Glasgow & West Scotland

New Clyde chairman backs David Goodwillie signing

David Goodwillie Image copyright SNS
Image caption David Goodwillie made his debut for Clyde against Cowdenbeath last weekend

The incoming chairman of Clyde Football Club has defended the decision to sign David Goodwillie.

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

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

Norrie Innes said the Scottish League Two club was "seeking to help someone when others want to punish him".

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

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

MSP protest

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

The players had admitted having sex with Ms Clair but said it was consensual.

SNP MSP John Mason has said he will no longer attend Clyde FC games for the rest of the season in protest at the signing.

That decision brought criticism from Mr Inness, who will officially take over at Clyde in May.

He told the club's official website: "I think we have to beware of those who seek to use these matters for political and personal benefit and we should seek what is in us to be authentic and true and make the right decisions, even if it isn't universally or politically popular."

Image copyright SNS and Ciaran Donnelly
Image caption David Robertson (left) and David Goodwillie had claimed the sex was consensual
Image copyright Ciaran Donnelly
Image caption Denise Clair waived her right to anonymity

Mr Innes added: "David is a free man with a financial charge on his head, this arising from the civil action against him.

"He is appealing the judge's opinion and it will eventually establish a status and end point, but to be clear, Clyde FC will play no part in this. It is down to others to deal with.

"There is no positive purpose or societal gain whatsoever to wish ill on him and allow his talents to stagnate and waste.

"Football and society would be failing if this was allowed to happen. If he ultimately has responsibilities to honour through any final binding decision, he should use the skills at his disposal to earn and honour it. Is it not right to create the conditions for him to potentially service society's demands on him?

"I have helped people in need in the past and it can be testing and challenging, especially when they - sometimes - let you and themselves down, but I will not change. If the opportunity arises to do so then we should all embrace this approach."

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