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Chairman’s New Season Message

I hope you all had a great summer.

The World Cup – I heard it was a good one! I only managed to see the Final, sitting with Norrie Senior, which was great!

Despite the heat and the World Cup, during the break many people in an around the Club have kept their focus and energy levels high, so we have continued to make progress on ‘creating the conditions’! Conditions for good things to happen. 

Yes, good things! Some people fear optimistic pursuit of good things. They avoid making even mildly ambitious statements or setting high targets. And some are unable to embrace change in pursuit of progress and when times get challenging and things don’t go to plan, some become defensive and seek to blame others or something beyond their control. This type of ‘fear’ has no longer any place at Clyde FC. We should now fear nothing!

Sometimes it is important to reference benchmarks. In construction the benchmark is the datum from which you build something from. Clyde have been at a lower level for far too long. So, we must now create the foundations to build out of this low level, step by step. This requires a plan with applied human strength and commitment. It requires ‘bottle’, grit and determination. These qualities exist at the Club and we now need to use them. What else is needed? Some calm and intelligent patience, perseverance and positivity!

Since my arrival I have attempted in every way to be open, honest and consistent in everything I do. I make myself available pre match and welcome any constructive critical comment. One of my earliest observations was related to the tensions within and around the Club and my desire to remove or reduce them. I think this has largely been achieved. Have I over the last year created some new wee tensions? I guess so, but it is all for the good of the Club. Is it textbook Chairmanship? I admit, no! I honestly feel I haven’t started being a Chair yet. There was, and still is, much to do before I sit comfortably down on any Chair! What I can say is we are on our way to creating the conditions for positive things to happen at Clyde. However, this hard and smart work we have undertaken will not, on its own, fuel the Club’s ambitions. It demands a togetherness; removal of barriers, protectionism and wee tribal sideshows that do not contribute to the Club’s intrinsic qualities and values. It demands that we ALL be part of the change. Challenge yourself please to ‘Be the Change’! Placing expectations on others is absolutely fine if the same is applied to ourselves. Let’s all enjoy being part of setting these healthy expectations and targets and contributing toward delivering them. Every statement, every task or action, however small, can make the difference.

In advance of this season, and having learnt many lessons last season, I respectfully ask the Board, key staff, players and volunteers:

“Do you believe in, and are you working hard and smart toward, contributing to Clyde being promoted to higher levels in Scottish Football?” 

If the answer is not a strong and committed YES, then as Chair, on your behalf, I have to question their presence within the Club. 

Some in and around the Club may have struggled somewhat with my ways and perhaps the pace of change. This is not a problem for me. I expected this and it is normal. With the period of familiarity and understanding now over, all should know that at the start of the season we should expect everyone at the Club to step forward confidently and strongly to take on the challenges ahead. Standing still or stepping back is not an option. We must have faith and trust in each other and support everyone around us.

For me, as Chair, the obligation to deliver is for the following and in this order of priority:- 

  • Supporter (fan)
  • Staff / players / volunteers
  • Owners (emotional social investors but with profit retention in the Club in mind!)
  • Board

Fan base – We as a Club need to grow our fan base. Football achievement and success and a strong and good purpose can help make this happen. Meantime, can I please ask that you spread the word to say two or three people a week about what good stuff is going on at Clyde. Encourage them to come to a game and start supporting Clyde. Invite one person along to the next game and then another one to the following one. Clyde are different and need not fear any challenge on or off the park. This is a good thing to be part of… we will provide a good example through football.

Home – We must now this season (25 years at Broadwood coming up!) genuinely connect with Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and the surrounding area. Cumbernauld has a larger population catchment than Motherwell – so the people are out there – and we need to create a reason for them to support the Club and welcome them in. In parallel, we must also continue to re-establish the strong and very important bonds with Glasgow. I have had the pleasure of meeting many good people who support the Club. When making the statement of commitment to grow and develop the Club at Broadwood there were understandably concerns expressed that this may cause a disconnect with the Glasgow fan base. Well, I have got to know a number of good and strong Clyde fans based in Glasgow. They know what I am all about and I enjoy spending time with them. I was delighted to learn that after the Glasgow Branch PotY event the membership increased by 50%. This is a great indicator that there is respectful support for positive change and the progress that is happening. 

