The Greatest Goal in School Fitba History

schoolbadgesmallAHS

I was never much of a footballer when I was younger. I did however score the greatest goal in school football history. The greatest goal. Not exactly what you would expect from the guy who looks like the guy from behind the desk in pointless.

So I will set the scene, its nil nil in the Scottish cup quarter final Kilmarnock Academy (us) v Arran High School on a miserable Wednesday afternoon.

It was in the Scottish cup or maybe it was the Ayrshire cup, the details of why we were playing aren’t important, mostly because I cant remember. I do remember why we played early Wednesday afternoon however, instead of after school, it was so the Arran boys could get the ferry back over the water at a reasonable time and as such it meant we got out school before lunchtime to play football and never had to go back afterwards. A great day.

Starting as sub I came on in the second half but the game went to extra time. We won a free kick in the centre circle which Bobby Calder took as he stroked the mitre delta (with Kilmarnock Academy written in black marker on 4 panels to deter thieves I expect) with his grubby looking battle worn puma kings, he was the epitome of an actual footballer in the late 90s.

Bobby I am sure played for Scotland schoolboys, the Victory Shield year group that is on Sky every year and features 1% Michael owen types and 99% future bricklayers and tilers.

Anyway, the ball was in the air and I was running, I was well onside, I knew this because the referee is doing the play on hand gesture and as the ball drops out the leaden sky I bring it down on the outside of my bright yellow, size ten, screw in stud shiny lotto boots, the epitome of a skinny big imposter in the late 90s.

You know what is depressing? How little life playing sport at Scottish schools resembles anything in american high school sports movies. Take the 1997-98 Killie Academy under 18 team. For a start we wouldn’t be playing on a shite Wednesday afternoon in front of one person, it would have been a Friday night under the lights at a the custom built Frank Donnelly Stadium in front of a big crowd. And we would be treated like gods!

Frank Donnelly: Headmaster, Author, Golfer, stadium named after him guy.
Frank Donnelly: Headmaster, Author, Golfer, stadium named after him guy.

Well maybe not me so much as I was on the periphery being a sub most games, but such zero to hero narratives are a staple of the sports movie. Myself and a guy called Ozzie were the regular subs, the forgotten men till the round before this one, where against Troon some Irvine secondary school, due to unforeseen circumstances we only had 11 players and we both got a start and I scored my first ever goal ever, getting on the end of a Gavin Milloy cross which went over the goalkeepers head and all that was needed was for me to meet it with a bullet header, from one yard out, which may or may not have already been going in. Back at full strength v Arran we found ourselves back on the bench.

But from there I was first sub used, then Ozzie.

Ozzie had masses of long ginger hair., hair that remind you of an orang-utans elbow, like swathes of long ginger grass at the side of a motorway. Ordinarily you wouldn’t notice it, its because we warmed up together that I spotted it, stretching out those hammys and a perfectly good head of hair peeks out above a set of shin guards. Its hard to ignore. Yes Ozzie has the hairiest kneecaps I have ever seen.

Or touched, it was so soft, not all wiry like you would expect, I stroked it in a moment where our substitute bond was perhaps stretched a little too far, it was the kind of hair that if it was on a young girl a father would brush on a Sunday night after having washed it with no more tears or vosene.

It was as if he had never kneeled down in his entire life.

So I bring it down with the outside of my yellow boots.

This is not the boots, google images couldnt find the boots. Close enough.
These are not the boots, google images couldnt find the boots. Close enough though.

Well I say my, they actually weren’t mine at all they were David Hills, he wore them for Stewarton Annick on a Sunday and I got a wee loan of them when there was a school game any given week, he bought them in Dublin the day after Jimmy Macintyre scored to give us (Killie) a two goal cushion but also an away goal at Tolka Park to see off Shelbourne. As he looped the ball into the net that night I remember looking to the sky and thinking, “its going to rain” and rain it did and my kappa trackie which I had worn every round of the cup winning run of the season before was soaked by the time we got back to the fancy hotel.

Killie fans at Shelbourne
Killie fans at Shelbourne, I think we were round to the left a bit.

Now this was back when you were only supposed to wear brightly coloured football boots if you were a real player. Paulo Di Canio wore fancy boots, a tall skinny future quiz show celebrity lookalike didn’t really fit that particular bill.

But I was hotter than fucking Falcao when I scored this goal so its fine.

So, as I said, I bring it down with the outside of my boot, just on the edge of the box with the goalkeeper rushing out to meet me, as it has came down its in front of me, I had never controlled a ball quite like it in my life and with it in front of me I have slid at it and knocked it under the oncoming keeper and into the net.

As I get up the one supporter is cheering, Marc Hannah dogged the school to be there and I celebrate. I went on to score again, a tap in, and it finishes two nil.

Super sub I was known for a while. It said so in the school newsletter which was circulated and stuck on classroom doors. I highlighted my name and tried to stand near to people reading them, in the hope that they made the connection and asked me about it.

Sad really.

But, if it was an American movie? Fuck me! As the new star of the fitba team I would essentially be like a big flashing hard on, at a different party every week and burds lining up just to be seen with me. In reality no burd in the entire school gave two fucks if you were in the fitba team or scored a double, including the best goal ever scored in school fitba against the future farmers and fishermen of Arran.

In a movie version we would all be dressed better, our varsity bomber jackets on or maybe draped around the shoulders of one of the many braw burds that I mentioned two minutes ago, handing over your maroon with gold piping school blazer which you usually wore with a white shirt and cats deed trousers doesn’t have the same appeal.

