Glasgow & West Scotland

MSP John Mason boycotts Clyde after Goodwillie signing

David Goodwillie Image copyright SNS
Image caption David Goodwillie made his debut for Clyde against Cowdenbeath on Saturday

MSP John Mason has said he will no longer attend Clyde FC games for the rest of the season after the club signed David Goodwillie.

The former Scotland international footballer was ruled to be a rapist at a civil hearing in January.

Mr Mason, who is one of 322 owners of Clyde, said it was "far too soon" for Goodwillie to be returning to football.

The club said the signing "brought awareness of the need for both responsible decisions and respect".

Goodwillie and his ex-teammate David Robertson were ordered to pay £100,000 damages to Denise Clair earlier this year - despite never facing a criminal trial.

Ms Clair, who waived her right to anonymity, sued the pair after the Crown decided not to prosecute.

She said the footballers had raped her at a flat in Armadale, in West Lothian, after a night out in Bathgate in January 2011.

Image caption John Mason said he would not attend any more of Clyde's games this season

It was the first civil rape case of its kind in Scotland.

Mr Mason, who is the SNP MSP for Glasgow Shettleston, said he was normally somebody who followed his team "no matter what".

"I accept he [Goodwillie] has not been convicted in a criminal court, however, at the very least it seems to me far too soon for someone in this position to be returning to football," he said.

"Some years ago as a councillor in Glasgow I was very much opposed to the boxer Mike Tyson fighting at Hampden after his conviction for rape.

"Sports people definitely are seen as role models and although we do not expect them to be perfect, we know that young people seek to follow in the footsteps of such personalities."

'Reluctant' decision

The MSP said as a Christian he strongly believed in forgiveness, but felt that the January rape ruling "seems too recent to say that these events are part of history".

He added: "Therefore, I am reluctantly making the decision not to attend any more of Clyde's games this season."

Clyde FC signed Goodwillie on Saturday until the end of the season.

The club posted a statement on Monday evening saying the decision had not been "taken lightly".

The statement continued: "On a purely footballing assessment the decision was easily made, however, we did not ignore the wider societal message that the signing might send.

"The coverage of this signing brings the conversation back into the media around an event that has clearly damaged lives and this conversation raises awareness of the need for both responsible decisions and respect.

"As a socially responsible employer we will always seek to support people, to rebuild lives and careers, especially so after mistakes."

Clyde FC added that it was satisfied it was offering Goodwillie the support he needed to "rebuild a sporting career", enabling him to make a positive contribution to the footballing community and society as a whole.

David Robertson has since retired from football.

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