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Clyde In The Cumbernauld News – 29 May 2002

Clyde have lined up two attractive pre-season friendlies in July when Norwich City and Cardiff City are the very welcome visitors to Broadwood.

Both clubs will give Clyde a stern test and should prove attractive visitors. In May of this year at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, missed penalties by Norwich against Birmingham City in the Division One Play-Off Final meant that the Canaries also missed out on a return to the English Premiership. It was heart-breakingly close for the Norfolk club. Clyde’s other opponents, Cardiff City, also had a successful season and were beaten in the Division Two Play-Off Finals by eventual winners Stoke City.

During July there will be the usual representation of English and Welsh clubs, accompanied by varying numbers of supporters, playing against Scottish clubs and such matches usually transpire without incident – sometimes on the pitch! – but while Cardiff are in the Greater Glasgow area there will also be visits from Birmingham City and Millwall and it’s a convergence which has caused some concern down Paisley way.

Apparently internet messages from some St. Mirren supporters have suggested possible trouble and this has alarmed the Paisley club to such an extent that they announced last week that ‘after due consideration and consultation with the local Police’ they were cancelling their game against Millwall, due to be played on 27 July at St. Mirren Park, and also their game against Clyde’s visitors Cardiff.

It’s true that there is something of a recent history between the teams and fans of Birmingham City and Millwall but are St. Mirren officials guilty of over-reaction? The Midlands club’s 91st minute winner at the New Den on 2 May in a Play-Off semi-final, and the crowd trouble which followed, are of recent memory but anyone who has had the privilege of visiting Millwall’s New Den stadium will testify that no club in Britain has done more to change its reputation than Millwall.

The Millwall staff who have put in so much hard work in recent years to gain for the Lions the wonderful community profile enjoyed by near neighbours Charlton Athletic must be near despair. At a stroke 1980s images of ugly, pot-bellied, tattooed and shaven-haired yobs have been given a fresh airing in the consciousness of the general public – and a connection has again been made to the Millwall name.

Strathclyde Police are not without experience in dealing with some unsavoury football followers and we should draw confidence from that. I’m delighted Clyde have stuck to their original arrangements with Cardiff. Mob rule should always be resisted.