CLYDE chairman John Alexander has explained why he feels the club has to leave its home of Broadwood Stadium.
He said that the move was essential for business reasons and also to help the club live up to certain legal obligations that come with November’s switch in status from PLC to community interest company (CIC). He added that it was nothing to do with the lack of interest shown by the majority of people living in the local area.
“There is no fault on the part of the people of Cumbernauld not supporting the club – the people are not the reason why we cannot stay at Broadwood. Any failure to engage with the local community is ours,” he said.
John also said that relations between the club and Broadwood landlords North Lanarkshire Leisure had improved since 2009’s battle over unpaid rent which had seen the club threatened with eviction. “We have a good and stable relationship with North Lanarkshire Leisure,” he said.
The need to leave Broadwood, he said, was to do with the lack of control over faciltities, something which costs Clyde important revenue, and also the club’s isolation from the community resulting from the failure of additional facilities that were planned for the vicinity of the stadium to progress beyond the drawing board.
“When the decision was made for Clyde to come to Broadwood the plan put forward by Cumbernauld Development Corporation was for a community hub to develop around it, but the stadium never ended up being an integral part of the community. The plan never developed after the CDC wound up.
“Unlike most football clubs we cannot generate income from such things as renting out artificial surfaces or catering. In fact we have little to do with Broadwood apart from using it for twenty match days per season. Almost all profits generated at Broadwood go to the landlord, whereas anyone we compete with on the pitch can operate these businesses on a far higher margin.
“We’re quite unusual in that our primary focus is on stability and paying our bills, then we look at putting money into football, rather than just spending money on the player budget and running up debts. This is one mistake we have made in the past and it created an unhealthy environment for the club’s survival.”
John also said that the club would seek to self-fund construction of a new stadium through soft loans and grant funding from various sources. There would be no direct appeal for the fans to contribute cash. “We have resorted to asking the fans to bail us out in the past, but hopefully that is something that will remain in the past. This project would need to be done as a business venture. If fans wished to contribute they could, but this would be treated as a commercial investment.”
Leaving Broadwood however does not necessarily mean leaving Cumbernauld. John does not want the move to result in a complete change of identity for the club, and that means remaining within a certain geographic area to avoid alienating the current fanbase. So long as a site can be found that will fulfil the club’s needs for a location that is central to the community, with good transport links and which will allow them to operate autonomously, John would be quite happy for Clyde to remain in Cumbernauld.
“We are starting to look for alternative sites in the local area and would welcome any suggestions,” said John.