The Club Board was today surprised to be advised by Kevin Rutkiewicz of his resignation from his position as First Team Manager with immediate effect.
We would like to thank Kevin for everything he has done during his time as Manager. His commitment, hard work, energy and enthusiasm are unrivalled anywhere in Scottish Football.
Kevin has asked that we publish the following personal statement on his behalf and we are happy to do so without edit. He has indeed made the sacrifices he refers to and for that the Club Board are hugely grateful.
We wish Kevin every success in the future both within and outside of football.
James Creaney will take charge of the team for our SPFL2 fixture at Forfar on Saturday, supported by the rest of the current Management Team.
Kevin Rutkiewicz Statement
After a brief and interesting meeting on Tuesday evening with the Chairman I have decided that the time is right to step away from Stirling Albion FC and seek a new challenge. There is quite clearly a difference in opinion how this season has gone (as a whole) with a mutual understanding the last few weeks have been below par. This is not about me wanting time away from the game or personal reasons. I’ll be working in the background and looking to get back into football as soon as possible.
Up until 4 league games ago as Manager I had the highest win rate of any in the league with over 100 games in charge. Over the last 2 seasons we have improved dramatically defensively, and this season have only failed to score in two league games. The improvement in the team has not been at the speed I would have wanted but it has moved forward all the time from a place with no foundation.
I went into Stirling Albion in a league far weaker than the current one. In that league the club sat 2nd bottom. The average age of the club’s better players and better paid players was well above 30. We got that down and started to build a nucleus that hopefully would see us continue progressing. Since then, the curve has been upwards, and I can only thank all the players and staff involved in that time for achieving that.
In line with that we restructured the whole scouting network, in fact introduced one at no cost to the club.
As football is what it is there have been many highs and many lows. A bad start to my first full season, then 5 points from play offs when season was ended due to COVID as opposed to 15+ points the previous season after taking over in 2nd bottom and finishing 5th. 2 points off 2nd but ultimately 5th in a turbulent ending was a hard pill to swallow last season and when comparing all the teams fighting for those places last season we have fared slightly better. Despite that disappointment the nucleus of this group returned hungry as ever to have another go. Their attitude and application this season and all along has been first class.
Personally, I have made sacrifices to get players to this club. Personally, I have made sacrifices to make things better at this club. I’m not talking about time and effort, that’s a given. I have made financial sacrifices since the minute I joined to help the club financially, to help get players and navigate difficult times. I have been one of the lowest paid managers in this league since I came in but it was the honor of having the job and doing what I love that mattered most.
We sit 4th place right now but at this moment the team are going through a difficult time. That said, this is the same team that went unbeaten for a period and produced some excellent results. The Premier Cup was an obvious highlight. We finished 2nd in a group we had no right to and really did deliver brilliant displays filled with all you want in a team. This start really did mask a very difficult start to the season. We lost Andy Ryan, an obvious blow and to compound that we lost Paul McLean an ever present to a bad injury which has ruled him out till probably March at best. Ciaran Summers was next to leave unexpectedly due to work which left us short at a time the market had really dried up. More recently we lost Martin McNiff and that really has been a hammer blow. These are reasons and not excuses for the recent bad form but in only one game in that period have we been outplayed and that was at home to Stenny. I back this group to continue the good start they had, and I back this team to deliver success.
Since my time at the club, I have witnessed two historical clubs fall out the division (Berwick and Brechin). I took over this football club at a time when it was in no better position than these two and I’m proud to have moved it well away from this situation. The reality of this drop is scary for all clubs.
We sold a player this season for the first time since Jordan White. The club have a brilliant tie in the Scottish Cup away to Rangers and the boys are buzzing for that.
I walk away with no money. I walk away knowing I’ve done a good job. I have faced defeat, draw, and victory every step of the way not shirking any responsibility. As a young manager I adapted to the most unique time in recent football history being played (or not) during COVID. The team is better, the squad is healthier, and this group can deliver success.
I would like to thank the Board, the fans but mostly all the players and staff involved now and before. We fall out, we fall back in as that’s just me but all along we worked hard and in the main had a smile. I wish you every success now and, in the future. The manager that comes in will be the envy of many. All the best boys!