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Clyde In The Cumbernauld News - 8 May 2002

By Bob McPherson
Wed, 8th May 2002 12:00am

The demise of former Broadwood Stadium tenants Airdrieonians and the hopes of a better future for Clyde are looked at in this week's 'View From The Terraces' article in the Cumbernauld News.

In any other business but football the failure of a close competitor would be greeted with excited. thoughts of increased market share but there is genuine regret amongst the Clyde support about the demise of Airdrieonians FC.

Unlike some sections of the Old Firm support, where hatred is a frightening reality, the swopping of insults amongst fans at any Clyde v Airdrie match was a ritual based solely on sporting rivalry. There was always Bully Wee respect for a club that out-performed its small-town origins better than anyone else for 124 years but Clyde supporters’ expressions of sympathy towards the Airdrie ‘Diamonds’ goes deeper than admiration; there’s an acknowledgment that it could easily have been Clyde. There may be the usual speculation amongst Bully Wee fans about which players may be on Manager Alan Kernaghan’s shopping list but after the Airdrie news no one is taking the existence of Clyde for granted.

For most of Clyde and Airdrie’s almost simultaneous existence, the abilty of these two and other smaller clubs to produce stars then sell them on to bigger city clubs maintained the delicate balance of Scottish football finance; European legislation with the ‘Bosman’ ruling meant such transfer revenue virtually disappeared. Income now has to be generated in other ways and with such wisespread disarray around them in Scottish football today it is no coincidence that Clyde are this year participating in some local summer galas to raise the Club’s profile with the people of East Dunbartonshire and North Lanarkshire and in more measurable terms the Club’s Commercial Department are gearing themselves up for their biggest-ever push to sell Clyde’s hospitality, advertising and sponsorships opportunities..

There isn’t a choice any more. Football clubs have to be responsible for their own financial well-being; they can no longer depend on others for unconditional support. Clubs must demonstrate they have trustworthy directors and are efficiently run. If they prove they are worth supporting they will get the necessary corporate and community support. Public moaning about such lack of support has been replaced, at Clyde at least, by some careful analysis. Thoughts of great leaps forward have been overtaken by prudent management and steady progress. In football boardrooms across Scotland only reality will do from now on.

Clyde, playing in a stadium with over 8,000 seats currently have a modest aim of raising their average crowds to 2,000. It’s a small step. Fortunately, unlike Airdrie, it’s one they can still take.