Killie Manager History
Take a look back from Willie Waddell in the 50"s, who brought the
Scottish League title to Rugby Park... to ... Bobby Williamson, who led
Killie back into Europe, and a Scottish Cup win...... And of course our
present manager ...
Promoted to team manager in the early 1920's from club
secretary. A selection committee had previously picked the team in those days.
Hugh previously had been an assistant manager with Glasgow Rangers. He led
Killie to the
1928-29 Scottish Cup. Was fired in Dec 1937 after a string of bad
McGrory 1937-40 A former Celtic great who scored 410 goals in 408
appearances. Jimmy was Killie's manager from 1937-1940 (World War II
shutdown). Led Killie to the 1937-38 Scottish Cup Final. Went on to
manage Celtic from 1945-65. Jimmy passed away in 1982.
Tommy Smith 1945-47
Managed Killie from 1945-47, and resigned due to ill-health, and the
pressure of building a team from scratch after WW II.
Mather 1947-48 Previously secretary with
Bolton Wanderers & manager of both Newcastle & Leicester, prior to
managing Killie from 1947-48. Made little impact with Killie. Tom's
claim to fame was introducing Stanley Matthews, with his first club
Hastings 1948-50 A former Scottish international that had won the
English League while with Sunderland as a player. Alex became the 3rd
straight "dud" and lasted only 2 years between 1948-50.
McDonald 1950-57 The only manager to have been the manager twice.
Appointed in May 1950, led Killie to the Scottish League Cup Final as a
Division "B" team. in 1953 Led Killie to promotion at the end of the
1953-54 season. Then led Killie to the 1957 Scottish Cup Final, where
favoured Killie lost to Falkirk (after a replay).
Left after the Cup Final to accept the managers position with Brentford,
where Malky had no success.
Do You Remember Malky McDonald
Waddell 1957-65 Willie was appointed manager in July, 1957. He was
one of the greatest wingers of all time, playing for Rangers and
Scotland, and he led Killie to their greatest-ever triumph, the
1964-65 League Championship.
It was Waddell who introduced
full-time football to Rugby Park, and the 60s were great years for the
club, as the famous blue and white stripes were known throughout
Europe and the USA.The championship victory in 1965 was all the sweeter
as the club had been runners-up four times in the league, twice in the
League Cup and once in the Scottish Cup final.
Willie Waddell had a strong
personality and announced he was leaving the club at the end of the
season in October, 1964 after a 5-2 victory over Celtic at Rugby Park,
to pursue a career in journalism. He returned to football as manager of
Rangers in 1969 and later became a director of the Ibrox club.
McDonald 1965-68 Took over for a second time, from Waddell in 1965
and was boss until March 1968 leaving the Board of Directors to appoint
trainer Walter McCrae as the new manager.
Led the club to the European Fairs Cities Cup Semi Finals in 1968 (Vs
Do You Remember Malky McDonald
McRae 1968-73 Walter joined Killie as trainer in 1956 and was also
International team trainer for many years. Walter's training duties were
(pictured left) who still helps in
this role as of season 2001-02.A strict disciplinarian he formed a fine
partnership with Willie Waddell and Killie were always reckoned to be
the fittest side in Scotland. Walter was unfortunate during his time as
manager, the club due to financial pressures decided to go from full
time to part time. Walter left the club in 1973 and returned in 1980 as
Secretary, before retiring in November 1991.
Walter was awarded an OBE in 1992. Walter passed away in Sept 2006, aged
77 years old.
Do You Remember Walter McRae
Fernie 1973-77 Replaced Walter McRae as manager. Willie who had
enjoyed a fine career as
a player at Celtic, St Mirren and Middlesboro
and also played twelve times for Scotland. Willie was coaching at Celtic
at the time of his appointment, and he was a great advocate of open
attacking football just like he played himself. During the promotion
winning season of 1973-74 Fernie's Killie scored 96 goals. Fernie was
known as one of the finest dribblers ever, sadly this is an art we
seldom see in the modern game. Willie was first manager to take the club
into the Premier League but the attacking gun' ho style of play did not
work and the side were on the receiving end of many defeats. Willie was
manager at Killie four years leaving in October 1977, Willie turned his
back on football and for many years worked as a taxi driver in Glasgow.
