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The Saints are marching in the right direction

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Jim Spence | 16:06 UK time, Friday, 25 November 2011

Danny Lennon's new deal at St Mirren is a good bit of business for the club, the manager and the fans.

Lennon, ably assisted by the wise head of Tommy Craig, is well down the road to producing an entertaining and productive Saints side.

But what might the future of that side and indeed their manager be?

Lennon has made some sound signings, like Stephen Thompson and Nigel Hasselbaink, who have fitted in neatly at St Mirren Park.

You don't have to be Methuselah to remember when the crowds in Paisley, watching Alex Ferguson's brash young marauders, were large and noisy.

Can Lennon's side recapture a flavour of those halcyon days?

St Mirren manager Danny Lennon

Lennon is all smiles after agreeing a contract extension at St Mirren Park

And if they can, could we see the new stadium full of newly won-over Buddies?

That would be a very welcome sight in Scotland's largest town.

Saints have been run extremely well by Stuart Gilmour and his board and they deserve not only success but due recognition from the townsfolk.

The club's newly-released financial figures demonstrate a break-even position, with directors taking nothing from the coffers in terms of wages.

Saints are currently outgunning the much better resourced big city sides.

If Lennon's squad is strong enough to continue its improvement and finish in the top six, then, debt free and with their new stadium, the club could be set to establish itself as one of the leading sides in the SPL.

Lennon's stock will continue to rise and he may well become the next managerial talent to be whisked down south.

But that's all for the future.

For the moment let's enjoy the renaissance of one of Scotland's great old football clubs.


  • Comment number 1.

    Think it's great news for St. Mirren, hope they can maintain their present form. Would like to see both them & St. johnstone hold onto their present top 6 positions. Maybe then some of the better resourced clubs would take a look at their own business plans.
    Good to have a blog about what some would call the lesser teams in the SPL. Maybe you could do a sort of round the individual clubs, each week different club what's been happening to them, where are they going. But this is a good start, well done.

  • Comment number 2.

    Fantastic news for St Mirren! It is refreshing to see a club heading in the right direction and actually trying to implement a philosophy based on playing attacking football. It would be easy for one of the so called "lesser" teams to sacrifice style for substance due to the fear over relegation, especially in Scottish Football's current climate.

    The challenge now for St Mirren is to find a new owner to maintain stability. The St Mirren board and Danny Lennon have done fantastically well in the transfer market, something which must be continued if they are to reach their whole potential. I thought they would struggle; the loss of Darren McGregor and the scepticism over an end product could have been worrying for them.

    Good luck to the Buddies, but not tomorrow!

  • Comment number 3.

    Why is the ability to comment only open for a few days, yet the blog hasn't been renewed ? Seems pointless.

    Is this cost cutting by the EBC ? It doesn't seem to apply to the multitude of English football blogs and articles.

    Before, we had a few Scottish football blogs, now there's just yours. Why ?

  • Comment number 4.


    Cost cutting at the BBC?

    Got it in one Piorek.

    By the length of Jim's blogs, the Word Count on his contract has been slashed.

    Less product warrants less response.

    Were only a bunch of whingin' Jocks anyway.

    Now don't you go casigating the good old EBC! Its not cricket you know, old boy.

  • Comment number 5.

    Great point 3 & 4, I check out English blogs now to see if there's anything interesting to comment on. Two recent blogs were about a commentator doing live coverage for MOTD, whats that for, to justify expenses or something. English seem to have a new blog everyday, from any of half a dozen writers. Is it something to do with population & revenue, because it sure as hell can't be about quality.

  • Comment number 6.

    3. You beat me to it. Having been away for a month I was amazed to see the
    changes to this blog with its limited shelf life in particular. Are we to have a
    weekly blog about any old rubbish until the BBC closes it?
    Doesn't seem to be any response from Jim these days either and I would like him
    to tell us what's going on please.
    It would be a shame to lose what has been a good blog over the years without
    us being told the facts.

  • Comment number 7.

    Having got that off my chest, I am delighted for St. Mirren and their fans that things are going well. I did fear for them but since Danny Lennon changed their style
    of play this season they have gone from strength to strength.

