Tuesday, 24 April 2018

One to Eleven with Jérôme Vareille

This week we caught up with Frenchman and Ex Killie forward Jerome Vareille to get his memories of playing in Europe and about his time at Rugby Park.

Vareille began his career in his homeland France with FC Metz. Only scoring once in seven appearances for them before heading to FC Mulhouse in 1995. FC Mulhouse are the second oldest team in France. Jerome played two seasons with them and scored 12 goals in 78 appearances.

In the summer after our 1997 Scottish Cup victory, Kilmarnock spent our pre-season in France and Jerome scored twice against us in a friendly game. Bobby Williamson offered him a trial, he did well and was offered a contract which he accepted and moved to Scotland.

In the next five years to come he would play 113 games for Ayrshire's finest, scoring 16 goals in what would be a very successful period for the club. Playing alongside a very talented group of players including - Ian Durrant, Gary Holt, Ally McCoist and Paul 'Bunion' Wright.

Killie would play in Europe against Kaiserslautern, OGC Nice, Shelbourne and FK Željezničar in his time with the club, and he loved playing against Nice in particular, as he mentions later in this article.

Jerome would leave Killie in 2002 to join already doomed Airdrieonians in what would be their final season in existence. He would set a Scottish league record in 2004 at Airdrie United with 4 goals in 14 minutes, a record that still stands today. After scoring 29 goals in his 89 appearances for Airdrie during his spell at the club, he left.

Vareille then signed with the team South of Symington in 2005.

In deepest darkest Ayrshire between 2005 and 2008 (when he was released) Jerome plodded away with Ayrshire's worst team, amassing 19 goals in 82 appearances for the Colins.

Retiring in 2008, he made 362 appearances in his footballing career which lasted 17 years. In that time he scored 75 career goals with 62 of them coming in Scotland.

Jerome took a step away from football after his playing days and runs a sandwich shop in Hamilton called Viva. He still follows Kilmarnock's results and thought his time at Killie initially would only be for six months or so, but he has now stayed in Scotland 20 years, considering himself half Scottish.

 Lets hear from the Frenchman now...

1) As a boy growing up in France, who was your footballing idol?
Easy! Michel Platini with St Etienne. When I was seven I used to wear his top everywhere, even when I was sleeping.

2) How did your move to Kilmarnock come about?
I was with Ayr United for a weeks trial and didn't particularly enjoy it so headed home. Fortunately at the time Kilmarnock were in France for pre-season training. I played a few games and ended up signing a contract with Killie.

3) Which player or players were the best you played with during your time with Killie?
We had a great team spirit at Kilmarnock and played in Europe most of the seasons at that point. Individually we were all pretty talented but collectively we were outstanding. If I had to single out one player it would be Gary Holt, he was the engine of our team and a great player.

4) During your career which player was you most difficult opponent?
I will definitely say Bobo Balde with Celtic. He was absolutely huge and very strong. 

5) Do you have a favourite goal for Kilmarnock?
Yes, my goal away at Dunfermline after a four month spell on the sidelines with a shoulder injury. It was a lovely half-volley from 18 yards out, a great finish. We also won 6-0 that day which made it even better.

6) Who were the jokers at Killie when you were there, do you have any funny stories?
Not hard to answer; Coisty and Durrant were the main men at that time, they were hilarious together. What is said and done in the dressing room stays there unfortunately. Sorry!

7) Which stadium in Scotland was your favourite to play in?
After Rugby Park, I would say Easter Road because of how well I played there in my games over the years. My first start for Killie though was at Easter Road and we went down to ten men quite early that day and I had a total nightmare.

8) You made 113 appearances for the club, do you have a favourite match you played in?
I'd say the match in Europe away at Nice in France. All of my family made it down to watch me and the Kilmarnock fans were incredible that night. It was also live on French TV and a massive game for the club. In France we drink a liqueur called 'Pastis' with water and after the game my Dad, who was attending, said he met Killie fans and they were drinking it straight out of the bottle. He was in total shock as it is 40% alcohol! That was very funny.

9) What is your thoughts on Steve Clarke's Killie revival this season?
Steve Clarke has totally transformed the club in a short space of time. It shows how important a good manager is to the club. The next few seasons should be exciting and I am sure Killie will be back in Europe very soon.

10) Can i ask you to name your best eleven you played with during your career?
Yes formation 4-4-1-1.

MacPherson - Montgomerie - Dindeleux - Kerr
McLaren - Reilly - Holt - Nevin

I'd put myself on the bench to be polite!

11) Ending on a controversial question Jerome, who do you prefer, Killie or Ayr?
I played for Ayr for three seasons in my career but Kilmarnock will always be where my heart is. The years I spent at Rugby Park were my best memories in football. Definitely Kilmarnock for me.

