Raith Rovers F.C.

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Raith Rovers
180
Full name Raith Rovers Football Club
Nickname(s) The Rovers
Founded 1883; 131 years ago (1883)
Ground Stark's Park,
Kirkcaldy, Scotland
Ground Capacity 8,473[1]
Chairman Turnbull Hutton
Manager Grant Murray
League Scottish Championship
2013–14 Scottish Championship, 7th
Website Club home page
Current season

Raith Rovers Football Club is a Scottish professional football club based in the town of Kirkcaldy, Fife. The club was founded in 1883 and currently competes in the Scottish Championship as a member of the Scottish Professional Football League, having being promoted from the Second Division as champions in 2009.

The club's highest ever league position came in 1922, when it finished third behind champions Celtic and runners-up Rangers in Division One. The club has won two national trophies, the Scottish League Cup in 1994 by penalty shoot-out and on April 6, 2014, Rovers won the 2013–14 Scottish Challenge Cup after beating Rangers 1–0 with a late goal from John Baird in extra time. The club also came runners-up in 1949 as well as being losing finalists in the 1913 Scottish Cup Final. Below the top flight of Scottish football the club has won the second tier five times, coming runners-up on the same number of occasions, the last coming in 2010–11 behind rivals Dunfermline Athletic.

As a result of winning the League Cup in 1994, Raith Rovers qualified for the UEFA Cup the following season. The club managed to reach the second round, only to be defeated 4–1 on aggregate to eventual champions FC Bayern Munich.

Raith's home ground is Stark's Park, an 8,473 all-seater stadium in the south of Kirkcaldy. The club has been based at the ground since 1891.

History[edit]

Beginnings and club name[edit]

The modern Raith Rovers were founded in 1883 in the Scottish town of Kirkcaldy, playing at Robbie's Park. Though there were other teams who incorporated the town name, such as Kirkcaldy Wanderers and Kirkcaldy United, Raith became the most successful of the local teams, winning five trophies in the 1890s.[2] There had been a much earlier (and unrelated) Raith Rovers which merged with what is now Cowdenbeath in 1882.

Although it lends its name to many entities in the region, Raith is not itself a settlement. A Raith Rovers victory in the 1960s led to a famous BBC commentator's blunder that the fans would be "dancing in the streets of Raith tonight". Although commonly attributed to Englishman David Coleman, this was actually said by Scotsman Sam Leitch.[3] Raith (Scottish Gaelic: rath, "fort" or "fortified residence") as an area once stretched from south of Loch Gelly as far as Kirkcaldy[4] and the Battle of Raith is said to have been fought here in 596 AD.[2] Raith House and Raith Tower sit on Cormie Hill to the west of Kirkcaldy and several parts of the town are built on land formerly of the Raith Estate,[5] although the modern housing estate bearing the Raith name dates from long after the origins of the team.

A mixture of local success and ambition took the club into the senior leagues where they established themselves and thereby became the pre-eminent team in the town. The club became a senior team in 1889 around the same time they were forced to leave Robbie's Park which was incorporated into a new public park called the Beveridge Park, named after Provost Michael Beveridge.[2][3] The team subsequently moved to their current home of Stark's Park named after and run by councillor Robert Stark in 1891.[3] The club turned professional by 1892 and were the first football team in Fife to be elected to the Scottish League in season 1902/03[2][3] The club were incorporated into a limited company: the Raith Rovers Football and Athletic Company, Ltd by 1907. After two consecutive successful seasons in 2nd Division, the club elected to join the 1st Division in 1909/10. Three years later, the club made their first (and only) appearance in the Scottish Cup Final losing 2–0 to Falkirk.

