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Craig Brown

All at the club were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former Clyde manager and Hall of Fame inductee Craig Brown earlier this morning.

Craig took over the reins at Shawfield in 1977 and guided Clyde to the Second Division title in his first season, and again in 1981-82. He was in charge of the club for 409 games.

He left The Bully Wee in 1986 to take a coaching position with the Scotland national team and led the country to Euro 96 and the World Cup in 1998.

Club Historian Gordon Sydney has penned the following tribute to Craig:-

When Craig Brown moved from Assistant Manager to Willie McLean at Motherwell to become Clyde Manager in August 1977 – incidentally on the recommendation of Billy McNeill – the question on many lips was “Craig who….”. After less than a season with Clyde, that question was never required again!

Craig inherited an unsuccessful Clyde squad that had finished 7th in Division Two the previous season, but immediately set about rebuilding it into a Second Division Championship winning squad, playing a flamboyant, cavalier style of football that will go down in my memory as the best, most entertaining Clyde team I have been privileged to watch.

Clyde manager Craig Brown with the 1977-78 Second Division championship
Craig Brown with the 1978 Second Division trophy

So promotion to Division One was achieved in Craig’s first season as manager, his first honour as a manager, and for the first few months of the following season the impossible – back-to-back promotions to the Premier League – seemed possible. Sadly it all slipped away, the season after that we were relegated, and season 80/81 was spent languishing back in Division Two.

But Craig had lived and learned, and the squad he built for 1981/82 almost cantered to the Second Division title, this time playing a more measured and controlled game, but were still a “class” outfit.

Clyde FC squad with the 1981/82 Second Division Championship
Craig Brown and the 1981-82 squad

After this success, Clyde became an established side in Division One under Craig’s guidance, and perhaps one of the accolades that could be attributed to the club around this time would be that of “best part-time team in Scotland”.

Over those nine years with Clyde, Craig’s ability to spot a player, nurture that player and get the best out of that player brought the club around £500k in transfer fees, an achievement that I know he was rightly proud of. And yet the club continued to progress, despite the loss of many great players.

He also arranged the club’s very first jersey sponsorship, only narrowly beaten to the title of “first team in Scotland to have their first team jerseys sponsored” by Hibs. But Craig never liked to be beaten, thus Clyde were the first team in Scotland to have their reserve team jerseys sponsored!

Clyde chairman Willie Dunn with Craig Brown
Chairman Willie Dunn and Craig

Towards the end of his tenure at Clyde Craig was rewarded with a position on the Board of Directors, however in April 1986 the lure of working with the national team proved irresistible for Craig, and he departed for pastures new. Craig did tell me though, that he only went on the undertaking that he was given a “team to run”, hence whilst assisting with the national team, he was also in charge of the Scotland Under-21 team. The rest, as they say, is history.

After his time with the Scotland National team, Craig continued to revel in football team management, with success coming at notably Motherwell and Aberdeen. Among Craig’s many honours gathered during that illustrious career one that Craig was particularly proud of was his induction into the Clyde FC Hall of Fame in 2012.

Clyde manager Craig Brown in the dugout with Rab Thorburn
Craig in the dugout

But away from football Craig was simply a lovely man, with whom you never had a quiet moment, and whose warm and welcoming personality certainly kept the banter flowing. Despite his status in world football, he was always interested in happenings at his beloved Clyde and contributing wherever possible. He enjoyed attending functions – many fans reading this will have met him, chatted to him and had their pictures taken with him at those functions, and he always made time for people and gave people his undivided attention when they were chatting to him. I myself was privileged to interview Craig at Hampden, of all places, for my book “Tales of the Clyde”, and we became good friends for the last few years. His many tales of the football world and footballers far and wide, famous and not-so-famous, entertained us all, and we will all have our own favourites!

Craig’s passing leaves a big void in all our lives, and we will all be mourning the loss of a figure of such status.

The thoughts and condolences of all at the club are with Craig’s family and friends at this sad time.