The game day experience would be better, local radio stations maybe discussing the potential impact players on the bench, the one with the ginger kneecaps or the tall specky one who scored in the last round.

And what about an inspirational coach, who can pick the wheat from the chaff and then inspire a community by bringing in some success. We had a pe teacher who oversaw 25 a side kick abouts on the rugby pitch as a trial match where a squad is picked on the following criteria.

a. Can they kick it far? and
b. Did the pe teacher like you.

Pretty much the blueprint for the current Killie set up actually. Hardly cinematic.

However if it was a film the final act would be utter shite as the next round I started up front, number nine on my back, lucky yellow boots on my feet……

And I was utter pish and replaced by the guy with the ginger kneecaps after 55 minutes.

standupwebad6
Check me out, on a poster no less.

So that was it, one of, if not the pinnacle of my footballing career. Its not much I know, however I have dined out on it for 16 years now and most of this formed a stand up routine I done at the Sports Bar in Rugby Park, Killie in February 2013 and later that year at a hospitality after dinner speaking gig in a bowling club in November.

It also got aired at a gig where I died on my hole in Glasgow in March when I totally forgot most of it as it wasn’t really going well and forgot to even mention how the goal actually got scored. It was then that I realised that maybe telling folk about an afternoon I spent playing football while still at the school is maybe for a certain type of audience and should get kept for it.

I am rambling, thanks for reading all this, I am sure some folk might remember it and might even have played that day. So now you have read it, why not listen to it too? Last month a guy called Jim Thomson who was at the gig in the Sports Bar handed me a disk which was a audio file of the whole gig he had recorded so I tried my hand at sound editing for the first time, picked out my set, saved it and uploaded it and in the end you have read all this only for me to ask you to listen to me say pretty much all of it in just under 12 minutes. Go on….

Or go to the site if the inbedded link doesnt work.

Ta.

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Me Versus 5×50 Challenge: Part 3

Day 11 till well, till today.

Day 11

The success of day ten and the first sub 23 minute run was the lack of traffic on the route. My route on day 11 had traffic lights and motors so was slowed down considerably as i ran around the streets in the nearby. I got the run in though and thats the main thing, i count these days as rest days so i can push it harder on other days. What with there being NO actual rest days in this challenge.

Day 12

I feel the biggest set back of todays run was the fact that becuase I wouldnt get dinner to much later my wife came through with a wee plate of mexican party food things before we jumped in the car to visit her mum in Prestwick (who had fell down the stairs and hurt the ligaments in her foot actually). The set back was indigestion sadly.

See I was actually looking forward to my run once i heard the news that my mother in law had taken a tumble down the stairs (was it her insistance on wearing high heels indoors that done it?) as it meant we would go down for a visit and i would get to test my wits (and running ability) against an old favourite route from when i lived down there and never had a gps type phone app that told you distances and times and things. The route is from the roundabout heading in along Monkton Road, out past airport to caravan park at end of the golf course, along a bumpy road then right along the goal course/coastline at beach before making up the rest to eek it out to 5k.

I started out well but tailed off as the wee spicy bites came back on me. Dont get me wrong, it wasnt terrible. Under 24 minutes, but could have been so much better. Plus i didnt find out how the injury happened. Will try that route again though in the next week or two. One thing that shows up on the map for my run is that Prestwick airport is called Alamo Prestwick Airport and I have no idea why.

Day 13

Since i play football on a Friday it will always be difficult to get my run in. Last week i ran home, this week my wee boy wasnt feeling himself so after football i just drove home and helped out, and as such had to go my run once Cody had fell asleep. That happened about half 9 so I headed out for a run at 9.40 on a friday night! Was actually a bit apprehensive about this and put my earphones in without anything playing in case i got jumped. I have a quite active imaginaiton, but ultimately its a negative one, i spend most of my runs turning over in my head how i would deal with the worst of possible situations while out jogging and in this instance it was how i was going to avoid getting battered.

I kept to well lit areas and ended up running out to the hospital, for one, because i knew that there would probably be no one on the pavement going that way, and two if there was and they leathered me i was close enough to a&e to get fixed up pronto. Smart thinking. Nothing happened though and i returned home for my second shower of the day.

Day 14

Due to a packed schedule I decided to for the first time split up my run to get things done while on the way and save me some grief later on. So i ran out to Crosshouse village (or is it a town?) pressed pause on the running app, popped into Coral bookmakers, put my football coupon on, unpaused the app, and ran home.

Day 15 and Day 16

Decided to just write about these together as although the times werent bad I am completely miserable about the whole thing, I have got in my mind shin splints. Andy Cole and the old Liverpool right back Rob Jones suffered from those, i dont really know what they are but my right shin seems sore, logic to me is that i might be getting it. My ankles hurt a bit too, and my left calf. My dad showed me that there is a charity organised run in the Dean Park on Sunday (day 22) though so i think I will hold on and do that, see how i feel after that. Be good to compete and hopefully run past people and get a half decent time to cheer myself up.

Day 17

Its amazing how a good day can turn your attitude to thus whole thing. As I have described in last few days I was completely scunnered, sore and getting a bit depressed at my lack of progress. But today I posted a time of 21 minutes and 5seconds and I am over the moon and in the cheeriest of moods. Shaving a good minute and a half off my last quickest time and nearly getting under 21 mins has completely flipped my mood. Peaks and troughs right enough.

