It’s not very often that Scottish football is shown in a positive light during debate in the Scottish Parliament but that is what happened last week when Kilmarnock MSP Willie Coffey tabled motion S5M-15230 entitled, “Congratulations to Kilmarnock Football Club on its 150th anniversary”
At 12.50pm on Thursday 7 February, Willie opened the debate and spoke with some passion about the extensive history of our great Club and indeed secured a period of ‘extra time’ for the debate to be continued.
Although Willie never mentioned our Supporters Trust in his speech, it was great to see other MSP’s taking the opportunity to acknowledge our work during their contribution to the debate.
Brian Whittle (South Scotland MSP) commented “…..The club has the ability to galvanise the community and the Killie Trust—the Kilmarnock Supporters Society Ltd—is doing some fantastic work to pull the community into the club.”
Colin Smyth (South Scotland MSP) continued - “Bill Shankly once said: “Football without fans is nothing”. It is the growing number of Killie fans who are at the very heart of Kilmarnock Football Club as they celebrate their 150th anniversary, not least through the establishment in 2003 of the Killie Trust to bring supporters closer to the club. In 2017, it launched the Trust in Killie initiative and supporters from around the world pledged a remarkable £100,000 to buy unallocated shares in Killie and put a supporter on the board of the club as a full and equal director.
In May last year, that new director was appointed, giving fans a voice at the club’s decision-making table. That director will be familiar to members of this Parliament: Cathy Jamieson, the former MSP for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley and former Member of Parliament for Kilmarnock and Loudoun. She is already making a huge impact, leading the way in improving communication between the club and fans and working with the other directors, Billy Bowie and Phyllis McLeish, to develop Kilmarnock as a true community club. The Killie Trust is building on the success of the ‘Trust in Killie’ campaign, generating more funds for the club and looking at how those funds can be invested for the benefit of fans. Kilmarnock FC is setting an example across football, with fans not just following but leading their club. That is fitting as Kilmarnock’s supporters celebrate 150 proud years.
John Finnie (Highlands and Islands MSP) then queried “I concur with the minister’s comments about Trusts. Does he agree that fan ownership is a way of building on that approach and bringing communities closer to clubs?
The Minister for Parliamentary Business and Veterans, Graeme Dey MSP (an Aberdeen fan) replied “I absolutely agree with the member. The more that fans are involved in the running of their football clubs, the better.
I congratulate Mr Coffey again on securing the debate, and I congratulate Kilmarnock FC on its 150th anniversary and wish it—almost—every success on and off the field in this historic season.”
……….and with that, the debate finally ended at 1.36pm.
The full debate can be viewed in full here.
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