The official website is delighted to welcome a new member to its team of contributors. Ryan Kyle, a Bully Wee fan who is studying journalism, is initially going to revive the popular ‘Q & A’ series.
In keeping with tradition, Ryan decided that the best person to start with was the club captain; Adam Strachan.
Thanks to Adam for taking the time to give a very interesting interview before training this evening and www.clydefc.co.uk looks forward to publishing more of Ryan’s work in the near future.
RK: It was supposed to be Queen’s Park on Saturday, are you disappointed with the call-off?
AS: We’re very disappointed because that’ll be over two weeks since we’ve had a game. When you’re not doing well you want the games to come quickly because you try to forget the last one and get a good result. We’ve had a couple of wee injuries and wee pulls though, so maybe it’ll give time for those boys to recover so that the gaffer’s got a bigger choice to pick from.
The past few weeks have seen some good performances but just not the right results, do you think the turning point is just around the corner?
We’ve been saying that for a while. I think we played really well against Berwick but we were very unlucky: Kevin (Finlayson) slips, then Ally Park slips, and they score with the guy knocking it in with his ear. So that’s just the luck we’re having – we scored a good goal, played well and we’ve just not had the luck. I know going eight games without winning isn’t all about luck, it’s our performances, but other teams get points and we just don’t seem to get them.
The next game is against Montrose, do you feel as though you’ve got a point to prove against them?
Definitely. The last time we played Montrose was one of the worst days of my footballing career. The worst day of my life it felt like. We just totally gave up which just isn’t good enough at any level. Having said that, it could be Montrose, Stranraer, Queen’s Park, it doesn’t matter who we’re playing against, it’s just all about winning because I think every team in this league has given us a doing at one point. So we just need to take every game as it comes, try and get a result out of it and see how it goes from there.
How do you rate your start to the season?
I don’t think I’ve played badly but I think there’s a lot expected from me because I’ve came from a higher level and people say I should be playing at a higher level. If I don’t have a great game it’s scrutinised; if I don’t set up two goals then I’m seen as not having a good game. There have been games where I’ve played well, I’ve set up chances and we’ve not taken them, whereas if the boys take them it looks as if I’ve done brilliantly. As a team, I don’t think anybody can say that they’ve had pass marks.
Are there any aspects of your game you feel you need to improve on?
It doesn’t matter what level you play at, you’re always trying to improve. My crossing hasn’t been as good as it usually is but beating a man, that doesn’t change. I think I could maybe add more goals to my game. A lot of people have been saying I’ve been shooting too much, but if you don’t shoot you don’t score. In the past I’ve been known for not shooting and trying to walk the ball in so I’ve tried to change my game a bit this season.
Many supporters feel that the squad has the ability to be higher in the league. Bearing that in mind, where do you think it’s gone wrong?
We’ve had meetings after meetings to discuss where it’s gone wrong. We seem to be chasing every single game we’re playing. We seem to go 1-0 down then players like myself, Kevin (Finlayson) and (Marc) McCusker, who are fast, can’t get in behind teams because they’re sitting so far back. They’re going 1-0 up, sitting back and hitting us on the break or getting a goal from a corner or something like that.
Do you feel as though the team’s missed Marc McCusker and Willie Sawyers?
I think Willie isn’t where he can be. When I came to the club I was very impressed with him, coming from the Juniors and how much ability he actually had. He’s not the fastest but he makes up for that with his brain. McCusker came and surprised me. I played against him when we were younger and I didn’t see him being as good a player as he is. He’s done really well. He’ll never tell you he has amazing ability but he knows what to do at the right times. He’s a battering ram and in this league everybody needs someone like him. Though Mark will tell you himself, he’d give away all those goals he’s scored if we were sitting higher in the league.
How do you feel the players coming from Junior or youth level have adapted to life in the Third Division?
I think that the boys who’ve stepped up, some of the younger boys, are finding it very difficult. There’s a big difference from playing at under-19 level, because this actually means something. Juniors is completely different as well; you can get beat in the Junior leagues and nobody hears about it but with Clyde when you get beat it’s different. I think that’s affecting a lot of the younger boys as Clyde are getting scrutinised a lot in the papers and they don’t know how to take it. It’s myself and Stuart’s job to speak to them and help them on but everybody’s doing the right thing because it’s not as if we don’t train hard. We go out to win, we’re confident before games but it just isn’t happening for us at the moment.
The players have been getting a lot of criticism from supporters recently, do you understand that?
Obviously, it’s simply not good enough that we’ve been beaten eight games in a row. People are paying to watch us so it’s totally understandable. We don’t go out on a Saturday and try to get beat – we don’t want to get beat. I know how it feels for the fans, I’ve seen Clyde decline in the past couple of seasons and every time I used to play against Clyde the supporters were always behind them and they always gave us a good game. When I came to the club I thought we’d rocket back up the league, which isn’t happening yet but you can only take one game at a time.
Some supporters think the criticism is a little over the top, does criticism affect you personally?
Not really. I’m the kind of person who, after five minutes, if I’ve heard something from somebody it’ll go out my mind, I won’t let it affect me. Other boys it does affect though, so you need to watch how you speak to people. Some boys, if you shout at them, will just go into a shell whereas others, like myself, it’ll just be ‘aye, no bother’ and we’ll get on with it. The manager has put together a good team with boys that have played at a decent level and we’ve not performed so I think as players we have to say it’s our fault.
Have you got a message for the supporters?
I know it’s easy to say but obviously you’ve supported the club all your life and you don’t just stop following them when they’re not doing well. I know it’s hard to watch a team getting beat all the time, a team that you’ve supported all your life, but if there are no supporters then there’s nobody getting behind us and the support does help, for example the game against Cowdenbeath. I know Clyde have had more bad times than good in recent years but mistakes have been made in the past and all that the current squad can do is try and do our best in the Third Division.