Golden glow again for Clyde

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The Independent Football

It is a fact of life that there are fewer people around to witness a 50th anniversary than were there on the original big day. Clyde will not mind that too much as long as the cameras are kind to them today.

It is a fact of life that there are fewer people around to witness a 50th anniversary than were there on the original big day. Clyde will not mind that too much as long as the cameras are kind to them today.

The romance of the Scottish Cup has been served simply by their date with Celtic in the quarter-finals. When they met in the 1955 final, it was the first time the occasion had been screened live on television. It was Clyde, not their more illustrious Glasgow neighbours, who kept the silverware.

Recreating the original moment, the BBC will show today's game with Martin O'Neill's side live. The 8,000 seats at Broadwood Stadium will be filled, a drop in the ocean compared to the 106,000 who turned up at Hampden Park 50 years ago, but vital revenue for the Scottish First Division club, who needed a £300,000 cash injection from their fans last season to stay afloat.

"I think the directors would secretly like us to draw and set up a replay at Parkhead," smiled Billy Reid, the Clyde manager. "This game means everything to us. We'll get £150,000 from the TV people and ticket sales from a full house, something we've only had once since we moved to this ground."

Clyde moved to Broadwood, at Cumbernauld on the edge of Glasgow, in 1995. They had spent over a century literally in the shadows of Celtic in the east end of the city, with their Shawfield Stadium less than a mile from Parkhead. The crumbling venue hosted greyhound racing, speedway, boxing fights and even a David Cassidy concert - and began the careers of Steve Archibald and Pat Nevin.

Nevin, who played in the 1989 FA Cup final for Everton against Liverpool, will be at Broadwood today as an analyst for the BBC, and is hoping for a fairytale. "I have a lot of affection for Clyde," he says. "They were my first club and they have done well this season because most of the players left last summer, along with the manager, Alan Kernaghan, when the club just failed to get promotion to the Scottish Premier League, because there was no money to offer them new contracts.

"It would be great if they could get a draw and take Celtic back to Parkhead and make even more money from the tie. The Clyde fans may be small in number, but they are very loyal and have had a very thin time of things over the last two decades. At Shawfield, you used to feel slightly isolated out on the pitch because of the dog track - and being a winger, out on the touchline, I had a few extra things to negotiate that the greyhounds had left behind. The new ground is so much better."

When Reid, who had been Kernaghan's assistant, took charge last summer, he had only five signed players. "I got the board to give me a guarantee they would allow me two years," he said. "I've been here six years and done everything from kit deals to laying covers down on the pitch. That means I know what is needed for this club to work."

One of the players whom Reid recruited this season was Darren Sheridan, a midfielder from Oldham Athletic and the younger brother of John, whose talents are still remembered by fans of Leeds United, Sheffield Wednesday and the Republic of Ireland.

"Darren is in the same mould as John," Reid says. "He controls the game and is a lovely passer. Darren lives in Manchester and trains with Stockport County during the week, and joins up with us on Friday. He has been a great asset to us and will relish the stage against Celtic."

If Sheridan inspires his young Clyde colleagues, then the whole club might go back to their roots in the east end of Glasgow - for that cherished replay at Parkhead.

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