Monday, 4 July 2016

My Favourite XI - Alan Walker

We asked the members of the forums to tell us their all-time favourite Killie XI. If you'd like to tell us about your favourite XI, simply send it to us with a wee paragraph about each of your choices, a photo of you and your Twitter handle (if you use it):

Here's Alan Walker to take us through his world-beaters...

I’ve really enjoyed reading the entries of the Fans’ XI and found myself agreeing with many choices. I mean, how can you not pick cup-winning captain Monty, Mr Kilmarnock Hooky or James “don’t call him Jamie” Fowler? Well, unlike Bobby, I go to Killie games to see a little entertainment. So these are some of the players who have entertained me the most over my 20-odd years as a Killie fan.

GK: In terms of entertainment, it HAD to be the Dragon: Dragoje Leković. This was a man who could pull of wonder saves (remember that save in the cup final?) one minute, and then the next minute he could let the ball float between his hands due to the sun. Leković was with us for four years and it was a great time for Killie.

LB: How to win friends and influence people – Killie style: score against your bitter rivals, then leap the advertising hoardings, and the stand wall, clear a few rows of seats and then celebrate with the fans. Dylan Kerr gets my vote for left-back on the back of this contribution to my happiness. He was also great craic at a Glasgow Killie meeting and is often seen back supporting Killie, home and away.

RB: This was a tough call. There were many good right-backs over the years: Jamie Hamill had a great season there with Eremenko pulling the strings, Tim Clancy and Momo Sylla could always be relied upon to smash a winger before they got cocky, and Grant Murray was, well, perfection personified. However, my choice goes to Gus MacPherson. A great right back who liked to get forward, but who also put in a fantastic shift in goals when Leković was silly enough to get himself sent off. I’d like to see Gus back at the club some day as I believe he did a great job with St Mirren. It isn’t easy keeping a club like them in the top flight for so long.

CBs: I like to see footballers in defence rather than just hoof-it thugs. Although while Freddy Dindeleux was that kind of player, I’m afraid he just misses out due to the peeking-through-your-fingers factor of Momo Sissoko and Simon Ford. Simon, who isn’t a relative of anyone important, was a marmite player for Killie. So relaxed on the ball (too relaxed, you might say), good in the air and partnered well with hoof-the-ba’ Fraser Wright. Plus, after scoring two goals against the Ayrshire minnows in THAT cup replay and then self-proclaiming himself to be ‘da man, da effing man’, it would be disgraceful not to have him in the team. Now, if you thought Simon was relaxed, then Momo Sissoko really took the biscuit. I still can’t watch the first couple of minutes of the League Cup win in case Gary Hooper scores from the chance that Sissoko gifted him. However, he was great entertainment and the butterflies in your stomach were well worth it, just to see him gallop up the field with the ball.

CMs: Enough of the entertainment through fear or hilarity. The centre-mid pairing is where the real classic entertainment shines through. Ian Durrant and Alexei Eremenko are two of the best midfielders I’ve seen in the Scottish game. Durrant was in the twilight of his career at Killie, yet was a great asset to the club and could really boss a game. Whether or not that tackle had a bearing on his ability, I still don’t think he could match up to Eremenko. Without wanting to sound like Chick Young, Alexai was just unfathomably good. His vision, accuracy and (let’s face it) ego were of the levels that we won’t see at Killie for some time to come. He single-handedly turned a misfiring Irish striker into a £2,000,000 asset, a meh right-back into a dangerous wing-back and a young left-back into a real prospect (which sadly didn’t come to fruition). His knowledge clearly helped Championship star Bryson and if it wasn’t for injury, Kelly would have prospered just as well.

LM/RM: On the wings, I have Pat Nevin and Steven Naismith. I was genuinely gutted when Nevin left to take a role at Motherwell. Even in his later years, Nevin could leave a full-back for dead with his trickery and footballing brain. He was a joy to watch. While Nevin was at the end of his career at Killie, Naismith was at the start, and what a career he has had. It was clear to all of us that Naismith was something special. He might have annoyed us somewhat with the way he left Killie, and by his antics during that cup game when every rangers player had a go at booting Eremenko, but all was (kinda) forgiven by the way he left Rangers. His work rate and ability put many others to shame, but what really stands out is how much he does for those less fortunate than him.

CAM: So, for the number 10 role. Again, lots to choose from with McIntyre, di Giacomo, Nish (cries of derision), to name a few. However, with regards to entertainment, it has to be David Fernandez. The man who won us a game, by slapping an A*r bam on the face and getting sent off! Fernandez was hardly a prolific striker (five goals from 82), but he linked very well with his team and always good for a chuckle. His impression of a flailing Dundee Utd centre-back in front of the referee was funny enough to merit inclusion alone.

ST: The striker has to be Kris Boyd. Any man that can score almost 100 goals in just over 200 games for Killie must be included. Granted, some of those goals came in groups of five in one game, but Boyd was a man who could win a game from nothing, and kept us in the SPL  in the year that Hibs capitulated. Hopefully, Boyd will burst through the 100 goal mark in the first game of the new season and continue throughout. He may have scored plenty of goals against Killie while on sabbatical up the road, but Boyd will always have a place in my heart team. Boom boom boomer.

Notable mentions go to Bobby Geddes, Shaun McSkimming, Ally Mitchell, Tam Broon, Tam Black, George McLusky and Tommy Burns. In fact, notable mentions to all the 90s players. What a time to be a Killie fan.

What do you think? Let him know on Twitter: @aap03108

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