And a final message for Killie fans before you go?

Keep believing, supporting and enjoying this fantastic club.

Monday, 23 April 2018

2017-18 Dairy Week 38

First of all let me say that the better team on the day ultimately took the points on Saturday, the sheep took their chances and we never.

That said, what a bunch of diving, cheating and whining gits they are!

Honestly, if I was one of the 500 fans who travelled (clearly not famous any more) I’d be embarrassed by some of the antics of the players.

Referee Nick Walsh was hopeless yet again, you’d think he would do better with so many Dons players eager to help out and make decisions for him!

The stats show it was a more even game than I thought at the time, but we certainly missed a few key players who will hopefully return next week.

The good news is that next term’s season tickets have now been released and the price increase for early bird purchases is fairly minimal.

Fantastic that we are opening the Moffat Stand again, disappointed we’ve not attempted to resolve the ‘no old firm games’ issue, we need those families there at every match.

Monday, 16 April 2018

2017-18 Diary Week 37

Big Kirk Broadfoot is getting a mention this week again after mystic Hippo advised us to back him for first goal scorer at 40/1 for the fourth week running.

It was a happier than normal bus heading home from Hamilton for sure!

Remember kids, when the fun stops, stop, only there seems to be no stopping the Mighty at the moment.

Again with key players missing we toiled a wee bit in the first half, but never looked in any danger.

Boydie’s 128th goal sealed the 2-1 win (we even score their goal as it bounced in spectacularly off Fasan’s back) and sent the 2,505 Killie fans home happy.

Unbelievable in this day and age that we can go to another SPFL team’s ground and have 700 more fans than them…and this for a ‘nothing’ game.

Take a bow the Killie support!

It was also great to see the players at the POTY Dance on Saturday night, and staying to the end partying with the fans.

Don’t give up the day job Jordan!

We are a breath of fresh air in Scottish football, the media clearly don’t like it and are trying their hardest to get Steve Clarke moved to Govan.

Jack Ross has had a bit of success and he’s getting the same treatment as Steve or anyone else that has shown a slight bit of promise.

It’s getting boring now, lazy journalism and tired speculation at its worst.

Killie are embarking on this Project Brave thing next season and we are considering using the Ibrox club as a feeder team.

Well if we are publishing made-up stuff we may as well make it sound believable!

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Killie Masters Invitational 2018

Join a host of Killie footballing legends at the inaugural Killie Masters Invitational to be held at Ballochmyle Golf Club on Wednesday, 23rd May, 2018.

Your three-man team will be joined and captained by one of the following ex-players who wore the famous blue and white stripes and served our Club with both distinction and pride...

Alan Robertson, Stuart McLean, Derrick McDicken, Paul Clarke, Jim Clark, Robert Reilly, Robert Connor, Blair Millar, Sam McGivern, Tom Black, Gary Holt, Ian Durrant, Garry Hay or James Fowler…with many others still to be confirmed!

The cost of entry for a team is £200 which will include green fees, brunch prior to competition, two course meal at the conclusion, entry into additional course competitions (chipping and putting etc.) and the raffle. Following the evening meal, there will be a short prize-giving ceremony and auction.

Depending on availability, you may also enter as an individual at the cost of £65 and be allocated a team.

This is not a corporate event, this is a golf day for the fans and ex-players to have a bit of a laugh with a competitive edge (you never lose it apparently). We have worked with Ballochmyle and our sponsors to keep costs to a minimum while still putting something into the Trust In Killie kitty. If you are also interested in some sponsorship then please indicate that on your email to us and we can let you know what is available.


12th - 25th April: Exclusive entry for ‘Trust in Killie’ Subscribers

26th April - 2nd May: Entry open to ‘Killie Trust’ Members (depending on availability)

3rd May Onwards: Open Entry (depending on availability)

20th May (or before if all teams are full): Team Captains Draw

Entry forms can be obtained by emailing KillieFC.com@gmail.com

Rory McKenzie talks Life at Killie

This week I chatted with current Kilmarnock FC midfielder Rory McKenzie about his career so far. We talked about the funniest players, idols growing up and how this season has been for him personally. This week he put pen to paper on a new two-year deal at Killie, keeping him at the club till the 2020 season. This should see him to complete ten years at the club on a professional contract and potentially qualify for a testimonial at the grand old age of 26!

Currently Killie's longest serving player and having captained the club at age 22, he has amassed an impressive 187 matches for Kilmarnock scoring 17 times. Rory has played pretty much every position for Killie in his time with us. His versatility has hindered him in the past, in my opinion, a very hard working solid professional who is willing to do a real shift and fill in where he is needed for the team.

