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FAN VIEW: Raith Rovers report card including takeover talk and one-sided contracts

Courier Sport gets the view from the terrace in a season that's thrown up many talking points at Stark's Park.

Raith Rovers are facing a big summer. Image: SNS.
Raith Rovers are facing a big summer. Image: SNS.

A huge summer lies ahead for Raith Rovers.

Ian Murray’s side sit seventh in the Championship, with the promotion playoffs looking out of reach and safety all but secured.

But a number of issues – on and off the field – remained unresolved going into Wednesday night’s AGM, including the ownership of the Stark’s Park side.

Issues on and off the park are unresilved at Raith Rovers. Image: SNS.

We asked for the thoughts of Courier Sport fan view regular, A View From The Terrace panellist and Rovers supporter Shaughan McGuigan.

1. Takeover/new investment

Raith put out a call for new investment towards the end of last year and while there has been a false dawn or two, owner John Sim suggested recently the situation is moving in the right direction.

Shaughan said: “I suspect it will be a very good thing. The board has been a wee bit of a closed shop for a while now and needs fresh ideas and fresh faces.

“We don’t know for certain if there will be a takeover or investment or what it will involve, but if there are people who have been involved in the lower leagues before, it will probably be a good thing.

“John Sim very much leads everything and there are probably people on the board that agree with John Sim because it’s easier.

“There will be alternative opinions and voices.”

Raith Rovers owner John Sim. Image: SNS

2. One-sided contracts

Speaking on Raith TV this week, Sim revealed someone with “extensive experience” was helping the club on the recruitment and contracts front.

But he stopped short on naming them, adding: “We have been pandering to agents, we have been signing one sided contracts, we need to strengthen our area there.

“And we’ve got a guy who’s got extensive experience, well respected in Scottish football, who’s already involved on a day-to-day basis but having seen and tasted it we’re hoping he’s willing to commit to putting more in there.”

Shaughan said: “I’ve not heard of anyone or anything on board at the moment helping with signings, as Sim mentioned in his recent Raith TV interview.

“It’s difficult to discern what Sim meant by one-sided contracts – whether he meant the length of them or how well they were paid, I don’t know.

“The suggestion is the club were disadvantaged, but Murray’s predecessor John McGlynn was spending the budget he was given and it was a collective decision.

“We gave out a few multi-year contracts which are unusual at this level.”

3. On-field performance

A few weeks ago Rovers were in the SPFL Trust Trophy Final and in with a shout of a late run at the playoffs.

But a mid-table finish looks a certainty after three consecutive defeats.

Shaughan said: “It’s hugely disappointing given where we were after the Queen’s Park result.


“At 1-0 up against Hamilton last Tuesday, I thought: ‘We’re going to sneak it here, we’re going to get into the playoffs.’

“The season is petering out and it’s difficult if the players are mentally not as up for it as they were a few weeks ago – I can understand if they are.

“I wasn’t surprised that they lost at Inverness at the weekend and I wasn’t surprised that they lost at Dundee on Tuesday night.”

4. Injuries

Murray inherited a few long-term injuries and has since had too many other casualties to list here – though it is something the manager said he would look into.

Shaughan said: “It’s frustrating. Ian Murray said after the Dundee game that he is aware of what it could be and I was trying to work out what it is.

“I can only presume he’s thinking it’s the pitch, which I don’t think it is – Raith have historically had a really bad injury record that extends beyond when they had the pitch.

“It’s probably down to a number of things.

“We do seem to sign players who have a history of long-term injuries, due to being a smaller full-time club and that’s what the budget extends to.

“We also have a small squad, with some players having to play every minute, which also exacerbates the situation.”

5. The future

There has been much debate among the fans recently about where is Rovers’ rightful place in the Scottish leagues is, having not been a top-flight club since 1997.

Shaughan said: “If you go back to Grant Murray’s time, it felt like each season was transitional, but then the next season was exactly the same.

“I hope that this is Ian Murray’s transition season and that next season is incrementally better.

Ian Murray has had an endless injury list. Image: SNS.

“It is difficult though because next season would be more difficult with the likes of Dunfermline and maybe Falkirk and Dundee United coming into the Championship.

“But if it gets to two or three weeks towards the end of the season and we still have something to play for, and something exciting in the cups with a bit of luck.

“That’s about all we really ask for. Otherwise it can get pretty dull.”