A return to West Kilbride today and a full-length Big Interview with plenty of positives, writes Tom Scott.
What was your Playing Experience in Football before Kilbride Thistle AFC?
My playing Career started off at Hawkhill Rovers Boys Club under 10’s, I then moved to Tass Thistle Boys Club at Under 12’s, at the age of 16 I moved to Saltcoats Vics Amateurs for a season, I made the move into Junior Football playing with Saltcoats Victoria for a season, I had a setback as I took epileptic seizures, so I gave football up for a bit.”
“John Mclaughlin and John Byrne approached me about getting back into the game. I signed for West Kilbride Amateurs at 19 years old, where I played for about 5 years- playing in the last- ever Scottish Cup Final at the old Hampden Park before it was upgraded – winning the West of Scotland Cup, Ayrshire Cup, and James Scott Cups. Unfortunately, I never won a League title, but I did finish 2nd three times.”
“I had a serious knee injury, so I gave football up at the age of 22, but not to be beaten I returned to West Kilbride at the age of 29 playing for Alex Adams’ side winning promotion back to the Premier League.”
“I retired again and this was to take me into Coaching with Tass Thistle Rovers 1997’s , which was a very successful time for the team, getting to the Semi Final of the Scottish Cup – winning 21 trophies in 5 years some of these trophies included The Scottish International Land of Burns, Rosellle Tournament, League titles, CYP Cups, and many numerous other Cups.”
“Finally, my playing career was to finish at Over 35’s with Moorpark, where we were back-to-back Champions.”
When did you join Kilbride Thistle, and in what capacity?
“I joined Kilbride Thistle in 2020, initially coming in to help Alan Frew run the new Kilbride Thistle Sunday team, but I also began taking some training sessions, so I soon became involved with the Saturday team as well. Now I’m a First Team Coach.”
Please define your current role at the Club?
“First Team Coach, Probably the best Coach at the Club, I know Sean has learned a lot since I came into the Club.”
What has been your best memory at Kilbride Thistle AFC?
“I joined Kilbride Thistle not long before the lockdown kicked in, so I haven’t had a chance to make memories yet, but hopefully we can get back playing soon and start to make memories.”
“One thing I will mention is that I’m blown away by all the lads’ attitudes, desire and ambition to make Sean”s vision successful at the Club. It’s a privilege to work with the boys and makes what we do as Coaches enjoyable because the players have bought into what we are doing here at Kilbride Thistle.”
Can you give us an in-sight into the Management style of Sean Kenney?
“Sean plays a very attacking style of football, playing football the way, it should be played on the deck, playing out from the Back, into the Midfield, up to the Forward. All the players are well drilled on the style Sean wants to play at the Club.”
“At training sessions, Sean is continually working on this style so that when we do get back playing all the players are ready to go, and all know what their jobs and roles are on and off the pitch.”
“Sean is a very ambitious Manager. He never stops. He is always looking for ways to improve the Club ie Sports Science and Video Analysis are just a couple of changes to improve the Club.”
“His Tactics, Research and Coaching Knowledge is up there with the very best. His hard work, attitude, drive and ambition rubs off on all the Coaching Staff and Players.”
What are your ambitions moving forward for yourself and the Club?
“For myself, it’s just to continue assisting Sean, passing on all my knowledge and experience which I have gained over the years in Football onto the players so that they can achieve personal goals, and also to give them the opportunity to taste success like I have in the game.”
“In regard to the Club, I’m very excited for the future, the plans that are in place, the hard work and vision that goes on behind the scene is phenomenal, and I’m just honoured to be part of it.”
“The massive strides the Club has taken it the last year is nothing short of a miracle, I can’t wait to see Kilbride Thistle playing at Junior, Amateur, Youth levels – this is the pathway and vision Sean has had for years at the Club, and now everything is starting to take shape.”
Everyone is talking about us as a Club and watching everything that we are doing, players are going to want to come and join our journey through the ranks of Junior Football. Our ambition is Senior Football, people will laugh at our ambition, but we are determined to do the best for this Club, and we are aiming high because that’s where we want to be.”
Photograph kindly provided by Manager Mr Sean Kenney.