By Matthew Muir
Despite a tough 3-2 away league defeat for Clyde last month against Peterhead, two milestones were reached; club captain, David Goodwillie scored his century goal for the club and manager Danny Lennon celebrated his 150th match in charge of the Bully Wee.
To celebrate this momentous occasion, let’s look back at five big moments from Lennon’s time so far in the Broadwood hotseat, and what better way to begin than from the very start…
Appointment- November 2017
On 13 November 2017, Lennon was appointed as Clyde manager after the departure of Jim Chapman the previous month with the club third bottom of League Two.
Clyde had appointed a manager who had vast experience and success at all of his former clubs, from winning the Scottish League Cup with St. Mirren and perhaps more significantly, guiding part-time club Cowdenbeath to back-to-back promotions from the Third Division to the Championship.
Bully Wee fans would’ve been assured that Lennon had the know and experience to achieve where managers before him failed, to promote the Cumbernauld club out of the murky depths of League Two and back to where fans believe they belong.
It is clear that Lennon shared the same sentiments, as during his first interview, he stated:
“Clyde and myself are both hungry for success and both of us want to be higher up the leagues. To achieve that, we both need to put in a great deal of work. I accept that challenge and I’m going to put absolutely everything into it.”
First win at Broadwood- January 2018
After recording his first victory as Clyde manager the week before in a 3-2 away win against league leaders Montrose, Lennon’s Bully Wee team faced second-top Peterhead, who went into the match having won their last seven matches in a row.
However, an excellent team performance and a late Goodwillie strike ensured the home side took the three points, claim back-to-back victories against the top two teams in the league and gift Lennon his first win as Broadwood gaffer.
You could argue that win was the catalyst to Clyde’s successful home record until the end of the season, as they racked up six successive victories at Broadwood, which in turn played a major part in their late charge up the table, and into contention for the play-offs.
Unfortunately for the Bully Wee, they missed out on the last play-off spot by three points on the last day of the season.
However, considering they were languishing at the bottom end of the table when Lennon arrived, it was clear to see the positive impact the new manager had on the team and gave the Bully Wee faithful hope that with the right manager at the helm, next season would be one to remember.
Promotion to Scottish League One- 18 May 2019
During the 2018/2019 league season Clyde spent the huge majority of the campaign in the promotion play-off positions, going 16 games unbeaten and with only five defeats all season.
However, Peterhead clinching the League Two title away to Queen’s Park on the final day, meant second-placed Clyde had to face Edinburgh City in the play-off semi-final and had to wait a bit longer to end their decade-long exile in the SPFL’s basement league.
A 4-0 aggerate win against Edinburgh City ensured the Bully Wee reached the play-off final against Annan Athletic, and a 1-0 away defeat in the first leg meant that it was all to-do in front of 2,000-plus fans in Broadwood.
Two second half goals from Martin McNiff on the hour mark, and an 86th minute penalty from Ally Love meant that Lennon wrote himself into Bully Wee folklore and him and his squad cemented themselves as Clyde legends- as the Cumbernauld club won promotion to League One and ended their exile in the fourth tier.
On Clyde winning promotion, during his reflective end of season message to the supporters, Lennon said:
“It has been a special season. I spoke this time last year about needing everyone at the club pulling together as one to achieve something special. We have done that.
“It is through the sacrificial time and maximum effort of the players, staff, board and fans of this wonderful club that we have achieved great things; league manager and player of the month awards, league manager of the year award, two players shortlisted for league player of the year and four players named in the league team of the year.
“However, the achievement that matters most is earning the right to play League One football next season.
Job done and congratulations to everybody who contributed to making this a special season for Clyde FC.”
Player cameo appearance- August 2019
Due to injuries in the first team squad during a Glasgow Cup match against Celtic colts, Lennon brought himself on as a second-half substitute.
News of then 50-year-old Lennon’s involvement quickly spread- with Twitter going haywire as photos went viral across social media.
On his brief cameo out of retirement, more than a decade on from his last competitive game, Lennon said: “It was nothing to do with ‘Danny Lennon making an appearance’, it was basically to make sure and take care of the squad – that was all. That was the intention of it.”
Of course, Danny Lennon wouldn’t be Danny Lennon if he hadn’t made another of his brilliant comedic quips, saying to former player Chris McStay after he claimed the ball reached Lennon’s feet, “What size do you think they are? Coco the Clown’s!”
Securing Clyde to League One safety- May 2021
A 2-1 win at home to East Fife on the last game of the shortened COVID ravaged 2020/2021 football season, ensured that Clyde would avoid the relegation play-offs and remain in League One for a third successive season.
The Clyde squad endured a challenging season with a COVID enforced shutdown postponing lower-league football from January to March and enduring a tough schedule, with little to no training sessions and continuously playing Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday most weeks.
Although the Bully Wee finished in eight place, Lennon rates Clyde’s ‘Great Escape’ as one of the highlights of his career, even up there with his Scottish League Cup win at St. Mirren.
He said: “All things considered; I count finishing above the relegation play-offs this season amongst my greatest achievements in football.
“It’s up there with winning the League Cup with St. Mirren, winning the Championship play-offs with Alloa and winning promotions with Cowdenbeath and Clyde.
“It may sound strange that I consider an 8th place finish as a major achievement.
I do have strong ambitions to progress this wonderful club further up the leagues.
“However, when I joined the club, we were at the bottom of League Two and now we are looking forward to a third straight season in League One. That is significant progress. It is important we recognise that and retain our hunger for more.”
Lennon becomes only the fourth Clyde manager in the past 50 years to reach 150 games; after Craig Brown (409), John Clark (273) and Alex Smith (184).