining only a nominal amount herself, and sent a letter backing community ownership as the way forward for the club. Hopefully more fans will come to realise that for us, the COG initiative is where we should be concentrating our efforts. There were many fantastic prizes available on the night but even with the online auction still to go over £6,500 has been raised for the Ayrshire Hospice and Rett Syndrome Reverse UK. Mark Reilly, at the function with cup hero Kevin McGowne and QoS boss Jimmy MacIntyre, gave an impassioned speech about his daughter Dionne and her condition which helped raise awareness as well as cash for the charity. It was a top night, thanks to all sponsors and people who attended.

Sep 17th 2013... Only a few months ago Kenny Shiels was released because he failed to reach a top eight place as stipulated in his contract. I sincerely hope Alan Johnston doesn’t have the same clause or Killie will be looking for yet another manager come May. Our new boss is taking a while to adjust to the top league but he will need to learn quickly or else a relegation battle will ensue and that is something that doesn’t bear thinking about. The predictable defeat to Inverness is the latest hammer blow for a club in disarray both on and off the park. The loss of three points was bad enough but the most damning statistic was the paltry attendance of 3,063 as large numbers choose to stay away until the chairman is removed. It’s vital for a provincial club like Killie to have everyone pulling in the same direction however at present we have the polar opposite. Michael Johnston has alienated fans and businesses alike and it’s a lose/lose situation for all parties. It has been reported this week that a local consortium are in talks to buy the club but the longer term goal has to be community ownership. The Klin group recently donated 45,000 shares to the Killie Trust and perhaps it is time for others to replicate this fine gesture. I’d urge Michael Johnston to see sense and do the same before the bank finally run out of patience.

Sept 24th 2013... The pundits were raving about the match at Firhill but the Killie fans were less enthusiastic about the performance and about our lack of points. In normal circumstances we would take a draw away from home at any SPL ground as a reasonable result, but crossing our fingers and hoping that St Mirren and Hearts don’t get anything is not much fun. As it turned out Boomer was on hand to stick one in the net and save our blushes...and much credit goes to Samson at the opposite end as well. Both returning players have been in decent form since coming back and to be honest I think that if we lose Tarbolton’s finest via injury or suspension at all this season then we will be in deep trouble. Some bizarre substitutions were not well received by the travelling fans, and our beloved chairman was also treated to a few choice songs from quite rightly disgruntled Killie supporters, when exactly is he going to get the message that he has overstayed his welcome? Celtic are next up at the Theatre of Pies, I can’t see us being favourites to come out on top on Saturday but we live in hope, that’s all we have just now...and Boyd of course.

Oct 1st 2013... That’s it official, Alan Johnston’s league start is worse than Kenny Shiels and probably up there among the worst of all time if we don’t pull the finger out against Dundee Utd this Saturday. Still, Shiels time at the club included a trophy and many other highlights so no need to panic just yet, there is still time for AJ to get things right, maybe reintroducing the likes of Barbour, Winchester and O’Hara more regularly would be of benefit. There are still plenty of quality youngsters on the books from Kenny’s era; Ashcroft, Hodge, Kiltie and Slater to name but a few, all of them involved at international level and doing really well. I hope we don’t get another Kennedy (sold to Everton in 2012) scenario when they are forced out of the club before we get to see what they can really do and bump up their value. It was always going to be difficult against champions Celtic but to be fair to the team they came back well from a devastating three goal deficit early doors with a couple of excellent goals but they tired towards the end and couldn’t contain the opposition’s players. A fair result but possibly not a fair reflection on the game. While the doom and gloom continued inside the stadium a protest took place out of it and it is clear that there is more to come on that front as the chairman continues to make bad call after bad call, look out for details of an open meeting at the Kilmarnock Grand Hall a week on Thursday.

Oct 8th 2013... Okay, now I’m worried, this run of games without a win is going on far too long and it has to be halted sooner rather than later. Unfortunately I think that the rot starts from the top though and we will be lucky to see any improvement until such times as everyone at the club is pulling in the same direction; and that is simply not going to happen while the current chairman is pulling the strings. To be fair we did not look much worse than Dundee United for the most part of the game and it was an unstoppable shot they scored with, but at times we relied far too heavily on Craig Samson and had it not been for several wonder saves then the damage could have been far worse. At least we will not get beaten this weekend, sadly that is as confident as we can be. There is an open meeting at the Grand Hall in Kilmarnock this Thursday (10th October) at 7:00pm hosted by the Supporters Association, with the Trust represented, to discuss the current problems and see if we can find a consensus for a way forward and what we have to do next to get back on track. If you are going please give everyone the courtesy of having their say whether you agree with their views or not.

Oct 15th 2013... It was good to see that Killie fans still care enough to turn up and fill the Grand Hall so that the upper level had to be opened as well. The KFCSA meeting on Thursday was never going to be easy with so many divided opinions on what we should be doing as a support to help the club through this sticky period. One thing is for certain, the unanimous vote of no confidence in Michael Johnston at least showed there was no dubiety on that front, it is just how to get rid of him that the differences in opinion creep in. Anyone who had something to say was heard and there was decent input from Paul Goodwin of SD Scotland on community ownership and news also broke about a new ‘Kilmarnock Future Consortium’ who were meeting Johnston on the Friday to try and take over his majority share holding. The fans voted on a few proposals and it was agreed that there should be a protest outside the stadium at the upcoming Ross County and Hearts games and that everyone should then pile into the Frank Beattie Stand to support the team and let MJ know what he should do with his shares. Further details will be online prior to Saturday’s match.

