LIBERATING FOOTBALL TRAVEL

Clyde

Holed up in Hamilton and still seeking new home

A fan’s guide – the club from early doors to today

In 1967, the year that Celtic were crowned European champions and Rangers were European finalists, Clyde finished third in the league behind them. Though only third on three occasions in their history, Clyde often rivalled Partick Thistle as Glasgow’s third club, winning the Scottish Cup three times.

That was when Clyde were a Glasgow club.

From 1994 to 2022, Clyde were based at Cumbernauld, 15 miles away, at Broadwood Stadium, a community sports ground owned by North Lanarkshire Council, also home of Airdrie when Clyde first moved there. 

Since Clyde moved to New Douglas Park in Hamilton, Broadwood Stadium is back to being the home of Cumbernauld Colts, groundshared by Rangers’ women’s team.

Meanwhile, Clyde’s own stadium saga drags on and on, as the club drifts out of the SPL altogether. Twice on the brink of liquidation during their exile, Clyde have long been looking at a return to Glasgow – ideally, as close to Rutherglen as possible, by the banks of the river that gave the club its name back in 1877.

Shawfield/Tony Dawber

The most promising option was Crownpoint, a council-run sports complex just off the Gallowgate, at the same east side of the city close to Celtic Park. After a long consultation and bid process, in December 2023, the proposal was rejected by City Hall.

That month, Clyde didn’t win a single game in League Two, propping up the table in the very lowest position in the SPFL. With a three-year agreement to stay at Hamilton, the clock is ticking for the troubled club.

In fact, back in the late 1800s, it was the rise of Celtic that helped build a groundswell of football support in this part of Glasgow. Clyde outgrew their bare Barrowfield Park ground on the same north bank as Celtic Park and built their own stadium directly opposite on the south, at Shawfield, sandwiched between the river and Rutherglen.

The move proved a great success. Having joined the Scottish League in 1891, Clyde opened Shawfield, against Celtic, in front of 10,000 spectators. The club acquired their celebrated nickname the Bully Wee, the modern consensus being that ‘Bully’ meant ‘spirited’, even though Clyde were ‘Wee’ compared to their bigger Glasgow rivals. Having beaten Celtic in the semi-final to reach, then lose, the Scottish Cup final of 1910, Clyde succumbed to their East End rivals in the final of 1912.

Ainslie Park/Simone Pirastu

Mainly playing in the top tier until the mid-1970s, Clyde still found it hard to make ends meet while mired for so many seasons in mid-table. Having invited the Greyhound Racing Association to use Shawfield to stage race meets, the club was forced to sell the GRA ownership in 1935. It later proved a fatal move.

With enough cash to keep the Scottish international goalkeeper Jock Brown at Shawfield and attract manager Paddy Travers from Aberdeen, Clyde famously beat Rangers 4-1 in the Scottish Cup of 1938-39 then went on to win their first major silverware with a 4-0 win over Motherwell in the final.

Travers, a non-playing member of the Clyde squad when Dundee needed three games to beat them in the final of 1910, also took The Bully Wee to finals in 1949 and 1955. In what proved to be Travers’ swansong, Clyde held a Celtic side including Jock Stein and Bobby Collins to 1-1 thanks to a late equaliser directly from a corner. In the replay, long-term Clyde winger Tommy Ring, later of Everton, scored the only goal.

Clyde’s third and last cup win of 1958 also featured Archie Robertson, scorer of the corner in 1955, and stalwart left-back Harry Haddock, both Scottish internationals. Not playing that day was half-back David White, later to make 200-plus appearances then manage the club during the annus mirabilis for Scottish football, 1966-67.

Shawfield/Tony Dawber

Denied a Fairs Cup spot on a technicality – UEFA did not allow representation from more than one team per city, Shawfield being on the Rutherglen/Glasgow border – Clyde became increasingly isolated with the large-scale slum clearances robbing the club of its core support. 1974-75 was Clyde’s last season in the top flight. Despite the arrival of young prospects Pat Nevin and Steve Archibald, the Bully Wee wound up in the third and lowest division.

Worse, in 1986, the Greyhound Association kicked out Clyde in an ultimately doomed plan to sell the stadium for re-development. The Bully Wee then led a nomadic existence, groundsharing with bitter rivals Partick and also Hamilton, until the 1994 move to Broadwood in Cumbernauld.

Ten years later, with goals from much-travelled Ian Harty, Clyde looked set for a return to the top-tier SPL. A crucial 2-1 defeat at Broadwood to title rivals Inverness Caledonian, in front of nearly 5,000 fans, ended their hopes. Behind the scenes, Broadwood’s municipal owners had discovered serious holes in the club’s finances and had already refused to expand the stadium for SPL requirements.

After the Clyde Supporters’ Trust saved the day, the club memorably beat Celtic 2-1 in the Scottish Cup, ruining Roy Keane’s first game in charge.

Clyde shop/Tony Dawber

Former Rangers hero Barry Ferguson arrived in 2014 to see out his playing days and take on a managerial role. As the club developed their plan to return to Rutherglen, Ferguson’s Clyde made the League One play-offs in 2016, beating Elgin but losing to Queen’s Park.

As the search for a new stadium site intensified, Clyde brought in manager Danny Lennon, a former Raith midfielder – and forward David Goodwillie, a proven rapist. The former Scotland international had been charged with rape in 2011 and had left Plymouth Argyle in 2016 to appeal a civil case which had been ruled in the victim’s favour. 

It was then that he came to Clyde. Scoring hatfuls of goals, 25 in 2017-18, Goodwillie was essential to Clyde’s bid to climb out of League Two but his presence stained the club’s reputation. Lennon’s team gained promotion in 2019 thanks to a late goal in the play-off decider against Annan Athletic, in front of nearly 3,000 at Broadwood Stadium.

Garnered with seasonal awards, Goodwillie was then made team captain for 2019-20, becoming top scorer in League One, hitting five in a single game. As Goodwillie’s goals kept Clyde above the relegation zone for another season, Championship side Raith, in contention for promotion to the Premiership, saw potential in the Clyde stiker.

New Douglas Park/Peterjon Cresswell

It proved a fatal error. After the transfer, lifelong Raith fans, including former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, volunteers and sponsors withdrew support, not to mention the women’s team. Back he went to Clyde, facing a relegation battle. North Lanarkshire Council, which owns Broadwood Stadium, threatened to terminate the lease.

Without Goodwillie’s goals and now based at Hamilton, Clyde floundered, the long-serving Lennon on his way out in October 2022. It was Annan Athletic who sealed Clyde’s fate the following May, gaining revenge for the play-off defeat in 2019.

The club’s sorry campaign of 2023-24 was made considerably worse that December by Glasgow Council’s ruling against a potential move to Crownpoint, near Celtic Park. With long winless runs in League Two, Clyde faced the very real prospect of losing league status in peacetime for the first time since 1891 – when the SFL was only in its second year.

Ground Guide

The field of dreams – and the story behind it

Leaving Broadwood in 2022, Clyde set up camp at New Douglas Park, home of Hamilton Academical south-east of Glasgow.

The ground was built next to the original Douglas Park in 2001. Capacity is an all-seated 6,000, including a temporary enclosure opposite the main stand. Away fans are generally allocated seats in the North Stand.