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Monday, 1 July, 2002, 18:25 GMT 19:25 UK
Demise of the Bankies
Clydebank's old Kilbowie Park
Clydebank's old Kilbowie Park

It seems almost glib to draw the inevitable parallel between the demise of Clydebank's shipyards and the downfall of the town's most famous football team.

In fact it is some time since Clydebank Football Club set foot in the town after their Kilbowie ground was sold in 1997 by the then-owners of the club, the Steedman family.

But whereas the gradual closure of the shipyards in the area led to thousands of job losses and the beginning of a slow death of an entire industry, relatively few people will be affected by the passing of the football club.

That does not, however, make the events of the last few weeks any less sad for those who are affected by the loss of their favourite team.

Scottish football had not witnessed the extinction of a senior club for over 30 years until recently.

Tommy Coyne holds off John McLelland
Striker Tommy Coyne in the 1980s
Suddenly we have lost two of the most recognisable names in the game in the space of a few weeks.

The fact that the demise of the first, Airdrieonians, has led to the extinction of the second makes it all the harder to bear.

Clydebank has been through all this before - the town's original club of that name went out of existence in 1931, only for a new version to return to the Scottish Football League in 1966.

That followed an abortive merger between the Clydebank Juniors club and East Stirlingshire.

East Stirlingshire Clydebank played one season in the Scottish Second Division in 1964-65 before a legal battle ended with Clydebank returning to junior football for a year.

Clydebank FC took their place in the league for season 1966-67, the brainchild of the Steedman family, and within 10 years they were in the First Division.

Their first year in the First Division was a huge success, finishing second to win entry to the Premier Division, although relegation soon followed.

Owen Coyle in action for Clydebank
Owen Coyle was another Bankie
They had another stint in the top flight between 1985 and 1987 before relegation signalled the beginning of the end, although a fine run in the Scottish Cup in 1990 was only ended at the semi-final stage.

Things took a turn for the worse in 1996 when the last game was played at Kilbowie before the ground was sold by the Steedmans and soon after, the club was sold to businessman John Hall.

The Steedmans maintain that they had hoped to relocate the club to a new stadium, but that move never materialised and the club spent several years sharing grounds with Dumbarton and then Morton.

Supporters deserted the club in droves in protest at the way the club had been allowed to become homeless and it was eventually advertised for sale in The Scotsman newspaper two years ago for 250,000.

A buyer was not found and the club continued to struggle until Monday 1 July 2002 when the Scottish Football League said it accepted in principle a proposal for its name to be changed to Airdrie United.

And with that, a club died.


A tale of woe

AUDIOVIDEO
See also:

20 Jun 02 | Scotland
18 Jun 02 | Scotland
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