Oct 22nd 2013... For the first time this season I am able to report back about a Killie victory, and we managed a clean sheet in the process. Rugby Park also saw the return of a lot of fans that have been boycotting home games so far this season as part of the KFCSA’s call for protest inside the ground, but even with that we still scraped in only 3.5k people, maybe it’s now time for the chairman to worry about the lack of numbers. The opening goal was a scrambled effort kicked initially by Gardyne but bounced in off Boyd who was awarded the goal, a minute later the protesting fans, of whom were well in the majority, held up A3 red cards in the 18th minute of the game and vocalised their wish for regime change. The highs and the lows of football. We dominated most of the game and deserved to be in front, although credit goes to Samson for some fine saves. The second agreed protest went ahead in the 69th minute and that was rewarded with a second goal, a cracking effort from Irvine, as the jeers turned into cheers...the players must like Johnston as much as we do, the timing of both goals was uncanny. Hopefully we can now kick on from our first win at home, the same again next week against Hearts will be fine, the second and hopefully final protest will be then as well, if nothing has changed by then.

Oct 29th 2013... Two appears to be the magic number. In two weeks we have had two back-to-back wins, both by a two to nil goal margin and both sets of goals have been spookily near the two protests in the two games. Nothing to do with Kilmarnock holding Halloween earlier than the rest of the world of course! We looked a bit better this week although both goals were the end product of long balls...but it has to be said that Boyd took both chances remarkably well and if he keeps that up then the ginger one won’t have any option but to consider him for the Scotland squad again. A Jambo mate claimed that Boomer was the only difference between the two teams but I think that was a slight exaggeration and after scoring we played a lot more football than we have of late, and reaped the rewards for that in the end. As relieved as I am to have jumped a place in the table I can’t help but feel sorry for the Hearts fans who are suffering for the sins of their previous owners, I hope like Dunfermline they manage to reclaim the club for themselves. The first meeting of our community ownership working party takes place this Friday; with any luck we can make the change on our own terms.

Nov 5th 2013... I have to be honest and say that I am struggling to find anything positive to report about our defeat at Inverness on Saturday. Even the weather was dire and there was not much worth seeing as the clouds descended in the wet and frozen north. After two decent results and with the team playing a bit more football I dare say that the 220 Killie fans who travelled expected a bit more but in all fairness it seemed that we reverted to long ball tactics, despite the wind and rain dictating to keep the ball down if any control was to be maintained. With Clingan playing the guts of seventy minutes last week I was sure that he would be in the starting line-up, his influence brings something extra to the team, but he was benched again so possibly Alan Johnston is wary of stretching him too much too soon. We lost scrappy goals and pulled one back at the end but it has to be said that losing by a single goal margin was a fair reflection of how the game went down. St Johnston next week is not going to be any easier. The Community Ownership Group working party met on Friday and positive steps were planned to take things forward, that said, things may change in the next week or so when the KF Consortium find out whether their bid for the club has been successful or not.

Nov 12th 2013... Thank the heavens for Hearts, that’s the general feeling around the Theatre of Pies at the moment, and we do not fancy our chances much in a play-off situation either. I fail to understand why anyone agreed to introduce play offs, it is a proverbial turkeys voting for Christmas’ scenario. The powers-that-be were desperate to be seen to introduce something new and everyone knows that play offs work down south, so apparently we just opted for that without a thought about how we have increased the chance of relegation for everyone, but never increased the size of the league to compensate. With a top sixteen we could have two automatic relegations and a further two play-off places to make for some excitement down the bottom...and technically the top 12 would have been actually safer than they are now! Beat again at the weekend, and two players sent off just for comedic value. The manager is getting some stick from the stands now as well as the chairman, and that has served to confuse the media pundits who cannot seem tell the difference. Things are not looking great for the Scottish Cup trip to Tannadice, but knowing us, that will be the one we scrape a result in, we can but hope. It looks like that game will be moved to the Sunday to accommodate Dundee, unless the regime changes before then I can see us taking a lot less fans through than normal.

Nov 19th 2013... Never much to report in an international week for us but the big news has to be Kris Boyd’s recall to the Scotland team after a three year break. It has to be said that he has been a stand out for us this year and without him we would have struggled even more, there is no telling what he could achieve if the rest of the squad was up to scratch, but we are just not firing on all cylinders at the moment. Sammy Clingan also received international recognition but the strangest one of all is Gabriel Reuben’s call up for Nigeria to face Italy, he can get a place on the bench for a game like that and has not had a sniff of first team action with us. There is something distinctly not right there, the whole scenario involving the two Nigerians that followed Rabiu Ibrahim to the club warrants an explanation at this year’s AGM if not before. Our cup game against Dundee United has been brought forward to the Friday night and is not on television, normally I would be in favour of Friday night matches but not when the two teams are situated so far apart and not at such short notice, the travelling crowd could be seriously affected as a result. The Community Ownership Group working party meet again this Friday, we hope to hear from the Kilmarnock Futures Consortium as to the state of play with their bid for the club

Nov 26th 2013... I was going to write about our return to action after the international break but I think that would be a bit of a misnomer. There was not much action and that which counted most was the back of our net rippling twice as we lost yet another league game. No one could ever say that watching Killie was for the fainthearted but it is particularly grim viewing at the moment and even the normally optimistic captain Pascali is saying that if we don’t buck up our ideas then we could end up going down. Barr has been one of AJ’s best signings and we struggle when he is out, O’Hara is a smashing prospect but he is being done no favours played at centre back when his strengths lie further up the field. On a more positive note it was good to see Slater given a chance and by all accounts he did as well if not better than his peers. We have a string of young players who Kenny Shiels was championing that are worthy of first team football but it looks doubtful whether we will have the breathing space to give them a shot this year, at least half a dozen I could name off the top of my head and I can’t remember the last time I could do that. I hope we don’t start losing them to other clubs that will afford them playing time, youth development should be at the heart of everything we do at the club, it is what will help us survive.

