Blair Liddell on moving to Cumbernauld and rowing with UEFA
How did the move to Cumbernauld affect Clyde’s gates?
Initially, 30,000 fans rolled up in our first ten games at Broadwood, mainly curious Cumbernauldians plus lapsed supporters crawling out of the wood-work. But league reconstruction put paid to any chances of us building on that and our new support dwindled fast. The season we narrowly avoided relegation to the third, our average home gate was 600. We still have a hard-core support from the wilderness years and not all are holed up in the south-east of Glasgow as is commonly supposed. The biggest disappointment is despite our good form over the last three to four seasons, average crowds have stalled at around the 1,200 mark.
Who are Clyde’s rivals and has this changed?
There’s only one team whose presence is anathema to the true Clyde fan and that’s our red and yellow Thistle “friends” from Maryhill. Unfortunately, since our plunge into the abyss 30 years ago, more often than not we’re in a different division from Partick, but the rivalry, on our part anyway, remains undimmed.
Is there a big gulf in playing standards between the First Division and the Scottish Premier League?
In these poverty stricken times, not as big a gulf as you might think. The only subscribers to the theory that the SPL is superior are the SPL themselves, ably assisted by the Scottish press, tabloid and broadsheet alike. Results in this year’s Scottish Cup have disproved the SPL’s supposed infallibility. Just ask any Celtic or Hearts fan. Those were one-off games, but a poor Jags side have held their own in the SPL this season.
What have been your best and worst moments as a Clyde fan?
The best moment (aside from games clinching league titles etc) has to be being part of a huge Clyde Conga as we thrashed Partick at Firhill 4-1 for the second time in four months. Relegations are always hard to take but the worst moment was being whipped 5-1 by a rampant Morton side on a wet Wednesday night in Greenock, the only game either of us has ever left at half-time (well, we were 4-0 down).
Milestones & Millstones
1877 A bunch of seasick rowers try out football and the Clyde are born.
1898 Final game at Barrowfield, against Sunderland. Cross river, to Shawfield.
Early 1900s Third in 1908-09 and 1911-12. Lose cup finals in 1910 and 1912.
1932 Clyde directors set up Shawfield Greyhound Racing Coy Ltd in a bid to save us from financial ruin…
1939 Trounce Motherwell 4-0 to finally win the cup. Second World War means we keep it for a record seven years.
1950 The glory years. Beat Celtic in 1955 cup final replay. Relegated in 1956 but win Division Two in 1957. Win cup against Hibs a year later.
1966-67 “Qualify” for Europe (see below left).
1974-75 League reconstruction condemns us to lower levels. Ever to return?
1978-92 Win Second Division twice with Craig Brown (the second time with a young Pat Nevin, front of picture), then once with ageing Frank McGarvey.
1985-86 Booted out by our one-time saviours, the Shawfield Greyhound Racing Coy Ltd. Start of wilderness years, six at Firhell and two at Douglas Park.
1998-99 Near relegation leads to a massive clearout and Ronnie McDonald becomes manager. He signs a team almost exclusively of juniors (Scottish non-league). Wins Second Division a year later, but quits in 2001.
2002-03 Alan Kernaghan steers us to our highest finish in 30 years – could we be heading for the top flight at last?
Harry Haddock ~ One of the first overlapping full-backs and the last Clyde captain to lift a major trophy, the Scottish Cup in 1958. Capped seven times, he could throw a ball fully 40 yards. Played with and against Stanley Matthews with whom he struck up a friendship. A gentlemen on and off the pitch, a great ambassador.
UEFA ~ They cruelly snatched away our chance to play in the Inter City Fairs Cup (forerunner of the UEFA Cup) in 1967, thanks to a law that said only one team per city could take part. Despite finishing third we never got our chance. Rangers were runners-up and the other two slots went to Hibs (fifth) and Dundee (sixth).
From WSC 198 August 2003. What was happening this month