The Club Presentation

Clydesdale Harriers, like all sports clubs, has an annual presentation evening.   Having been established in 1885 we have a superb collection of trophies going back for over a century.  David Bowman once told me that after the War, a senior member of a Glasgow club commented that although we were not at that time as successful as his, he envied us our club spirit.  How did we go about the presentation and what was it like?  

Everybody likes to dress up in their best and have a good evening out.   The top sports clubs – Rangers FC, Celtic FC, West of Scotland RFC, and so on, all have their annual evening of the glittering prizes.   Even the stars of entertainment have their red carpet night when they dress in an even more glamorous outfit.   Award ceremonies for businesses or politicians have their night too.   The Clydesdale Presentation is our equivalent.  

The Annual Presentation of Prizes which was normally held in October.  The Secretary’s Diary told him to start the ball rolling in about August when the tasks were allotted.   Where would it be held and on what date?   General discussion decided that.   Who would make the first contact and collect specimen menus? Who would buy the prizes?  We would have to have a guest or guests.  Who would they be?   Who would make the contact?  Would we need a bus to take club members there?   If members were to have a glass of wine with the meal, they would not want to drive so a bus was usually laid on.  Who would book it?  Tickets were sold and the night arrived.

There was the top table with club president centre and a mix of the club’s top brass and any guests.   In front and to one side was the table with the trophies shining and spread out with the smaller shields, medals and other mementos in front of them.   In front of that again were the ranks of club members with their partners and friends.   After the meal, the President would briefly welcome those assembled and introduce the Guest of Honour.   The guests varied –

*Athletes such as Lachie Stewart when he won the Commonwealth 1000m; Andy Forbes who had been silver medallist in the Empire Games in the 1950’s;

*Local Politicians who were friends of the club and who could be useful in future such as  Jimmy Malcolm when he was Burgh Provost, or Provost Johnson when it was his turn;

*Local PE teachers who had helped us in the past: Joyce Hume of the Vale of Leven Academy,  Jack Fearn of Braidfield, Ian Paterson of Clydebank HS or Jim Burns of Boclair Academys;

*Local athletics worthies who contributed to the sport such as Walter Ross of Garscube or Ian McPhail of Dumbartion  

Guests from all walks of life who were respected friends of the club.

It was of course adults only – there is a time for joint functions but this was not it.   Everybody likes being dressed up for one night a year – all major clubs have such an occasion – and with a late license for the function, it was not appropriate for the children to have to hang around pale faced and tired much later than their normal bed time.  

There was often a dance after the presentation when those assembled showed their prowess on the dance floor.

A good meal, good friends and a relaxed evening with no responsibilities other than how they would feel the following morning.

The junior club members could not be left out and they had a presentation of their own.  Equal but different and age appropriate.  Less formal than the adults version, it was no less enjoyable.  Tasks win 1978 Derek McGinley was in charge of catering, Robert McWatt and Douglas McDonald were i/c Prizes and Awards and Tony Higgins was to order an appropriate athletics film and projector.   In 1979, Jim Sweeney was to order the purvey, Doug Gemmell to order the projector and screen and so on.   It was always a good night with very few adults and no parents on hand watching their every move. 

Both were good nights and neither group felt that they had to watch their behaviour either because their children were present or because their parents were hovering near at hand.  In addition, each function had a single group in mind and did not have to try to square the circle by having to cater for two distinct groups.   It was not the only time that the junior members were on their own – after the National at Irvine, there was often a late bus for the boys and girls after they had enjoyed the delights of the Magnum post-race.  

A Presentation Dinner, as held by other major sports clubs was and should be a great night for all club members, past and present.   For club representation purposes in any competition, it is only right that only paid up, current club members be eligible.   For celebration of ourself as a club all club members, past and present should be invited along.   Past members made a contribution to the club’s success and longevity.   They should be part of it.   Without any research having been done, we used to enter four, or five teams in all cross country events.   Names like Eddie Barclay, Eddie Poole, Willie McCoo, John McArthur and many others spring to mind, the contribution of Emily and Lynne Hardware, Anne Murray and Agnes Gibson was considerable, the track and field teams of the 80’s and 90’s produced athletes like Davie Smart, Donald and Mark Govan, Steven Gibson, Brian Potts, Ian Murphy were all in action; the first woman President Aileen Scott, the first woman Secretary Yvonne Gibson, the first woman assistant secretary Janette Shields are also significant figures.  Our 140th anniversary is in 2025 – why not a major function to celebrate that one?   Ex-pats like John McCall and Robert McWatt could maybe be persuaded to come for such a function.  

Clydesdale Harriers is Scotland’s Premier Club: we would enjoy a big presentation.


Clydesdale Harriers Senior Men entries for the 1982/3 National Cross Country Championships:

178 A Wright; 179 J Pearson; 180 P Rudzinski; 181 P Dolan; 182 G Carlin; 183 J Wright; 184 D McDonald; 185 T Morrison; 186 D Mitchell; 187 M McDonald’ 188 C McIntosh; 189 L Pearson; 190 J Hanratty; 191 D Gemmell; 192 D Rothin; 193 V Martin; 194 P Jack; 195 F Kielty; 196 P Doran; 197 G Rae; 198 W Toye; 199 R Rosborough; 200  R Shields; 201  J Higgins;  202 C Ryan; 203 R Young.

Junior Men:  23  G Parker; 24 J Austin; 25  A Timpany; 26 S Hoggan; 27 D Halpin; 28 R Maddedu; 29  P Ross; 30 K O’Brien.

The Youths Race included M Diver.   The Women’s Championship programme is not available