Signed for Killie: 1961
Previous Clubs: Saxone Ams
Position: Right Full Back
Club Honours: 1964-65 Scottish Division 1 Winners Medal, 1961-62 League Cup Runners Up Medal
First Game: March 31, 1962 in a 3-3 draw with Aberdeen, at the age of 19.
Last Game: A substitute against Motherwell in a league game on Jan 8th 1972.
After Killie: Retired (Coached Bellfield Ams)
International Honours: One appearance for the Scottish League Select and gained three caps at under-23 level.
Other Career Highlights: A club record 21 appearances in Europe.
Small in stature but with the heart of a lion. That is an accurate description of former Kilmarnock FC defender Andy King who died 23rd February 2015, aged 72. Not only did he achieve the dream of signing for his local team, he played a major part in the club’s biggest ever achievement – winning the Scottish First Division Championship in season 1964-65.
How sad that Andy was not part of the 50th anniversary celebration of that memorable occasion later that year.
His performances as a teenager with Saxone Amateurs soon caught the attention of Rugby Park scouts, and after being farmed out for a spell to Dreghorn Juniors, he became a full-time player with Killie, signed by Willie Waddell.
He made his debut for the club on March 31, 1962, in a 3-3 draw with Aberdeen when he was only 19 years of age. That was to be the start of an illustrious career with Kilmarnock FC, including that memorable last day league win at Tynecastle and appearances in the famous blue and white jersey against the likes of Eintracht and Real Madrid.
In fact, Andy holds the record for European appearances for a Killie player, having played 21 times in European tournaments, a record that is unlikely to be beaten. In total, he made 296 starts in a Killie jersey and a further three from the subs bench, scoring seven goals in his Killie career.
In that 1964-65 Championship season, he missed only one of the 34 fixtures on the road to the league title.
Another highlight in his playing career came in September 1964, when he played in the memorable 2-1 win over Eintracht at Rugby Park.
His talent was also recognised at national level where he made one appearance for the Scottish League Select and gained three caps at under-23 level.
When Killie reverted to part-time football at the end of the 1971-72 season, Andy retired from the game, aged just 29.
But he will always be part of the Killie folklore, and he enjoyed his reunion meetings every now and again with surviving members of that unbelievable league winning side.
Another legend gone – but never forgotten. A statement from Kilmarnock FC said: “We regret to inform our fans that former player and 1965 League Championship winner Andy King has passed away. The club understand Andy passed away suddenly but peacefully at his home in Kilmarnock on February 23 aged 72. Everyone at Kilmarnock Football Club offers their sincere condolences to Andy’s family and friends at this sad time.”
“It was an experience that I’ll never forget,” said the right back. “To get to the final day of the season and have a chance of winning the league was a great position to be in.
“When Davy scored the opening goal with a header, we thought that there was no way that we were going to get beaten, and things got even better when Brien (McIlroy) popped up with the second.”
Andy said that although the team struggled in the four or five games before the final day decider, the players were always confident that they could get the result they needed at Tynecastle. He explained: “I suppose we were a bit fortunate that other results went our way in those final few games, but we still had to go there and do the business.
“And although we were confident that we could get the result we needed, we couldn’t quite believe at the end of the 90 minutes that we had won the Scottish First Division title for the first time in the club’s history.
“We had come close in the previous five years, having come second on four occasions, but this was the big one.
“The happiest man among us was probably Willie Waddell, who had finally managed to get a championship win for Kilmarnock.”
Although the members of that league-winning team came nowhere near earning the money that’s available today, they can take great pride in what was a magnificent achievement.
And their reward? Said Andy: “I think our bonus for winning the league was £250 – and we had to fight for that!”