What a year, administration, Scottish cup semi-final, CIS Cup Winners, and just before the end of last season, Lionheart announced that Allan Preston was to get the job and that Davie Hay was to leave the club, and that’s where the real fun begins!
Allan Preston was confident that he could re-build the side that was so successful last season, but a tight budget, and probably inexperience on his behalf, contributed to his exit from the Almondvale hot seat a couple of weeks ago. It all started so well for Preston and his new-look Livingston side, a convincing 3-0 win over newly promoted side Inverness Caledonian Thistle, but after that, Preston’s side won only one more league game, lost out to a lucky Motherwell team 5-0 in the CIS cup before he was rightfully shown the door at the end of November.
In came Richard Gough & Archie Knox just after our 3-1 win over Kilmarnock. Richard has a massive amount of knowledge of the game, a former Glasgow Rangers & Scotland captain; he has been and seen most things that football can throw at you. Archie Knox also has a superb knowledge of the beautiful game, being assistant manager at Aberdeen, Rangers, Everton, Manchester United & Millwall.
These appointments are very ambitious by the Lionheart Consortium; Gough hasn’t managed a team before, but they made sure he had an experienced number two come into help him out, and I’m sure if Gough needs any assistance during the season, Archie will be there to guide the way.
The main thing Livingston need to do now, is tie up their best players on contracts. Players like Burton O’Brien, and David McNamee are out of contract in the summer, and they can start talking to clubs in January, so Gough’s priority is to try and talk to them, and let them know his plans. Hearts are reportedly interested in talking McNamee & O’Brien away from Almondvale, but these two have been Livingston’s best players this season, and the Lions can’t afford to lost these two.
Only two weeks ago, we were a side struggling at the bottom of the SPL, our team had no fight, we lost all confidence in our ability, but what a change in a team that looked red hot favourites for the drop mid way through November. The Chairman has said that Gough will get dosh to spend on new players in January, we do need new blood in the side, and Gough recons he’ll bring in between 4 and 5.
Relegation was never an option for the Lions; the SPL needs clubs like Livingston as much as Livingston needs the SPL. Opposition supporters claim that we are a side with no history, but in the past 9 years we’ve achieved so much, so many league titles, cup semi finals, finals, and of course, we won the CIS cup last year. We’ve been a breath of fresh air to Scottish Football, and next season will see the Lions 10th anniversary, and if all goes well, it’ll be the best year we’ve ever had.
One thing that Livingston needs to do, is to get more of a fan base. I laugh when we get slagged about the lack of our support, there are teams out there with a “history” that manage a couple of hundred more than us, but the media seem to ignore them. We went to Killie a few weeks ago, and there were 5300 at the match, and some poor excuse for a journalist claimed that there were only 70 Livi supporters there. What about the Killie support? For a club that were formed in 1869 and have loads of history attached to them, they surely should have thousands upon thousands of more supporters than us, but we had 4500 at out match last week against Dundee, and the Dark Blues brought about 200 away supporters.
But one thing is for sure; the crowds in Scotland are in rapid decline, far too expensive and not enough entertainment. For a family of four to go to an away game, you talking over £50 to watch the match, you still have your bus to pay for, and refreshments, it could cost a small family over £100 to go to an away game, and that, along with the quality of most games, is what’s driving people away. What we need is for all the clubs in the Scottish Premier League to sit round the table, and discuss ways of making it cheaper for away supporters to watch the match, and some way of entertaining us along the way.
Livingston have been getting praised by supporters of opposite teams by
letting supporters clubs busses into park in the car park at the stadium, they have opened the PowerStation nightclub to away supporters before the match, no more rushing to get a pint before the match, just a nice and relaxing pint, knowing that your only a minute walk from your seat in the stadium, that’s the way it should be, but unfortunately that’s not the way it is at most games for us. Usually our busses get parked between a 5 and 20 minute walk away from the stadium, no pub near the ground, and if you take the kids in to the ground 30 minutes before kick off, they’re bored even before the game starts, something needs to get sorted out, and sorted out fast.
Apart from all that, lets hope that today’s match between the two sides is entertaining, value for money, and most of all, lets hope that Livingston gain revenge CIS cup defeat (no need to mention the score again) in November.