Setting records[edit]

In 1921 an innovation in training, previously unknown to the Scottish game, was introduced by directors following a visit to England: the use of a ball in training. As noted in the Fife Free Press, "Hitherto, ball practice has been an absentee from the training curriculum on the grounds that being away from the ball for a week imparted eagerness on the Saturday.". This heralded an era of success.[6]

The club had its highest ever league finish in the Scottish top division, when they came third to the Old Firm in 1921/22. This was followed by the unusual incident where the players were shipwrecked in 1923. The team had been en route to play friendly matches on the Canary Islands when the boat ran aground. Fortunately, the players were able to safely disembark and continue on their way a few days later.[3]

The team battled on during tough times between the 1920s and 1930s but things improved by the season of 1937/38 saw Raith setting a British League Record with 142 goals in just 34 league matches while winning the 2nd Division championship.[3] The record still stands today. The forward line of Glen (5 goals), Gilmour (35), Norrie Haywood (47), Whitelaw (26) and Joyner (21) scored 134 of the record 142 goals.

Around this time, a then record crowd of 25,500 filled Stark’s Park on a Wednesday afternoon for a Scottish Cup quarter-final replay against East Fife (The first game had attracted 19,000 to the old Bayview ground). East Fife won 3–2 and went on to become the only 2nd Division club to win the Scottish Cup.

Record appearance holder Willie McNaught first appeared for Raith during the war before signing on a contract basis when normal football resumed after the end of global hostilities. McNaught went on to make 657 senior football appearances (many as captain) for Rovers. Raith reached the League Cup final for the first time in 1948/49 but lost 2–0 to Rangers. In an echo of what would happen four decades later, the club also went on to win the 2nd Division title. In the period of the club's greatest high level consistency, Rovers stayed in the top division until the season after McNaught's 1962 departure. In 1951, Raith had their largest ever gate for a Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden Park watched by a crowd of 84,640. Raith lost 3–2 to Celtic.

Promotions, relegations & Player of the Year[edit]

A disastrous season came in 1962/63, when the club finished bottom of the 1st Division conceding 118 goals in 34 games.[3] After leaving Queen of the South, George Farm became Raith manager in 1964.[7] Farm took Raith to promotion in 1966/67 before leaving for Fife rivals Dunfermline Athletic and was never able to repeat the forumale when he returned in the season of 1971/72.[8] Raith managed to avoid relegation in 1967/68, thanks to striker Gordon Wallace, who became the first player outwith the Old Firm to be voted Player of the Year. He scored 27 goals in 34 matches.[8] Although, the club did find themselves being relegated again at the end of the 1969/70 season.[8] Nonetheless, the Rovers during this time managed to get through to the quarter finals of the Scottish cup for the second year running between 1970–71 and 1971–72 – although the latter saw them beaten 3–1 by Kilmarnock with a crowd of 10,815.[8]

In 1975/76, the league set-up changed from Divisions 1 & 2 to a 3 tier system (Premier Division, Division 1 & Division 2). In the inaugural year of this system, Raith were promoted to the 1st Division, but were promptly relegated the next season, before bouncing back up the season after. Raith then performed reasonably well in the 1st Division, hovering around the top 4 until the early 1980s.

A new manager, Frank Connor took charge in early 1986, bringing many new faces onto the team which resulted in promotion on goal difference after a 4–1 win against Stranraer (while Ayr United lost to Stirling Albion) on the last day of the season.[8]

The League Cup winning era[edit]

Raith reverted to being a full-time side again for the season of 1991/92 which was soon followed by winning the 1st division title in the season of 1992–93.[8] This was to start the most successful period in the club’s history – which saw the team's first foray into the Scottish Premier Division (now the Premier League) but was only short-lived.[9]

On 27 November 1994, Raith, managed by Jimmy Nicholl, surprisingly beat Celtic 6–5 on penalties to win the Coca Cola Cup, after a 2–2 draw.[2][3] Future Raith manager, Gordon Dalziel, scored the equalising goal for Raith in the dying minutes of regulation time. The same season, Raith were again promoted to the Premier League after winning the First Division title.

As a result of the Cup win, Raith qualified for Europe (UEFA Cup) for the first time in their history. After eliminating both the Faroese and Icelandic champions (GÍ Gøta and ÍA Akranes respectively) in the first two rounds, the club finally succumbed to eventual UEFA Cup winners Bayern Munich. They were beaten 2–0 by the German side in the 1st leg, which was not played at their home ground but at Easter Road, home of Hibernian FC. In the 2nd leg, at the Olympiastadion they led 1–0 at half time against all odds, eventually losing 2–1.[8] This was the first time a Scottish team had qualified for a major European competition while playing outside the top league. The same season, Raith finished 6th in the Premier League.