Dec 4th 2013... Our season is officially over then, well as far as winning anything goes at least. Our Friday night fixture in Dundee saw United take the lead but we managed to level the game and indeed go one ahead with a decent 20 minute spell that gave the travelling fans some hope...but it was all to be in vain. The Arabs upped their game and we ended up conceding the five many predicted we would before the match. It was never going to be an easy tie, United are doing really well and were the home team, but it is a sad day when you could literally put your mortgage on us getting easily beat by a club that we should be on par with. The fans, already up in arms about the chairman and his failures, are now turning against Alan Johnston and Sandy Clark and to be brutally honest, not without good reason. Maybe he took the job on too early in his career, maybe he was always going to be up against it with such upheaval off the park, whatever the case things have to improve and soon or we will not just be looking to dump someone else in the playoff spot but scrambling to keep clear of Hearts who started 15 points behind us. The KF Consortium are still in talks with Johnston who is still putting his own needs before those of the club, the longer this rumbles on the harder it is going to be to get fans back on board, he needs to go now.

Dec 10th 2013... If we had to pick our games to win it would definitely be Hearts and Ross County and the team delivered three points in a difficult fixture at Dingwall on Saturday so we have to be happy at that. The defence still appears to be a bit shaky and if Alan Johnston is going to strengthen the team during the next transfer window then this is the area he needs to concentrate on...although to be fair Barr has been one of his best signings and Bouzid looked promising before falling foul of injury. Kris Boyd continues to be our beacon of hope and scored a cracker worthy of any highlights show. He was ably assisted by young guns Johnston, also on the score sheet, and Slater who seems adept at picking out passes. It was great to see young Lee Ashcroft getting match time as well, hopefully with some more first team experience he could do a job that will save the gaffer having to spend too much money on defenders. Off the park the saga rumbles on and there is still no sign of the AGM being announced. The chairman appears to be trying to talk the bank into some sort of deal that will see debt reduction happen but as ever, we get told nothing, and we will have to wait and see exactly what it entails for the club and what is in it for the chairman himself. It would be great if the bank could do something for the club, but no individuals should financially benefit from a deal such as this.

Dec 17th 2013... Dundee United turned us over again at the weekend, but to be fair it could have been very different if we’d managed to keep eleven players on the park. I don’t think that there was anything malicious in what Gabriel did but he certainly seemed like a man on a mission, as did most of our players, and it was probably not wise given our past history with the referee. That’s not to say the result is down to the man in black, you reap what you sow and we were slack at the back, but we should not have given him the opportunity to be over officious and we paid with all three points in the end. Kudos to the young lads again, Slater especially was by all accounts outstanding, and congratulations to the battle hardened Boomer Boyd who claimed yet another record with his consolation goal for us. We really need to tie him to a longer contract. If he can keep hitting the back of the net and help Muirhead develop then he could be invaluable to us, and we could have another goal machine on our hands with the youngster. If you have not done so already please make sure you take the Trust’s fan survey which will end this Friday (the 20th) and be collated by an independent source...no random 36% statistics from us, we’ll get someone independent to give us an analysis of the results.

Dec 24th 2013... There comes a time when match results are more important than how you play and I think to be fair we are pretty much finding ourselves in that very situation now. Three points at home to Partick was just what we needed ahead of a double header in Edinburgh over the festive season, and that we had to ‘win ugly’ to do it does not really matter. It was apparent to everyone that the Jags put on a better footballing performance than the home side but, as their own fans will tell you, if you don’t convert that into goals then you will struggle to get results. It was inevitable that Doolan would score for the Glasgow side with his in-laws being huge Killie fans and himself being rejected by Ayrshire’s finest as a lad, fortunately our current lad Messi hit the onion bag prior to that and a goal from an Irvine/Boyd combination sealed the victory. Probably not one for the purists but equally not as bad as some made out, sometimes an end to end game can be just as good to watch as a team spreading the ball around like Barcelona. That of course is easier to say when you have come out of it with all three points. Another three, as we normally get, at Tynecastle would be most welcome, we may soon even reach the 19 points in 19 games that Magic said was unacceptable. The deadline for the online survey has been extended over the holidays, don’t forget to do it and have a good Christmas everyone.