Yes there are ‘Failure Fanatics’ in all walks of life. They have sadly been conditioned to be so. They wish ill and failure on you. Let’s all negate them and make them unimportant. Continue simply to be strong and good!

Clyde is a Football Club that, for good reasons, this season people want to beat. Why? Because Danny, Allan and the squad are setting their own footballing code, conduct and standards. On Saturday they matched Motherwell for 75 minutes. Eventually, our new ways should not only nourish the first team but also the youth development pathway for new young talent coming through the Club. Our innovative Project Braver programme will get underway soon to provide the Club’s Parallel Player Pathway (Clyde P3). It needs funding and we are now actively seeking support for this to not only change ways at Clyde but the whole of Scottish Football. We believe in this and we seek the support of others to deliver it. 

Things are, through critical necessity, getting REAL at the Club. Commercial activity is now real, footballing infrastructure is now real, and the footballing ambition is now real. We have a squad populated with players who have the desire to perform at a higher level. Their personal ambitions could be serviced and satisfied through Clyde’s natural progression to higher levels. This will happen if all the people in key positions do their thing and do it well. In Danny Lennon we have a man of great human and footballing qualities and it is an absolute pleasure working with him. Danny is more than ably assisted by Allan Moore, who has some authentic Glasgow grit and gloss going on!

Board – Claire Thornber has been a great addition to the Board. We will be actively seeking others with much needed skill sets to co-opt onto the Board. The Board are acutely aware of their duties, responsibilities and expectations to work effectively between meetings and matches. We will need fresh faces in due course and the stimulation, creative investment and energy that they bring. I don’t ever want to single out any Board member but there is an exceptional level of commitment and sacrifice going on from some. The priority, however, is to go, quietly and effectively, about improving all areas of the Club in order to make the players and fans happy.

We also need fresh and regular solid income streams. 

The Arria Lounge is probably the best hospitality lounge in Scotland. This is what we have and we must use it to generate revenue for the Club’s purpose and objectives. It has been delivered by ROCK REGEN in partnership with NL Leisure for you to enjoy. It is inclusive and accessible for your pleasure and Clyde’s benefit. All matchday profits go to Clyde FC – so enjoy coming to games and getting together in a shared, positive place! The Arria Lounge brings football, family, friends and food (…and a wee drink!) together. Fantastic! 

Increased commercial activity will continue to be a priority over the seasons ahead. We want to ideally create a surplus/profit for the Club and then re-invest it to service footballing and community growth and ambition. This is the Club’s purpose – profit is not a dirty word! 

NLL – I cannot express how positive an experience it is working in partnership with NLL. They are very much more than a landlord. It is founded on having good leadership, good people, a (sporting) integrity and an understanding of our responsibilities in continually seeking better ways to support sport, health and wellbeing in our community. Emma Walker, Managing Director of NLL, and the Provost Jean Jones attended the Motherwell match and they enjoyed immensely the game and the overall pleasurable experience in the Arria at Broadwood. We are very much together with NLL and we visibly display this on our new KAPPA home kit. We are working creatively on a number of fronts with NLL and this is for shared community and commercial outputs. All positive!

The 200 Fund is now live again, on the back of the successful Flying Start Fund. Can I ask please, during the week ahead that you ‘sell it’ to someone outside of the Club. It’s only the equivalent of two Starbucks coffees a week and you can potentially get something back from giving! Positively sell your Club. Gordon Nisbet says he doesn’t fear many things but he does fear me winning it again! We had a good laugh regarding this, so to avoid any concerns you may have in this regard, I can confirm my prize went straight back in to sponsor strips and to the players for the Awards Night. It is for your Club! Challenge yourself to be an ‘agent for change’ and bring some Clyde Connection to someone’s life!