Winning the Coca Cola Cup, selling Steve McAnespie and playing in the UEFA Cup generated the money needed to redevelop Stark's Park as an all-seater ground with North and South Stands. It was completed in time for the 1995–96 season, and Bayern Munich were invited to play a friendly in the first match in the redeveloped ground, with Raith Rovers securing a narrow 1–0 win.

The end of the fairytale[edit]

After the club were relegated from the Premier Division, they also struggled to succeed in the 1st Division. For the 2001/02 season they were relegated to the 2nd Division for the first time since 1987. The club returned to the 1st Division (with the lowest winning total, to date, for champions of 59 points), under the leadership of Antonio Calderón in 2002/03 season.

At the start of the 2004–05 season, Claude Anelka (brother of French Striker Nicolas) offered £300,000 to any team who would offer him a manager's job and was subsequently appointed the manager of Raith Rovers, with Antonio Calderón refusing the offer of a coaching role and leaving the club. Anelka signed a team of (mostly) continental players from the lower leagues in France. A disastrous season followed, despite Anelka resigning halfway through the season (replaced by Gordon Dalziel) and his signings either leaving, or having their contracts terminated, Raith were relegated to the Scottish 2nd Division after finishing bottom of the 1st Division with just 16 points in the season.

Local takeover[edit]

During 2005–06, The future of the club looked doubtful after the club and its traditional home of Stark's Park were both placed under threat by previous owners Colin McGowan and Alex Short. The Glasgow based property developers had repeatedly threatened to sell Stark's Park for housing in a bid to find a buyer for their 50% stake in the club and after months of legal and financial wrangling a deal was struck with their company, West City Development.

Former chairman Turnbull Hutton and director Mario Caira, who were part of West City retained their investment and have been joined by major investor John Sim, a Thailand-based senior financial figure with liquidator KPMG.

The Reclaim the Rovers fans' campaign, which was launched in a bid to secure a local future for the club, has also secured a place for a Supporters' Representative, on the new-look board after raising £100,000 towards the final figure.

On 30 December 2005, Raith Rovers' future was secured after a £1.2 million community buy-out (The New Raith Rovers Limited consortium) assisted by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown who became Prime Minister, and is a fan and shareholder[10] of the club. Previous chairman David Sinton also completed work on the takeover.

On 2 May 2009, Raith secured the Second Division title with a 1–0 win at the home of Scottish football, Hampden Park, with a travelling support of over 1500. They lifted the trophy in front of almost 5000 the following week following a 0–0 draw with Arbroath.[11]

As of 2011–12, Raith operate with a squad comprising a mixture of full and part–time professionals.[12]

On 6 April 2014, Raith won the 2014 Scottish Challenge Cup Final 1–0 against Rangers after extra time.[13]

Colours and badge[edit]

Raith's kit consists of white tops with navy blue detailing, with white shorts and navy blue socks.[14] The away kit consists of a red shirt with blue detailing with red shorts and socks, this has not changed entering the new season.[15] Raith's current badge has been used since 1998,[16] replacing the previous lion and shield motif used in different colour combinations (including being framed in a shield shape from 1995 to 1998) since 1985.[16]

Stadium[edit]

Main article: Stark's Park

Fife rivalries[edit]

Main article: Fife derby

There are three other senior league teams in Fife with East Fife around 8 miles to the east, and Cowdenbeath and Dunfermline Athletic 9 and 14 miles respectively, to the west. Their traditional derby is with East Fife. Their biggest rivalry though is with Dunfermline Athletic, with the Fife Derby encounter at East End Park in April 2011, attracting a crowd of over 11 000.

Supporters[edit]

Raith maintain crowds of comfortably over 1,500 in the First Division, with crowds rising substantially for derby fixtures.

In addition to Gordon Brown, celebrity fans include authors Ian Rankin and Val McDermid and Coldplay bassist Guy Berryman.[17] In June 2011 Val McDermid joined the board of directors.[18]

Fictional[edit]

In Giles Foden's novel The Last King of Scotland it is mentioned that Nicholas Garrigan, the fictional protagonist, is a Raith Rovers fan.

