Last month midfielder, Hugh Murray left St Mirren after 15 years of service to the Club. Today another long serving employee will be leaving the Club as Office Administrator, Kath Steel is retiring after 23 years with St Mirren.
Kath first entered the front door of Love Street in 1989 and she admits that at the time she wasn’t sure if she was doing the right thing.
She said, “I remember the first day I came into work and I thought to myself had I made the right decision as the place was deathly quiet.
“But as the day progressed things got busier and here I am 23 years later still doing the same job.”
The day Kath started Tony Fitzpatrick was the team manager and over the 23 years since she has seen a fair few going in and out the door at both versions of St Mirren Park.
She recalled, “In my time here Tony Fitzpatrick has been manager twice, there was also Jimmy Bone, Iain Munro – who I never saw in his 24 hours in charge – Tom Hendrie, John Coughlin, Gus MacPherson and Danny Lennon who is the present manager.
“If I had to pick a favourite it would have to be Tony Fitzpatrick. He was always cheerful and he is a really nice person but he could be tough with the players if he had to be!”
In the modern day office we tend to take internet usage, e-mail and fax machines for granted but it wasn’t always that way.
Kath said, “No doubt the big change in the workplace is the technology, for instance we have gone from pay-at-the-gate on a match day to computerised ticket systems.
“In the office things like the lotto draw we used to draw numbered ping-pong balls out of a draw box, the numbers are now selected by a computer programme. And we have gone from sending letters out and waiting a few days for a reply to using e-mail and getting that reply in minutes.”
Just over three years ago St Mirren left their old home on Love Street to their present one on Greenhill Road and despite the much better working conditions Kath admits to missing our old stadium.
She said, “In the new stadium it is that well sound proofed in the office area that you can’t hear anything from the stands on a match day. At Love Street you could hear the crowd and feel the atmosphere, some might find that a distraction while working but I actually liked it.
“The bonus of the new stadium is a much brighter workspace and plenty of room to work in but I do miss Love Street.”
Kath has a lot of good memories in her time with St Mirren but one in particular stands out for her.
She said, “When St Mirren won the First Division in 2000 we went to the Town Hall for a civic reception. It was good seeing the players going out on to the balcony to let the fans see the trophy – that was a really great day.”
So while retirement looms Kath doesn’t see life slowing down too much.
She said, “I’ll be looking after my grandchildren from time to time and I daresay I’ll pop back into the stadium now and again to see everybody.
“I’ll take up my knitting again as it has been a long time since I done that, I’ll get some gardening done at my son’s new house and I’ll be keeping an eye on how St Mirren are getting on.”
St Mirren General Manager, Brian Caldwell said of Kath, “In the 5 years I have worked with Kath she has been a fantastic servant to the Club; always reliable and the first point of call at reception in both stadiums whether on the phone or in person.
“Much is made about football players when they show long service with a club but members of the non-playing staff often far exceed these lengths of service and Kath is a member of staff that this Club has been pleased to have had around for the last 23 years.
“Kath will be sorely missed by all who have worked beside her and on behalf of all staff at the Club we wish her all the best in her retirement. I’m sure Kath and her husband David will enjoy their time together and also with their grandchildren.”