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It’s goodbye to the Bully Wee…

Updated: Jan 3, 2021

All sections of the Clyde support regarded the Broadwood-based club to be, in the words of AFC Wimbledon, “a continuation of the spirit” of the club which was formed in Glasgow in 1877.

I seem to be going through a period of divesting myself of links to football clubs. Four months ago I finished a five-year stint as Broughty Athletic FC webmaster and now I have decided to end all connection with Clyde, the team I switched to supporting when dear old Thirds folded in the summer of 1967.

For the subsequent nine years I followed Clyde home and away and loved every minute of it before making what appeared to be a permanent move to Dundee in 1976. This led to a second change of allegiance, this time to that city’s then underdogs Dundee United. However I retained more than a soft spot for Clyde and watched them at Shawfield whenever visits to Glasgow permitted.

A return to living in the Glasgow area in 1985 meant I was able to attend Clyde’s last-ever match at Shawfield twelve months later but thereafter I found it really strange supporting Clyde in their interim accommodation at Firhill. In truth I became completely pessimistic about their future. First Thirds, then Clyde; was I some kind of football Jonah?

There had been a warning by a Clyde official in the early 1970s that the club faced a slow death if they remained at Shawfield but by 1987 that prediction seemed inaccurate in only one respect. The Bully Wee again looked to be facing a slow death but this time it was because they hadn’t been able to remain at Shawfield. By the time I watched Clyde at their second temporary home in Hamilton things began to look up again as the exciting news broke of a permanent move for Clyde to a brand new 10,000-seater stadium in Cumbernauld.

In the months that followed I must have visited the Broadwood site as often as the clerk of works! I simply couldn’t believe that Clyde were going to have such an impressive new home. Eighteen years on and the club are now looking to leave east Dunbartonshire, with another new town (East Kilbride) as the favoured destination.

I know and like East Kilbride much better than Cumbernauld, not least because I used to live just five miles away in Clarkston, but this time I won’t be accompanying Clyde on their latest and what is claimed to be last journey. There’s an imminent meeting of Clyde FC owners to give EK the ok but I won’t be taking part. This week I intimated my position to the Clyde chairman and yesterday adopted what hopefully was a neutral line in an anonymous (not my choice!) submission to (See below.)

Although it’s my decision to walk away I’m still sad it’s come to this. On the other hand my wife will be happy to see a houseful of Clyde memorabilia shortly heading to E-bay – but I will draw the line regarding a team photograph taken before a memorable pre-season friendly in Southend-on-Sea and my two large framed pictures of Harry Hood and Dominic Sullivan!

Broughty Ferry Dundee 26 March 2013

Mr. John Alexander Chairman Clyde Football Club Broadwood Stadium Ardgoil Drive Cumbernauld G68 9NE

Dear John First of all I trust this finds you well. I received the Clyde FC consultation document this morning. Clearly a lot of hard work has gone on behind the scenes to reach this stage.

From a personal point of view, the relocation proposal has underlined just how far removed I now feel from Clyde-related events. Although I’ve watched a couple of Clyde’s away matches in Angus I haven’t been back to Broadwood since I resigned from the Board and on reflection I do not think my annual £30 CIC payment should be sufficient to enable me to affect the vote of regular supporters.

Thus I will not be attending the EGM. My conclusion that this vitally important meeting is really none of my business anymore has convinced me that it’s probably an appropriate time to sever my one remaining Clyde connection.

I have today cancelled the Clyde CIC direct debit at my end and I would be grateful if arrangements can be made by the club to delete my name from the list of CIC members. Despite this request, I sincerely hope the club prospers – wherever they are based – and I am sure it will under your indefatigable and inspiring leadership.

It is obvious that you are as busy as always, so please do not spend any time responding to this note in any way. Good luck in all your endeavours on behalf of the Bully Wee. No one deserves to be part of a successful Clyde FC more than you do. Kindest regards Bob McPherson

The following was published by On the Club Honours section of the AFC Wimbledon website it states the following:“We consider that a football club is not simply the legal entity which controls it, but that it is the community formed by the fans and players working towards a common goal.”

Well that’s one definition of a football club, and it’s certainly one which, by happy coincidence, helps AFC Wimbledon to claim that “the supporters of AFC Wimbledon believe that our club is a continuation of the spirit which formed Wimbledon Old Centrals in 1889 and kept Wimbledon Football Club alive until May 2002.”

It’s also been argued that the AFC Wimbledon definition can probably be extended as follows: “We consider that a football club is not simply the legal entity which controls it, but that it is the community formed by the fans, players, employees and other stakeholders working towards a common goal.”

I raise the question of what defines a football club because on 20 April 2013 the fans’ owned Clyde Football Club Community Interest Company will hold an EGM to authorise their board to “make all the appropriate arrangements to allow the club to relocate in or around East Kilbride”.

If the move to East Kilbride comes off there will be a second motion seeking authority that “the company name be changed to EK Clyde Football Club Community Interest Company”. If that second motion is passed the board will then ask for the go ahead to endeavour to register the new name EK Clyde Football Club with the Scottish Football League.

Prior to moving to Cumbernauld in 1994, most Clyde supporters followed the club because it was their local team. That relationship obviously became a bit more complicated after 1994, except of course for those new supporters in the Cumbernauld area who were drawn to the club because it was by then their local team.

It’s probably fair to say that some of the original Clyde fans regarded the Cumbernauld-based fans as Johnny-come-latelies and each week a far from inclusive song about being “Shawfield boys” was belted out, despite the fact that most of the singers were obviously too young to have ever been in Clyde’s traditional home.

What’s undeniable is that many of the new Cumbernauld supporters quickly became ardent fans of the Bully Wee and all sections of the Clyde support regarded the Broadwood-based club to be, in the words of AFC Wimbledon, “a continuation of the spirit” of the club which was formed in Glasgow in 1877.

After all Clyde’s travels (and travails!) the Bully Wee spirit is unlikely to be extinguished by a move to East Kilbride. This time, however, there is an added name change complication. Clyde may have called themselves The Clyde Football Club of Cumbernauld on its headed notepaper but its title resolutely remained Clyde Football Club in every other instance.

Whether a name change would have resulted in Clyde being more warmly embraced by the people of Cumbernauld has been the topic of debate for many years but I have no doubt most Clyde supporters would have rejected such a proposal.

So will they now? If Clyde FC is indeed a “community formed by the fans, players, employees and other stakeholders working towards a common goal” it’s probably a good time for the owners of Clyde FC to consider what that common goal is – and let that be their guiding light in deciding whether to back or reject their board’s radical proposals.

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