Written by Dylan MacDonald for Pure Fitbaw
An experienced management team, a trusted chairman, a talented squad and a united support…this is Clyde we are talking about, right? Are the famous Bully Wee finally about to get the success they crave, or is this another false dawn for one of Scotland’s oldest clubs?
For the first time in 14 years Clyde were victorious in their first two league matches of the season. Not only that, but without conceding a single goal and scoring five of their own. A narrow defeat to title favourites Peterhead put a halt to their unbeaten start but this is a promising opening. The club seems to be moulding itself into an incredibly positive environment since the appointment of Danny Lennon and Allan Moore as the club’s management team, with commercial aspects of the club coming back into their own hands too.
Matching this is the continued rise and resurrection of the club’s ever popular and historical Glasgow Branch. With many loyal fans becoming disillusioned with the club’s freefall down the Scottish football ladder and prolonged stay in the bottom tier, you would be lucky if supporters’ buses would run twice a year. Many treating it as a day of reminiscing with old friends, the football being the ‘excuse’ for this.
However, with a growing following on social media, paid up members, fundraising events and even merchandise, Clyde’s Glasgow Branch are acting as the glue in the continued improvement of relations between the club and the fans, especially those still based throughout Clyde’s original heartland.
Unity On And Off The Pitch
These are all positive steps, unity spreading like wildfire throughout the core of the club, but it’s the team on the pitch that are currently filling the Clyde faithful with the most pride. Season after season, for the last decade perhaps, fans and pundits alike have agreed that the passion, heart and dogged determination had vanished from those in Clyde shirts throughout turbulent times both on and off the pitch. The perfect example of this being the 2015-2016 campaign, where a team tipped for promotion only just escaped finishing bottom of League 2 for a second time, thanks to a David Goodwillie goal (ball to hand?) at last season’s eventual champions, Montrose.
Since then, a talented batch of new arrivals have graced Broadwood bringing with them a range of varied skillsets which, arguably the most important for the Bully Wee faithful, is that of passion and determination. Squad players in the form of central defender, Martin McNiff, and right back, Jordan Stewart, have become rejuvenated under the guidance of Lennon and Moore and continue to go from strength to strength.
Alongside this, the acquisition (and retention) of talented youngsters from beyond our borders including Chris McStay (Sutherland Sharks), Dylan Coghill and Jack Boyle (Huddersfield Town) and Ray Grant (Norwich City) who is, personally, already becoming one of best and most effective Clyde players I’ve witnessed for several years in the centre of the park. These players, and more, have appeared to breathe new life into the entire club with a real eye on improving everyone around them, with the help of experienced pro’s such as John Rankin and Ally Love, with Rankin signing on for the 2017-2018 campaign and Love staying on with the club he joined last season.
Let’s not forget free scoring striker, David Goodwillie. The winner of every club, fans and players award under the sun last season, he has kept up his scoring exploits already this season with an explosive start to competitive football this season. Bringing in an exciting mix of young talent and experience, both on and off the pitch, will improve the club greatly but, arguably, their best signing has been keeping their prize asset in the form of Goodwillie.
Despite the club’s early exit from this year’s IRN-BRU Cup at the hands of Hamilton Accies Colts, the management and supporters appear confident that the depth of the squad can cope with the ever-increasing intensity that the League Two calendar can throw at you. With long midweek trips away from home on the horizon during the winter months, knowing our lovely climate here in Scotland, it’s important that Clyde do not rest on the laurels of their promising start and continue to look out for the diamonds in the rough of the loan market across the UK and beyond, which served them so well during the latter half of last season.
More Than Just A Routine
For many of us lower league football lovers, the sense of community and responsibility has kept us travelling the country week in, week out for years watching our clubs. I don’t need to tell you we don’t experience much coveted success that often. However, it does make the small wins much sweeter.
At Clyde, the club are determined to break this mould and instead, turn Clyde back into a lifestyle choice for their current and future fanbase. Something which they are not only proud of, but brag about and count down the hours until Saturday comes back round again. This also includes wearing the club’s new Kappa gear to Glasgow’s pubs and clubs, of course.
As briefly mentioned earlier, the club’s continued dedication to making their Broadwood home more of their own has been a key project for the Clyde hierarchy of late. With the launch of the club’s new Arria Lounge, which offers hugely popular bar and entertainment facilities, as well as allowing fans and players to mix both pre and post-match, it acts as the epicentre for continual club unity.
No More False Dawns
There is always a chance, at any level and at any club, none more so than Clyde you could argue after events in recent history.
However, this time feels different.
Maybe it’s just what others would call a sense of ‘normality’ but many of us simply can’t take that for granted and need to not only take advantage of it but promote and encourage it in as many ways as we can.
Now, Clyde are in the best chance to escape the basement division of Scottish football and not only just that, but as champions. With sides such as Peterhead, Stirling Albion and the ever-improving Queens Park all set to mount a challenge, it’s going to be a tough but exciting race.
I’m looking forward to bringing you more insight from the Clyde camp, across League Two and beyond this season. Stay tuned to Pure Fitbaw for much more on the way!