Ronaldo

Billy Stark?

Recommended Posts

And let's not forget the time that after actually building up a decent run, he decided to completely tear apart the winning combination for our most important game of the season at Falkirk, making bizarre decisions like playing John Robertson on the left wing.

... and just to go back to that game, in which Stark's decisions effectively blew what tiny hopes of promotion we had (although I'd argue that not once did we actually put in a genuine challenge for the title during his tenure), I actually once asked him why he had changed the team/tactics so bizarrely and drastically for such a big game after we'd been on a decent run. He said that it probably was a mistake in hindsight, but that if he could go back in time he wouldn't do it any differently. Bizarre.

I always got the impression with Stark that he didn't understand Saints at all. From many of his comments in the media, he seemed to genuinely feel that because we're a small club we had no real right to have ambitions to be in the Premier, and that, as fans, we were all just being silly to demand this of him. Perhaps he'd spent so long with clubs like Celtic that he didn't realise St Johnstone fans actually quite like to see their club doing well too. Compare that to when Connolly came in, and he immediately said that we're a Premier League club and that's where we had to be. Sure, things didn't turn out like that for him - but I always felt JC had a great attitude about Saints and genuinely shared the ambitions and expectations of the fans.

Maybe that's why Stark is finding it easier at Queens Park - because of their "amateur" history, there's not the same weight of expectation on his shoulders there. Get Queens Park into the Second Division and you're a hero. That's probably his level.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've never understood why so many Saints fans seem to think back so fondly on Hartley. In his first season here he didn't really get a sniff of first team football, and we did alright that year (i.e., we were in the SPL, and we stayed there). Once Stark turned up Hartley suddenly became our key player and I'll agree that he was superb that season... but we finished bottom of the league by miles, so his performances really didn't achieve much for us. In the First Division he scored a few spectacular goals which I think got a lot of people on-side, but generally speaking he wandered around the pitch looking completely disinterested.

Football can be so unpreidcatble. When Paul Hartley arrived at Saints, he was unvieled at the open-day and was berating Alex McLiesh for dumping him from Hibs. Now Hartley is a first-choice Scotland internationalist, and the boss he has inherited is Alex McLeish.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my view the only good thing you can say about Stark is that he was a nice chap.

..and maybe the victim of the circumstances under which he was hired, proposed to the Saints board by Tommy Burns who preferred under-21 football at Celtic. Not sure we made either the right choice, or made that choice for the the right reasons. However we view Billy Stark now it is obvious and incontrovertible that Owen Coyle is better and offers more hope. Whether he fianlly delivers on promise remains to be seen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It astonishes me that people on here talk about Stark with higher regard than Clark. Is that really based on football reasons, or is it purely because Stark left with more dignity? Clark has seen considerably more success as a manager.

I don't think anyone has suggested that Stark was a success at Saints, it was whether circumstances made it harder for him, just like Dunc said circumstances made it easier for Clark because of Sturrock, at least for his first year. You cannot deny that getting what is regarded as a tiny club (with a large ground) promoted to the Second Division and now leading that Division having maximum points, and also having got through both Cup First Rounds (League Cup and Challenge Cup) that he must have done something right since he's been there, while also selling his best player to us. :)

Coyle has been so refreshing and has made us more successful and I too hope he can deliver something - winning the league or a cup.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Although I agree that Stark preformed a stinker while he was at saints, i have to say I rather enjoyed my months spent demanding 'Stark must go'. I also wonder how many remember the protest that was organised on the forum, and that a lot of people were going to turn up. In the end i think about 12 folk were there. (the 5-2 win over raith, i think, didn't help the cause)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had a few millers but looking back on this thread i find it interesting how our opinions on our managers performance is heavily influenced by their antics on the sidelines.

Stark got criticism for standing like a rabbit in the headlights at crucial points in a game/season. The memories i have of his tenure are horrific.

Coyle on the other hand is more animated and although we've had some lows he seems to have rejuvenated my spirit for a saturday.

However, we are still in the same position and if you are being honest you could say we have gone backwards since May (in terms of optimism at this moment in time).

The thing that bugs me is where do we actually fit into the grand scheme of things? Looking back on the season we finished 3rd and had a decent cup run followed by european games its a world apart form where we are now.

Memories.......like the corner of my mind.........

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've had a few millers but looking back on this thread i find it interesting how our opinions on our managers performance is heavily influenced by their antics on the sidelines.

Stark got criticism for standing like a rabbit in the headlights at crucial points in a game/season. The memories i have of his tenure are horrific.

Coyle on the other hand is more animated and although we've had some lows he seems to have rejuvenated my spirit for a saturday.

However, we are still in the same position and if you are being honest you could say we have gone backwards since May (in terms of optimism at this moment in time).

