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BILL97

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  1. FOR historians looking back on this period, BC may one day come to take on a new meaning: Before Coronavirus. Already events that took place just two months ago feel like they belong to a different era entirely. Was it really just in March that we were packing into football stadia, shaking hands with everyone and going about what was considered our normal business? All feel like completely alien concepts already. It is little surprise, then, that Steve Clarke looks back on this time last year as if peering nostalgically into childhood memories. It was a seismic period in his professional life as one door closed at Kilmarnock – with Clarke picking up a raft of managerial awards on the way out – and another opened with the national team at Hampden. For a myriad reasons the subsequent 12 months have not passed entirely as he would have hoped or liked. Scotland are still in with a shout of reaching the rearranged European Championships next summer if they can navigate a way beyond Israel and then either Serbia or Norway in the play-offs, and that will be Clarke’s focus when that time eventually comes around. For now, however, football is very much secondary in his thoughts as he reflects on a tumultuous year. “It was a terrific end to the season for Kilmarnock and to finish third in the manner we did, in front of our own fans, was a moment I will never forget,” he said. “But it was also draining. I had no real time to draw breath on such a tense climax before I was offered the privileged opportunity to manage my country. “I think there was 48 hours between addressing the fans at full time against Rangers after finishing with the highest points tally in Kilmarnock’s history, to saying goodbye to [chairman] Billy Bowie and the players, hello to [Scottish FA chief executive] Ian Maxwell and then having less than a week to put together a squad for the qualifiers against Cyprus and Belgium. “I can look back now and enjoy the moment and the recognition from the Scottish Football Writers Association and PFA Scotland for the success we had as a team – the players, coaches and staff – at Kilmarnock. “I also said I wanted to be back up on the stage in a year’s time [at the awards] because it would have meant qualification for Euro 2020 but a lot has changed in that 12 months. “The most important thing at the moment is to put the situation Scottish football finds itself in into perspective. Covid-19 has changed life for us all and our immediate thoughts must be with those who have lost loved ones, or who have taken ill. “We also need to truly appreciate the efforts of our NHS in keeping us safe and the other key workers are who helping us to get through these difficult times. “I have purposely avoided interviews throughout because discussing football, or the selfish impact on us as coaches clamouring for the dug-out, seems inappropriate: there are far greater priorities in life right now.” Clarke admits he has found international management difficult at times but felt it wasn’t the right time to be grumbling unduly. “It’s been a challenge, I’m not going to lie,” he added. “But it pales into insignificance compared to people who have lost their jobs, who are on furlough, whose businesses are uncertain. It is trivial compared to those who are working day and night on the NHS frontline to keep people alive. So it’s not about coping, it’s about respecting the fact this pandemic is bigger than all of us and you have to do what everyone up and down the country is doing: heeding the advice, protecting your family, staying home and finding a new-found enthusiasm for fence painting and other domestic chores that you had previously always find a way of avoiding!” Clarke has kept in touch with the Scottish FA throughout the crisis but has left the players mostly to themselves for now. But he is eager to one day get back out there on the training ground. “I think we are now more used to keeping in touch via Zoom or WhatsApp but I feel that works better in a club environment, since domestic football will return before the international games. “Lockdown as a result of COVID-19 is a time for people to look after their immediate families and stay healthy. “I’ve kept in touch with the Scottish FA and get sent updates on what’s happening – I even took part in the Friday night quiz. It’s important players look after their families, prepare for returning at the appropriate time and I look forward to seeing them all in the flesh when it is safe to do so.” https://www.thenational.scot/sport/18454965.scotland-manager-steve-clarke-takes-stock-kilmarnock-success/