Dec 31st 2013... It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...but it was only the tale of one city, Edinburgh. Our festive fixtures got off to a fantastic start as we trounced Hearts at Tynecastle for the sixth time in a row, almost certainly meaning that we will finish above them and avoid the relegation spot this season. We were even looking above us in the table for a few days, until of course we were brought back down to earth with a bump a few days later at Easter Road. That said, I think the score line was pretty harsh, we didn’t deserve to win, far from it, but Hibs were never three goals better than us. I think one of the problems was our failure to change the starting line up to suit the team we were playing. It’s all very well to stick by a winning team, but Butcher obviously watched our Hearts victory and has always been tactically astute...so it was inevitable that he would make sure the two youngsters playing wide were closed down which cut off the supply to our main threat, Boyd. That left their forwards free to concentrate on breaking down our defence which was never going to be much of a problem given the inconsistency of our full backs. Some sterling stuff from Pasca and Ashcroft at times but they were all too often left exposed and struggled to cope as a result. I’m glad the 19 points in 19 games thing is over now, AJ failed to equal the standard he set himself, but things are better than they were a few months back and we have to hope this is just a steep learning curve on his part.

Jan 7th 2014... Exactly like the Christmas period the New Year has so far been a mixed bag with a win at home to St Mirren and a defeat at the hands of Aberdeen. We seem to be able to take points from the teams hovering around the foot of the league table but not so much the ones which are higher ranked. It has to be said, at least we are winning a few now and then and in general terms our all round play has improved, I have still not given up hope that one Johnston at the club may not be an abject failure (not counting wee Messi of course)! If you were in the vicinity of East Ayrshire on Monday you may have heard a cacophony of loud noises as thousands of Killie fans learned that Jackson Irvine’s loan deal was being extended and slapped their own heads in frustration. Normally I will refrain from targeting individuals for criticism but I cannot for the life of me understand what the player offers the team that we do not already have. I mean he’s not rubbish in Tallon’esque proportions; he has got potential...but if we are going to field promising youngsters then why not just field more of our own? Other players released so far include the two Nigerian internationals, I seriously doubt we will ever hear the truth behind the signings of Idris and Gabriel, it would be far too embarrassing for the plum who jumped into the deal with two feet in the first place. All those wages down the tubes, it’s a good job he has roped someone into bailing him out in the interim.

Jan 14th 2014... We had a winter break whether we wanted one or not as it appears that the new SPFL rules are that you can do what you want if you have somewhere else you would rather be playing. Why even pretend it’s a break when you are actually away playing matches in sunnier climes? Not that anyone was bothered of course, we have had one win in the East End of Glasgow since the 1950’s and the form of the two teams does not inspire me to think that we would be taking much from Parkhead in the match that was postponed. There has been a lot of transfer talk doing the rounds with the window now open and we have to cross our fingers and toes that Nottingham Forest do not decide to come in for Kris Boyd. Losing him at this stage of the season would be devastating and even if we had managed to get Losa back I think we would have struggled without Boomer. AJ is still looking at Blackburn’s defender Yan Songo’o as a potential loan move but nothing has been agreed as yet. Everything seems to have gone rather quiet off the pitch as well at the moment with no announcements from any of the major players. The community ownership working party has a meeting scheduled for the end of this week so hopefully we will get some news emanating from that.

Jan 21st 2014... The Shortlees Thunderbolt chalked up his first goal for the first team in the dying minutes of Saturday’s grudge match in Maryhill. Young Robbie Muirhead, prolific in his rise the youth ranks, pounced on Boomer’s rebounded penalty kick to earn us a point in a game that didn’t exactly live up to the ‘Firhill for Thrills’ tag until the surprise equaliser. The team lines before the match certainly had a few supporters scratching their heads with the exclusion of right back Clohessey. It was assumed that we were trying something new with three at the back but it turned out that Jackson Irvine was selected to try and counter the runs of Higginbotham who had run us ragged in our last encounter. That must have seemed like a good idea for all of three minutes. On the whole it was not a great game of football, but there have been worse and there are some positives to take from it, mostly the inclusion of so many youngsters who have given the team a boost after such a bad start. Ashcroft is improving with every game and contained his man totally throughout the game; we also had Slater, McKenzie, Gros, Johnston and the aforementioned Muirhead not looking out of place or out of their depth. Kudos to Alan Johnston for electing to put Greg Kiltie on as a substitute on his 17th birthday, he looks another great prospect, it is such a shame that post match the manager chose to rip into our fans for not supporting the boys when it was blatantly clear that it was the chairman (as usual) and more so the management duo (and Jackson Irvine) who were actually getting the ear bashing.

Jan 28th 2014... Alan Johnston stuck by the majority of the his team that had taken a point at Firhill, with the increasingly impressive Greg Kiltie given the nod ahead of Chris Johnston as the only change to the starting line-up. We were only a quarter of an hour into the game when Sammy Clingan delivered a dangerous free kick into the box and young centre half Ashcroft popped up out of nowhere to direct the ball into the back of the net with a powerful header. There was just as much excitement at half time when Alexei Eremenko was welcomed back to the Theatre of Pies to do the half time draw; he’s trained with us for a few days and we are indeed trying to re-sign the Finnish international. If the two Johnstons can persuade Losa to come back at a wage we can afford then I’ll certainly be giving credit where it’s due because he is one of the best midfielders I have ever seen don the blue and white stripes. The second half saw Inverness up their game but there’s just not stopping Boomer Boyd at the moment and a lovely through ball by the Shortlees Thunderbolt opened up the Thistle defence and big Kris welcomed the chance to keep his scoring streak alive. He did miss a sitter shortly after but he was probably more disappointed with himself than we were. It was another welcome win and will give the team and the manager some much needed confidence going into Wednesday’s difficult match at Celtic Park.

