I thank Willie Coffey for bringing the debate to the Parliament. I congratulate Kilmarnock FC on their 150th anniversary. I cannot believe that I wore a blue suit on the day when we are having this debate—my colours are usually black and white. I may not have mentioned this before, but I am a St Mirren supporter. In 2017, we were 140 years old, and we will probably join Killie in eight years’ time in being 150 years old.
One of the big things about the debate is the importance of football to our nation. Not only is it our national sport, but these clubs are the heart and soul of many of the communities that we live in. As politicians, we should embrace that more than we do, because football clubs could help us with much of the work that the Parliament does on that side of things. Perhaps we should engage them more fully in that.
Members might be surprised to learn that I actually do some research for my speeches. While I was doing research for this debate, I found out that, between 1887 and 1890, Kilmarnock’s strip was black and white stripes with black shorts and black socks. That sounds like a perfect colour scheme that Kilmarnock should have kept. At the same time, St Mirren had a black and white strip with blue shorts and blue socks.
There are many things that connect St Mirren and Kilmarnock, not least the fact that, when Morton and Ayr are not in the same division, St Mirren v Kilmarnock is our ne’er’s day game—our derby game—because Kilmarnock is just a quick drive down the road. At this point, I would like to apologise to Willie Coffey for various Adam family soirées in Kilmarnock on ne’er’s day, when the new year parties have continued after the match. The town’s football club might have been started in the temperance hotel but, in the past, “temperance” was a foreign word to some of my family members.
If we look at the results of games between St Mirren and Kilmarnock, we see that Killie are winning 87-84, which is roughly 50:50. Another connection between the two clubs is the fact that the current manager of Kilmarnock, Steve Clarke, started his career with St Mirren, before going on to Chelsea.