Bill Costley, the Kilmarnock chairman, is a chef with a long term plan for his club. Graeme Jamieson investigates Aryshire's answer to Delia
Distinguishing features A respectable, bespectacled gentleman with a headline writer’s dream name. And a moustache.
Habitat Formerly a chef, Costley now owns several of the poshest hotels in Ayrshire. As a prominent local businessman, he has been on the board at Kilmarnock for four years.
What use is he? In the two years he has been chairman, he has overseen the furthest-looking policy the club has ever devised – the building and running of a dedicated football centre of excellence with proper training facilities. It is just unfortunate that in those two years the team has experienced its worst run of form for decades. With only 28 goals in 27 league games, it’s not hard to pinpoint the current weakness in the side. Costley did eventually release funds to buy one striker and bring in another on loan. It’s not his fault they turned out to be goal-shy too.
Who remembers his birthday? In recent years Kilmarnock have had more chairmen than managers and a board that was about as stable as Paula Yates. However, Costley’s reign has built quietly on the foundations laid by previous regimes. Although he has yet to make any major public gaffes, when Costley does speak it tends to be to tell anyone who will listen that he is a life-long Killie fan, which has done little to ease the suspicions of some supporters about his lingering connection with an unpopular former chairman.
Quote/unquote On finding investment: “We’ve been to every person and institution in Scotland who has disposable cash and might want to be associated with the passion and excitement of the game.” Rumours that letters have gone out to junior fans regarding the weight of their piggy banks have been strenuously denied.
Other offences to take into consideration There was the slight oversight when our new £500,000 computer-controlled pitch system (soon to be installed at Old Trafford) proved useless in the winter. It turned out the local council had refused planning permission for the heating system. Three games were postponed and the pitch currently does a (un)passable impression of the Sahara. Then there are the plans for a fitness and leisure centre next to the stadium, which seems to have turned into a 50-bedroom conference and banqueting facility. Which makes much more sense, doesn’t it? Two of Costley’s hotels have recently undergone renovation work to transform the interiors to match the period exterior of the building. Plans to relaunch Kilmarnock as a Victorian theme club complete with kit of tails and top hats have been received positively by fans. Well, think of the height advantage at set pieces.
From WSC 159 May 2000. What was happening this month