Feb 4th 2014... Sadly for Killie I do not get to write this often, but well done Michael Johnston. I said last week there would be credit where it was due if we managed to secure the return of Eremenko and true to my word I am praising our much maligned chairman for not only bagging Losa until the end of the season, but for hanging on to goal machine Boyd which could be even more important in the long run. The Seattle Seahawks stunned the world (well, North America) last week by crushing Superbowl favourites Denver Broncos thanks to a defensive master class by their ‘Legion of Boom’; well our own legion of Boom gave Ross County an attacking master class on Saturday and rescued a point for us at a water logged Theatre of Pies. We must not be allowed to operate our sub-air under soil system during games because although it is rubbish at keeping the pitch frost free at any temperature below -4, it is meant to be the best at sucking water from the park in the SPF...and lord knows we’ve sucked plenty at the start of the season. We were well on top of the game for the first half hour and then the Staggies popped up from nowhere with two goals in a six minute spell that left us reeling. After the break we came out all guns blazing and Boyd (who was rested midweek at Parkhead in a 4’0 thrashing) got us back in the game almost immediately. It was tough going as the turf cut up badly though and even the mighty Eremenko struggled when he came on as a substitute for Kiltie in the 68th minute. Nah, of course he never, you can still see he has the touches and it was no surprise when Boomer netted the equaliser...these two in the same team can only mean good things for Ayrshire’s finest.

Feb 11th 2014... While there was nothing happening on the field last week in Killie World due to our early cup exit, there was definitely stuff happening off it. The Kilmarnock Futures consortium officially withdrew their bid for the club citing they had been close to doing a deal but giving a variety of reasons their withdrawal, the most obvious being an inability to find middle ground with our chairman. While it appears they will no longer exist as a consortium, I do not think we have heard the last of the high net worth individuals because if the desire to play a part in the future of the club is still there then they can stay involved with the Community Ownership Group Working Party which by now should have announced that they have also engaged with Michael Johnston and presented him with a letter of intent to purchase his majority share holding; the offer would be contingent on a fair valuation of the company and the completion of a satisfactory due diligence process’’ in other words, biting the bullet and paying the going rate. Formal efforts to raise the money will be launched in the coming weeks and it is hoped that the business community, both private and public, as well as community groups and supporters will get behind the COG working party and their aims. It’s time we got our club back, it’s time to get everyone pulling in the same direction and its time that we got some solid plans in place to make the club sustainable and stop living on a wing and a prayer.

Feb 18th 2013... It was a decent trip through to Dundee on Saturday, well for most of us anyway with the Burns’ bus being stopped no less than four times to ensure they were complying with the antiquated ban on alcohol brought about by some eejits who couldn’t hold their drink in the 1980’s. If there is a way to knock any of the fun out of the whole football experience, we are guaranteed to find it. Now I’m not saying that a few beers is necessary to enjoy yourself, but we are big enough and ugly enough to decide for ourselves what we imbibe pre-match, after all, there were thousands of fans in Dundee partaking of a drink or two in the hours up to kick off, but its fine as long as you are not on one of those dangerous bus things! The match itself was a pretty decent affair, Eremenko started in place of Kiltie, and as much as I rate Kiltie as a player and want to see him progress, it is Eremenko and I’m sure the lad will still get game time, he did suffer a knock after scoring in the Scotland Under 17 match at the Theatre of Pies. Dundee Utd took the lead against the run of play, in my opinion, after a slip by Irvine, but we got back into it with a long range strike from Losa. It was miles offside as it turns out but we got away with it. An audacious Boyd effort lobbed high into the air over the oncoming keepers head was turned into the net by either McKenzie or the Dundee Utd defender as it bounced on the line...but it’s been given quite rightly to Boomer. Slack defending on the flanks cost us another two goals and the chance of any points which on the whole seemed a bit unfair as I thought we were worth at least a point; good game though.

Feb 25th 2013... It was the proverbial game of two halves on Saturday with Killie dominating the first forty five minutes and Hibs coming back into the game after the break. Hit man Boyd turned provider with a sublime pass through to Rory McKenzie for the opening goal but both sides struggled to produce much on a very heavy pitch. Manager Johnston brought Kiltie on for Muirhead at half time but it was Butcher’s Hibees that struck next with an equaliser from loanee Haynes. The players we loaned in during the transfer window, Maksimenko and Karlsson, failed to make an appearance yet again, with the Sunderland winger not even making the bench. It is unclear whether there is a fitness or an injury issue but you have to wonder what the point of bringing them in was if they are not getting played. The heavily marked Losa ran out of steam in the 65th minute and was replaced by Gardyne who livened things up for the home side, but there was no further scoring and both teams must have been content with a point. The word on the street is that Chairman Johnston is ready to appoint two new directors prior to the upcoming AGM, the date of which has still not been announced. The club also seems to be trying to set up a ‘Community Involvement Board’ with local politicians and some handpicked fans, as an alternative to proper community ownership. The more cynical among us are thinking it is just window dressing, lip service to those demanding change...and nothing more than another management committee which, among other things, had the serious job of deciding what flavour of soup should be served in the chairman’s club. Community involvement is fine...but there has to be road map in place for something more substantial…whether it be in five months or in five years. If the chairman is serious about engaging with the community then he has to ensure that his exit strategy involves leaving the club in the hands of the only people who care...the fans.

