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Chairman's New Year Message

Tue, 1st Jan 2019 12:15pm

I hope you all had a joyful Christmas with family and friends and also through the football.

The posse of Santas populating a wintry Cliftonhill last week and their engagement with an appreciative squad of players and management certainly warmed us all up and demonstrated to Scottish Football all that is good about Clyde Football Club through our togetherness within a common football and community purpose! BBC digital media recognised this and also the quality of football over the last few months. All good! 

2018! It has been a good progressive year for Clyde FC. At the AGM we presented positively on a greatly improved position on all fronts covering:

  • Commercial 
  • Operational 
  • Football 
  • Foundation 

Revenue generation and the associated cash flow remains the primary challenge, but this ‘constant’ now sits in the context that the Club’s capability is well founded and embedded with the conditions created for Clyde to better service this requirement and in turn progress, step by step, to a higher level. This depends on each and every Clyde person playing a part in this and contributing to this happening. Introduce a friend or a family member to Clyde FC. This will quickly multiply up the fan base and the associated revenue for the Club. Encourage them to be part of what is going on - become an Owner, sell the Lottery / 200 Fund or a half season ticket. 

This New Year, for a number of reasons, I can’t rouse any enthusiasm to list a repeat or update of last year's ‘resolutions’ as we need to acknowledge the list of last year are all very much ‘work in progress’. But all have, to varying degrees, despite very challenging conditions, progressed. These tasks / objectives all contribute to making Clyde stronger and surer again of its special place in Scottish Football. There is much still to do of course and it is essential that everyone recognises this and commits what is possible to progress all of the objectives further. The Club has an energy and momentum now! 

The areas of priority this year are: 

  • Full-time employment of Danny Lennon
  • Employment of a full-time member of [football / operational / marketing] staff
  • Securing players on longer term contracts
  • Youth development / football structure - Project Braver and a bridge team (or two) between PB and the Community Football Development Programme. 
  • New board members with the necessary skills, time and resources. I will be active on this in the month ahead. 

The Club now has a reinvigorated, bold and positive attitude and - most importantly - it is going about its business on and off the park with a real purpose. Danny and Allan have assembled and developed a squad playing the best football in the lower divisions. They are, as a result of good and strong management, together as one and by using their talents and through their commitment to hard work, very much enjoying their football. This is important and it is also vital they are determined no other club will stop this! They are. Clyde have the best and coolest kit in Scottish Football, selling well to Clyde fans and others and making money for the Club. The Club has the best hospitality lounge in Scotland, adding to the Club’s unique matchday experience. Other non-football events will generate revenue for the Club and, on top of the wider football development programme, a Women’s Team will be established this coming year. All progressive! Please do not however underestimate the need for you to support the Club in the year ahead. This can only work if everyone sacrifices and commits to making good things happen! 

Nothing should cause this bold, positive attitude and energy to be reduced now. The Club and all who represent it should now do all that they can to amplify performance in all areas. 

At the AGM I stimulated fresh debate on a number of areas and it is essential that these matters are considered diligently, intelligently and respectfully. The Club structure (presently a Community Interest Company) is now needing careful consideration and the Board and Owners must explore if this should remain as is, be modified or taken into a share issue for a Private Limited Company. Each of these three options have different cultures, risks and dynamics but ALL must fundamentally share the same objectives - the security and development of the Club. The protection of the Club is of paramount importance, but its structure and status cannot impede investment in its potential and progress. 

Further, all must now accept the geographic fact that the Club has its home in Cumbernauld. The Club will soon celebrate being a Glasgow origin Club, 25 years in Cumbernauld. It is time to develop and nourish the Club and its objectives and this logically has to happen now in Cumbernauld. The Stadium, its infrastructure and the people who run and populate it are ready to facilitate Clyde’s ‘scaled up’ ambition! League progression and positive (revenue generating) cup runs should become the norm in the near future. The infrastructure is largely in place for this. No more distractions or excuses! North Lanarkshire Leisure, North Lanarkshire Council and other agencies want to celebrate this 25-year milestone and recognise what Clyde has positively contributed to the town and surrounding areas. There would be no Broadwood Stadium without Clyde FC. NLL are committed to working with and making Clyde FC successful. For this we should be most grateful, proud and happy! New revenue streams have been created with more to follow in the coming season. These are very much intertwined with the Club’s partners at Broadwood.

Servicing the funding requirements of Club’s ambition and growth in Cumbernauld and nourishing the Club’s player development need to be considered. Danny Lennon taking on a full-time role within the Club will, in my opinion, result in the Club producing players and assets.

The Glasgow roots and identity are just as important as the Cumbernauld home. I have been working closely with the Glasgow Branch on a number of ideas that will help create a fresh, positive and committed dynamic to the matchday experiences at Broadwood. They, like many others in and around the Club, have a key role to play in moving the Club forward. The combination of the experienced campaigners and youth within the Club’s support base, with established standards of conduct and respect, will be conducive to growing the Club’s culture, identity and presence. 

2018. I have over the year personally committed a considerable amount of time, expertise and funds to helping ‘create the conditions’ for Clyde to progress. This has been paralleled with a year of me having a number of extraordinary family challenges and losses. It also has been a year where I have neglected not only family but also my business. This has to be re-normalised over the next month or so. It is life and I know every family goes through tough times, but I cannot ignore the lesson of last year that commitments and good intentions have to be spread to all areas of your life and that well intended resolutions / targets are certainly no match for the devastating impact of life’s ‘lottery of (bad) luck’. I experienced losses and matters this year that I couldn’t ‘fix’. A new and very sharp experience for me and one I cannot ignore and that I must learn from.

There will continue to be change at the Club during this coming period. This transition demonstrates that Clyde FC have stepped up to the next level of Board direction. Rather than being a Club that relies heavily on individuals, inside and outside the Club structure, it is now one being built on a Broadwood base of systems, of organisational diligence and a culture of confident and sure talent development and use. Next season Clyde will positively populate Broadwood Stadium in a way that will provide the optimum footballing operational conditions. The best of many Club’s below the Championship and most of them in it! 

A sustainable Clyde FC has to be built on sound governance, strong management, healthy solid revenue, a culture-centric approach and a consistency in developing higher standards and better talent - both on and off the park.

Over the last year, in iterating the management model, we have improved on the right balance between systems and individuals. Simply relying on valued input from individuals (volunteers and part-time staff) or following an outdated system will not address the Club’s challenges. To achieve long-term sustainable growth, Clyde need the right balance between system, people and culture. I am confident that the approach taken in developing procedures and systems and efforts to safeguard the Club’s culture will in time win over the love and support from ALL fans, employees and shareholders. Clyde FC - no place for complacency! 

Next season we will release the ‘River of Good’ to raise funds for the Clyde Foundation - it is an anthem written by the famous Pep Sala, the Catalan songwriter and musician. Pep has a warm affection for the Bully Wee. He is my friend and friends with Steve Archibald and many other Barca people. We are presently considering the (Scottish!) singer / band options...!

A huge thank you to all for your most valued support - the sponsors, special and passionate generous individuals, amazing army of volunteers, staff, players, management, the Board and most especially to the fans! The Club has great things about it, many pre-dating my arrival. All I have sought to do is create the conditions for the Club to progress and encourage all to express and amplify their own and the Club’s qualities to provide vital help in this period of change and progress and 100% to fear nothing or no one!

I want to close by wishing everyone at the Club all the very best for 2019. (AtB19!)

Norrie Innes