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Clyde In The Cumbernauld News - 5 June 2002

By Bob McPherson
Wed, 5th Jun 2002 12:00am

In the last three weeks Clyde supporters have bought eight retro Clyde strips and over 100 Bully Wee fans now subscribe to a weekly bulletin from the Club’s recently re-launched official web site. Last Friday Clyde confirmed that 272 people have so far bought season tickets. These figures represent real progress for Clyde and indicate a club, with freshly enthused supporters, which is once again on the move.

Perhaps you’re part of the majority reading this column. You’re not a Clyde fan - you support another and bigger football club and you find it difficult not to smirk at such paltry statistics. Your own club sells replica shirts by the thousand, has a 12,000 waiting list for season tickets and produces 180,000 merchandising catalogues for world-wide distribution every year. It’s another world from Clyde - but is it better? - and is it still a football club?

You’re beginning to suspect that your club sees football and the club itself merely as commodities which must be sold as often and as lucratively as possible. You’re growing concerned that a proud heritage has been reduced to what your club spokesman now regularly refers to as a brand name with ‘international recognition factor’ potential.

The feeling has grown within you that your club increasingly treats you, as one of its paying customers, as a mere backdrop; a provider of atmosphere for a bigger but much less committed audience of TV supporters. Your club is now just a business and one which clearly prefers passive spectators to committed and pro-active supporters. You’re a shareholder but in truth you have absolutely no say in how your club is run

The players in your team don’t know anything about the club’s history - and they don’t want to. For two years they kiss the club badge then they kiss good-bye. They earn your annual salary once a fortnight and their main aim in football is not to win medals and glory but to earn your annual salary once a week.

Clyde are in a different world. They are owned and run by people who are all Clyde supporters. These custodians of the Clyde traditions devote every spare hour available to them, without recompense, working on behalf of Clyde - because they love the game for the game’s sake.

They have willingly extended the share ownership of Clyde in recent years, not to raise cash, but to increase the numbers who can contribute to the Club’s development. Through Clyde’s Target 2K project Bully Wee fans are more than tolerated, they are now an integral part of the Club’s development.

Football is a sport. Clyde haven’t lost touch with that basic - and for that reason alone they are worthy of greater support. Happily the indications suggest that’s a conclusion reached by a growing number of people.