Willie Fernie was replaced as Killie boss by Davie Sneddon who had been
his assistant for four years. Willie sadly
passed away in June of 2011, a little over 3 weeks after the passing of
Sneddon 1977-81 Davie had been a great player with the club,
scoring with a header
on that great day at Tynecastle when the league title was brought to
Rugby Park in 1965.
A quiet, unassuming type of manager, Davie took the club back to the
Premier League, and one of his greatest triumphs was winning, against
all odds, the Tennent's Caledonian
Cup pre-season tournament at Ibrox,
fighting back from two goals down with minutes left and eventually
winning on penalties. Davie left the club in January 1981, and was later
manager of Stranraer for a good number of years, before returning to
Rugby Park where he now works on match days in the club's hospitality
Do You Remember Davie Sneddon
Clunie 1981-84 Former Aberdeen and St Mirren centre-half Jim
Clunie was appointed his successor in 1981. He had previously been
coach at Southampton,
and a very successful manager at Love Street.
Jim was on of the first Killie managers to have a no 2, working with
him. Davie Wilson (left). Jim
was unable to halt the slide, and the team was relegated only for him to
lead them back to the Premier League the following season with players
like Brian Gallagher, John Bourke and Alistair McLeod among the leading goalscorers. The next season proved a bad one for Killie, and back in
Division One in September 1984, Jim Clunie left the club to work in the
local fire station where he was for many years before retiring in 1998.
Jim sadly passed away in May of 2003.
Morrison 1984-88 Appointed Killie
Manager in October 1984 to replace Jim Clunie. Eddie Morrison was a
braveheart as a player - the kind of guy you always wanted in your team
and the old but true saying "Playing for the Jersey" certainly applied
to him. As a Manager he felt passionately about the Club. He just failed
to gain promotion and then just escaped relegation on the last day of
the following season. Eddie rated defeat at Inverness as a real low
point in his life. He left Killie with a sad heart in November 1988 and
later became Assistant Manager at Morton. Eddie Morrison was and will
always be one of the great Killie Legends.
Eddie sadly passed away in May of 2011, at the
young age of just 63.
Do You Remember Eddie Morrison
Fleeting 1988-92 Kilmarnock
Football Club was at a every low ebb with gates as low as 1,800 when new
boss, Jim Fleeting, was appointed. Jim had been a player with Norwich
City, Ayr, Morton, Clyde, a brief spell in the States with Tampa Bay
Rowdies and, of course, Knockentiber. He came to
Rugby Park after
serving a short apprenticeship in management with Stirling Albion which
proved to be very successful. Fleets swept into
Rugby Park with great
enthusiasm and although the Club were fighting relegation early on in
the season, it was a bitter blow to lose out on the last day of the
season. How many of you can remember winning
6-0 at Queen of
the South in the last game of the season and sill going down? The team
bounced back the
following season with that never to be forgotten last game of the season
Davie MacKinnon's penalty against
Cowdenbeath took Killie back to Division One. The Club never looked back
from that day. Full time football was back and the
inspired signings of
Tommy Burns, who
played magnificently for the cause, and a centre forward - one
from Rotherham who exhibited the same commitment as Eddie Mo', were to
prove a major part in the revival of Kilmarnock Football Club. Killie
did not gain promotion to the Premier League! Jim Fleeting left the Club
in April 1992 to be replaced by
Tommy Burns and another great chapter in
Killie Managers began.
1992-94 Tommy was appointed manager in
April 1992 by Jim Fleeting who pulled a masterstroke by signing him
while Killie were still in the Second Division (don't I just love Jim
Fleeting?) Tommy proved to be a brilliant signing for the club, playing
a major role in our revival. He continued to play and brought former
Stark back to Rugby Park as his assistant. Promotion to the
Premier League was achieved in season 1992-93 with a
draw against Hamilton at Rugby Park before
of almost 13,000.The following season the club retained their Premier
status on the last day of the season with another
Killie sides were based on hard work, with one Bobby Williamson at times
being a one-man forward line. Tommy's contribution to the Killie cause
should never be underestimated. He joined the club in the Second
Division as a player and left the club as manager of a team in the
Premier League. It was very sad that Tommy left the club in the
circumstances he did. When he left to join Celtic in the summer of '94,
the very experienced Alex Totten took over the reins.
