A world-renowned football snapper credits photographing Clydebank’s Kilbowie Park as being the launchpad of his successful career.

Stuart Roy Clarke has built his career on his collection known as the Homes of Football, which features pictures of football grounds and the fans watching from around the UK.

It was one special image he took in 1989 in Clydebank when working on a story about Wet Wet Wet that influenced the next 31 years of his photography life.

Stuart, who now lives in the Lake District, was in London working for Time Out magazine at the time and was asked to head north to do a story on the famous Bankie band led by Marti Pellow.

He was to document the town where the band had grown up and tasked with bringing back four photos of the town.

The four pictures requested were of Singer’s, the docks, Clydebank Football Club and one of the streets.

But Stuart returned south from his trip with 20 photos – 12 of which were used – and one picture of four boys at New Kilbowie Park really stood out for him.

He said: “They were playing a game that day on the Saturday and I met everybody, the tea lady, a few players, supporters.

“I absolutely loved it and loved the club.

“We didn’t know what was to become of Kilbowie Park at the time, but I knew that it was, along with Aberdeen, vying for the first all-seater ground.

“But the amazing thing about that picture which, to this day, has not gone away in terms of its popularity, was that when I processed it that Sunday evening in my dad’s loft in the middle of the night, I honestly was gobsmacked to see the boy sticking two fingers up.

“Looking through the lens I hadn’t seen that, and I was delighted because I thought that was the edginess of everything, these boys and Scotland.”

Stuart revealed the picture wasn’t staged at all and it was in fact the young lads who had spotted him first, asking him what he was up to.

“I just turned around, and they had all just shuffled along and sat there with what looked like a concrete ball in hand,” Stuart continued.

“I just thought, ‘oh my god’, I’m looking at four boys, how many people are in Wet Wet Wet – four.

“I could not believe it. It could have taken six months to organise a photo like that. It was just an amazing start, I went the whole journey back to England thinking, I have seen what I want to do.”

Paul Cairney, a painter and decorator who grew up on Granville Street in the town, is the boy pictured second from the left and admits he doesn’t remember too much about that day.

He said: “I remember the picture actually being taken because I remember when the guy took the picture he jokingly said, ‘in years to come this photo will be famous.’

“But that’s all I remember about it. I don’t remember the day or the game as I was only nine years old.

Clydebank Post: Stuart now sells his football prints for thousands of poundsStuart now sells his football prints for thousands of pounds

“I was always from a Celtic family, but my dad took me down to Kilbowie Park to see Celtic versus Clydebank reserves and Clydebank won I’m sure.

“I think the game was in 87 or 88.

“I wanted to go back after that and see Clydebank. That’s why I was there that day.”

The Wet Wet Wet article for the magazine went on to be award-winning, written by Simon Garfield titled Glasgow Reign.

Stuart explained he will always have a soft spot for the town thanks to that weekend in 1989.

“Every other person spoke about football,” he finished. “Whoever it was I stopped in the street it always came back to football.

“I thought, it’s like a hearth to which you warm your hands. The local club.

“Fortunes, disappointment, whatever, it’s a great conversation.

“I just thought, the subject I had been looking for was under my nose all the time.”