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Can the Bully Wee ride the big train out the third?

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Clyde will continue their campaign for the league in August with a home game against Peterhead before they go to play one of the other Third Division newcomers – Stirling Albion (Can’t remember the name of the other one – can you?). Lauded as a fan’s owned club, the Binos are just one Scottish club that is fan owned. Clyde, a membership club is also a fan run club.

Their appointment as boss, of old hand Duffy was seen, at the time as a shrewd move. An old head that was now running one of the youngest set ups in the Scottish game. It didn’t work out like that for Jocky Scott at the previously mentioned Stirling Albion but hey, this should have been different.

Clyde came crashing down into the 3rd and many – myself included – expected they would climb out the 3rd with relative ease. That just didn’t happen. Now with the new season imminent, Clyde will be looking at the play offs and hoping that they can get ahead of the pack and get in behind that Royal Blue mob who may be starting in this league, if they can get a membership card, and maybe can’t because apparently nobody likes them… though they do seem to care…

But enough about all that nonsense – what about Clyde? Last season was one worth missing but within it we can see why some of the supporters are desperate for some success on the pitch.

The 2011/12 season saw Clyde having a mixed start – out the Ramsden’s Cup on penalties to Berwick Rangers; getting past Brechin City in the Communities Cup; 2 wins, a draw and a loss in the league for August meant it was hard to read how the season would go. September was a similar picture. They could win at Elgin 3-0 one week then get thumped 4-1 to Berwick Rangers the next. Out the Communities Cup, 4-0 to Motherwell October then brought them a 7-1 victory against East Stirling and a 2-1 loss to Montrose in the Scottish Cup. It was real roller coaster!

Like characters in a Robert Louis Stevenson novel, Clyde FC found winter would sort if they were the good or the bad side of their nature. November was winless, December an equal to November whilst January gave them 4 games that all ended in defeat. The worst was a 4-0 loss to … Montrose. A first game in February brought a win but then the slide just kept a coming. March then began with a loss to… Montrose! With 4 losses in total in March much was being made about off field developments and the foundations for the future included Jim Duffy joining the Board of the football club.

In the last few games the Clyde management team hoped they would provide some form of rally that would lift the season from the gloom. It began to look promising as April was a month with no defeats. 2 wins and 2 draws was enough to make people feel a little warmer in Broadwood and then came Montrose away in May and 5 shipped goals, a Duffy rant later and it was bad, bad, bad.

The end of season therefore came with absolutely no signed players and Duffy was furiously adamant about how his mind had been changed by the performance at Montrose. Before the Montrose game, Duffy had been quoted on the official site as looking for a keeper, a centre back, 2 strikers and some creativity in the middle. Now, he was looking for a team. Close season – has he managed it?

Duffy has signed not one but two new keepers. Jamie Barclay has come from Berwick Rangers as number one whilst Nic Rasovic has arrived from Kilmarnock on a 2 year deal. Clearly Duffy is building beyond the end of this season with Rasovic and others on long deals. There have been 5 similar deals over 24 months handed out this summer.

In defence Gavin Brown and Iain Gray have both benefited from such generosity. Both started that fateful day in Montrose! Captain Paul Hay has signed a 1 year extensions whilst John Kane has come from Stranraer and David Marsh is taking the step up from the Juniors and Cumbernauld United. Seems relatively sound. Relatively.

In midfield the long-expected loss of Declan Gallagher to Dundee has seen 2 year deals given out to new boy Ryan McBeth from Partick Thistle and a returning John Sweeney. Daniel Fitzpatrick, Jack Sloss and John Neil (with a 1 year extension) make up the rest of Duffy’s options. It will be hoped that McBeth provides the creativity.

Up front Michael Oliver and Pat Scullion have both taken a 1 year extension whilst 3 new signings – Stuart McColm, previously with Stranraer; Gary Graham, ex Hearts; and former Shotts Bon Accord striker, Stefan McCluskey – who got one of the 2 goals for Shotts in the Scottish Junior Cup Final – complete the squad. Now this looks like an effective strike force. In the last pre season game, though a trialist striker was played so it looks like Duffy will not rest until he has the real deal.

Clyde will start their season at Alloa’s Recreation Park against Partick Thistle as their artificial surface is not ready yet. They then head to Somerset Park to play Ayr United in the 1st round of the Scottish Communities League Cup. August is then completed with the first 3 games as previously outlined beginning with Montrose. Jim Duffy has spent a lot of time laying foundations. Clyde have led the summer by being the one club unafraid to speak out and lead during the SFL decisions regarding The Rangers. They have been highly impressive off the park. Whether they are going to be equally impressive on it will depend on a number of factors, not least of which is whether the blend Duffy has assembled will be palatable for the Bully Wee faithful. A play off spot will be the least acceptable result for them. In a fan run club, the fan’s say can be highly persuasive!

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About Author

A lifelong supporter, since seeing Alex Ferguson play for them, of Ayr United he now contributes here, at KickTalk and Ringside Reports for things sporty. He is also a theatrical type and an educationalist. As an Ayr fan he clearly can explain the inexplicable, place fanatical faith in the most fantastic of dreams and deal with dark periods of depression and disappointment. Perfect as a teacher..

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