It shouldn’t have happened like this, I woke up with aching shins, calves and hamstrings, to combat it a bit i wore tubigrip around my right calf before moving it up to my knee as i was unsure where was actually sore. I went out on the run just hoping to get it finished and home without being too painful. However with a first k just over 4 minutes i was bouyed. My second k was slower but i felt i was going to be under 25 minutes so an improvement on the past few shite days so i kept on going. Kilometre 3 and four were faster than the first and i was getting excited that I was going to crack it. For this run i ran from Tesco in the town centre out to Scott Ellis, up onto Glasgow Road into New Farm a wee bit before down past College and Grand Hall (which was louping with young folk because as i learnt later Enter Shikari were playing (which actually brings about all sorts of questions actually about why they were in Killie, but….)) then past the Halifax (which used to be Managrove, remember that?) down the town and up the Irvine Road via House of Chou (to keep out of the wind a bit) Seems a fair distance actually. I Managed to keep the to smaller climbs and more flat areas which probably reflects in the time, the Irvine Road most likely accounts for the slow last split. But fuck it, you do what you can. I am very proud of what i done tonight.

Day 18

Woke up with what feels like a huge knot in my hamstring. It doesnt hurt when i move or anything but it is quite sore to touch. I fire on the tubigrip again today but quickly decide to move it up onto the hammy in case it is something. Its funny about the positive mood i mentioned above, in days before I was considering quitting and wondering if I was going to get injured now I am back in the swing and working out how i dont let this knot affect me. When i got home i had a wee look in the mirror and found that the knot is actually a bruise. I have no idea why i am bruised. But i have done lots of things with bruises so i went out running anyway.

On my favourite route it seems I head out toward Knockintiber before nicking off down the back road to Onthank and scrambling up the embankment onto the cycle path again, shaving about half a k and bringing the finish line closer to my house. I didnt hold out much hope for today, just an easing out but a quick first k had me chasing another quick time, a similar speed in the second k and was clocked at about 8 mins 20 secs which was brilliant. Unfortunately i slowed right down after that and finished around 23. Not terrible (good actually, considering what i was aiming for) at all. Met Wullie Seaweed head out on the cycle path, we acknowledged each other with a wave and a smile, no chat. Two men on a mission. I remember he fell down a dug out hole in the sand we hid under his towel in Benidorm. That was a laugh.

Times

I will fill these in tomorrow when i have time. Dont suppose they matter to anyone reading right now, you might not have even read this far having been bored to tears with the 1400 odd words that go before it……

Me versus 5×50 Challenge: Part 2

After the intial post where I described what I am doing and the likes (click the link if its not ringing any bells) here is the continued adventures of me running around Killie for a vague reason. From day 3 till day 10.

Day 3

Well it turns out I might not actually be registered for this challenge thing. I found this out by chance when I was scooting about the 5×50 Twitter account with the idea being when I tweet that this blog is ready to read I @ them and they retweet it. Becuase as nice as it is that this gets read 20 times or whatever, by 15 people (i furiously refresh the stats page (yes, there is a stats page) post publish button press) it would be quite nice to maybe get a wee rub from the challenges over 2000 followers and get some more readers. A wee ego massage you see. They might even be reading this right now. If you are, hello! This is actually my second part of my running oddessy the first part I linked in the first paragraph. Ta.

Anyway, what happened is that on Monday night I clicked and registered but never paid my money due to a concern about how long ago I had used PayPal so I though I would do it when on the laptop and had time. On the Twitter feed it mentioned registration closing and out of curiousity I go on the site and log in and try to pay my fee. Not being able to do it I try sending a private message through twitter but they dont follow me (shame on them) so this option isnt available. Instead i search out a Facebook account and get in touch that way, explain my stupidity and hope that I am accepted and somehow get it sorted. Provided there is a problem, I might be fine.

Run wise, I leave my house and run into Crosshouse past the hospital, i dodge down past the school, round past my Dads pals work and then past the Spar and back into Kilmarnock. Without doing any of the dodging and diving in and out cul de sacs and down back roads and the likes the run lasts just over 5k. This makes me happy and could become a bit of a regular route. I also done it in less than 25 minutes. One of my initial goals. That was nice.

Later that night i got a message back from the 5×50 fb page giving me a email address to contact, so i guess I have fucked up but it can get fixed.

Day 4

Decided to run home from work but apparently they lock the gates to the car park now. Not a problem, in fact it actually solves one as I can strategically place my motor in a parking spot that near Rugby Park so that after the football at night i can collect the car and drive home and save myself a walk. This running thing is helping in ways i never imagined. So i park up at my wifes Aunts and start making my way up to Morrisons (to pick up my wifes car, the reason its in the Morrisons car park isnt important but it is there nonetheless) however the distance between the a of Natalies aunts and the b of Morrison’s isn’t as far as it seems and after a detour around the Howard Park and zig zagging around all the streets it seemed in the area of Killie where the garage and the Brass and Granite is I end up actually having to run around the edge of Morrison’s car park to get the 5k in. I mean no one would have noticed or if they did, cared, but it was mortifying. Also I was a quite a bit slower which I’m putting down to running straight after a day at work, but its still disappointing after improving my times day on day for the first 3.

Day 5

Another day another car journey to a remote location and ran from, only to be picked up later. Tonight it was Tesco as the wife wants us to go a walk with the pram once I have been out my run. Ha. Resting is not an option it would appear. My knees are a bit sore and so are my ankles.

