Tag Archives: Park

James Fowler – a testimonial, an appreciation

8 Aug

James Fowler (centre left, captains armband) lifts the League Cup. Source: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images Europe

There’s a very elite club in Ayrshire with only a handful of members, the members of this club are the men who have captained Kilmarnock FC to capturing silverware. The latest inductee to this, exclusive club is James Fowler. For on March 18th 2012 he lifted the League Cup for Kilmarnock and found himself joining this assembly – he was the latest man to captain Scotland’s oldest professional club to a major trophy. Tonight, at Rugby Park the place James Fowler has plied his trade for 15 years, he will be honoured with a testimonial match against Sheffield Wednesday.

In the modern era of astronomical wages and gross transfer fees, many football supporters will be ethically opposed to holding testimonial matches for these ‘overpaid’ footballers. And, it must be said who can blame them? As the football fan struggles from week to week why should they fork out to give a player who no doubt earns a more comfortable wage than most a cushy retirement? I don’t disagree with this sentiment on the whole – although, on this occasion I certainly do.

We have a generation of footballers now, who will be classed as fantastic servants to their clubs if they manage to hack it for 4 or 5 seasons. James Fowler has been grafting for Kilmarnock for 15 years, through highs and lows. He’s been played in almost every position imaginable – it was even said amongst the support that nobody knew what his best position actually was although in recent seasons it has become clear that Fowler excels in the teams engine room, underpinning everything that the midfield does.

Having surpassed 300 games – ensuring membership to another select group of players – it’s fair to say that in the blue and white of Kilmarnock, Fowler has experienced it all. UEFA Cup football in the 2000/01 season with trips to Glenavon and Viking Stavanger; heart-breaking cup exits at the hands of lower league opponents; the devastating League Cup final demolition at the hands of Hibernian; flirting with relegation on the final day of the season. And of course, most recently winning a major trophy.

Fowler is now working under his 5th manager at Kilmarnock and is arguably producing the best performances of his career. Earlier in his career he was linked with a potential move to Celtic, in spite of this Fowler remained at Rugby Park in the face of relentless and often ruthless budget cuts as the club struggled with mountains of debt and despite the uncertainty, James Fowler’s loyalty has never faltered. A fantastic role model for the young players at the club and indeed young players across the game at all levels, a more deserving candidate of a testimonial there will rarely be.

So, tonight, at Rugby Park Kilmarnock players and fans alike will gather to show their respect and appreciation for this rarest breed of footballer.


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Cup Fever

6 Jan

So with January comes the obligatory transfer rumours, as fans demand change to pick their clubs fortunes up, or in other cases demand they hold on to their best players. But, it’s an exciting month ON the pitch too. The 4th round of the Scottish cup kicks off, and the SPL teams make their first foray into this years tournament.

The so called ‘big teams’ won’t be expecting an easy ride though, as cup football goes hand in hand with cup shocks.

Here, I have a look at some of the big ones.

BERWICK RANGERS 1 RANGERS 0 – Scottish Cup first round 1967.

Still regarded as one of the biggest shock in Scottish Footballing history. Sammy Reid bagged the goal that knocked Rangers out of the cup, and bagged himself a place in Berwick folklore. The sides met again in 2002 at Sheilfield park, and the Borders side earned a replay at Ibrox after a 0-0 draw. This weekend Berwick face Celtic, could another shock be on the cards?

Sun Headline

CELTIC 1 – 3 INVERNESS CALEDONIAN THISTLE – Scottish Cup third round,  2000.

First division Inverness put the Hoops to the sword, who in turn axed manager John Barnes after this result. Which stands as one of the biggest in the history of Inverness and one which Celtic would like to forget. Inverness led for the entire game against a Celtic team in dissaray, prompting the famous headline; ‘Super Caley Go Ballistic Celtic Are Atrocious’.

INVERNESS CT 1 CELTIC 0 – Scottish Cup quarter-final, 2003.

The Highlanders done it again, knocking out Celtic who were fresh from a win at Anfield. Martin O’Neill made changes to his squad, and lightening struck twice for the Glasgow giants.

QUEEN OF THE SOUTH 4  ABERDEEN 3- Scottish Cup semi-final, 2008.

1st division Queen of the South reached their first ever Scottish Cup Final, defeating Premier League Aberdeen in this thriller. A match which Dons captain Zander Diamond called his lowest moment in football. Playing for Aberdeen, that really is saying something.

CELTIC 0 FALKIRK 1 – Scottish Cup semi-final replay, 1997.

Falkirk looked to have blown their best chance of securing a semi-final shock over Celtic in the 1-1 draw in the first game. But in the replay, Bairns striker Paul McGrillen scored the only goal in the 19th minute to send the Division One side through to the final against Kilmarnock. Full highlights here.

STENHOUSEMUIR 2 ABERDEEN 0 – Scottish Cup fourth round, 1995.

A capacity crowd at Ochilview Park saw Second division Stenhousemuir saw striker Tommy Steele score twice. Inflicting one of the most embarassing defeats for Aberdeen in recent history, bagging Stenny a clash against Hibs.

CLYDE 2 CELTIC 1 – Scottish Cup third round, 2006.

Celtic feature again, as Roy Keane’s debut match for Celtic saw his side slump to a stunning defeat. Graeme Roberts’ Clyde side dominated, as Eddie Malone and current Killie captain Craig Bryson bagged the goals.

RANGERS 0 HAMILTON 1 – Scottish Cup third round, 1987.

An Adrian Sprott goal sank Graeme Souness’ side in a  famous Ibrox victory for Hamilton. The Glasgow side went on to win the league that year, and Hamilton saw themselves relegated.

Tell me your favourite Scottish cup shock below! Leave a comment saying why, use the ‘comment’ link below, or to the left!