  2. AHEAD of Mental Health Awareness Week 2020, former Rangers striker Kris Boyd has opened up on his personal heartache following the tragic suicide of his brother. Boyd’s sibling, Scott, took his own life in September 2016 at the age of just 27, following a battle with depression. And despite the family being close the former Ibrox and Kilmarnock frontman admits he was totally unaware of his brother’s troubles. Following Scott’s death, the ex-Scotland international set up The Kris Boyd Charity to raise awareness of mental health issues and provide practical support to people experiencing anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. With cases of depression, anxiety and insomnia on the rise due to the current coronavirus crisis, Boyd is keen to share his story to help others through this tough time. He said: "Mental health awareness means so much to me. I want to be able to help people. I don't want any family to go through what we've had to go through. "It is mental health week coming up but the most important thing is that we treat every week as being a mental health week. It is that important. "When we come out of lockdown a lot of people will be looking for help and it's important that help is there. I urge anybody out there not to suffer alone. Please open up. "What happened to my family in 2016 with Scott. I got a phone call from Lee Clark, my Kilmarnock manager at that time. "My family had been trying to get a hold of me and couldn't get me. Lee told me that I needed to phone home and it just gives you that feeling in your stomach. It's just a sixth sense that tells you something has happened here. The world just ends. "After a passage of time I spoke to my mum and said I felt there was an opportunity to start a charity and help people. When I looked at what had gone on in our family and wanted to stop other families from going through it. "She initially said 'no,no,no' and maybe didn't want wounds opening up. Then a week passed and she phoned me up to ask if I had started that charity yet. She wanted me to do it. "I thought to myself there is something that needs to be done here and we wanted to make a difference. "The biggest thing for me is that I'm still learning about it all. It is vitally important to educate people on mental health, in terms of when people open up to you, do not reject them. "Listen to what they've got to say. If they open up and tell you they are struggling, be there for them. It will have taken a lot for that person to open up so be there for them in the best way you can. "When it happened to my family then I knew I had to open up my eyes and ears and educate myself to help people and families.” Speaking on The Lockdown Tactics Podcast, Boyd added that his brother would be proud of his efforts in helping to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health. He continued: "Yeah, it comes into my head. But I'd do anything in the world to have him back. The most important thing is that we keep going because I don't want anyone to go through what we've all been through. We're helping people. "I'm not saying we have a cure but I know we are helping people. I want to keep going. I want to get to a stage that gives us something, working with the kids and helping the kids is great. "We want to help people in Ayrshire, in Scotland and all over the UK. There is loads that can still be done. “We need to keep pushing on. There is a lot of focus on the virus but as we come out of this there needs to be a lot of focus on the mental health aspect." Boyd spent a number of years abroad without his family during a career where he netted 213 goals in 475 games. And despite enjoying his time at both the Portland Timbers in America and Eskisehirspor in Turkey, he insists the support has to be in place for footballers who are making major sacrifices for the benefit of their future. The 36-year-old added: "I missed the majority of my kids' life growing up. I was playing in Turkey and America and the family wasn't with me. My wife, Christine, was basically a single parent for a number of years. "That's when it hits home. I wasn't there as a father for my kids when they were younger. That's the sacrifices you make to have a career. "It's not until you finish and you look back and say 'Have I got the best relationship with my kids?' 'Did I do enough for my kids when they were growing up?' "Hopefully my kids, further down the line will realise what I tried to do for them and what I've done for them. "Everybody thinks that the life of a footballer is all roses, but it's not. "I'll never forget going back a few years and I had an idea to start a charity. It was based around youngsters in football at professional clubs, maybe around 15,16 and 17, and do we do enough to look after them? "I was coming to the end of my career and thought that maybe there was something there to help young players who may well have been led up the garden path about their dream of playing football. "They then get released at 17 years old and there is nobody there to look after them. That needs to be addressed in football." The Lockdown Tactics is a brand new podcast, hosted by former Scotland stars Robert Snodgrass and Kris Boyd. Every week TLT will talk to big names with its core focus being on mental health and wellbeing. It's chosen charity partner is The Kris Boyd Charity. To watch the full interview with Kris, go to YouTube and the various Lockdown Tactics social media platforms. Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend is also a guest. It will be available from 12.00 tomorrow. https://www.thenational.scot/sport/18441138.former-rangers-kilmarnock-striker-kris-boyd-opens-personal-heartache-brothers-suicide/
  3. It was a UK game of hide and seek. The winner was found, after months of not being found, cowering like a plague victim in a sweet shop doorway..alleged to be Kilmarnock....