Day 6

I play 7 a side football on a Friday night. Day 6 falls on a Friday. So to get my run in and not completely compromise my night I get a lift down to the powerleague to play football with the intention of running back. It is probably the warmest night of the year so far and when I get there its been changed from 7s to 5s and only 9 folk showed up. Good stuff. Long story short, fitba was shite and I still had to run home. I decided to head up past my old schools and the library and into the Kay Park (just the Dean Park now for the trifecta) where as I come under the railway bridge entrance at the Killie College I am met by the sight of some daft alkie enjoying the last remnants of sunshine lying on the pavement in at the wall cuddling his bottle of Becks. We used to run around the Kay Park for cross country at P.E. when I was at the Killie Academy, in tribute I ran down the oval hill at the Burns Monument, but instead of running back up I ran out the park past the tennis club up through the town and home.

Day 7

My times have been pish as the week has gone on, I put that down to working and then running and generally being tired. My thoughts are that a good sleep and a run on Saturday morning followed by a run on Sunday night will see me go faster with more recovery and sleep and less manual labour. So i head out this morning again from Natalies aunts house but instead of going the same way I decide to try going out the road that runs from the old abbatoir up to the Crosshouse roundabout past the Premier Inn and also past the Heron Bros site across the road and up a bit which i have no idea what is going on in and its driving me up the bloody wall. I saw a few guys making a road into it on the 3rd of January in the dark on my first day back at work this morning and since then its got bigger and bigger with all sorts of diggers and that in there. Bugging that i dont know what it is.

Anyway, the run is pretty much uphill which is bugging, still i do it fairly quickly (certainly quicker than my crap runs in previous three days) so i am thinking my plan is going to work.

Day 8

FUUUUUUUCK! Twenty three and a half minutes (ish)! My fastest time yet but I am disappointed because after a facebook conversation with my fellow 5x50er who said last year he tried for a sub 23 by day ten (sub 20 by day 50 also which is my dream) I had hoped i would have cracked it on day 8. Especially as the running app on my phone which gives time splits every km gave me hope that i was in with a chance as it was looking good at each split. To be beaten by seconds is annoying, especially as i waited off till late on on Sunday to do so and in doing so be well rested. I am taking this serious I have to say. Too serious my wife says.

On this run i went on a old favourite of mine. Out Fardle hill to Knockintiber, turn right and head for Kilmaurs and nip down onto the cycle path and run back to Kilmarnock along the old railway line (or current, im not sure) to the town dump and in home. its about 5 and a half km, a decent run and up and down hills. Do you know i never saw one bike on the cylce path. Or a dog, its usually louping with dogs. I did see a big bird in the sky, a perigrin falcon or a buzzard maybe scouting out a rabbit or some other animal no doubt, it did cross my mind what i would do if it swooped for me, i realised i dont know what i would do, i am trying not to worry about that.

Day 9

After yesterdays strong run I wasn’t expecting much and ultimately it didn’t deliver much. I do however think that the 25 minute plus days are behind me, as I was under that time easily. Also when Victoria Pendelton’s automated voice on my MiCoach adidas running app thing chimed in with the announcement that “distance (beat) three (beat) kilometres” in the fashion she does I distinctly remember feeling that I had a fair amount left in the tank which made my heart soar.

Day 10

When I almost broke 23 mins on day 8 there were a few factors which hindered my progress, one of which was the dog at one of the farmhouse type places on the road to Knockintiber which although didn’t actually make any move in my general direction did hamper my time by a few seconds due to me trying to keep my distance and also trying to keep my cool and not let on I was feart it was going to savage me (which it wouldn’t). I also had to tie my laces which takes a bit longer than you would think and of course the problem with the big bird that wasn’t interested in me. All these variables can be reduced, mainly by tying my laces better before leaving and also, with luck the dog won’t be there on the road since its a weekday and not the weekend (dogs on the cycle path are unaccountable for).

So I head back out on the same route, its a good route because there are no red lights to cross or any real traffic, the only problems seem to be the ones i have already highlighted.

Anyway, long story short, I done it. 22 and a half minutes. I knew i was in with a chance with the splits at each km but when i did do it, when Vicky said the time i was up on the Western Road, just past the dump and i raised my hands in the air in triumph. What a dick i am. I also ended my run on the app and walked home proud of myself.

TIMES

Day 3: 5k-25.34mins, Total run 5.23km-25.54. Day 4: 5k-27.37, Total run 5.05km-28.00. Day 5: 5k-27.09, Total run 5.04km-27.27. Day 6: 5k-27.22, Total run 5.25km-28.57. Day 7: 5k-26.0,1 Total run 5.22km-27.15. Day 8: 5k-23.28, Total run 5.58km-26.27. Day 9: 5k-24.19, Total run 5.4km-26.28. Day 10: 5k-22.30, Total run 5.12km-23.09.

Space Time Continuum

The butterfly effect is a plot device commonly used in Hollywood to drive the narrative of some of its biggest films. Its when characters travel back in time and change a moment in the past and it subsequently has a knock on effect on the future. Marty McFly rectifies a butterfly effect by having to engineer his parents getting together (after having arsed up their original moment) as that particular effect would have resulted in him ceasing, in the reality he left in 1985, to exist in Back to the Future. Similar stuff probably happens in the Ashton Kutcher and Richard Gere film actually called Butterfly Effect too, but I haven’t seen it.

This all seems a bit long winded and ultimately shite start to an article about football. Sorry for that. What I am trying to get at, by setting up that premise, is the what if of going back in time in football and changing an event which could in turn upset events that have happened since. Like……..

