Her interest in Kilmarnock stems from an emotional attachment to the team, but she will implement the same principles to any bid to save the club from its circumstances. In Macklin, chairman Michael Johnston will be encountering a formidable individual.
She is currently staying out of the public eye while fans, sponsors and business partners express their disillusionment at the way Johnston is running the club. Representatives of Braehead Foods, The Coffee Press, Costley & Costley Hoteliers, Fortress Security & Alarms, Hamilton Tarmac, Browning, The Klin Group – which Macklin owns and runs – Microtech Support, Modway and the QTS Group met on Monday and "agreed that the only way they can continue to fully support the club is if there is a change in regime".
Any attempt to purchase the club will revolve around Macklin, not least because it would be her third attempt to do so. A £2.1m bid was rejected by Jamie Moffat in 2003, then talks with Johnston broke down last year.
It is an indication of the level of antipathy between some fans and the chairman that a letter from Macklin, explaining the events of last year, was read to a meeting of the Kilmarnock Supporters Association last Saturday. Johnston had denied that a bid had been made.
The battle lines have been drawn. Johnston's unpopularity is being used against him, with some fans pledging to not buy merchandise or tickets whilst he remains in control. It seems like a concerted effort when stories about boycotts, sponsors pulling out, and the concerns of local businesses arrive one after another. In truth, Kilmarnock are in a weakened position, which enables interested parties to move.
Any decrease in income would be critical. With a debt of around £9.5m needing to be serviced, the club has little slack in its cashflow. Johnston has run the club within its means, finding the balance between keeping the team competitive and meeting the costs, but there is no credit facility and no investors prepared to provide additional funding.
Business partners, recognising the potential difficulties that a fall in revenue would cause, may also begin to request that payments are made up front. It is not difficult to envisage Kilmarnock running quickly into difficulties.
Johnston would be entitled to point out this is down to external factors – and some of the personal vilification of him has been unnecessary – but there is no question that an irretrievable breakdown has occurred between the chairman and many members of the community that supports, emotionally and financially, his club.
For Macklin, this represents an opportunity. Those who have worked closely with her talk of the intensity of her drive and determination, the sharpness of her mind and the willingness to work to her instincts. Her connection with Kilmarnock comes from her father, a lifelong supporter, but she is also drawn to projects that require a saviour.
Klin Group was a house building company, but when Macklin's father retired due to ill health in 2003, his daughter took over and began to identify brownfield development sites in Glasgow and Paisley, areas other developers were not prepared to invest in. The first major deal was persuading Sir Ken Morrison to open the first store of his supermarket chain in Scotland on a site Klin Group owned in Kilmarnock.
Much of Macklin's work has been based on community initiatives, and she was one of several figures who urged councillors to respond robustly to the depiction of local residents in the BBC series, The Scheme. "We concentrate on horrible derelict sites and try to put life back in to them," she explained. "We work on difficult sites that no one else wants to go into."
Kilmarnock need that kind of initiative. The debt, most of which is to Lloyds Bank, needs addressed, but Macklin would have the chutzpah to tackle it. One plan could involve selling the land Rugby Park is built on and moving the club to a sports community hub project that the Klin Group are developing on the site of the old Diageo plant. Traditionalists might balk at the prospect, but harsh decisions need to be made.
Rugby Park can be a burden, with match-day costs the fifth highest in the Scottish Premier League at a time when the ground is more than half empty. Macklin is persistent and charismatic, which is why any takeover bid is likely to fall in behind her, and also extremely well connected in political, business and social circles around Kilmarnock and Ayrshire, with the nous to know how to use that influence.
It is not yet a choice between new owners and administration for Kilmarnock, but that is the fear for many around the situation. Macklin favours a five-year plan that will eventually deliver fan ownership, but property developers and speculators with less interest in the fortunes of the club would be attracted to the land that Rugby Park and the Park Inn are situated on if it comes to an insolvency event. Hard decisions now have to be taken.