Life in Blue & White: Andy Kerr
The latest edition of Killie Magazine introduces a brand-new feature which places you – the Blue & White Army – at the centre of attention.
In the first of the ‘Life in Blue and White’ series, magazine Editor Gordon Gillen caught up with diehard supporter Andy Kerr about his personal Killie journey. When Andy is not overseeing turnstile operations, he is performing in the 1869 Suite. Which leaves just about enough time to star in this year’s season ticket advert. Oh, and there’s a day job at Hampden Park, too!
(Available from the Killie Superstore for just £4, you can read more about what’s inside this month’s Killie Magazine – HERE.)
LIFE IN BLUE AND WHITE
Everyone has a different reason for following a football team; a different starting point; a different motivation. For Andy, it was the booming years under the stewardship of Bobby Williamson which captured his imagination.
“It’s very much a family thing for me. My mum and dad support Killie, their dads both supported Killie. You can go back a fair while and you’ll still have Killie in there. When I grew up, it was: if you live here you support Killie; if you don’t then you don’t live here! So I didn’t really have much of a choice in terms of who I was going to support.
“But it was also quite useful that when I was growing up in the mid and late nineties, the buzz around the club and the town was absolutely palpable. My first full season as a season ticket holder was in 96/97, and you couldn’t really pick a better season to get started. Okay, in the league, we just survived in the end but when you’ve got to the cup final, there are so many good stories related to that. From there, after the cup win, you’re hooked.
“It was a really exciting time to be a Killie fan, and you couldn’t wait for every other Saturday to come around. I remember the matchday experience in the morning, my dad would play 5-a-sides with his mates, and I’d go to my gran and papa’s. About one o’clock, we’d be taken to Paris Match for a bowl of chips and cheese and an Irn Bru while my dad and his pals would have pints. Come two-thirty, you’re hauled out of the pub and taken to the East Stand. And that walk, through the Howard Park and along the lane to get to the Dundonald Road end – when you’re wee, it seemed like it was never going to end. But you knew it was worth it because, when you got there, you got into your seat, you had a pie…and Killie came out. There was the old scoreboard as well, which captivated not only me but loads of kids my age. It was a really good time to be a Killie fan.”
A great many supporters identify the famous day in May 1997 as the starting point. Andy is certainly one of their number.
“My dad was the bus convenor for friends and family. Given that we hadn’t been to a cup final since the 1960s, he hadn’t realised how much traffic was going to be leaving the town that day. They panicked and thought we would never get out of the town in time, so we had to arrange a fleet of cars to drop everyone off at the Fenwick Hotel as that’s the only way we’d get out of town in the bus.
“I was five years old at the time of the final. Because it was my first season, I didn’t realise just how special cup finals were to provincial clubs like Kilmarnock. I thought everyone just got a cup final at the end of every season, you won yours or lost yours, and that was it, you got a shot again next season! I found out very quickly in the next season, when Ayr put us out, that sadly isn’t the case…
“Going past the Rangers Football Club gates, and suddenly being horrified: ‘Dad, I thought you said it was Falkirk we were playing.’ Being five, I don’t remember very much about the whole game. I do of course remember the teams coming out, and Paul Wright’s goal.
“I remember the last-minute offside scare that we had – God bless Sandy Roy – and then Ray Montgomerie going up and lifting the cup. Then it was the bus back home down the A77 and being on John Finnie Street at the Palace Theatre as the team went past with the cup. What happened then is a bit of a blur for me but those things will always stay with me.”
Andy Kerr’s wide-eyed fascination on the trek to Rugby Park has endured. Seeking that continued thrill of the matchday experience has guided him through his career as well.
“When I was a kid, I didn’t think that jobs like mine really existed. It was when I got a bit older, in secondary school, and you’re given all these different options. Even then, nobody said working within football if you’re not a footballer or coach is a viable career for you. I studied commercial music at UWS in Ayr – I didn’t think I was going to end up doing the job I do.
“It’s been a very interesting journey and a lot of where I am just now is thanks to the Football Memories project. When I was a student, I volunteered with both Football Memories and Musical Minds. By doing that, it allowed me to find out more about the football history side of things, and not just from a Killie perspective but also from a Scottish football perspective. And that really gripped me. I thought that there must be jobs out there that really appeal to me.”
Alongside spending time supporting the valuable nostalgia projects, Andy has held a matchday role for some 15 years, starting out on the turnstiles.
“That was me in. I liked feeling that I was part of the club. Around 2013, I was promoted to supervisor. Ever since then, I’ve been standing outside on Rugby Road or just outside the East Stand turnstiles, welcoming people in, speaking to people, getting to know them. People might not know what your name is, or anything about you, but they feel that they know you because they see you every week. It’s a nice familiarity. I think you get that in the stands as well: you might not know the name of the person in front of you, you might not know who their family are, but you know that you’ve got one thing in common…you’re both Killie.
“In terms of my 9-to-5 job, when I left uni I started playing guitar for people in care homes. I made a good go of my own small business doing that but I needed some more money to supplement my income. One day, in 2017, I saw that the Scottish FA were looking for tour guides at the museum. I thought, given my background, I’d be stupid not to go for it. I got the job, and everything was going ok until 2020 when the pandemic hit.
“Late in that year, I was contacted by my boss who told me that Football Memories were looking for someone to start making podcasts to replace the Football Memories groups, where people with dementia and their families and carers could meet and talk about football. So I made a series of podcasts, and I was able to speak to some good Killie names like Ross Mathie. Once that ended, I went back to being a tour guide, and I am now Visitor Attraction Manager at the Scottish Football Museum.”
Some people just like to keep themselves busy. And when the club came calling earlier in the year, Andy was on hand to help yet again.
“I was contacted by Andy Fitzsimmons back in March. He told me that the club wanted to use my music to advertise the season tickets, given that I’d been in the 1869 Suite before games a few times.
“I met the media team one day, just after a reserve game, and the guys told me about their vision: they wanted to have an advert where it was all about a supporter. So it wasn’t about me personally as a supporter but about a supporter and their matchday routine and making it feel like home. I came up with the song relatively quickly and recorded that too.”
Next time you are making your way into Rugby Park, keep a look out for Andy. But if you ask him how the job is going, he might need you to be a bit more specific…