Nov 5 2008 by Colin Paterson, Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser
KENNY BLACK is never happier than when he is working with his players on the training pitch.
The 44-year-old is a football man through and through, lives and breathes the beautiful game.
If he isn’t improving his squad’s skills, he is scrutinising match DVDs in a bid to identify weaknesses and act upon them.
One day he might be running the rule over future opponents, the next he will be taking in a reserve game alongside one man and his dog, trying to find an unpolished gem.
So you can imagine the off-field events of last week did not sit well with a central midfielder who was as tough as old boots during his playing days.
And, in the end, share his relief when news came through that he was, in fact, staying at Airdrie United.
When a manager gets sacked, the rumour mill goes into overdrive. Speculation is rife as to who the new gaffer could be.
Black – who at no point applied for the Dens Park vacancy – found himself at the centre of the action as Dundee began the task of finding a replacement for the binned Alex Rae.
From day one, the Stenhousemuir-born grafter was on the shortlist, one he quickly made it to the top of.
The fact that the Dundee hierarchy felt Black was a potential candidate shows just how impressive a job he is doing with the Diamonds this season.
A solid opening to the First Division, a terrific League Cup win at Hearts and a place in the ALBA Challenge Cup Final hadn’t gone unnoticed.
When he spoke with the Advertiser last Tuesday afternoon, Black made no secret of the fact that he would like the opportunity to chew the fat with the Dark Blues.
Incidentally, a few days earlier, table-topping Queen of the South boss Gordon Chisholm had said exactly the same thing on the vacant post.
But Black’s decision to sign a contract with the Diamonds 24 hours later was ultimately the right one.
He achieved so much as a player with Airdrie, he has the potential to achieve so much as a manager.
It has been a rollercoaster two years for him. At times, he has found himself unpopular with the New Broomfield regulars.
But the opening three months of this campaign suggest that everything is now coming together.
Diamonds chairman Jim Ballantyne deserves a slice of credit. In the summer he backed the manager with hard cash in the transfer market.
Now he has placed his complete faith in him by handing a bumper deal to Black – and a full-time contract to assistant Jimmy Boyle.
The squad Black has built is packed with talent and hungry players.
In a fortnight, he could be clutching a trophy and a winner’s medal. By the season’s end, he could have led Airdrie to First Division safety.
Better to concentrate on those targets than jump into the flaming cauldron of Dundee where debate about the club’s ownership and financial situation continues to rumble on.
Black is devoted to football. Now his future is secure, he can concentrate on what he loves and what he knows best.