Mar 4th 2013... Over 1,000 Killie fans made the trip to Paisley on Saturday, which is a few hundred down on the norm but still pretty decent, what a shame that the match was such poor fare. The less said about the first half the better, if the TV wallahs manage to get ‘highlights’ from that I will be truly amazed! We lost Clingan to injury and he was replaced with fans whipping boy Jackson Irvine, Eremenko was being crowded out of the game as well and never appeared for the second half. You have to feel for poor Slater who struggled bravely to hold the midfield together on his own. I honestly thought that things started looking a bit brighter in the second half, especially when Karlsson was brought on and looked promising down the right...but some really slack defensive play in midfield for Saints opener soon put the mockers on that. It was all downhill from there apart from a couple of decent efforts from Muirhead and Boyd, in fact the stats tell us we had two shots on target the whole game, not exactly exiting stuff that will get the fans scrambling for tickets for Saturday’s re-arranged game against already doomed Hearts. It looks like the club’s AGM, normally held in December, will be even later this year. Some documents have been lodged at Companies House, which will allow the accounts, due to be lodged by 28th February, to be delayed until 24th May. This alleged debt-busting deal must really be worth waiting for.

Mar 11th 2014... We used to joke on the bus to away games all the time about us being a second half team and it is starting to appear like a self-fulfilling prophecy! A lacklustre first half performance saw us take the lead courtesy of an own goal and lose it again before the pie stalls went into overdrive. A poor showing by all accounts but two goals in two minutes at the start of the second half from Boomer all but settled things. Granted Hearts pulled one back in the last twenty minutes but a Gardyne strike a few minutes later made sure of all three points against the doomed Edinburgh side, and we certainly need them after last week. It all appears to be happening off the park as well with a couple of English gentlemen posing with the chairman for pictures before the match, rumoured to be new investors to the tune of £50k each. It also looks like we are finally about to hear what has been agreed with the bank in terms of debt restructuring and possibly the introduction of the new community engagement board, which shall henceforth be referred to as the new management committee. Huge thanks go to all the Killie and Hearts fans that donated generously to the ‘Ellie and Laurie Fund’ bucket collection; the proceeds will be independently counted on Thursday and donated to the charity along with the £1k being front funded by the Killie Trust members.

Mar 18th 2014... The bookies were not far wrong making Celtic odds on favourites to win last Friday night’s league match at the Theatre of Pies and a second half hat-trick from Commons proved them right. There is no point in reflecting on a match which was for the most part a foregone conclusion, especially when some of the biggest news in the club’s recent history happened before it even kicked off. The club released a statement that covered several points, the crux of which was the sale of the hotel, four new directors being appointed and Billy Bowie taking over the remainder of our debt and converting that into equity in the form of unallocated shares...taking Michael Johnston’s overall share holding, who is standing down as chairman at the end of the season, to less than 50%. There is a lot to take in there and on the face of things being ‘debt free’ sounds like a great deal for the club, but the sceptic in me dictates a cautious response for now, I’ll be a lot happier when we know for sure who owns what and how we are going to cope with the loss of the cash flow from the hotel that the chairman has been telling us has kept the club afloat for many years. Less income, but of course no interest payments, so if we run the club well from here on in then Johnston, and even more so Billy Bowie, will deserve plaudits for negotiating this deal with the bank. Regardless of how it all went down the deal is done and we have to assess our situation from this point forward, there is no point in dwelling too much in the past. The most positive aspect for me is the introduction of the new directors who have reached out to the fans organisations already about trying to forge stronger ties between the club and the disenfranchised support. The prospect of Community Ownership seems to be even more viable now and what a difference it would be if we could work on a long term plan alongside the new board to find a solution that suits all parties concerned. It is great to have some real lifelong Killie fans that care about the club involved at that level again and I hope that all of us who were campaigning for regime change can see this as at least a starting point and get back to supporting the team who will need our backing as the season end draws nearer. See ya’ll in Aberdeen.

Mar 25th 2014... Aberdeen were still pumped up from their cup win last week, congratulations to them for that, so were always going to be a difficult prospect; that’s why it was a really pleasant surprise to take the lead at Pittodrie. Give the ball to Boydie anywhere within a 25 yard radius of the opposition net and nine times out of ten you end up with a goal. It may seem a simple concept but I am pretty sure that’s how we’ve managed to keep just ahead in our mini league of four battling to stay out of the play-off spot. I dread to think where we would be without him and I hope that the new board is already planning how to keep him at the Theatre of Pies for at least another season. I’m sick of the unimaginative media hacks linking him with a drop to a Championship side already! Our lead only lasted six minutes and it was eachy peachy for a while, but Aberdeen always looked the stronger side and inevitably scored with just over a quarter of an hour of the match left to secure all three points. Fortunately everyone else at the wrong end of the table did as well as us on the day. I have always been an advocate of giving Alan Johnston some time to get things right but the fans on the whole seem to have lost patience, with 76% in the latest Internet poll wanting change. Personally I think we should at least see the season out and reassess the situation then, there is no guarantee that bringing in someone new will make a difference, then again to be fair there is equally no guarantee that it would not. To reiterate what both the Trust and KFCSA statements said last week...let’s all get right behind the team for the remaining fixtures.

