Kilmarnock: Steve Clarke believes his managerial record deserves more respect

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Image caption Steve Clarke has agreed a two-and-a-half year deal with Kilmarnock

Steve Clarke believes his achievements during his managerial career have been largely overlooked.

The new Kilmarnock manager signed a two-and-a-half year contract at Rugby Park after Lee McCulloch's sacking.

Clarke established himself in England as a reliable number two before spells in charge of West Brom and Reading.

"I feel like I've not really had the credit I deserve for the manager job I did at West Bromwich Albion," Clarke said.

"I took them to their highest ever finish in the Premier League [eighth], which was quite good. The following season for reasons unbeknown to me they decided to make a quick change, which I didn't think was fair.

"I also took Reading to their first FA Cup semi-final in a really long time and that was also supposed to be a project where we were going to try and build something, but people lose patience very quickly these days.

"I was ready to be a manager when I left Chelsea in 2008. I've had two stabs at it, I think I've done alright and I aim to make this one the best job that I've done so far."

As well as his stints in charge of West Brom and Reading, Clarke brings a wealth of coaching experience from working as an assistant to Ruud Gullit at Newcastle, Jose Mourinho at Chelsea, Gianfranco Zola at West Ham and Kenny Dalglish at Liverpool.

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Image caption Steve Clarke (right) was assistant to Jose Mourinho at Chelsea, staying in the role under Avram Grant after Mourinho's departure

Establishing Kilmarnock in the Premiership's top six is Clarke's primary aim, but he warns it will take time.

"It's a big club. It's a team that's always been competitive in the top flight in Scotland," he continued.

"It's maybe drifted in recent years but I would put Kilmarnock definitely in the top six when it comes to clubs in Scotland. That's where we'll aim to be, although we know it's going to be a long road maybe to get there.

"Kilmarnock has always been, as far back as I can remember, viewed as a community club. I don't know, I've been in England for the best part of 30 years, maybe there's been a slight disconnect between the community and the club for various reasons.

"It's up to us, with the help of the players because they are very important, to put a smile back on everybody's face and try to get them back in supporting this great club."

'The right job at the right time'

The capture of Clarke has been hailed as an ambitious move by many, and the man himself paid tribute to the Killie board for their efforts to secure his services.

"There was many different factors. Obviously out of work football manager is the first one, so you're always looking for a job, a way back in," said Clark, whose brother Paul made over 350 appearances for the Rugby Park side.

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Image caption Steve Clarke began his playing career at St Mirren before moving to Chelsea in 1987

"I got an invitation in a kind of roundabout way to come up and speak to the board here at Kilmarnock. They sold their vision of the club. They were very honest, which in this day and age in football sometimes is a trait that's missing.

"They didn't try to kid me on about how the club was, where they were trying to get to and how they were going to have to get there. We spoke a lot about stability, something that maybe you don't get these days in football.

"Really it ticked a lot of the boxes at this particular stage of my career. It sounds a little bit of a cliché but it was probably the right job at the right time."