There are various reactions when I tell someone I support Clyde but most share a hint of condescension, an undercurrent that I have volunteered to watch something fundamentally inferior to the football served up by the SPL clubs and the Old Firm in particular.
No one likes to be patronised and I find equally annoying the assumption that in choosing to watch Clyde I am doomed to endure dull and miserable football matches just because Clyde currently play in the First Division and not the SPL. It becomes necessary to state what is patently obvious. A good game is still a good game no matter in what Division it is played and a tedious draw involving Celtic or Rangers is no more satisfying than one featuring Clyde.
Games have never had to be played in glamorous surroundings or high profile occasions to be memorable and I recall a fantastic mud-bath of a 0-0 draw between Clyde and Dundee in the late 1960s which had everything but goals. It was the ebb and flow of the melodrama that thrilled the Shawfield spectators that afternoon and the memory will remain with me long after many Scottish and European Cup finals have fortunately been forgotten.
That Clyde-Dundee match received great coverage at the time but nowadays Scotland’s national press does its best to convince everyone that the three Scottish League divisions are of little importance, that nothing of any interest takes place at these thirty football grounds on any day of the week and that nothing would be lost if they disappeared tomorrow.
Such an approach does us all a disservice. If Clyde are playing Falkirk at Broadwood no one expects to see two teams stuffed full with international players. Nobody goes to the Cumbernauld stadium for any match imagining that they are going to see the sort of game they might see if Real Madrid were playing Arsenal. Those who attend at Broadwood simply want to see Clyde’s players and opponents produce the best standard of football and the best game they can; few have been disappointed with the last two seasons’ First Division fare.
The fact that Clyde currently play in an evenly matched, truly competitive league increases the chances of seeing a good football match and I can’t ever remember Clyde playing against a team which seemed intent in just keeping the score respectable, a not unknown SPL scenario. Two attacking teams are what you get at Broadwood. The hope is that next season more people will patronise Broadwood – and not the people who wear Clyde scarves.