Here we look at the final years and the new history since 2003.
After many successful years as a senior football club, Clydebank FC went into decline at the end of the 1995-96 season. The Steedman family who owned the club decided to sell New Kilbowie Park without a credible plan for relocating the club to a new home within the town boundaries.
The club were to play at the home of county neighbours Dumbarton for the next two seasons. During this period the club was sold to ex-pat business man John Hall who promised the fans a brighter future and immediately started to recruit a better standard of player. However, Hall and his associates had an ulterior motive with a planned relocation to Dublin being the main aim. When this news was revealed this sparked a series of protests by the supporters, and the plan was ultimately doomed by FIFA who would not allow a club to play cross borders. Attempts to sell/merge the club to Gala Fairydean/Livingston/Carlisle United also failed and Hall’s waning interest saw the club fall into administration.
The club were to play their final years at Greenock Morton’s Cappielow which was an impossible journey for most supporters. A repreive seemed possible though, when Businessman David McGhie looked to take the club out of administration. An associate of football agent John Viola, a procession of under performing ex-Scotland internationals, and players past their best were brought to the club as the Bankies were a pale shadow of the club who played at Kilbowie Park only a few short years before. This possibility was short-lived as the club continued to be on the brink.
At the same time, the heavily indebted Airdrieonians were liquidated. Attempts to relaunch the club were thwarted and the final straw came when Gretna FC were granted membership to the Scottish Football League ahead of the newly formed Airdrie United. Seeing the plight of the Bankies the new owners of Airdrie United made their move to buy Clydebank FC. Despite the Clydebank supporters making a bid to satisfy the administrators requirements, the Airdrie United bid was higher and ultimately accepted. This meant that Clydebank FC were effectively renamed and moved to Airdrie. Airdrie would continue as they were, but only debt free and Clydebank supporters were left with nothing, and the Bankies played their last game against Berwick Rangers at the end of the 2001-02 season.
The United Clydebank Supporters refused to allow the club to die. Airdrie United agreed to sign over the club name and crest – the only thing of value to the supporters. An application to join the Scottish Junior Football League was submitted and after one year out of the game the Bankies were back for the start of the 2003-04 season. Playing out of former Duntocher Hibs ground, Glenhead Park the supporters readied the ground for the season ahead. Bankies legend Budgie McGhie was appointed manager and a new chapter for the club began
2003-04 The first match back in the town was an emotional one for the supporters who had dealt with the turmoil of the years since moving out of Kilbowie Park. A huge crowd saw the Bankies win 3-2 over St Rochs, and suddenly the past was the past, and the future was now bright. The Bankies were plying their trade in the Central League Division two which is the fourth tier in Junior football. It took the club a while to find their feet, but after a loss to Carluke Rovers in November 2003, the Bankies won 17 of their last 18 games – drawing the other, to lift the title with a game to spare. A crowd of 972 saw the Bankies win their first piece of silverware in the new era with a 5-0 thumping of Coltness United. The Bankies were back, and with a bang.
2004-05 The “awkward second album” season followed for the club. No real progress was made in cup competitions, and it was left to the league campaign for any chance of success. Although now playing at a higher level the Bankies seemed to start where they had left off the previous season by winning five of the first six league matches. Unfortunately, this form was not maintained in the second half of the season. Going into the last game of the season promotion was still a possibility but a Clydebank win and favourable results elsewhere were needed. Whilst the Bankies done their bit by beating Benburb 4-0, promotion was denied due to an injury time goal for Dunipace against Yoker Athletic. A case can be made that tangible progress was made with a third placed league finish, but this was arguably the clubs most disappointing season as the many opportunities to gain promotion were not taken.
2005-06 The second season in the Central League Division One was a real damp squib for supporters, with the club never really getting into a challenging position. A rally in the spring briefly raised hopes but defeat by East Kilbride ended promotion chances and the Bankies failed to win any of their last five matches. Two defeats from local rivals Yoker summed up the league performances. Where the club did shine however was in the Scottish Junior Cup, the most prestigious competition for non-league clubs. A fantastic run of results saw the Bankies reach the quarter final stage and a draw against Tayport who were among the elite of Junior clubs at the time. A huge support travelled through to Fife and the Bankies returned with a fabulous 1-1 draw and a replay at Glenhead Park. A tremendous crowd of 1142 squeezed in to the “Hibby” and again the sides could not be separated. Unfortunately, the penalty shoot out didn’t go the Bankies way, but they could be proud of their cup exploits.
2006-07 The pressure was on for Clydebank to finally gain promotion into the Super Leagues, as supporters and outsiders alike were expecting nothing less. As it turned out it was a two horse race for most of the season with the Bankies and Kirkintilloch Rob Roy switching the top two places on a regular basis. The early part of the season went well with the club qualifying from their Sectional League Cup group for the first time. This form continued as the Bankies reached the final of the tournament. Another large turn out of Clydebank supporters saw the club lose narrowly by 2 goals to 1 against a Pollok side who were sweeping all before them in the Super Premier Division. A first final and a very credible performance. The league title went to Rob Roy who proved to be too strong over the piece but Clydebank secured second place and promotion to the Super League Division One, despite a late rally from Cumbernauld United.