    Their difficulties in getting big gates just proves what some of us have been saying here for years that once fans lose the habit of going to games it's extremely difficult to get them back.

    Good luck to Saints for the rest of the season apart from today and the remaing games v Celtic of course.

  • Comment number 8.

    We certainly seem to be moving in the right direction now, at the start of last season things were a bit worrying but from coming back from 0-2 down at home to Hamilton last year I think we have seen what Lennons trying to do. Didn't quite have the players for it last season but Lennon has shown his quality with the players brought in this term.

    Given our current financial situation and comparing that to the rest of the clubs outwith the Old Firm, things really do look positive for Saints. We are years ahead of the others in terms of how the club is now being ran & I've thought for a while that it will take the folding of a bigger name club for the rest to sit up & take notice. Staying up last season (& the others of course, thanks Gus) could turn out to be massive for us, allowing St. Mirren to be in the SPL at this time when we could really take advantage of the other clubs having to follow our financial make up.

    Here's hoping & hoping also to continue with a win at Parkhead today!

    C'Mon The Saints

  • Comment number 9.

    It is clearly cost-cutting. They shut down 606, one of the better features of the BBC's website. They also shut down the Scottish Football predictor service, now we have fewer blogs which are getting shorter. Luckily, there's another 606 which is exactly the same. Come on BBC!

  • Comment number 10.

    How about a blog on Rangers tax problems? Or are you part of the Succulent Lamb brigade who are brushing that under the carpet?

  • Comment number 11.

    9 the-celtic-bhoy-67
    Would you give me the link to the 606 which has the same format as the old BBC one please?
    I used to look at it but can't remember what it's called.

  • Comment number 12.

    I will never forgive St Mirren for what some of their players did against Celtic in 86. So many questions not asked by the media about that day because it involves one of the OF.

  • Comment number 13.


  • Comment number 14.

    With the exception of delusional jambos we all identified the main problem that day in '86: Hearts totally crapped themselves when it mattered most and then fell apart in the Cup Final the next weekend. Not pretty to watch to a good team but that is what happened.

    Hand slaps forhead:

  • Comment number 15.

    I doubt clubs like St. Mirren can ever recover the crowds they used to get, every club is suffering. Lets not forget Paisley is essentially part of Glasgow in the same way Motherwell, Hamilton etc are and fans are sure to be lost - in this day and age people move around and there isn't a core of people living in towns who are from those towns and therefore have an affinity to the local team.

  • Comment number 16.

    @10 - read "About This Blog" in the sidebar. This is about things other than the OF.

  • Comment number 17.


    It is

  • Comment number 18.


    Thanks for the info, great result yesterday,let's hope we keep it going.

  • Comment number 19.

    Jim ,

    Good blog ....St Mirren are punching above their weight.All teams in the SPL are minnows when compared to the OF.Pity about the result yesterday.Motherwell are performing well considering gates of 4-5000

    Good debates .... not everyone is obessesed by the OF (the root cause of Scotland bigotry)

    Never heard EBC ????....heard of SNP

    Good win for Scotland v Cyprus (next time it would be a good idea to play a team that is not ranked 20 odd places below you.It maybe confidence building playing minnows but in the real world it will not help qualification for Brazil)

    Keep blog topics SPL not OF dominated (the usually suspects OF comments are so repetitive and boring)

  • Comment number 20.

    @14. At 17:50 26th Nov 2011, Strange_UBoat wrote:
    "With the exception of delusional jambos we all identified the main problem that day in '86: Hearts totally crapped themselves when it mattered most and then fell apart in the Cup Final the next weekend. Not pretty to watch to a good team but that is what happened."

    All true. Yet the fact remains Celtic still had to score more than 4 goals which they did with ease against a side full of self-confessed Celtic fans - notable Frank McGarvey who has since admitted he never tried as hard against Celtic when a player - that had a good defence that season and that had beaten title challengers Dundee Utd - a very good team - AWAY the week before.

    But no, no there's nothing suspicious about losing 5 goals at home in such a way, given the results St M had previously that season!!

  • Comment number 21.

    Sooner or later one of those St M players will need some easy cash badly enough to spill the beans to a paper. McGarvey is always very cagey on the rare occasion he is asked about it.

