He was a young lad from Tarbolton, a small, idyllic village in the heart of Ayrshire, just ten miles away from where Kris Boyd would go on to make his name as one of the greatest strikers ever to grace Scottish football.
When he was just sixteen years old, Boyd signed his first professional contract with Killie in the summer of 1999. However, he never made his debut in the famous blue and white until almost two years later, when he came off the bench on the final day of the season against Celtic.
It was in the 2001/02 season where he forced his way into the team, helped by the timely departures from the club of long time strikers Ally McCoist and Christophe Cocard. Boyd managed to score four goals in his first full season for the club. The season after, Boyd began to relish his position as Killies first choice striker, scoring twelve times and winning the clubs ‘Young Player of the Year’ award, all at the tender age of twenty. This proficiency in front of goal did not go unnoticed, with interest coming in the form of Wolverhampton Wanderers. However, thankfully for Killie, Boyd chose to stay with the Ayrshire club.
Season 2003/2004 brought even more goals from the man now known affectionately as ‘Boydie’ or ‘Boomer’. Fifteen goals in that season led on to another nineteen the season after, including all five goals in a demolition of Dundee United, equalling the record in the SPL for number of goals scored in a single match by one player. In the first half of 2005/2006, Boomer scored fifteen goals in nineteen appearances, prompting offers for him from Cardiff City and Sheffield Wednesday in the English Championship. The club accepted these offers, however Boyd did not want to move to England and so instead signed for Killies Premiership rivals Rangers. However, Rangers only paid Killie £500,000 for the striker, which was viewed as an undervaluation of Boyd at the time, and it is something which still annoys some Killie fans today.
Boyd spent the next four and a half years at Rangers, scoring 128 goals in all competitions and winning the Premier League, Scottish Cup and League Cup twice each. Some would argue that this is where he became recognised outside of Scotland, partly due to his inclusion in the Scotland squad on numerous occasions.
Once Boyds contract ran out at Rangers in the summer of 2010, he signed a deal with English side Middlesborough for what was thought to be a contract worth £30,000 per week. However, he failed to replicate his goal scoring form from north of the border, finding the back of the net just six times in twenty seven appearances. Because of this, he was loaned out to Nottingam Forest for the second half of the season, scoring six times in twelve games.
Wanting a change of scenery after his poor record in England, Boyd signed a deal with Turkish side Eskiehirspor in July 2011. This move did not go to plan however, as Boyd unbelievably played just 76 minutes in half a season and so terminated his contract with the club at the end of December. Boydie had interest from America in the form of both Houston Dynamo and Portland Timbers, the striker eventually choosing to go to Portland. His stay in America was short lived however, as he left the club after only a year, having scored seven goals in 26 appearances.
In January 2012, Boyd returned home for his second spell at the mighty Ayrshire Killie. He was received warmly by the clubs fans, scoring three times in nine appearances. Boyd signed on with the club for the 2013/14 season, where he rekindled his status as a hero at the club, scoring twenty two goals in the league, one of the biggest reasons why the club survived the drop that season. In fact, it was Boomer who scored the only goal in a 1-0 win at Easter Road which kept Killie up on the final day of the season.
This form resulted in a déjà vu moment as Boyd moved to Rangers for the second time at the start of the 2014/15 season. However, this stint was not as successful as the first, with the hit man scoring only ten times in forty three appearances. Boyd soon realised his mistake in joining the Gers and moved back to Killie for the third time and in the past two seasons has scored a total of eight times, including in a 1-1 draw with Rangers at Rugby Park. Even this far on in his career, Boomer continues to score big goals in big games.
If you look up the word ‘stalwart’ in the dictionary, Killie fans wouldn’t be surprised if a picture of Boydie appeared. He has been a great servant to this great club over the course of 15 years, including ten different seasons in Ayrshire. Whether it is with his goals, or his sheer dedication and love for the club that he calls home, he has brought something to the jersey in every game that he has been a part of. When Boomer scored his 100th goal for Killie earlier this season against Hamilton, he said:
“I’m pretty pleased with my work, sitting here 15 years after my debut and still scoring goals. But I’m kept going by my love of the game.”
This only serves to prove that he is a true club legend at Kilmarnock and wil be remembered fondly in Ayrshire and across Scotland for a long, long time to come.
We salute you Boydie!
By Adam Lyon