His playing career was ruined by a knee injury before he was brought to a premature end at only 24 years old, which may have been enough to put Mark Clyde out of football for life.
He did not shine the bright light of the English Premier League for long. Clyde was just 21 when his problems began to surface and required surgery after playing just nine top-flight games for Wolverhampton Wanderers, when he returned to the top level after a 20-year break.
He was left bitter when the sport overtook him, Clyde still having a strong passion for football which is why he was asked to turn his hand when asked to become president of hometown club Limavady United. Didn’t need much.
If that doesn’t put the Roesiders firmly back on the map, it won’t be for their willingness to try and give the Premier Intermediate League club the flavor of where they want to be against Samuel Gelston’s Whiskey Irish Cup Premiership Portadown next Saturday. 14 years after being dropped from the top division.
“I had a full season as manager and then when things happened behind the scenes with leaving the board, I took on the role of chairman and actually did both for a short period of time, just a month or so. It was impossible to do both. ,” said Clyde, whose international career brought three Northern Ireland caps during the 2004–05 season.
“Since getting out of the Premiership, the club has dropped a few leagues before some revival took place. As football progresses and tries to improve, the pitch also needs to improve.
“They have to work together and really develop together, which was not happening. We took small steps. We have brought the youth together and they are very closely linked now.
“The people involved are now interested in making changes and changes for the betterment of the community and getting back into the community-feeling club.”
Despite reaching the top level, Clyde, by his own admission, “had no real ambition to coach adult football” when he returned home a few years after his playing days had ended.
Having established itself as a youth coach and progressing naturally to first team manager and then chairman, the 39-year-old’s vision for the future is to combine all his experiences and make the club stronger. Top to bottom, with the ultimate goal of coming back among the elite.
“Young generation, you can help them a little bit more and give something back to the community and make it an important thing that you are doing,” said Clyde, who now works away from sports at a building supply company. does.
“With the role of chairman, it gave young children a platform and a route to a place in the Limavdi United first team, which was not there before.
“My big goal is to push the local talent around Limavadi and if we can get some of those kids and they get an opportunity to go up and play at a higher level that is fantastic, but also an opportunity at the local level. should be.”
The club has plans to extend the lease on its current home, and if this can be secured the intention is to redevelop the site and improve the overall facilities on offer in the area, which is how the club wants to progress. is a big part.
“If you stand still, you are left behind,” said Clyde.
“Limavadi weren’t doing enough for too long so it’s time to get ourselves back on the map because it wasn’t long ago that the club was punching with the best, so if we’re back there with more facilities can come to match, why not go get them?”
An Irish Cup last-16 place would be a bonus.
Limavady was a founding member of the Irish FA and contributed to the purchase of the original Irish Cup trophy in 1880. They missed out on lifting it when they lost back-to-back finals in the early years—both from distilleries. The farthest they have been in recent times was the semi-finals in 2004, when they lost to neighboring Coleraine, who were then the holders.
Beating portadown will be considered a troubling one, but it is likely to be hampered due to positive Covid-19 cases, due to which yesterday’s PIL was adjourned with Bangor.
“I don’t know how going next Saturday will affect us, but we can go there with a very weak team,” Clyde said. “A perfectly fit team will give most teams a run for their money.”