Apr 1st 2014... Missing home games was an extreme but legitimate tactic to try and force regime change; no one wanted to do it and those who did felt it was forced upon them as a last throw of the dice as all other avenues appeared closed. I cannot think of any other reason, other than a family event, that I would choose not to go and watch my team, which is why I find it hard to understand some now saying they are not going back because we are rubbish. I’ve watch Killie for over a quarter of a century now and I think it is fair to say that for a large part of that we have not exactly been knocking on the door to get into the Champion’s League. You would think the majority of our fans would be pretty used to humdrum and below average performances for the most part. I have been lucky enough to see us lift two national trophies in my lifetime and while those days will always rank as some of my finest memories as a Killie fan, I do not think that the prospect of a repeat is what keeps me going. Take Saturday for instance; the first half was pretty grim and not much of a spectacle from our perspective. The dying seconds saw us go a goal down and there were a few choice shouts from our end as the teams left the field. Fair enough, at least they came to the game so if they felt we were under performing then it is surely their prerogative to let the players know. Not so good doing it during play in my opinion, but you’re always going to get that as well. The game turned for me when Barbour was brought on for Clohessey, which may seem a bit strange considering he is a full back, but he seemed to instil a sense of urgency into our play and the others responded. A great through ball by Irvine saw McKenzie score a quality equaliser and Losa had us all off our seats with an audacious chip that skimmed the bar...but just when we thought it was all over and had settled for a well-deserved draw, Slater took on the Motherwell defence himself and rattled in a 95th minute winner which had the away support in raptures. You see, its moments like that which make it all worthwhile, that few seconds of elation which touches every supporter and makes all the effort and all the other disappointment fade into obscurity. Watching the players go mental like it actually means as much to them as it does to you. Its moments like that which define us and sets us apart from those content with watching the EPL on the telly in the pub and cheering halfheartedly when some bloke on £300k a week manages to score from the half way line. There is no substitute for the real thing, win lose or draw you can’t beat a super Killie away day.

Apr 8th 2014... The closing weekend of pre-split fixtures saw Killie deservedly lose to St Johnstone and St Mirren’s victory ensures there is a five team battle for the dreaded play-off spot. Following a fine away win at Motherwell the home fans were looking for a repeat performance and initially that looked quite possible. However once the Perth side equalised they dominated proceedings and the poor Killie performance was a harsh reality check that there is a load of work still to be done. In previous years there has been very little separating up to nine or ten teams in the Premiership but that is not the case this time around. The top six are clearly better than the bottom six and results throughout the season back that up. St Johnstone passed the ball better, had better movement off the ball and apart from the opening minutes they dictated the whole proceedings. The anger of the Killie fans appears now to be aimed towards the management team and it’s hard to make a case for them at present. The team lacks shape, motivation and there is little confidence around the stands. The financial consequences of dropping a league are unthinkable so let’s hope we can grab a few wins that will help us retain our top league status. Next season is the 50th anniversary of our famous league win and it would be a catastrophe if we didn’t celebrate the club’s finest achievement in the top division, We have a free weekend coming up but the first post-split fixture is at home to Partick a week later, hopefully a big crowd will turn up for what is a massive game.

Apr 15th 2014... You would think that my biggest problem last weekend would be how to avoid some rubbish Saturday afternoon activity in favour of spending some time with J.R. Tennent, Jeff Stelling and friends, but no, I had two games to choose from. Hurlford were playing the Meadow in Irvine in the first leg of the Junior Cup semi-final and Killie Under 19’s were facing off against Hearts in the Scottish Youth Cup semi-final at Tynecastle. To cut a long story short the youth tie won out in the end as there was always the chance of catching the second leg of the Junior game (or so I thought at the time as it appears to be scheduled for the same time as our league game against Partick). The club ran a bus up to Edinburgh but our lot opted to head through in the car and go for some refreshments pre kick off...there was after all some numpty game on the telly. It was a glorious day for football and both sides looked well up for it, but a very young Killie side struggled to cope with their more experienced counterparts who seem to have benefited from plenty of first team action this season. We had Slater, Johnston and O’Hara in the starting line-up, but unluckily Slates was carried off injured, although we have since heard it is not too serious. It proved to be a blow to a side that was already minus the talents of the injured youth internationals Kiltie and the Shortlees Thunderbolt Robbie Muirhead, both of whom have been outstanding this year. To be fair the better side won through to the final in the end although 3’0 possibly flattered the home side. It was no disgrace and the boys did well to reach the semis for the second year on the bounce...one of these days we’ll get a home tie! Everybody and their granny get to the Theatre of Pies next week for the Partick game, let’s get behind the team and get some points in the bag.

Apr 22nd 2014... Saturday turned out to be a great day for football, unfortunately not a great day of football. The first half of the game was dire and hardly worth mentioning other than to say we were lucky to come out of it with no casualties, in the crowd that is, dying of boredom. Both teams upped the tempo in the second half however and the game at least proved a bit better to watch, a bit may be an exaggeration. I did not have any fears about ending up in the playoff spot until I watched this game, now I am not so sure. We played like a team whose confidence is gone, like individuals unable to link up as a cohesive unit. Jackson Irvine seemed to be the only player with a sense of urgency about him (apart from possibly Eremenko) but he had been selected to play wide on the left and kept getting drawn inside to the extent that we had no outlet on that side and to be fair, little on the right either. Eremenko struggled to find anyone to pass the ball to when in possession and that resulted in a lot of high balls being aimed at Boydie...and I doubt he won the ball in the air all day. We are not playing to our strengths and not utilising our biggest assets properly, tactically we seem to be all over the place and Partick took advantage of that and all three points, deservedly. Our substitutes were brought on far too late to have an effect, and when is it going to sink in that Muirhead is a striker, not a left winger! We are now in the territory of every game being a cup final, clichéd but true. We need to get the fans behind the team and be that twelfth man, I’m sure those of us heading to Dingwall will be in good voice.

