Killie players hand in transfer requests over Angelo Alessio’s methods
Steve Clarke had led the Ayrshire club to a third-place finish last season – their highest for 53 years – and that meant they’d qualified for Europe for the first time since 2001.
But Clarke then landed the Scotland job and was replaced by Angelo Alessio, a 54-year-old Italian who had never previously managed a top-flight club and was best known as being Antonio Conte’s No 2.
A 2-1 win in Rhyl against the Nomads looked as though they had earned a second qualifying round meeting with Partizan Belgrade until they slumped to a stunning 2-0 home defeat in the return leg in front of 8,500 furious punters.
Since then, unhappiness in the squad has grown with Alessio’s methods. As many as eight players are believed to want to leave the club, with some of them having formally asked for a transfer.
Alex Dyer, who had been Clarke’s assistant, had been retained by chairman Billy Bowie but Alessio has effectively replaced him with Massimo Donati, the former Celtic, Hamilton and St Mirren midfielder, whose previous coaching experience was with younger players at Hamilton. Donati also doubles as a translator for Alessio, whose grasp of English is basic.
Fitness coach Andy White has been removed and his role filled by Ross Hughes, who had previously worked for Ross County, and Clarke’s goalkeeping coach Billy Thomson has been demoted and now works with the youth team. His place has been taken by Italian Marco Garofalo.
On Thursday, the club’s chief executive, Kirsten Robertson, resigned. At least one agent representing Kilmarnock’s want-away stars has complained that they had been unable to contact her for days prior to her quitting her post.
One player who went to see Robertson to ask for a move is understood to have been offered a one-year extension instead, which he rejected.