It wasn't late December back in ’63 but Saturday 20th May 2017 will long be remembered by all those who attended the fantastic evening to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Killie winning the Scottish Cup. The Grand Hall was looking splendid with all the tables beautifully decorated and special 20th anniversary scarves awaiting every guest.
The Scottish Cup was sitting proudly on display with blue and white ribbons - it is fortunate that the current sponsors of the tournament have those as their corporate colours! Interestingly the cup now has to be accompanied by it's own 'steward' who ensured that it wasn't lifted and finger printed by any over eager fans - it may look like David Sneddon Jnr. has become the first Killie Sneddon to lift the trophy in one of photos, but the steward wouldn't allow him to do that!
The Chairman of the KFCSA, James Morrison, welcomed everyone on behalf of The Killie Trust, Young Kilmarnock (can they be Young Killie now?) and the Supporters Association, introducing the host and compere for the evening, Gordon Sherry, brother of KFCSA Secretary Iain. Gordon immediately roused the fans and explained how he was Killie’s biggest fan - because he is 6 foot 8 inches tall!
The legends from ’97 were then introduced and each of them interviewed in turn by Gordon. It was quite apparent that one of the most abiding and cherished memories from twenty years ago was the welcome the team received from the people of Kilmarnock when the conquering heroes returned, especially in John Finnie Street. It then seemed there was a technical issue with a link to “The Boss” Bobby Williamson - however Bobby then appeared amongst us to the tones of the Top Cat theme, that had a few people confused.
It was obvious who the real characters in the squad were particularly the one man party animal Dylan Kerr who looked resplendent in his ’97 blazer. Gary Holt also explained how he got his famous Killie tattoo. The atmosphere was electric as everyone watched special videos from 1997's version of Oliver and Hardy, Burke and Bagan, the Biffy Clyro lads and from Mrs Paper Roses herself, Marie Osmond, who must arguably be Killie’s most famous fan.
A wonderful meal was then served by Alistair Hood (owner of the Coffee Press) and his team from Cottage Catering. It's the latest venture by the Killie chef and by all accounts if they continue to provide a service like that then they are sure to chalk up another success.
During the evening the players and staff from ’97 (particularly Paul Wright and Raymond Montgomerie ) were very patient and obliging signing Killie memorabilia and posing for pictures both with and without the trophy. Everyone was given the chance to secure some great items both in the raffle and in the auction. It did seem though that auctioneer Gordon Sherry had no idea who the Electric Light Orchestra was...he kept referring to them as “Elo” rather than E.L.O. It was even funnier to learn that Club Director John Kiltie was so successful with his bids that he had to re-organise his holiday plans after successfully securing said tickets!
The band Dream Catcher were soon treating everyone to some great music including hits from Texas and Deacon Blue as well as Frankie Valli’s classic, telling us what a night it was. The night ended with a wonderful rendition of Killie's unofficial anthem, Paper Roses, everyone joined in and it was like the end of a wedding. The evening was one of the best evenings ever for Killie supporters - organised by the fans for the fans. Grateful thanks are due to the organising Committee of Iain Sherry, Gerry Stanley, Sharon Caldwell, Allen Kyle, Tracey Grant and the incomparable DJ Jax (Gerry's better half).
We now have the 150th anniversary of the founding of the club to look forward followed by the 10th anniversary of DVT Day which co-incides with the Silver Anniversary of May ’97 - here's hoping we have many more occasions to celebrate!