What if Alex Totten had actually signed Paul Scholes for Killie. Not everyone reading may be aware of this urban myth/absolute fact but its my understanding that back in the mid 90s when Totten went down to watch Colin McKee and subsequently spot Neil Whitworth and sign both in a double switch from Manchester United he actually had his eye caught by a wee ginger guy at Man United’s training ground. “who is the wee ginger fella, wouldn’t mind him” is how the story goes (in my head) of Totten’s conversation with Alex Ferguson while they watch the first team train and discuss the transfer of McKee and Whitworth. “he is yours for a million” Fergie replies. Totten declines because Killie don’t have a million to sign on a player and finalises the half millionish deal for the other two and heads back up the road, two Man United starlets in his back pocket from the “cant win anything with kids” era and the expected plaudits of the Killie fans and media at such a coup. You must have heard that story, it was from a bygone time where Scottish teams actually went down to the Premiership and paid money for some young reserve players rather than taking a wee lend of them for shop window purchases before they head back down to get booted about Walsall’s ground in another move to get them ready for the “greatest league in the world”

However, there isn’t a great deal any fan could have done about this really, no flap of the butterfly’s wings to generate this fork in history, not unless at one of the fan rallies when Bobby Fleeting was describing a brave new future a fan with incredible foresight piped up with the pertinent point that a eighteen thousand seat stadium probably would be a bit big all things considered, maybe just over ten would suffice. Now as a sound bite its not exactly awe inspiring but nonetheless those words stuck in the mind of Mr Fleeting and when it came to the stadium roughly about half a million pounds was saved and put past for players.  Then on that fated day in Manchester when SAF (or AF as he was known then) offered up Oldham’s most famous fan, Alex Totten would say “yes thanks, a million quid is doable” and Killie would have a new number 18.

Eventually 18, most likely an 8 or 10 in the old 1 to 11 system we had then.

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Scholes (cheek injury swelled his head to 1 and a half times normal) celebrates with his Killie team mates after beating Falkirk 1 nil

So history is changed forever and in the books it read that Paul Scholes signed for Killie and not McKee and Whitworth. Whitworth wouldn’t have scored that 30 yarder at Tanadice and McKee wouldn’t have been utter utter mince in the semi final v Dundee United and subsequently replaced with Gary Holt in the replay. An outcome Scholes wouldn’t have had any effect on due to him being out injured (a broken cheekbone from training, a common Killie training ground injury back then) and missed out on the final which went the exact same way incidentally although Holt played both semis. So Scholes or Scholesy as we would have known him as, by now he would probably be coaching a lower league English club or starring in a Scottish independent film in a non speaking role or driving a taxi or something, I don’t know. At this point you might be thinking that the move ended in a bit of a disaster for him given how his life could have (actually did) turn out.

But he did get a shot at the Champions league, as in 98/99 he came into his own after Christmas when everything seemed to fall apart and his part in the midfield trio of Durrant, Holt and himself took the first SPL title away from Glasgow since Dundee United done so when Jim Mclean managed it with Hamish MacAlpine and a squad of six players or whatever the ridiculous stat is. What a Euro campaign that was, qualifiers then group stages.  100 years of Rugby Park celebrated in the Champions league, Wooft. But that’s a story for another day. Then in 2004 he celebrated his testimonial year with a sell out v Oldham.

Another lovely by product of the move was that in the Scotland England playoff he wasn’t there to score a double at Hampden and as such Scotland went through to the finals of the back of Don Hutchison’s Wembley header. We never got out the group stages though, some things never change.

This never happened. Well it did and it didn’t, read on…

You might be wondering what happened to the other people involved in this transfer back in 94. Well, Man United’s history didn’t change too much, without his goal in the 99 Champions League quarter final the still went through to the semi and then the final in which he missed due to suspension.  In 2005 Quinton Fortune took the second penalty of the FA Cup final and scored meaning the spot kicks went to sudden death but Wes Brown hit one into orbit and the trophy was Arsenals like normal. Also without Scholes in the midfield Juan Veron was a stand out for Man United with Roy Keane and Argentina won the world cup off the back it. I won 50 quid from the sweep I had the Argies in that year on the back of a great tourney from the man the United fans called Little Witch so it was good news all round. England managers also caught a break as they didn’t have to go into every tournament begging Scholes to come out of retirement and as such leaving their actual midfielders feeling undervalued. They still won nothing though which is nice.

Finally, Colin McKee and Neil Whitworth stayed in England and had reasonable careers, I think, I mean I don’t really know because they never appeared on my radar having never actually signed for Killie. Funny how that happens.

So there we have it, one mere flap of the butterfly’s wings back then results pretty much the same for everyone except we get a league win, the Champions League tune played in front of a packed 12000 capacity Rugby Park a trip to the Euros for Scotland. Well everyone bar Scholes himself who didn’t have the career he could have had, but hey, cant keep everyone happy.

Now what would need to happen to make sure that Killie never signed Andy Smith?

2012 in as few a words as I can

Last year i started writing a diary of sorts on here which was very cathartic and good fun, sadly it fell by the wayside after a few months, to be expected but a decent effort none the less if i dont say so myself. In fact i think i will include it in this, a rundown of all the good things that happened to me the Olympic year just past.

