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Twenty Years ago today

Posted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 8:53 pm
by Rob R
Davie Cooper left us this day ,Twenty Years Ago, where has the time gone.

Re: Twenty Years ago today

Posted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 10:41 pm
by Scottish
Far, far too young. As was another great player born the same year (though who lived longer), Tommy Burns.

Re: Twenty Years ago today

Posted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 11:46 pm
by Rob R
I always thought Tommy an underated player , although probably not by Celtic fans, I thought he tended to be overshadowed by Paul McStay .

Re: Twenty Years ago today

Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 1:25 am
by Scottish
He was still an outstanding player when he came to Kilmarnock and was quite prepared to rough it in the 2nd division. His first game saw the team bus break down and the game (at Bayview) abandoned with some players suffering from hypothermia. But his willingness to drop down two leagues when he could easily have stayed in the top flight went a long way to gaining Killie promotion back to the 1st then ultimately the Premier Division. His presence also enticed players like George McCluskey & Billy Stark to sign up too.

He also spent two full seasons as player-manager at a time when there were 44 league games per season and every match was crucial, to gain promotion in one and stay up in the other. Oddly enough for such a skilful player, both promotion-winning and relegation-avoiding games were nervy 0-0 draws.

His manner of leaving Rugby Park was out of keeping with his general character and the one stain on his time there.

When I first met him, he called me "Mister." I couldn't believe it. Here was this guy, same age as myself, played for Celtic & Scotland all over Europe, a bagload of medals, adored by fans at both Parkhead and Rugby Park and he was calling ME "Mister."

That one unfortunate incident in 1994 apart, a genuine guy.

Re: Twenty Years ago today

Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:59 am
by Snuff

I appreciate you, and more than a few other Killie fans, still feel let-down, angry even, at the manner of Tam's leaving Rugby Park.

I have always felt, the offer of the Celtic manager's job was one he simply could not refuse. I do not blame him in the least for going, who knows, had he not taken the job then, the offer might never have been repeated.

Yes, it was a blow to Killie, with hindsight, it perhaps came two or three years too-soon in his managerial career, but, if I had been in his situation, with Celtic in my DNA to the extent it was with Tam, I'd have gone too.

Yes, given what an absolute gentleman he was, the manner of his going was out-of-character. Of course, for those of us of a Killie persuasion, it was a really difficult one to take, but, his departure in no way diminishes my respect for Tam.

It happened, it was unfortunate, but, Killie is still here, I'm still here - such a pity Tommy Burns isn't. Just as it is a great pity that Davie Cooper has been gone such a long time.

I still maintain, that Dryburgh Cup goal Cooper scored against Cetic is the finest goal ever scored by a Scottish player.

Re: Twenty Years ago today

Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 12:44 pm
by Scottish
I agree entirely there was no way a Celtic man like Tommy Burns could possibly refuse the job (whether he was ready for it or not and, remember, he had been linked with it prior to Lou Macari's appointment) and if the whole thing had been upfront I'm sure it would have been accepted - with reluctance but no rancour - by Kilmarnock supporters. It was the denial of any approach from Fergus McCann when it was manifestly obvious there had been prior contact which turned the supporters against him. It was needless too - just to try and save some of McCann's "thin dimes" which he had to fork out eventually and which left Burns (and Stark) with besmirched reputations as a result.

One often overlooked consequence of the whole affair was the loss of Pat Bonner to Killie. Burns had convinced him to sign up at Rugby Park. I was holidaying on the west coast of Ireland at the time and in Dingle specifically when the Irish World Cup squad was announced with every paper clearly displaying the name 'Pat Bonner (Kilmarnock).' Burns persuaded him to stay on at Celtic instead.