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Bullitt    685

DON'T BACK DOWN Former Kilmarnock boss Kenny Shiels claims the authorities were out to get him during his time in Scotland
The Northern Irishman who is now in charge at Derry City says the Killie fans loved him because he never backed down.

 

THIRTY years now a coach and manager, Kenny Shiels is one of the most colourful, outspoken characters in football.

The problem for this passionate Northern Irishman is his image often overshadows his impressive achievements in the game.

 

Shiels, though, is a fighter — and he’ll never keep quiet if he believes he’s been wronged or if he feels his club has suffered an injustice.

The 61-year-old revels in the status of underdog, it brings out the very best in him and for almost two years he has been devoted to making Derry City a team to be feared in the League of Ireland.

But even now he still gets Kilmarnock fans telling him they wish he was still in charge, four and a half years after he was sacked by vilified former club supremo Michael Johnston.

Shiels, remarkably, guided Killie to 2012 League Cup final glory over Celtic, a first league win over the Hoops at Parkhead for 57 years, became their first manager to beat Rangers twice in one season and blooded a whole host of kids — including a 16-year-old Mark O’Hara.

All in the space of only two years in the Rugby Park hotseat.

However, there were also constant visits to Hampden to explain himself to the SFA, bitter jousts with referees and — for a grateful media’s benefit — a seemingly limitless supply of outbursts.

His paymasters began to grow weary of it all — and a ‘heartbroken’ Shiels was given his P45 by the Killie board for one too many confrontations with authority.

There were less than memorable spells in charge of Morton and obscure Thailand outfit BECO Tero Sasana before he got the call from the Candystripes in November 2015.

 

Now Shiels, who started dugout life with Coleraine & District league side Upperlands in 1987, feels back at his best.

And he told SunSport: “You self-educate and you try to learn as much as you can.

“That knowledge comes from experiencing things.

“Scottish football was fantastic for me on a number of fronts. I wouldn’t totally class myself as a wind-up merchant, although I am in certain aspects.

“It can be borderline between that and controversy. Controversy comes from the truth.

“In football management if you’re too truthful you can become a victim.

“I once referred to Celtic as the monsters of Scottish football and I meant it in the context of the size of the club.

“However, it was taken out of all context.

“I didn’t mean it that they were ogres or not pleasant people.

“For the Scottish FA to pull me over the coals for that was stupidity, absolute stupidity.

“Some of the achievements at Kilmarnock, though, were unbelievable before my departure.

“I think I became too popular at the club, which wasn’t the best thing.

“Killie will always be close to my heart. It’s a real football town and there’s potential there, but the lack of industry in the area doesn’t help.

“It’s a great club and I’ve great memories. I can’t say anything against anybody.

“I got 14 players into youth international squads and gave many first team experience

 

That meant as much to me as anything else I did at the club, including the League Cup.

“I did everything I could to get the town behind the club, including going out to local pubs to sell season tickets.

“When I eventually left, it was said our home record wasn’t great. But it wasn’t that bad.

“Our away record in my last season was unbelievable — we beat Aberdeen, Hearts twice, Celtic and Rangers.

“At Rugby Park we had too many draws and not enough wins and the chairman mentioned that as a reason for getting rid of me, but he didn’t mention the away form.

“We were within seconds of getting into the top six on a shoestring. My plan was to be long term at Kilmarnock.

“My dream was to bring through a team. I continue to get fans saying they wish I was still there and that’s nice, it means a lot.

“I mean that as no disrespect to Lee McCulloch. I always look out for the club’s results.

“By the end the authorities were out to get me, there’s no question.

“I took them on and to this day I feel I was in the right.

“I think the Kilmarnock supporters liked me because I was getting results — and I was fighting the corner of the club.”

Shiels is a heart and soul manager.

People can say what they like about him, they invariably do, but no one can ever question his commitment to any job he takes on.

 

And Shiels, whose 32-year-old son Dean is currently starring at Championship tabletoppers Dunfermline, has fond memories of where it all started for him as a coach while in his final years as a player.

He added: “Upperlands were a village team in the Coleraine District league, effectively junior football.

“They had council-owned facilities and it was a part-time job. We won the Cup that year and I loved it.

“It was for expenses only, really, but it was a way into a coaching career — and I couldn’t put a price on that.

“That was 1987 — and I’ve experienced so much since then, it’s been unbelievable but whether it’s Upperlands, Northern Ireland youths, Kilmarnock or Derry City, my viewpoint’s the same — I want to WIN.

“At Derry we’ve got a very young side. We’ve had to postpone league games because we’ve had five players away on youth international duty.

“The chairman’s backing me with the vision of building a mainly homegrown side, although it also helps keep the wage bill down.

“We’re frightening a lot of the big guns — Shamrock Rovers, Cork, Dundalk — despite the difference in finances being like day and night.

“Going with young players, of course, is high risk but the rewards are great too.

“Since March we’ve also had to play every game away from our Brandywell home because of stadium redevelopment.

“But we’ve had Europa League action and right now we’re fourth in the Premier and pushing as hard as we can.”

 

https://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/sport/football/1553582/kilmarnock-kenny-shiels-authorities-get-him/

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11 minutes ago, Oldkillie said:

Fruitcake

This deserves a red card. This man was an absolute legend. genuinely cared. I would give ANYTHING to have him back. if we brought him in this Friday evening we would get a result against Aberdeen on the Saturday. Set us up brilliantly. the last time we seen a manager employ tactics was Kenny Shiels.

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piffer    706

Loved him as manager. We were barely out of the papers back then because of him both positive and negative so imagine the value of a guy like that now when we are trying to reconnect with the fan base etc.