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  • Got my wife pregnant! Kid is due early February, its touch and go if this will be finished before the baby is born, mind you, will update that particular piece of ongoing news at the end before i press publish.
  • Bought a cantilever arm to stick the television on the wall with. its the only thing i wanted when we moved in two years ago and now i have the necessary thing to make it happen. (it has now actually happened, its brilliant)
  • Did 9, count em, 9 gigs taking em to 14 lifetime, im on the cusp of cracking this shit! Of course im not and this tally isnt all that impressive really but take into consideration it was only 6 lifetime in July and i did 8 from August onward so things are picking up.
  • Kept an online diary till March.
  • Gigged at the Edinburgh fringe Festival. or at least i think i did, it was the free fringe and it was one five to ten minute gig but i done it. felt good, should have been two gigs but was ill the next day and couldnt make it. what i learned most about the Edinburgh festival is that its probably fairly easy to get a ton of gigs just by being there and seeing if folk (like me on day 2) dont turn up and you can get a wee spot. Always assumed it would be ver near impossible to get gigs and it was all locked down months in advance. Quite surprised really. Was so proud i even uploaded it on youtube.
  • imageTook in some English Premiership football for the first time. Everton v Spurs, just as brilliant/shite (delete where apropriate) as Scottish fitba, there was just more people there. Guys who cant hit 50 yard passes attempting 50 yard passes and putting them in the stands, fickle fans berating their team only for then to score two in the last minute to overturn a one nil defecit and leave praising their team to the hilt. Beer in the ground though was good and the Everton players ran to our wee corner when they scored the equaliser and the winner Goodison, home from home.
  • Ran the Glasgow half marathon. Which was 1 hour and 53 minutes of looking at people’s backs or my own feet. Though I did take in the views when running across the Kingston Bridge, that was cool.
  • Went to a civil partnership. I am horrendously akward when dealing with how to kiss the bride (one cheek? Both Cheeks? I now do a strange cheek to cheek rub thing which seems to work) so a brideless wedding was a weight off for me. Two firm handshakes and words of congratulations suffice. Terrific.
  • Gigged in front of just four people one night in Paisley. Well, 3 people and a barman. Plus compere and 3 comics. 7 really, gigged in front of 7 people. Lowest so far. Was still a decent night though.
  • Gigged twice when there were burlesque dancers on the bill.
  • Nearly got a new job. But didn’t.
  • Went for a Turkish shave. Which was an exhilirating experience from the red hot imagetowels to the open blade shave (twice) to the setting your ear fluff on fire and leaving them smoother than anything else on your body. I was the only person in that Friday morning and while i had a razor blade at my throat by one Turkish fella, another one was taking my photo. Thats weird, right?
  • Took our new car up to Loch Lomond and managed to drive right past it and ended up lost. Found Loch Katrine instead. Drove that far past it it took over an hour to finally find Loch Lomond. Got lost coming home too.
  • Watched Kilmarnock lift their first ever league cup on an amazing day in March.
  • wpid-IMAG0201.jpgPlayed doubles at darts with Andy “The Pieman” Smith versus Terry “The Bull” Jenkins and a guy called Hoggy on the stage at a darts exhibition night in Park Hotel. We won but I was fucking woeful.
  • Passed my fork lift truck drivers licence on a two day course over a weekend. The videos you have to watch are magic.
  • Walked around York’s city walls one weekend in May. Lovely place. Went to York races on the Saturday and stood in a suit all day on the warmest weekend of the year, facebook was full of folk out their backdoors in Ayrshire and beyond with their shirts off drinking lager and eating hot dogs off the barbecue, i had a tie on and my sleeves rolled up. Was good though. At York races they dont let you drink outside in the dear bit but on the other side of the course (the inside) you pay the lowest amount for tickets and get to take your own booze with you and watch and bet and get fu’ cheaply. Something far wrong there i think.
  • Changed the back tyre on my Polo. Add this to the “knocking up” of my good lady wife and i feel i made some genuine steps into manhood this year. To be fair, i only put it back on and let the jack down, i didnt put it up or get the wheel off, there is always next year.
  • Became an uncle again. Nephew this time. Hope he likes fitba. And Batman. And wrestling. Few years before all that mind you.
  • Appeared in a play. One stand up gig i managed to get was as part of a play in Irvine, driving down to do it i was aprehensive and hardly had any information about it and had asked to get my night changed from Sunday to Saturday but it was bloody brilliant. It was a play about a comedy club that fell on hard times and in between scenes a comic would come out and do five or so minutes. Great experience.
  • Celebrated our first year married.
  •  wpid-IMAG0113.jpgWandered around the comedy carpet in front of the Blackpool tower. Absolutely minted. Didnt set aside enough time for it, thought it would be a bit shite to be honest. How wrong could I have been, lines from tv and stand up over the years, the Python stuff is great, Peter Kay too and this genius from Spitting image.
  • Appeared on the telly on Scottish Football: The Debate. I covered it all here though so no need to go on about it again.
  • And while i am plugging older posts from my blog, i wrote a thing about playing Ayr the night before the semi final and it got retweeted and thrown around facebook that Friday night which was geekily quite exciting. Sat and refreshed the stats page on here and watched the number go up like a egomaniac prick.
  • Saw Spamalot! at the Kings Theatre the day before the League Cup final. It was very good. Saw Chicago later on in the year as well, it was alright too.
  • Got papped out in round 1 of the Scottish Comedian of the Year competition. Which was a audience vote format and took place in my own town. Not too impressive. Was on first though. Excuses excuses. Always next year. Or, you know, this year as it is.

So thats about it i think, and yay, I managed to get it all typed and posted before the baby has made its entrance. Could be any time now…….but this has been nice. Thanks for reading, thanks for waiting in fact for something to actually read, please accept my apologies and half hearted promise to post more in 2013.

Happy new year.

A Diary in 53 Parts: Part 12: Week 11

Where i got a gig and went to the theatre.

Sunday 11th March 2012

Went into work at half past 7 to tell them i couldnt do the overtime i signed up for becuase i had furniture being delivered. Gaffer seemed a bit taken aback that i showed up to say i couldnt make it but the reason was i couldnt find the phone number. The furniture arrived pretty early and i set about building it. Couch was bloody heavy and akward, the bookcase on its side sideboard unit type thing was less heavy and akward but more hard work to put together. Done it though and celebrated with a bowl of porridge. This was the first time i have ever made porridge, real porridge with salt and water not the girly sugar and milk rubbish. Did a good job, cooking seems to come naturally to me, i can add it to my repertiore now, baked potatoes, porridge and of course, cheesy beanos.