After Burns took the Celtic manager's job in
1994.he went on to only lose once in the
1995-96 league campaign, but still couldn't live with Rangers.
Unsuccessful at Reading, Tommy became Scotland's assistant manager,
under Berti Vogts, and worked in the Celtic youth
Thursday May 15th 2008, will sadly be remembered as the day that Tommy lost
his battle against skin cancer. To a generation of Killie fans he will
be remembered as one of the best players they ever saw don the
stripes...RIP TB. Please find David Ross's tribute to "TB" -
Do You Remember Tommy Burns
to add to the
existing squad, and during his spell with the club, Rugby Park was
transformed into the amazing new stadium you see today. Alex retained
Premier League status for Killie during his first season, but was fired
in December 1996 after Killie went to the bottom of the SPL. Alex went
on to join Falkirk whom he had managed previously.
It was an amazing coincidence that Totten was to lead Falkirk to the
1997 Scottish Cup Final
same season, to be met by a Killie side led by Bobby Williamson. Some of
the memories of that great day will be the sight of Alex in his kilt
leading out his Falkirk players, and how their supporters made it a real
Totten (right) 1994-96 Alex had
been manager of St Johnstone, assistant
at Rangers, Dumbarton and East Fife. He first met with the Killie squad
at the ground of Galway United on a pre-season Irish tour. He made
various notable signings including
Williamson 1997-2002 Bobby was appointed boss after a brief
as caretaker. This was a popular decision with the supporters, and after
only a short spell at the helm, the Scottish Cup returned to Rugby Park,
was back Bobby went on to take Killie into Europe
4 out 5 seasons and a second major Cup Final appearance, the CIS in
2000-01. Kilmarnock also had several Scottish Internationalists during
Bobby's reign: Ian
Gary Holt &
Feb 2002 Bobby was the SPL's longest serving manager, and despite having
signed a contract extension months earlier, he resigned that month to
take the vacated Hibernian job. ..."Everybody
has been saying that we have all got a shelf life in the game. Sometimes
it is better moving on your own terms and I felt it was time to move on.
Maybe the fans were getting fed up of my big fat face. It might be good
to have someone new in. "... Bobby
Williamson Feb 25th 2002.
subsequently left Hibs in Apr 2004 for Plymouth. Bobby was then fired
after a few weeks of the 05-06 season, by Argyle.
Do you remember Bobby leaving & JJ arriving? -
Do you Remember Bobby Williamson
to join his coaching team. His
first match was a 3-2 come from behind win over Dundee, with Jim
putting on super-sub
Andy McLaren. to score two super goals ! In
2002-03 Jim led Killie
to 4th place SPL finish & a record number of points...57.
Jefferies 2002-2010 Jim was appointed along with Billy Brown on
Feb 28th 2002. "We've
all got the same aim, we're not all on different wave-lengths, we're all
sharing the same cause and that's to get Kilmarnock up there
challenging, making them a big club."
His first decision was to ask
Dec 2002 SPL Manager of the Month
Jim had previously brought an end to
years of trophy-less disappointment at Tynecastle when
he shrewdly-assembled Hearts won the 1998
That secured him a job with Premiership
Bradford, but he has been most impressive when working within limited
budgets. Prior clubs managed Berwick,
In Aug of 2004 Jim was awarded a 3 year contract extention taking him
through 2007, he then rewarded Jim Moffat's faith with a
1-0 win Hibs on the opening day of the
In Jan of 2006 both Jim & Billy Brown (left) signed new contracts keeping them in
charge, at Rugby Park
through 2009. The management team that year (2005-06)
guided Killie to a "top 6" SPL finish, and did not lose to a team below
them all year in the league!
Jim celebrated his 2,000th day in charge of the Killie on Aug 21st 2007,
with Killie tied for 2nd in the SPL after 3 matches of the 07-08 season
Jim Jefferies won the Clydesdale Bank Premier League manager of the
month for August 2008, after an unbeaten (& un-scored upon) start to the
The final word
of this feature
is left to former manager Bobby Williamson, who
said: ...."Every manager has played his
part in the revival of this club in some way or another. So have the
players, directors and, most importantly, the supporters." This is what
makes Kilmarnock Football Club so special."