Kilmarnock Football Club 150th Anniversary

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 7th February 2019.

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Photo of Brian Whittle Brian Whittle Conservative

I congratulate Willie Coffey on securing time to debate and celebrate 150 years of Kilmarnock Football Club.

I am more than delighted to contribute to the debate and I must declare an interest, because I was a coach at the club in the mid-1990s when Alex Totten was manager. There were some great names about at that time—for example Bobby Williamson, who went on to manage the club up to the great cup win in 1997; Gary Holt, who was pivotal in the 1997 cup win; and Monty—Ray Montgomerie—who was also there. It is great that he still has a prominent role at the club. There was also Paul Wright, who had recently entered the club and went on to score the only goal in that final.

Getting to do a little bit of work with the team at that time was a privilege.

We have been discussing who we support, and my support for football clubs is fairly diluted—Kilmarnock is only one of the teams that I support. I moved to Kilmarnock—and did a bit of coaching there—from Ayr. As Willie Coffey will testify, and as I discovered, the rivalry between Rangers and Celtic is not the biggest in Scottish football. I did not know that at the time but, having moved to Kilmarnock, I was told about it by several people when walking down the street in Ayr.

I recognise and welcome how fantastically well Kilmarnock is doing this season. It is intriguing to think that, in the not-too-distant future, the local rivalry with Ayr United Football Club, which is doing well in the division below, will perhaps enhance the top tier of Scottish football. I go infrequently to football matches, but an Ayr v Killie game is one that I want to be at.