April 4, 2009 – Broadwood Stadium, Cumbernauld
“The Struggle of the Skint” read Clyde’s match programme with refreshing honesty, but for most of the hardy punters who turned up to watch there would have been a struggle to stay fully conscious during what was an absolutely dreadful game of football.
Normally I am keen to defend the Scottish First Division and its standard of play, but this wasn’t a good advert for it. Indeed it was a truly spirit crushing ninety minutes, almost entirely devoid of entertainment value.
With both clubs facing an uncertain summer, it maybe wasn’t surprising that this game wasn’t one for the purists.
After all, money worries must affect players eventually given that their livelihoods are on the line.
Clyde and Livi have some glaring similarities. Both were small clubs overshadowed by bigger city clubs in the past. Both moved out of those cities to New Towns for a better future. Both have struggled to capture the imagination of their new locale. Both have not had their financial problems to seek over the past few years.
One big difference is that Clyde kept their original name upon moving to Cumbernauld, which sits some miles from the River Clyde. Meadowbank Thistle infamously changed theirs to Livingston, which I know from personal experience caused considerable upset and animosity.
I’ve often pondered whether Clyde would have benefitted from a change, even incorporating Cumbernauld somehow. Would Cumbernauld Clyde have offended anyone?
It’s certainly the case that they struggle to attract folk along to Broadwood. This game attracted 957, and there was a reasonable smattering of visiting supporters, maybe 200 to 250.
Therein lies the rub. There’s just not enough paying customers coming through the gates for Clyde to maintain a full time playing set-up. It’s the same for most clubs in the First Division unfortunately.
The Bully Wee’s latest woes surround unpaid rent to the tune of £146,000. North Lanarkshire Council, who own the stadium through an arms length company, are evicting them from April 26 unless the cash is forthcoming.
Before this game, a Clyde director read out a prepared statement which didn’t pull many punches as far as the local council are concerned.
On reflection it was probably the most entertainment I got for my £17 all day.
I have real sympathy for Clyde’s plight, but you can only wonder at the business acumen of the people who are running the show when they choose to publicly criticise the very people whose goodwill they need to survive.
As I mentioned previously, the game itself was extremely disappointing. The omnipresent Broadwood gale didn’t help matters, but there was little disguising the lack of quality on show.
Even Livi’s star performer Leigh Griffiths failed to swim against the grim tide of mediocrity which surrounded things.
The game was won by a decent strike from Joe Hamill midway through the first half and a bit later on Livi should have had a second goal when Griffiths was felled in the box. Alas, the usually reliable Dave Mackay’s kick was saved by the Clyde ‘keeper David Hutton.
Clyde had a penalty shout of their own turned down in the second half, unfairly if I am being honest, but they didn’t offer much of a threat for the rest of the time.
They fielded former Aberdeen striker Robbie Winters for his debt but he didn’t make much of an impact. Interestingly, his younger brother David was in the Livi team. Such was their performance level that it crossed my mind that they may have had a pre-game inter-sibling bet to see who could play worst!
On the evidence of this abysmal game and their inability to test the Division’s leakiest defence, Clyde will be doing well to escape the clutches of relegation to the Second Division. Livi certainly won’t win the league, even though arithmetically there remains a possibility they could.
As for Broadwood, it will be interesting to see how the ‘eviction’ story pans out. It’s hard to see what North Lanarkshire Council would do with an 8,000 capacity stadium if there was no resident football team.
Naturally I hope Clyde and their fans find a solution to their current problems, but on a purely personal level, I wouldn’t shed too many tears if I never had to set foot in the place again.
Like most new stadia it’s not got much to get excited about and as every Scottish football fan knows its always freezing cold there!
Scoring – 0-1 Hamill (22)
Attendance – 957
Admission – £17
Programme – £2.50