Monday 12th.

Got offered a stand up gig in Paisley later this month to go with the one in May in Killie, good stuff, i said yes. Its a charity gig put on by a student, or a bunch of students, im not quite sure. My big mate Alan Provan (his blog) got me involved as he is doing a set at it and suggested me for it too. Decision now is whether to write a whole new bit or just a wee new bit to replace the out of date Scheme stuff and add it to my seagull stuff which i did last year.

Tuesday 13th.

For my lunch today i took the new Jamaican Jerk pot noodle. Big fan of pot noodles so i am, often thought about setting myself a wee task to see how many o could eat in one sitting (it would be chicken and mushroom one i would use in such an event as they are easiest on the belly even though i am partial to a Bombay Badboy) but as yet havent got round to it. I think i could do 4 pretty easy but might hit the wall at 5. Not sue if thats impressive or pathetic, guess there is only one way to find out….

Later on i wrote up the blog post about me being on the telly, not going to link it again but this will be the last wee plug, if you want to read it i am sure you have the necessary skills to navigate away from this to it, do it, i believe in you.

Wednesday 14th.

Watched Chelseas champions league game tonight. Football players have tiny wee shinguards nowadays. John Terry plucked a pair out his socks when he got subbed which looked to me to be about the saze of a smart phone. What exactly is that protecting? I remember when it was big sondico things with ankle supports and bones down the front which pretty much protected your full leg and before that i remember reading or seeing a shinnys advert where they just stuck old newspapers down there for protection. Totey wee things now though. I think they all wear them now, seems pointless.

Thursday 15th.

Not much going on today, got quite excited about the cup final on Sunday after reading some of the stuff in the Daily Record, plenty to be positive about.

Friday 16th.

Got ridiculous cramp in both my legs after playing football while lying watching tv on the couch with the wife. felt it coming on in one leg and tried to shift my weight to put it off, straighten my leg out a bit, didnt work and the cramp set in my hamstring like a lightning bolt. As i wriggled to get off the couch the other one cramped up too and i screamed in my own living room. Down on the ground writhing in pain i got zero sympathy. Warm down essential from now on, getting too old.

Saturday 17th.

A good few years ago now, when Berti Vogts was Scotland manager and James MacFadden was the cheeky boy, Scotland made the playoffs to reach the major championship at that season end. We drew Holland and ultimately didnt make due to a 6 nil second leg defeat that left us narrowly squeezed out on a 6-1 aggregate. The one came in a 1 nil home first leg at Hampden which i was at.

The reason i tell you this is that the night previous to that great day (when Scotland scored, shamefully i took that as a cue to glug down the bottle of Bud i had smuggled in as the crowd were all on their feet, post patch i flashed a bus of dutch supporters and also had the last bottle of Buckfast to pass my lips that night on the bus back into the city from Hampden) Natalie and i took in a show at The Kings Theatre in Glasgow. Oh What a Night it was and starred Kid Creole i think, maybe Sonia too though that would seem like something i would remember. It might or might not be an omen but today, the day before the big League Cup final, i found myself taking Natalie back to The Kings, this time to see Spamalot! It was really good.

Being on the Telly and the Subsequent Attempt to Master the Art of Self Deprication

The following is in no way the view of The Killie Trust as a board more the opinions and feelings of a guy who happens to be on the board.

This time last week i was sat squeezed inbetween two gentlemen, on my right as i look out, a representative of Hutchy Vale B.C. whom i am assured have produced many Scottish professional footballers over the years and on my left, Barry Richmond, chairman of the Killie Trust and who will be for the rest of this blog post be called Baz. In front of me was DUFC and national team coach Peter Houston, SPL man Neil Doncaster, SFL man David Longmuir as well as Mark Wotte the new chief of youth development and other such people making up a kind of whos who of Scottish football. We were sitting waiting on the panel of Steven Pressley, Rod Petrie, Craig Levein, Stuart Regan and Jim Traynor taking their seats in front of us so Rob Maclean could kick off the taping of Scottish Football: The Debate.

Rob Maclean, the tv just doesnt do him justice. A very handsome man in real life. Cut from stone he is.

Why i was in such illustrious company? Why i was dressed so casually? I will try and explain now.

At work that afternoon i had a voicemail from Baz asking me to call him back when i got the chance, Baz is quite downbeat on an answering machine, i thought i had ballsed something up in my role as press officer/communications/social media type thing i try and do. I hadnt though, its just his telephone manner, he was calling to see if i wanted to go to this debate thing which was a follow up to Traynors documentary Match for Europe shown the night previous. Having watched the doco and commented to friends and colleagues that it was half an hour of stating the obvious, we’re rubbish, germany and holland have the right idea, grass roots football is way forward, i still decided to go.

I did delay my decision to check in with the wife, only five months married and have arsed up plans before so just made sure i hadnt committed to anything prior. I had, ikea, but i brushed that aside like the alpha male i am (agreed to give up my saturday to go instead (pussy)) and called back to confirm late afternoon.

Now at this point i was completely unaware as to what we were going to, in my mind it was going to be like Question Time with a panel and a assorted audience of varying backgrounds and a fans of several clubs. I did know it was invite only at this point, though not to the extent of its exclusivity.