Apr 29th 2014... As ever it proved to be a great away day to Dingwall on Saturday, ruined only by an abysmal ninety minutes of football right in the middle of proceedings. Individually we have as many, if not more, talented players in the squad as any other team (with the exception of moneybags Celtic) but at the moment they are not playing as a team and they certainly don’t seem to be playing for the manager. It can’t just be the tactics, or lack of them; and I have given up to a certain extent trying to figure out what formation we are playing. I also cannot for the life of me understand why we have a natural left winger in Chris Johnston sitting on the bench and absolutely no on field presence in the left wing at all. Boomer must be heartily sick of the lack of service he is getting, the one chance he had on Saturday he stuck away as expected. The central midfield is virtually static and while we could afford to stick by a quality player like Eremenko, it’s pointless having him in there when there is no pace around him and no one making themselves available for the ball...Pasca may be fearless but by his own admission his midfield days are gone. The only real outlet we had that I could see was by virtue of Rory McKenzie out on the right, and we failed time and time again to utilise him to our advantage. I’ve stuck up for AJ in the past as I believe that everyone should be at least given a chance to make an impact on the team but it is looking like the only impact has been a negative one and we are now literally in prime position for a play-off spot having gained even less points than lowly Hearts had they not received a points deduction. The Jambos did us a favour on Sunday beating Hibs, let’s hope they do us another this week by having an off day, as they have so often in recent history, when we turn up at Tynecastle next week. Is it time up for ‘Magic’ and his assistant Clark? An easy decision for the fans I think, but a more difficult one for the new board, I hope they make the right choice; all we can do is turn up and back the team and hope that we forge ahead of the rest of the pack.

May 6th 2014... So much for the Jambos having an off day, our team failed to turn up at all! The law of averages was always against a seventh straight win at Tynecastle, but even our biggest critics could never have predicted such a cave in. After the Dingwall game I was starting to get nervous, now I have to say I am bricking it as with two games to go we still have no shape whatsoever and the majority of our players look as if they don’t know what they are meant to be doing. Still, Michael Johnston gave his namesake a resounding vote of confidence at the AGM on Monday and was happy to be quoted as saying ‘keep calm and carry on’ despite AJ admitting that with only two games go he still does not know his best XI. Killie fans, I totally understand your frustration but barracking the management can now achieve nothing, let’s get right behind the players in the last two games.

May 13th 2014... I think it is fair to say from a fans perspective that we had a glorious finish (two 1’0 victories over the Buddies & the Hibees) to an inglorious season. I do not think that anyone is going to be waxing lyrical about our ninth place finish this season, but the scenes of joy in the Killie end at Easter Road were unbridled, brought about mainly by a sense of relief...and of course a goal from Boomer. When they are working out what to offer him (Boyd) for next season they should throw the keys to the town into the mix. We could also do a lot worse than figure out how to keep a hold of Losa (Eremenko) now that he’s fit and starting to fire on all cylinders again. It was not a nice position to be in but for us at least it ended well. If Hibs do go down what price would I get on an expanded Premier League being touted next year? Well done to our team!

May 20th 2014... It has not been so much of a roller coaster season, more of a death slide with the odd bump and a soft landing. The highlights were threefold, boxing day at Tynecastle, the aforementioned soft landing at Easter Road and the introduction of new directors so we no longer have a one man board...which results in a season ticket for me again (on sale now folks). The low-lights are too numerous to catalogue but include 90% of our results, dreadful managerial decisions and that fact that fans were forced to take matters into their own hands to effect change, which caused all sorts of ill feeling. The manager’s report card does not make for good reading, two out of ten from me, one for Tynecastle and one for the last two league games. He’s been given the green light for next year so we can but hope that his signings are vastly better than last year and as a result we get some improvement on the pitch. My player of the season is Kris ‘Boomer’ Boyd; I can’t see anyone arguing with that. My expectations for next season depend entirely on whom we manage to sign in the next few months. If we keep Boyd and Eremenko and continue to give our young guns a chance...clear out the dead wood and bring in some quality...then we should in reality be able to make top six. More of what we had this year though and I fear the worst, especially with no Hearts as a get out of jail free card. My priority signings, after Boyd and Losa, would be a left back who can defend and a solid centre back to play alongside Ashcroft...I could go on. This whole campaign has been dogged by negativity and it has been difficult not to get dragged down by it, a whole load of fans had just had enough of how the club was being run and things went rapidly downhill from there, which was not helped by poor performances on the park. I won’t be the only person who will be glad to see the back of 2013/14, but here’s hoping that it was a low point we’d reached that had to happen before we could start to turn things around, much like when we got relegated (1988’89) to the Second Division and Fleeting came in, only let’s be thankful we didn’t have to go that far this time. There is a chink of light at the end of the tunnel with new blood coming into the boardroom, let’s try and make that count. If the new board are astute enough to work with the Killie Trust and the KFCSA to re-engage with the fan base then we could have a bright future to look forward to after all...but be patient, these things do take time and there are many rivers still to be crossed.


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