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Christmas Message

Sat, 25th Dec 2010 11:47am

The club wishes to offer all Clyde fans at home and abroad a Merry Christmas and take the opportunity to provide some additional information on recent developments.

Following the announcement that the club will, at some point, leave Broadwood there have been a number of supplementary questions raised.

It is important to stress that the decision is not one that anyone was keen to see being made, nor has it been made on the spur of the moment. The driving force behind the decision is one that is beyond the control of the club and the landlord, it is simply an unsustainable lease which does not work successfully for Clyde Football Club or North Lanarkshire Leisure; there is no scope for a renegotiation of the lease as the business models of both organisations cannot work without undermining each other. Considerable effort has already been expended by both parties in the last year to find a way to make the historic lease work for both parties and indeed to renegotiate. There was no mutually beneficial outcome and it was clear that no possibility existed.

Unsustainability stems from the lack of autonomy and the inability to operate the club in a similar manner as our peers, who can generate income from multiple activities around the stadium. Factors such as being able to install an artificial surface are investment decisions for most clubs, for Clyde it is simply not possible. The same applies to operating any commercial activity or planning developments that might underpin the security of the club. The recognition of this long term reality resulted in the Board of the club making its own decision that viability of Clyde FC demands autonomy and our landlords were advised of our decision to vacate at a time that works for the club.

No date has been agreed for the move and we are only at the beginning of an extensive process that will lead to Clyde having the necessary autonomy to operate successfully. The announcement of an intention to move without a detailed plan is not premature, it was an essential first step in the long term process. We have a long term lease and we will not move before we have a new location ready to move to. It is almost certain that we will require to build a new stadium from scratch and that will take a number of years to acquire a site, obtain planning permission and of course raise the necessary finance. These are enormous challenges but nothing like the challenge of remaining at Broadwood in the long term. This means that we have no plans to ground share, we would obtain nothing better than we already have by ground sharing. There might be an element of feeling in limbo, but that is far better than continuing the decline that would inevitably result in the end of our club. There really is no alternative.

The lack of information around an embryonic plan naturally creates uncertainty and can also lead to misconceptions. We will attempt only to make clear statements of what we know and we shall release information as and when we are able. One misconception is that the intention to leave Broadwood equates to an intention to leave Cumbernauld. No such intention exists and the sole plan is to re-establish the club as an autonomous organisation that is capable of being part of its community. Available locations will obviously be a determining factor and we expect to consider multiple alternatives. As a club with 133 years of history, we must plan long term and make the correct long term decisions for the sustainability of the club - and in the best interests of those who value the football club now.

Short term decisions will not be made, nor will any plans lack ambition. It is understood that it is going to be impossible to please everyone that is focussed only on location. The Board will be focussed on the interests of the long term stability of the club and we hope that everyone unites around that rather than the divisive issues it is so easy to concentrate on. Nobody expects this to be easy and every negative voice will simply work against the prospects for the autonomy of the club. Changing to a Community Interest Company creates the environment for supporters who are interested in the club to take an active part in shaping the future through constructive engagement.

In coming weeks we will be looking to attract some additional assistance to help deliver on this project which will be characterised by a number of phases. In addition the project will be shaped by the input of members of the club. Opportunities to get involved in phase 1 will be publicised on the website.

Since selling our stadium in the 1930s, the club has seen success followed by long term decline. Only autonomy over a community focussed stadium will allow us to contemplate returning to the standards that so many Clyde supporters have experienced and subsequently hoped for since arriving at Broadwood.

Your continuing support is appreciated and necessary.