June 2002
D-Day for Bankies


fan Scott Richardson writes...

"Can you imagine how it feels to have your team on death row? That is how it
has been for Clydebank fans in the past week.

It all started on July 1st 2002 when the Scottish Football League ruled that
Jim Ballantyne's non-league Airdrie United would be able to purchase our
club, discard our name and shift the club to North Lanarkshire. In short,
the old Airdrieonians had been resuscitated albeit under a slightly
different name and the famous name of Clydebank FC was set to disappear.

A few weeks ago the football world sympathised when the people of Airdrie
lost their team at the hands of the liquidator. Again there was sorrow from
many when Airdrie Utd failed to gain election to Division 3. One of their
backers, a former player and Honorary President, Ian McMillan, attacked the
league, "These men have had the knives out for Airdrie for years, and at
last they got their chance to stab us in the back. The Scottish Football
League turned on one of its own when it is there to help its members."

Amazingly, in just over a week Airdrie Utd dispensed with their community
football principles when they turned their attention to Clydebank hoping to
seize our league place. Now we know why the new Airdrie crest fittingly
displays a menacing two-faced vulture.

It seems extraordinary that the league management committee gave the go
ahead for this Airdrie venture in the first place. They somehow judged it
appropriate for Airdrie Utd to buy out Clydebank's membership and compete in
Division 2, yet a meeting of the full league saw fit to elect Gretna into
Division 3, labelling the failed Airdrie bid 'only a concept'. This SFL
decision ushers in a franchise era where league memberships can be usurped
from the most vulnerable clubs.

Clydebank supporters were not going to give up hopes of survival. We came
through attempted moves to relocate the club to Dublin, Huntly, Gala, and
Carlisle. We have followed our team to Dumbarton and then across the River
to Greenock to watch our 'home' games. The United Clydebank Supporters
group has arranged fundraising matches, provided matchday stewarding, sold
the club's merchandise and produced match programmes - a real spirited fans
effort. The same dedication and commitment was going to be put into our
next project - the launch of a UCS Trust in mid-July which was intending to
purchase the club within 12 months.

Instead, we are facing this 'new' Airdrie challenge and a race against time
to put a rival bid on the table to save the Bankies from extinction. The
administrators say the final deadline for bids is 5pm on Monday July 8th but
until then the agonising wait continues."

For the latest information, check out the UCS website.

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