    And these things do happen. Frank McGravey admitted live on Off the Ball a couple of years back that he once told the St M goalie which way to dive for a penalty he took for Celtic - to help St M avoid the drop that season (no doubt helping another team get relegated in the process). To think these things can't and don't happen in football in Scotland is naive.

  • Comment number 22.

    Sorry - wrong Frank. Frank McAvennie said that on Off the Ball.

  • Comment number 23.

    "Lennon's stock will continue to rise and he may well become the next managerial talent to be whisked down south"

    Sadly for st mirren, this is all but certain to happen in the next year, when you look at the success of Owen Coyle and Paul Lambert.

    As a Bristol city supporter however, I'm not complaining!


  • Comment number 24.

    This entry is now closed for comments.

    Or am I being a bit presumptive ?

  • Comment number 25.

    Question for Jim:

    What do you think it is about Paisley that's made it such a hotbed for young managerial talent in recent years?

  • Comment number 26.

    Sooner or later one of those St M players will need some easy cash badly enough to spill the beans to a paper. McGarvey is always very cagey on the rare occasion he is asked about it.

    Wouldn't prove anything though beyond being another bit of gossip and innuendo. I thought Hearts were a stonewaller in '86. They would have deserved it but they froze on the day it mattered most. Excruciating to watch happen to any team. But spare a thought for Albert Craig who scored those goals for Dundee: ostracised by half his own dressing room because his goals allowed Celtic to nick a title; were some of Dundee's team not trying too hard that day?

    What do you think it is about Paisley that's made it such a hotbed for young managerial talent in recent years?

    If you'd ever been in Paisley you'd understand why people would want to leave. And quickly! Fortunatelyy, there is are good bus and train services!!!

    But on the football side of things, very well run club StM. Good tradition of producing young players over the years. And I remember when they played Bristol City years ago in the final of the old Anglo-Scottish Cup. Still have the match programme somewhere!

  • Comment number 27.

    Gotta admit that's before my time! ;)

  • Comment number 28.

    Thanks for a blog on St Mirren Jim. Last year I wasn't convinced by Danny Lennon's first year in charge even though i was in favour of his change to our signing policy for years and liked the idea of speculating on younger players and bringing a few players up from the lower leagues. Lennon deserves credit for overhauling the squad and moving on some of our high earners and players who had overstayed their welcome and finding guys like Samson and McGregor from the lower leagues and bringing through youngsters like McLean and signing Teale, Thompson, Tesselaar and McGowan.

    With the team beginning to play football and get results crowds are slowly increasing even though we are still the league's lowest scorers despite our good build up play.

    Glad you also mentioned Stewart Gilmour (and the rest of the BoD) who have turned the club's fortunes around and taking us from the verge of going out of existence to having us running at breakeven for the last decade or so and having paid off our bank debts, sold the old ground at Love Street, built the new ground at Greenhill Road and a new training facility as well. The board have done pretty well with their managerial appointments over the years: Tom Hendrie gave us one of our best seasons in decades, Gus McPherson got us promoted and kept us in the SPL on a shoestring budget and was given almost 7 years at the helm before Danny Lennon was brought in to freshen things up and try something new.

    Hoping the CIC bid gets over the finishing line and fans can have a major say in safeguarding the future for the next generation - a subject worthy of another blog in future?

  • Comment number 29.

    To the Hearts fan going on about 1986... firstly that is 25 years ago, secondly if St Mirren really did throw the match against Celtic, the Celtic players still had to score enough goals to overcome the goal difference at the start of the day and thirdly if Hearts had taken care of Dundee the result at Love Street should have been irrelevant.

    Perhaps the result at Love Street in 1986 can be explained by the fact that one side went into the game with an outside chance of winning the title if they scored a barrowload and the other team had nothing to play for? I regularly saw Celtic chalk up a few big wins against some of the best St Mirren teams in our history during the 80's and remember a few 7-0 drubbings dished out to us in league games where we had more to play for. Since 1986 there have been plenty of other examples of teams getting cuffed by the old firm on days when the championship was at stake.

    Sadly the Hearts side of the mid-80's were a bunch of bottlers as they showed in the semi-final in 1987 when St Mirren played them off the park.

  • Comment number 30.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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