2007-08 The new found Super League Status sat well with the club initially as results looked like a league challenge could be made. Qualification from the Sectional League Cup was secured again, but this time the club exited at the quarter final stage against Arthurlie. Notable scalps in the fom of Lochee United and Irvine Meadow were taken in cup competitions, and it was in the Scottish Cup that the Bankies excelled as they reached the Quarter Final for the second time in three years. Top East Region side Bathgate Thistle were the opponents and as per two years ago a 1-1 draw was secured away from home. Unfortunately, Bathgate were a canny side and they triumphed by a goal to nil at Glenhead Park. With deep disappointment a mountain of league fixtures awaited, and the Bankies tumbled to a run of 9 mathches without a win and the very real prospect of relegation. A timely rally saw the Bankies win four games on the spin and a slightly disappointing overall finish of 8th.
2008-09 This turned out to be one of the most memorable seasons in the entire history of the club. The club had moved out of Glenhead Park in to a ground sharing arrangement with Yoker Athletic. The league challenge looked real for a long time but eventually faded under a mountain of late spring fixtures. The pile-up was caused by the Clubs outstanding run to the final of the Scottish Junior Cup. The Bankies did carry a little bit of luck along the way, most notably against Carnoustie Panmure who outplayed Clydebank twice but still lost out. However, no one can deny the Bankies stunning win at Premier League Petershill in the Quarter final and the even better result in beating Pollok over two legs in the semi-final including a 3-2 victory at Newlandsfield. It couldn’t have been any harder in the final as the Bankies faced Auchinleck Talbot at Rugby Park. A crowd of 8122 saw the Bankies fight valiantly, but a late goal saw the club lose by the odd goal in three. The league form held up surprisingly well after this loss, but the club ended up well off the pace in fifth position.
2009-10 Clydebank were among the favourites for promotion yet again, and despite some up and down form were never out of contention. It was the Scottish Cup that was the distraction yet again as the Bankies made the Semi-final this time, and gaining some revenge over Auchinleck Talbot on the way knocking them out in the fifth round. Clydebank never really looked like reaching the final for the second time as Largs Thistle put in two very professional performances as they won both legs 1-0. The Bankies did gain their first piece of cup silverware by taking the Central League Cup with a 2-0 win over Ashfield at Newlandsfield. The Bankies played 21 matches in 45 days during this period, and the season extended even further when a third placed league finish saw the club earn a play off spot. Clydebank were strong favourites to win the two legged tie against Lanark United, but a first half red card and a penalty miss compounded a miserable night as the Bankies lost 2-0. Clydebank pounded the Lanark goal in the second leg, but could only secure a 2-1 victory and a fourth season in the first division.
2010-11 For once Clydebank suffered early defeats in all of the cup competitions meaning the focus could finally be on the goal of being promoted to the Super Premier League. Ten wins in twelve games looked to not only guarantee the club promotion, but possibly the league title into the bargain. However, things are never that straight forward for Clydebank fans. Ashfield had a similarly impressive run of results and it all pointed to a one match shoot out as both sides clashed at Holm Park to decide the destination of the title. Unfortunately, the Bankies “never showed up” and went down meekly 2-0. The consolation of promotion would take some time to realise as the title was lost on goal difference. On reflection, the goal of reaching the top level was a tremendous achievement for a club owned by the fans and the challenge was now to stay there.
2011-12 From a purely footballing stand point this season was an absolute joy. With the pressure of seeking promotion finally gone, and the thrill of playing the top names in Junior football, the Bankies suddenly played with a freedom not seen since the innocent days of the first season. Despite a poor start the signs were that this was a side on the up. Finally the goals rained in as sides like Beith, Pollok, Rob Roy, Largs and Irvine Meadow were all not just beaten but played off the park. The Bankies ended the season with eight straight league wins and a credible fourth place finish. The players certainly deserved something for their efforts and the Central League Cup was taken for the second time in three years with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Scottish Cup winners Shotts Bon Accord. All in the Bankies won 13 games in a row in a quite fantastic season
2012-13 With the loss of key players, the job for Budgie McGhie steering the club into it’s tenth season was to consolidate top flight football. In the end up this was achieved quite comfortably and an improved finish of third place was achieved. The football wasn’t as pretty as the previous season and without ever hitting the heights the club were always on course for a top half finish. Auchinleck Talbot were head and shoulders above everyone else, but it is plain to see how far the Bankies have come in the past decade. The cup competitions disappointed and the goal will be to combine league and cup success.
2013-14 A successful season from the get-go, Bankies won eight of their first nine games as they lifted the Sectional League Cup against Pollok. Winning 10 of 22 games, Clydebank finished fourth in table. The season was topped off with another trophy, this time the Central League Cup and Bankies beat Cumbernauld United 3-0 at Newlandsfield.
2014-15 The worst season in recent years as Bankies were relegated from the Super League Premier Division. Exited all cup competitions to lower league opposition including Craigmark Burtonians, Shettleston and Vale of Clyde. Just two wins all season saw Bankies relegated following a dismal 6-0 loss away to Kilbirnie Ladeside.