The Fund is dedicated 100% for the footballing progress – please help us to break the 200 mark.

Community Foundation – I have been spending some time learning about and engaging more with the Foundation Board and the team. Tom Elliot delivers outstanding work and it is fantastic to see first team players now coaching and helping with the community football. This area will be scaling up over the season ahead. It is about understanding that helping, sharing skills and giving back is not only important, it is vital! The Clyde United and Clyde Powerchair teams are incredible and they will get more support from the club in the seasons ahead. 

CIC – I asked to see the historic profile of owners last week and it is clear this there is a yearly drop in numbers since the creation of the CIC. These figures are factual and cannot be ignored. Structures (as an Engineer) are important but sometimes they are not. The world and its ways change and it is important for all to understand this. You don’t see the structure that supports the internet! So I would ask that, at this time, do not concern yourself about this structure. Instead, do please become an owner of what this club represents and aspires to. Being at the table and contributing positively is important. The next two seasons will be important to the Club. Any mission – good or bad, military, religious, sporting or whatever – needs money! The profits generated will be retained in your Club. Please do not disconnect profit from a CIC – it has to make profit to grow and do good work! Let’s with respect not demand, or expect, that a fan should be an owner. The fan should be most important category, without condition. I know it will be difficult for some to loosen their minds to this but for me it will help the Club to move forward.

SPFL – I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Neil Doncaster for the secondment support they provided to Clyde and two other SPFL clubs. Dave Mackay is a young man with footballing academic qualifications showing an insatiable appetite to learn and in so doing help the Club progress on a number of fronts. He is doing this by dedicating additional volunteered time to the Club. His role, working very closely with John, Syd, Lynn and the Board will help deliver better practice and results.

Modern History – The Club has performed with a group of volunteer staff who have sacrificed and committed greatly to the Club’s cause. It has been hard work for them under challenging circumstances and conditions. So we need to make sure we do what is possible to make it a pleasure to work hard and see the fruits of the labour. To do this we need to improve communications and procedures within the Club. Gordon Sydney (Syd), our Historian, is taking a trip ‘Back to the Future’! He is applying his forensic abilities to extract valuable info/data from the rich veins of knowledge and experience in all of our staff and volunteer network and then compile it within a communication and operational manual. Syd will, with John Taylor and David Mackay, progress this valuable exercise over the coming months. This will be a vital part of getting our off the field improvements implemented that will eventually help to deliver positive results on the park and sustainable community projects.

Volunteers – In recognition we are looking to have a planned event or away day to acknowledge and reward the amazing group of volunteers at the Club. More will follow on this in due course. We are seeking and inviting new volunteers to help the Club in its progress. They will bring new and supplementary skill sets. 

Shop – This will be based in your Arria Lounge probably for the first half of the season. We are discussing plans for a new shop with NLL. Again, more info to follow on this. 

KAPPA kit – We are delighted with the new kit and service from KAPPA and MJM. Despite being under duress through circumstances outside our and their control, they have made every effort to deliver for the Club. This is what we look for in our partners and suppliers. They will assist in the creation of the new shop in due course. 

Sponsors – The club website and the wonderful Clyde View programme serves to display the much valued support we get from our sponsors. Advance Construction Scotland are there again for us and also partnering us in Project Braver. A great construction company! ACS, Suicide Prevention North Lanarkshire, ROCK REGEN, NLL, Wise Group and Show Racism the RED Card all display their partnering support. They all align with a shared purpose and values we have and it’s certainly not about the money! I would like to thank all of them and we look forward to delivering good projects together! More sponsor information to follow soon.

So, I’ll sign off and ask please let’s ALL of US get on with the job ahead – fearing nothing and no one!

Norrie Innes