Unfairly criticised at times, in my eyes, I think Rory is a extremely underrated member of our squad, and I was delighted to see him given a new deal last week. I think we will see the best of Rory now in a settled position on the right of our midfield. He has scored some excellent goals in his time so far, including a goal from nearly the half way line, away at St Johnstone last season. I also recall a few years back at Dundee, an incredible solo run from 70 yards out, leaving four or five opponents for dead, before slotting the ball home.

Fun fact - Rory qualifies for Trinidad and Tobago international team through his Grandmother. He also has studied for a degree to become a lawyer in his spare time.

Lets hear from the man himself...enjoy...

1) How did you signing for Killie come about?
I had played with Caledonian until I was 7 years old and then played with Troon up until the age of 11 or 12. I enjoyed playing with my friends so didn’t go pro-youth until a few years later than the likes of Ross Davidson and other boys I knew. I signed with Kilmarnock when I was 12, I think.

2) Biggest influence on your career?
I would have to say my Mum and Dad. I know everyone says that but if it wasn’t for them taking me to training and away matches, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

3) Toughest player you have played against?
I remember we played Sunderland in a pre-season friendly a few years back at Rugby Park and I played against Stephane Sessengnon. He was quite small but quick, very intelligent with the ball.

4) Top three players you have played with in your career?
I’d say Gary Dicker, Sammy Clingan and Stuart Armstrong with Scotland under 21s. Gary and Sammy are both incredibly calm on the ball no matter what situation they are in.

After hearing those three players I mentioned it was refreshing to have a different perspective of players from the usual suspects Eremenko etc. Rory replied with -

Cannot believe I forgot about Alexei he was some player, you probably should stick him in with Boydie as well, incredible finisher.

5) Favourite goal you have scored for Kilmarnock?
Would have to be my goal against Ayr in the Cup at Rugby Park a few years back. Good atmosphere and a decent crowd that night. Always good to score against Ayr.

6) Best moment at the club so far?
It would probably have to be the draw at Ibrox earlier this season. I don’t know why but just the way the game had gone and with the penalty miss and then going up the other end and snatching an unlikely draw was really very satisfying for us. An excellent point and a good start for the manager which kicked off our season. Momentum has grown ever since that game.

7) Who was your favourite player/idol growing up?
I was a Manchester United supporter when I was younger and always had the strips with Beckham on the back. David Beckham for me definitely.

8) The revival this season under Steve Clarke has been massive, how has this season been for you personally?
I have enjoyed this season massively. I played at the start when the manager came in to the club and I was loving it. I found myself missing some games in November but I am proud of the way I bounced back and got myself back in the team after Christmas.

9) What players have really made you laugh in your time at Kilmarnock?
There have been so many funny guys at the club in my time here. I’d say Paul Heffernan, who had a very dry sense of humour, but I found him really funny. From our current squad Boydie, Gaz Dicker and Jordan Jones love a joke.

10) Knowing that you are a keen golfer Rory, which golfer would you like to play a round with if you
Has to be Tiger Woods, fantastic golfer and probably the biggest name in sport.

Thanks to Rory for his time. All the best to him for the rest of season.

Forever and Ever

Monday, 9 April 2018

2017-18 Diary Week 36

The mighty Ayrshire Killie are now the only team in our league that have won five games on the bounce, and we still top the form charts as well.

The split is nearly upon us and I do not know a Killie fan who wants the season to end!

A highly impressive 1,663 turned up at Firhill and it was big Findlay who provided the thrills with a bullet header from a Jones cross to give us all three points.

He was ably accompanied by former liability Kirk Broadfoot, you won’t catch many saying that about him any longer.

The big defender was in the hotel last week paying for a coffee after training, when he was approached by a sprightly 92-year-old fan for a quick chat.

Broaders stood there with him for almost twenty minutes and hung on every word the elderly gent was saying.

I was highly impressed by his attitude and it is great to see that kind of interaction and respect at our club again.

Monday, 2 April 2018

2017-18 Diary Week 35

We are in danger of getting a bit blasé about winning as we seem to be able to just turn up and hit the ball in the general direction of the goal and it goes in!

I’m kidding of course, there is a ton of hard work goes in all week and that is what pays off on match days.

We now play as a cohesive unit and you only had to see the strength of our bench on Saturday to realise how difficult it must be to get a starting place in that first team.

Mulumbu, Jones, Kiltie and Wilson had to sit and watch most of the game as we routinely put Accies to the sword.

A sublimely taken chance by Erwin and a punt/glance combo from SO'D and Dicker was enough to take all the points on the day.

Who would have thought eh!

The good news kept coming all week as top players committed to extended contracts and individuals we all thought would go are now happy now to stay.

And we are happy to have them…positivity reigns supreme.