The thing that bugs me is where do we actually fit into the grand scheme of things? Looking back on the season we finished 3rd and had a decent cup run followed by european games its a world apart form where we are now.

Memories.......like the corner of my mind.........

Lets be honest though, it is unlikely Saints will ever have a season like that for a long time again!

I sort of see Saints in a bunch of 10 or so clubs that will move between the SPL and First Division depending on form, current manager, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Although I agree that Stark preformed a stinker while he was at saints, i have to say I rather enjoyed my months spent demanding 'Stark must go'. I also wonder how many remember the protest that was organised on the forum, and that a lot of people were going to turn up. In the end i think about 12 folk were there. (the 5-2 win over raith, i think, didn't help the cause)

:oops: And had to pose for a photo!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lets be honest though, it is unlikely Saints will ever have a season like that for a long time again!

I sort of see Saints in a bunch of 10 or so clubs that will move between the SPL and First Division depending on form, current manager, etc.

Agree completely. Despite the setup we have, how well-run the club is, etc etc - St Johnstone has proved to be a club whose natural position is somewhere between 8th and 15th in the league setup.

Absolutely nothing wrong with that, either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't think anyone has suggested that Stark was a success at Saints, it was whether circumstances made it harder for him, just like Dunc said circumstances made it easier for Clark because of Sturrock, at least for his first year. You cannot deny that getting what is regarded as a tiny club (with a large ground) promoted to the Second Division and now leading that Division having maximum points, and also having got through both Cup First Rounds (League Cup and Challenge Cup) that he must have done something right since he's been there, while also selling his best player to us. :)

I think I did acknowledge further up the thread that he's doing alright at Queens Park. I'm still yet to hear a response from the people I asked what they were basing their super-positive opinions of him on, though! Surely it's not just a couple of good seasons with QP? For me, that's just not enough to suggest he's suddenly turned into some sort of super-manager, especially after having spent such a significant period of my life witnessing his appaling management first hand on a weekly basis!:lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Although I agree that Stark preformed a stinker while he was at saints, i have to say I rather enjoyed my months spent demanding 'Stark must go'. I also wonder how many remember the protest that was organised on the forum, and that a lot of people were going to turn up. In the end i think about 12 folk were there. (the 5-2 win over raith, i think, didn't help the cause)

Great times!:) I can remember there being loads of folk on the forum saying they'd turn up regardless of the result... then we get one win against Raith Rovers and only about 12 people turn up! If you can trust people to be anything, it's fickle.:lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While most of what I believe about Starkers has been said, I thought I'd cip in my tuppence worth.

I don't care what he did before (very little) or what he's done since, that has no bearing on what sort of manager Starkers was, neither does the 'fact' he's a great coach matter and he can be the nicest guy in the world for all I care it won't change the fact that he was an awful manager at Saints. Those of you looking back at his time here with fondness need your heads examined (or your hoops-tinted glasses removed :wink: ). Do any of you remember how depressing it was to be a Saints fan during the Stark era? Do you remember how dire the football was? Do you remember the crap signings: Donnelly, Vata, Mark Bloody Reilly! and Stark's unwillingness to drop them regardless of performance (and his complete failure to tell Rudi Vata that he wasn't any good at free kicks). Stark was a rotten manager with no eye for a player and absolutely no tactical know how and the football we played under him was by far the worst we've played since the Herman Munster era.

Sacking Stark was the best move Saints have made in a long time, granted the appointment of Connely afterwards might not have been the right move but few people on here argued against the move at the time. Thinking back, that season was a hell of a lot more fun than any of the previous three under Stark despite us ending up third from bottom.

In years to come the 'Get Stark Out' protest will become the stuff of legends I think there have already been more people on this thread claiming to have 'been there' than actually were. My favourite moment was when the policeman asked us to go because he wanted to go home for his tea. Never did see the photo in the PA.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting that of those I asked "based on what?" to further up the thread, none have come back with a response as to why they think Stark is a good coach or would have managed to eventually improve us!

Sorry mate, think one of these people was me. I personally am going by what players past/present have to say about the man, plus what his fellow coaches say of him. His record at QP has been good so far aswell.

It's true his time at Saints wasn't the greatest, but I do think he made a few good signings in his time (some did perform, some didn't, some got injured :wink: ) I have never said that I felt Stark should have been given extra time by the board, nor did I think his time at THIS club was a success.

The only point I will make is this, with an assistant that was more voiceful on the touchline with him I think he'd do a decent job with a club. Maybe it's a matter of didn't work with our club, may work with others though. (Plenty of managers have had bad spells with us)

I suppose time will tell in the next few years, whether he moves on to better things or not!

P.S- Good to have a proper discussion on the go!:-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...