Having sold Kilmarnock’s best player in Coulibaly, manager Lee Clark then departed for Bury. Is this an unfortunate coincidence that two key figures have left the club in quick succession or is it simply following a tedious, ominous pattern?
Clark had Kilmarnock in there familiar place in the table, in the bottom half but with 2 or 3 more troubled teams below them. The club then sold Coulibaly but pocketed a large sum of money in the process– while the transfer window was still open.
This would seem a good time to invest in a replacement for Coulibaly as well as much needed improvements in other areas of the pitch; and yet we seem to have ended up going backwards- worse off than we were at the beginning of the season.
Former Killie Trust chairman Barry Richmond spotted the trend around two years ago.
“It’s almost as if we are going around in the loop again. The club was run really badly before Bobby Fleeting came in, turned the whole thing around and sent us in another direction. We got Europe, new stadium, now it’s like deja vu. It’s happening again. You could see what was coming with the Johnston scenario, but, sometimes, when results are decent, people don’t want to know and ignore it.”
Could Clark’s decision to leave be due to problems with the board rather than footballing matters?
Not for the first time, the finger has been pointed squarely at Michael Johnson. The Killie director is seen as self-serving, avaricious and tighter fisted than me holding a pie around the vulturish fellow fans.
Cries from the terrace for more investment are commonplace at any ground in the country, as is the indignation when boards don’t comply. However, when those who are on the inside of dealings are equally irked then there is obviously an unhealthy element present.
Former assistant manager, Billy Brown didn’t mince his words when talking about Michael Johnson and the familiar scenario the club find themself in.
“Now they’ve got this money [from the sale of Coulibaly], that’ll keep the club going for a wee while, but it wont solve the problems. The problems are still going to be there… I was there seven-and-a-half years – the last two, the money problems started to bite and Michael Johnston was very difficult to work for…”
What is the pattern?
Giving up players too easily
Be it Coulibaly, Naismith or even developing talents such as Tope Obedayi and Craig Slater, Killie have a habit of letting their best or most promising players go. In some cases it is understandable when the offer is too good to turn down.
Lack of investment
The money received from these deals should then be invested back into the squad so as to progress the team. There is little evidence to suggest this has happened under Johnson.
Frustration all round
The frustration of the fans is constant and judging by Billy Brown’s words, staff feel the same. It’s likely too that this is also felt by the players. Why would a player stay with a team whose ambition is to maintain below mediocre standards and league positions?
What is the verdict on what will happen to Killie if this cycle continues?
Fans made their opinion clear when they gave a vote of no confidence for Michael Johnson last year.
Billy Brown condemned the club to the lower leagues.
“The way they’re going, whether it’s this season, next season or the season after, Kilmarnock are going to get relegated,” Brown said.
Former Killie Trust chairman, Richmond is equally pessimistic.
“It’s a romantic notion that if we get relegated, we get rid of the board, we then come straight back up again, but that just doesn’t happen. You look at clubs such as Dunfermline and what has happened to them, you could be bouncing around the lower leagues for years.”
It seems as though scraping survival is the best the fans can hope for under the current regime.