With the QT idea in my head i rushed to get ready post work, pre pick up. I would normally have worn a tshirt and jeans but actually consciously chose a shirt as didnt want to seem too underdressed but in a biggish crowd it woudnt make too much of a difference anyway. Oh the irony.

The drive up we spoke of how neither of us really knew what we were going to but Baz had been filmed for a segment of the doco which was left on the cutting room floor. That footage i am sure would have given some good insight into fans views and given that it was a show about improving a product to make it more attractive to fans some input from said people was sadly lacking from the broadcast. In my mind it seemed that this was why we were asked, the interview was cut but here is an invite, in fact here is two, bring someone else. Me.

Dunno if you were supposed to hand this back in, a nice little memento.

On arrival we got our visitors passes and were taken to the green room by a nice woman. Out of the car i reflected that under his overcoat Baz was dressed much like me, check shirt and jeans though he paired this classic look with shoes, im still young and trendy so i had plumped for my trainers.

We entered the green room and my heart sank, shirts, ties, blazers and brogues and nowhere near the amount of people to constitute a big QT style audience like the one in my head. We took a seat and had a quick look at the set up of where everyone would be in the studio and its at this point we realised the rarified company we were keeping.

The squad list to be submitted. Things to note: the placement of John Speirs and Barry Richmond originally compared to where we ended up being seated. And no Michael Johnston. Sole Killie reps, Baz and me.

A look at the photo above shows who was all there. It also shows that originally Baz and myself were to be behind one another over at the end as far away from panel as could be. Imagine my surprise when i got downstairs to the studio and there on the back of the seat dead centre on the back row (of two rows) John Spiers and Barry Richmond. Now i decided against pulling up the spelling error on my surname because i was excited and nervous about being in a tv studio. Plus i bottled it. Baz and i then took off our jackets to reveal the extent of our father and son style nearly matching outfits. Side by side in tablecloth glory our check shirt look seemed likely to stand out.

We were asked to say our names and how we got to the studio to test levels and our reaction to the boom mic. In hindsight given my harbouring ambitions of being a stand up i should have looked dead on down the cameras lens and told them i swam the clyde to their pacific quay building in my Calvin Klein suit and only had the attire i have on now to change into which would have both got my comedy schtick over to a new crowd as well as address the elephant in the room which was the “brokeback Killie fan” look being sported, but i never, bottled it and told them i was John Speirs and i came by car while glancing at the boom and getting a wee silent look of a telling off by the director.

The show itself came and went in a flash, there was probably as many people working behind the scenes as there was in front of it. The debate was less a debate and more a running through the ills of the game with opportunities for the panel and certain members of the audience to deliver carefully considered soundbite filled answers. Well, i presume that they were carefully considered, i also assume that they were pretold what they would be asked in order to formulate an answer, some people on our row even had notes though i guess i have no real way of knowing what those notes were. They might have been a message list for Asda (probably Sainsburys) on the way home. However one person who wasnt pretold his question, is said pretelling was done, was Baz. His came out of the blue and he did well to pull together a decent answer to the question posed.

The infamous "chin scratch". I told the wife i did that so she could see my wedding ring. Also, the shirts.

While the show is being taped there are big tv screens showing what is been filmed (effectively the edit of the show) on the studio floor. On these I was able to see when i was in shot at any given time and watched myself wriggling around a bit. The twitching and the scratching wasnt any attempt to stand out in anyway i should add, more a reaction to the heat of being between two bigger guys and only having one bum cheek on each of the two chairs i was spread out over.

When it was done and they checked to see if the show was actually there (if for some reason it hadnt taped we would have had to have tried again, in hindsight maybe this would have been better for both halfs of the Killie Trust representation, i could have shown off some rapier wit on the sound test and Baz could have retooled his earlier answer in some way and removed the use of the term leisure dollars i would expect) we were taken back upstairs for something to eat and drink. On the way up we spoke about the shock of being put on the spot like that, i mentioned the leisure dollars thing and Baz asked me who said that, when i replied it was him he burst out laughing.

The canapes, if i can be so bold as to call them that, were great and Baz and i stood on the outside of the throng of Scottish football pressing hands and chatting earnestly. They probably all knew each other already though there did look to be a bit of networking being attempted by some in search for a bit of gravitas, if there was a baby in the green room i would suspect it would have been in danger of being kissed if you know what i mean. Feeling a little left out but reluctant to join in it was nice when a representative of The Spartans FC came to talk to us. He told us about the ownership model his club uses which was very interesting and we discussed the evening we had just experienced. We left soon after so as to be home for the screening on BBC1.

During the screening itself i dont think i have ever taken as many pelters online and through text and phone calls about anything in my life before. The wardrope malfunction was a keen talking point as on the 19in tv in my bedroom our bright shirts stood out a mile. Looking back on my facebook timeline it was mostly about the shirts, the rest of the discussion was actually about Scottish football and points raised in the debate, looks like i will be giving the SFA a month to approach us to donate the shirts to the museum at Hampden or i will have to torch mine for fear of putting it on to go out without realising and someone digging me up about it when out.

All in all it was a great experience and i was chuffed to bits to be involved in something with so many important people. Personally i think we might have been a bit stitched up and put dead centre in order to give the impression of two ordinary punter fans (in the broadcast Baz had his name come up on the screen as he spoke describing him as Kilmarnock fan rather than as Killie Trust Chairman as he was invited as) maybe it was naivity on our part to underestimate the importance and exclusivity of the debate or maybe it wasnt. All in all it was a nice bit of exposure for our Trust and got people talking about Scottish football. I enjoyed it, Jim Spence said hello to me.