Being honest we were on the decline towards the end of his tenure. It would have been very interesting to see where he would have taken us the following season. I thought the quality of football wasn't what it was earlier in his reign and KS perhaps got too caught up at the time in this idea of a team built by the clubs youth system. Having said that it was a good time following the club and i wanted to see where he could take us.

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1 hour ago, MarkD1989KTID said:

This deserves a red card. This man was an absolute legend. genuinely cared. I would give ANYTHING to have him back. if we brought him in this Friday evening we would get a result against Aberdeen on the Saturday. Set us up brilliantly. the last time we seen a manager employ tactics was Kenny Shiels.

To be fair he was a bit mental.  But he was as an absolute legend and brilliant for the club. 

 

43 minutes ago, piffer said:

KS perhaps got too caught up at the time in this idea of a team built by the clubs youth system.

 To be honest I think we're more obsessed with this idea now.  To the point where we won't buy players in the 24 to 28 age bracket so we can develop the youths despite that being the exact age of player we're crying out for.  As someone said players in their prime. Not developing or in decline. 

Youths are the way forward but must be done right. 

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Bonbon19    41

Kenny was too left field for the Scottish football establishment of which one Michael Johnston wanted to be part of badly.

He played to the fans who wholeheartedly bought into his vision and this was his downfall as it appeared to threaten MJ's authority and when you're the effective dicatator there was only one winner .

In the  ensuing years the fayre on offer has been piss poor by comparison so our yearning for his return has been heightened but this but I wouldnt have him back . Let's remember him like you would your 1st love and promise to keep in touch knowing you've no intention of doing so 

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pmonty3    61

Always a method to Kenny's madness. Much missed and despite some of the greatest days in our history still underappreciated by some. 

If only he'd been allowed to finish the excellent job he started. 

An absolute hero of mine. 

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15 hours ago, piffer said:

Being honest we were on the decline towards the end of his tenure. It would have been very interesting to see where he would have taken us the following season. I thought the quality of football wasn't what it was earlier in his reign and KS perhaps got too caught up at the time in this idea of a team built by the clubs youth system. Having said that it was a good time following the club and i wanted to see where he could take us.

Agree with a lot of that. He still was able to pull interesting signings out of the bag, but the games toward end of season in particular were terrible to watch, and we were reduced to a bunch of teenagers and Boyd. The whole Harkins affair seemed to have done a lot of damage within the dressing room as well. I watched a Queen's Park match in the December of that season and was blown away by just how much more comfortable and efficient they seemed to be playing a passing game than Killie were.

Still, he brought character, excitement and some good times to the club and seemed to genuinely give a sh!t! 

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Zorro    458
10 hours ago, pmonty3 said:

Always a method to Kenny's madness. Much missed and despite some of the greatest days in our history still underappreciated by some. 

If only he'd been allowed to finish the excellent job he started. 

An absolute hero of mine. 

Absolutely. I remember the fuss on here and in the press when he said he was going to put Pasca on after a few minutes, after he'd been unfairly red carded imo in the previous match. He never had any intention of playing him, he just didn't want people thinking about who he'd play instead. 

Most of his outbursts were to take pressure of the players after a poor performance. Smart man management imo. 

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Zorro    458
16 hours ago, piffer said:

Loved him as manager. We were barely out of the papers back then because of him both positive and negative so imagine the value of a guy like that now when we are trying to reconnect with the fan base etc.

Being honest we were on the decline towards the end of his tenure. It would have been very interesting to see where he would have taken us the following season. I thought the quality of football wasn't what it was earlier in his reign and KS perhaps got too caught up at the time in this idea of a team built by the clubs youth system. Having said that it was a good time following the club and i wanted to see where he could take us.

I disagree that we were on the decline, in fact I'd say the preparation had begun to move us up a level. For many fans, SPL survival or scrapping into the top six had become the prize. I don't think that was enough for Kenny. He wanted to blood and battle harden as many of the kids as possible, because he knew how important they'd be if we were to start challenging regularly in cups and for European football. 

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Andy    134

Misunderstood, and got way too much abuse for missing out so narrowly on the top six, while blooding young players.

Oh how we can only dream of such heights now.

For 2012 LC Final win, even more so for winning at Celtic Park, and twice at Ibrox - Killie Legend.

Is he in our Hall of Fame ?

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Scouser2    169

Was not perfect , had his faults and caused some problems both on and off the pitch 

 

But judging by what us fans have had to endure in the seasons since he was removed ------its like night and day ----he at least had a plan and put in place ideas both for first team and youth level - there has barely been a handful of enjoyeable games under 4 different Managers since and no real lasting positive impact left by any of them on our club ---as yet

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Scooby_Doo    109

He truly, truly, gave a s**t. There was never any suggestion that we were a stepping stone for him. He knew Scottish football was stacked against us diddy teams, and wasn't afraid to say it.

He must be the only manager who has had his fans protest in numbers because he was sacked, not to get him sacked.

That says it all.

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jesper    58
24 minutes ago, diamond_geezer said:

Ah , got it now . Misunderstood genius . My bad . 

You seem desperate to get a bite :8:

His result speak for themselves, controversy aside, his style of play/team organisation/results are the best we've seen in recent years and certainly far superior to the current offerings.

Should never have been sacked.

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jamieboy    7
5 minutes ago, Dieter's Heeder said:

What went wrong for him at Morton? His last game there was a 10-2 defeat to Hamilton Accies. Not that I wouldn't love a manager capable of getting the team to score 2 goals mind.

I went to watch his Morton team a few times when it was international weekend and in my opinion he tried to get players that weren't good enough to play total football. Stuart Findlay was part of the team that lost 10-2 and Kenny had Barrie McKay on loan at one point too and they are better players now for it. Garry O'Connor turned out to be a bad signing.  

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