  4. AT a time when we are physically apart, it is the things which bond us together that will see us through. That’s the hope of Chris Burke, who says that the Kilmarnock family are all pulling in the same direction to see the club through the coronavirus pandemic. The Killie Trust have already chipped in to help weather the financial impact of the football shutdown, bringing forward a scheduled donation of £40,000 to the club and adding a further £10,000 on top for good measure. On an individual basis though, Burke says the biggest challenge to both players and fans during this time will be a mental one, and that is why everyone with the club at heart is looking out for one another. “Our manager is in contact and his first protocol is always to ask if you and your family are well,” Burke said. “We’ll look after everything else. “That’s the club Kilmarnock is. Family orientated. Everyone looks out for each other and long may that continue. Fans and players are coming together. You’ve already seen what the fans have done for the club in this testing time. “It’s definitely challenging. It’s more a mental thing than a physical aspect. We can all do the physical stuff. We are fit and can do the work. It’s the mental aspect of giving your all. “I’m enjoying it. Of course, you’d like to be with the group, but I’m not feeling that I don’t want to do it. We all have certain marks. If you can do a little more than the club give you, do it if you can. “When you come back, even though you are not match-fit, you want to be fit. You don’t want to start training again and find yourself in the physio room on day two with an injury. That’s why we have the programmes. “We get updated as what to do by the club as individuals and we always have a group chat. Every team does that. We can keep close contact with doctors and physios.” Burke, like most other players, is itching to know when he will be able to pull the boots on once again. But he doesn’t see that question being answered any time soon. “It’s difficult for them to come up with a timeline,” he said. “They have been changed week-by-week. Now it’s almost day-by-day in terms of what we can do as a society never mind football. “The itinerary we have been given is to bide ourselves in slowly and gradually increase as, at the end of the day, you can only be fit and can’t get match fit. “Whether we get information on when we know we’ll come back? Again, it’s been changed a few times, whether that be competitions or leagues and when do they start. “It’s mentality. I’m sure the top players have it. It’s why they are where they are. Routine has been taken away and you have to find your own routine. “We all need to stick together. Whether it is UEFA or the SPFL or whoever it is, they have to come together because this affects all. It’s not just certain leagues, certain competitions, certain countries, it’s all. Everybody. “Obviously, we would all like an answer, but how can you get one? How can you know? Who makes that decision? Who is the main leader in the world to decide? There are different people and different ideas. “Yes, we’d all like to know when the start dates are, when the end is, but we’re not going to get it at the moment.” https://www.thenational.scot/sport/18338367.chris-burke-buoyed-kilmarnock-family-pulling-together/
  5. BILL97

    Hamilton

    FWIW The Tommy Burns Douglas Park gig many moons ago, when he was being considered as manager, was a superb Killie memory.
  6. I'm saying, given continuity, Dyer can build on evidenced positive potential. I see more positives than negatives in the last six months.
  7. Dyer has the makings of a good manager on the grounds that he has us beating the Huns and has the measure of Dons, Hearts and Hibs - all evidenced in only six months. We have the beating of them. Where does that leave us - with some half decent additions to the squad ? Potential 2nd in the League ? Europe ? Cup semi-finals and finals ? Killie players in Scotland Dark Blue ? FWIW watching the Killie managers chair being placed in a revolving door at TTOP with dorks like Jeffries, Calderwood, Locke, McCulloch & Clark in the job in the last twenty years I voted for continuity. Let Alex settle in. Let the squad settle down. Change for change sake in order to achieve the Instant Gratification of Cheeks fans is not good.
  8. Oh Happy, Happy Days :-)
  9. FWIW when we won the Youth Cup last time v Huns we beat Jambos at Tynceastle with a Naisy goal. Both nights were brilliant celebrations.
  10. Also, Michael Stewart got sacked from Sportscene for naming that wee keech Traynor as Hun-Propaganda-Chief as being behind headline grabbing fairy tales....Traynor wouldn't have created ANOTHER anti-Moreles fantasy here....would he ???
  11. No. He made the subs bench a few times including England v Scotland 1975 at the Wembley 5-1 doing.
  12. Quite possibly Angelos transfer targets were being worked on for January.....oh.....wait......
  13. If he's indeed a current first team player he'll be on plenty of dough...

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