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In the summer of 1908, Jimmy Speirs left Rangers after three years at Ibrox Park, and joined Clyde FC. The "Bully Wee", as they are nicknamed, were then based at Shawfield Park, in the Rutherglen area of Glasgow, some three miles from Jimmy’s home in Govanhill. In recent years Clyde have relocated to a new stadium at Cumbernauld, some 15 miles outside Glasgow.

The Rutherglen area had close links with the Speirs family, in that both Jimmy’s paternal grandparents (Archibald and Annie) were born there, and they and their children were living in Rutherglen, at Eastfield, on the 1841 and 1851 census, before moving over the next 50 years to Main Street, then King Street followed by High Street.  

Formed in 1878, Clyde first appeared in the Scottish League in 1891-92. They achieved no success, however, and after spells in Division 2, they rejoined Division 1 in 1906-07. After finishing 8th (of 18) that season, Clyde slumped to 17th the following season – one point ahead of Port Glasgow, who took the wooden spoon.

Against this backdrop, Jimmy Speirs joined the Club, and became part of what could be argued to be Clyde’s best-ever season.


Season 1908-9 saw Clyde gain 48 points from 34 games in the League, beaten into third place by Rangers (51 points) and Dundee (50). Whilst Clyde have finished third in the top division on two subsequent occasions (1911-12 and 1966-67) on neither occasion were they so close to the Championship, finishing 9 points and 12 points behind Rangers and Celtic respectively in those seasons.

Clyde were close to success in the Scottish Cup, also. The Cup run began at  Albion Rovers,  with a narrow 1-0 win, which did not impress the local Coatbridge Leader!

To view their very thorough report on the game (courtesy of the Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser), click here.

After victories over Kings Own Scottish Borderers, Dykehead, and Hibernian, Clyde came up against St Mirren at Shawfield.  A 3-1 success then took Clyde to a semi-final meeting with Celtic on 20 March 1909. Unfortunately, after a goalless draw, they were beaten in the replay by two goals to nil.

In the Glasgow Cup, Clyde met Third Lanark. After three draws (1-1, 0-0, 1-1) Third Lanark went through to the final with a 2-1 win.

This season was also notable in Clyde’s history as, on 21 November 1908, the Club’s record attendance of 52,000 was present at Shawfield to see the game against the eventual Champions, Rangers.


Played Won  Drawn Lost Goals
  for
 Goals
against
 Points Position
   34  21    6   7   61   37   48   3rd


            CompetitionAppearances  Goals
Scottish League Division One       14    7
Scottish FA Cup        6    3
Glasgow Cup        4    1


DateOpponentsCompetitionVenueResultScore Attend-
  ance
Goals
scored
by
Jimmy
1908
15 Aug
Hamilton Acc      SL  H W1-0  -
19 Aug Kilmarnock     SL  H W5-2  2
22 AugHearts     SL  A D1-1  -
25 AugPort Glasgow     SL  H W3-2  -
29 AugAberdeen     SL  H W2-1  -
19 SepAlbion Rovers SC QC 2  A  W1-0  -
26 SepThird Lanark  GC SF D1-1  1
28 SepPartick Thistle     SL  A W3-2  1
3Oct     Kings Own
Scottish Borderers
 SC QC3 W3-0  -
10 OctThird Lanark GC Replay D0-0  -
14 OctThird LanarkGC 2nd Rep  * D1-1   5,000  -
15 OctThird LanarkGC 3rd Rep ** L1-2  10,000  -
17 OctAirdrieonians     SL  H D0-0  -
21 OctMotherwell     SL  A W1-0  1
31 OctCeltic     SL  H L0-2  -
7 NovKilmarnock     SL  A L1-2  -
1909
6 Feb
Hibernian  SC Rd 2 W1-0  1
20 FebSt Mirren  SC Rd 3  W3-1  2
27 FebFalkirk     SL  A L0-1  -
6 MarDundee     SL  H L0-2  -
20 MarCeltic   SC SF D0-0  -
27 MarCeltic SC SF Rep L0-2  -
12 AprRangers     SL  A D2-2  1
24 AprPartick Thistle     SL  H W2-0  2

SL – Scottish League Division One          SC – Scottish FA Cup          SCQC – Scottish Qualifying Cup        GC – Glasgow Cup                * at Celtic Park         ** at Ibrox Park


After just one season at Shawfield Park, Jimmy Speirs left his native Glasgow and travelled 200 miles south to Yorkshire, England, where he signed in the summer of 1909 for Bradford City FC, who were about to start their second season in the First Division of the English Football League.
 
Jimmy was to spend the next six years playing in England, and never returned to Scottish football, other than playing friendly games for the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders whilst undergoing training following his enlistment in 1915.

I am grateful for Brian Reilly's contribution to this section, particularly in compiling Jimmy's playing record at Clyde.

 
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