EAST Kilbride Thistle’s plans to bring Clyde Football Club to the town are in serious jeopardy after the Bully Wee revealed they are in negotiations to link up with junior side Rutherglen Glencairn.
In October last year, the Jags announced they were working with Clyde to bring senior football to the town for the first time in its history.
The plans would see the Showpark site in the Village upgraded to an SFL-standard stadium, with both clubs sharing any new facilities.
However, on Monday night Clyde released a statement on the club website revealing they are contemplating an alternative to the Showpark site, Glencairn’s Clyde Gateway Stadium.
The statement reads: “Clyde FC are continuing their search to establish a future location in which it can be in charge of its own destiny for the first time in over 70 years.
“Clyde Football Club can announce today that it has widened its search to achieve this objective and to this end has held discussions with Rutherglen Glencairn and South Lanarkshire Council regarding a potential opportunity to develop a SFL-compliant stadium and associated sports facility on the current Clyde Gateway Stadium site in Rutherglen.
“Subject to the agreement of the members of Rutherglen Glencairn at their forthcoming EGM both clubs will proceed to investigate the establishment of a partnership which would aim to develop sport facilities locally that can be used by the surrounding community in addition to Clyde FC and Rutherglen Glencairn.
“These talks are in addition to the continuing discussions with East Kilbride Thistle and the redevelopment of the Showpark in East Kilbride.
“East Kilbride Thistle are fully aware that the club has commenced discussions with Rutherglen Glencairn.
“Negotiations with North Lanarkshire Leisure are ongoing in regard to a new lease arrangement for Broadwood Stadium which we hope will come to a positive conclusion in the near future.”
Members at Glencairn met on Monday night when the proposals were put to them and they will meet again on September 17 to vote on the issue, but it is highly unlikely they will knock it back.
This latest news will be a huge blow to Thistle, whose social club was damaged by fire in May and still hasn’t re-opened, hitting the club financially.
And this new setback will worry Jags fans who have seen two previous plans to upgrade the ground in Maxwell Drive fail to come to fruition in both 2008 and 2009 – the first seeing the Jags knock back investment from a business consortium and the latter saw chairman John Drummond’s own vision for the Showpark come to nothing.
However, Drummond insisted they have been fully aware of the Rutherglen plans for some time and are hopeful that they will be chosen as Clyde’s new home.
He said: “East Kilbride Thistle representatives have, for some time, been fully aware of Clyde FC's plans to look at other options other than East Kilbride.
“The Clyde board have been very up front with their options and progress to date, and although East Kilbride is high on their preference list, they obviously need to keep their options open.
“We are comfortable with the current situation. However, for the benefit of East Kilbride Thistle and the town of East Kilbride as whole, we would obviously prefer for our joint project with Clyde to reach a successful conclusion which will be mutually beneficial for both clubs and the town.”
Clyde director John Taylor told our sister paper, Rutherglen Reformer, that other sites in Glasgow were considered, but it was now a straight choice between the two South Lanarkshire towns.
He said: “We would only make a decision between East Kilbride and Rutherglen Glencairn after we received the responses for the council about the locations.
“Both clubs are very clear in what we want to achieve – a community sports development that meets with the approval of the council.”
But the News understands the Rutherglen proposal represents the most viable option.
The lure of returning Clyde to their spiritual home may also give Glens an edge and would be a real hammer blow to Thistle.
And South Lanarkshire Council leader, Eddie McAvoy, said he would offer any help he could to make the move happen.
“I had a few meetings with Clyde and encouraged them to return to their homeland,” he revealed.
“The council will assist them in every way. We will set up meetings with planning officers to help this get moved along.”
It seems a long-awaited revamp of the Showpark may have to be put on hold once again.
l What do you think about these developments? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org