Question for Scottish re Saxone Youth Club

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Aten
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Question for Scottish re Saxone Youth Club

Post by Aten » Tue Apr 14, 2015 10:39 pm

Been looking at Kilmarnock’s Championship winning season of 1964/65. I noticed that 3 of that seasons squad, Ronnie Hamilton, Andy King and Eric Murray were all signed from Saxone Youth Club. Was there any tie-in, formal or otherwise, between Kilmarnock and Saxone? And did the youth club have any connection to the shoe company of the same name?

I can recall Ronnie Hamilton and Andy King (among others) and remember watching them play (Andy King more so) but I seem to have no recollection of Eric Murray.

One other thing. It would appear that Killie were happy with their squad going into the 1965/66 campaign since no significant signings or transfers appear to have been made during the close season. Was it a case of we have a championship winning team so why change it or more to do with the managerial change from Willie Waddell to Malky MacDonald?

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Re: Question for Scottish re Saxone Youth Club

Post by Snuff » Wed Apr 15, 2015 4:11 am

I am sure Scottish will give you a full answer to your questionsAten.

I would say, however, the top pitch at the Saxone ground, the one next to the road, was the best surface in Ayrsire, at a time when Rugby Park was widely held to have the best pitch in senior football. The Saxone pitch was a joy to play on.

Also, were they only building the Kilmarnock by-pass today - the reason the Saxone ground was lost - they would have a harder job, I am sure the art deco-style pavilion would be a listed building and untouchable.
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Re: Question for Scottish re Saxone Youth Club

Post by Scottish » Thu Apr 16, 2015 7:09 pm

If Richard Cairns sees this he may be able to give you an answer. I'm not aware of any formal tie-in though it was an obvious logical progression for talented local youngsters. I worked in the Saxone shoe shop in King Street as a Saturday job for much of my last year at school, which was also Killie's season in the old Second Division in 1973-74 (this meant in the main I only got to see midweek games that season except for a sudden illness which prevented me from going into work in the morning but which I had recovered sufficiently from to go and see Killie beat Stirling Albion to clinch promotion in the afternoon).

I'm sure if there were any tie-in with the club, Willie Fernie would have been on the blower. Otherwise there's no rational explanation for my career not taking off.

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Re: Question for Scottish re Saxone Youth Club

Post by Scottish » Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:34 am

Reply from Killie historian John Livingston via Richard Cairns.

"There was a kind of tie-up in the mid-1950's with Kilmarnock amateurs, as they trained at Rugby Park under Jimmy Maxwell, then there was a tie-up with Saxone from very late 1950's into early 1960's, then with Bellfield Boys Club from around 1963-ish up to early 1970's. I do not know if there was anything after that. Mind you, when Mark Roberts and Jim Lauchlan were youths, they played at Bellfield whilst still Killie youths as well. Anyway, Malky had the connection initially with Kilmarnock amateurs, whilst it was Willie Waddell with Saxone and Bellfield. I cannot say if any of these were "set-in-stone" officially signed things, or if they were just because they were local clubs. "

Malky being Malky MacDonald

Richard adds:
"See John's answer about Saxone Amateurs. KFC also seem to have used Dreghorn Juniors (who went out of business in 1968) extensively around the same time as Saxone. Young players were regularly "farmed out" to the Junior Club, but it seems to have been some sort of administrative exercise, as the players seemed to make very few appearances in the Western League!?"

I am not surprised by the latter comment as IIRC Dreghorn used to finish bottom of the table by a country mile every season. I for one am glad there was no bus service between Dreghorn and Dundonald in those days as working on the 'support your local team' principle I would have endured their awfulness instead of the comparatively more successful Troon!

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Re: Question for Scottish re Saxone Youth Club

Post by Snuff » Thu Apr 23, 2015 10:13 am

As I recall, playing schools football back in the late 1950s and early 1960s, there were not that many boys club teams in Ayrshire at the time.

At Cumnock Academy, we had two levels of schools football. We played against the local Junior Secondaries - Auchinleck, Catrine, Drongan, Glaisnock House, Muirkirk, New Cumnock etc in midweek. On Saturdays we played the likes of Girvan, Carrick, St Joseph's, St Michael's, Kilwinning, Irvine Royal. We also played the Scottish cup ties then.

Schools football was probably the main outlet for boys in Ayrshire, for instance, there was no boys club team in Cumnock before Tommy Guthrie started Kyle Athletic, on the back of the Tommy Burley (Craig's Dad), Tom Donnelly (Simon's Dad), Bob Crawford, Jim Forbes, Bill Miller Cumnock Academy team which was the first from the school to reach a Scottish Schools Cup final, in 1963 or 1964.

Therefore, the better boys from this district - the potential Scottish Schools internationalists such as future Ayr United manager George Caldwell, played for Saxone or Bellfield. The guys running those clubs could cherry-pick from a wider area than Kilmarnock, and, with the pick of Ayrshire's young players playing for them, these guys were always going to be watched by Killie scouts.
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Re: Question for Scottish re Saxone Youth Club

Post by Scottish » Thu Apr 23, 2015 11:21 am

Undoubtedly true about the lack of Boys Clubs. The height of a schoolboy's ambition in the late Sixties/early Seventies was to play for Bellfield Boys Club or Ayr Boswell. As Snuff is aware my secondary put the emphasis on rugby but somehow or other players like Stevie Nicol, Jimmy 'Netzer' McIlwraith and Neil Murray went on to play professionally.

Coaching was non-existent although there was a story that one of the Maths teachers had played for Airdrie. Incidentally another Maths teacher was former St Mirren player Wilson Humphries' sister but as his playing days were in the dim and distant past as far as kids our age were concerned - in fact none of us had ever heard of him - that information wasn't very impressive.

Primary was even worse. The team below won the Troon & District league coached by the janitor and the only member who went on to become a household name was the reserve keeper Jim Goldie - later a famous racehorse trainer.

My stated reason for non-inclusion isn't exactly correct. I wasn't all that good, true, but I suffered from a medical condition which absolutely forbade me - even in the era before health and safety were considerations - from playing at any representative level. Except for the two week camp school in P7 where no one was aware of the ban.

Couldn't stop me from the playground and especially after school though where after moving up from being a useless right-back to midfield I earned the flattering soubriquet of "The General."

Of the fourteen players in this squad there were eight Killie fans and six Rangers - which was pretty much par for the course back then. Of the eight Killie supporters three are still Rugby Park regulars, four live further afield but go when they can and one who was an absolute diehard season ticket holder and never missed a game home or away tragically died suddenly, aged 45.

To the best of my knowledge, none of the Rangers fans have ever set foot inside Ibrox and would need Google Maps or SatNav to give directions to anyone asking them the way there.

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/d.ross97/s ... lteam.html

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Re: Question for Scottish re Saxone Youth Club

Post by Aten » Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:56 am

Thanks to you both for that information, very much appreciated.

Another look at that Championship team shows that 3 of the squad were from Bellfield and 4, most notably Bobby Ferguson and Jackie McGrory, came from Kilmarnock amateurs. Nice to see local talent getting the chance and come out on top.

Thanks again guys.

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