Power to the people

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in the summer Clyde Football Club announced that it had struck a partnership with Glasgow Powerchair Football Club.

The News and Chronicle recently dropped in on a training session to find out how the programme was working.

The deal saw the club officially adopted into the Clyde organisation, taking on the name Clyde Powerchair FC and wearing Clyde strips. Clyde is currently the only professional football club in Scotland to have linked up with a powerchair team in this way.

The team features players of a wide age range and teams can be of mixed gender. Clyde Powerchair FC was originally based at Craigholme School in Glasgow but demand was high enough to warrant setting up a second base at St Maurice’s.

The sport is played by teams of four players. They use their own wheelchairs, fitted with footguards that act as football boots. The ball is larger than a standard football, at 13 inches in diameter. It can be an expensive sport, with the chair attachments costing around £400 each, but fortunately the club benefits from lottery grants as well as support from North Lanarkshire and Glasgow Councils.

One player at Clyde is Jack Twist (12) from Falkirk, who has been active in the sport for a year. He said: “I like doing it because I get to meet new people and it’s awesome fun.”

Jack’s father Ian (42) added: “It gets Jack out the house and he can play a sport with other people where everyone can do the same things, so he can join in and fully participate. He has engaged really well with it.”

Gordon Thomson, director of community involvement for Clyde Football Club, explained how the relationship works. “The club provides volunteers and sponsorship when possible, and raises the profile of the team as well as general awareness of the sport in general.

“Powerchair football gives people the opportunity to take part in sport and enjoy football, which is something we obviously want to promote.”

As the only Scottish club there is currently no league for Clyde to participate in, but they are forging links with well-established English sides.

Stuart Aitchison is a coach and one of the club’s founders. He said: “We are always recruiting new players to take on the sport and we are affiliated to a league in England. We went to a league day in Bolton recently and there is potential for us to start playing in football festivals.”

If you would like to participate in powerchair football contact Stuart Aitchison on 07732 578 222 or Kathleen Mackay on 07786 320413.

Pictures by Gary Hutchison