Ian Rankin has stated that detective John Rebus is a Raith Rovers supporter.[19]

Players[edit]

Current Squad[edit]

As of 1 July 2014[20]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Scotland GK David McGurn
2 Scotland DF Jason Thomson (captain)
4 Scotland DF Paul Watson
5 Scotland DF Dougie Hill
6 Scotland MF Liam Fox
8 Scotland MF Kevin Moon
10 Scotland FW Calum Elliot
11 Scotland MF Grant Anderson
12 Scotland MF Ross Callachan
16 Scotland DF Laurie Ellis (player-coach)
17 Scotland GK Ross Laidlaw
18 Scotland DF Grant Murray (player-manager)
21 Scotland MF Lewis Vaughan
No. Position Player
23 Scotland MF Ross Matthews
24 Scotland MF Liam McCroary
25 Scotland FW Callum Robertson
26 Scotland DF David Bates
33 Scotland MF Kieran Campbell
35 Scotland GK Scott Law
-- Scotland GK Kevin Cuthbert
-- Scotland DF Craig Barr
-- Scotland MF Martin Scott
-- France FW Christian Nadé
-- Northern Ireland DF Rory McKeown
-- Scotland FW Mark Stewart

Out on loan[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
34 Scotland FW Jonny Court (on loan at Newtongrange Star)

Notable past players[edit]

Some notable past players:

  • Marvin Andrews – Trinidad and Tobago international re-signed from Rangers in 2006 on a three-year deal and then subsequently left again, in May 2008. He played roughly 126 games for the club and over a hundred times for his country [2]. Now playing for Forfar Athletic.
  • Willie McNaught – 657 appearances between 1941 and 1961 – still a record for any Rovers player. Capped 5 times for Scotland
  • Alex James – Played from 1922 to 1925 before heading to Preston North End then Arsenal. Became one of the outstanding players of his generation winning countless trophies and captaining Arsenal
  • Jim Baxter – Signed in 1958, later to be regarded by some as Scotland’s greatest ever football player
  • Andy Young – Made 621 appearances from 1945 until 1960
  • Ian Porterfield – Scorer of the winning goal for Sunderland in the 1973 F.A.Cup final.
  • Johnny Urquhart – Served as a player, director and president over five decades from 1950s
  • Andy Leigh – part of a long serving half back line along with McNaught & Young, he made 487 appearances from 1948 to 1963 before running the club’s Development Association and then becoming groundsman until 1994
  • Donald Urquhart – 1971 to 1985 – 497 appearances
  • Willie Penman – Rovers top scorer with 151 league and cup goals, 50 more during World War II and 10 others in friendlies
  • Dave Morris – Rovers most capped Scottish player – 6 caps in the mid-1920s
  • Nacho Novo – Now playing for SD Huesca in Segunda División
  • Didier Agathe – Played in 2003 UEFA Cup Final for Celtic. Also played one game in the FA Premier League for Aston Villa
  • Thierry Gathuessi – International defender for Cameroon's National Football Team. Played in African Cup of Nations in 2004.
  • Jimmy Nicholl – Played as well as managed in the early '90s, having played for Manchester United and capped for Northern Ireland 73 times, scoring once.

The Coca-Cola Cup winning team[edit]

Some notable players from the team that lifted the 1994–95 Scottish League Cup:

Managers[edit]

Some notable managerial appointments:

  • 1945–1961: Bert Herdman – Oversaw some of the club's most successful seasons and a sustained period in the top flight
  • 1964–1967 & 1971–1974: George Farm – In a career of distinction in both playing and managing, Farm included a promotion success with Raith among the numerous achievements he enjoyed throughout his career
  • 1986–1990: Frank Connor – Took the club from depths of the 2nd Division to a solid 1st Division spot
  • 1990–1996: Jimmy Nicholl – Manager (and player until 1994) who won two 1st Division titles, the historic League Cup victory and oversaw Rovers' only foray into European competition

Rovers managers since World War II:

Honours[edit]

  • Fife Cup:
    • Winners (3): 2001–02, 2003–04, 2011–12
    • Runners-up (1): 2007–08

Club records[edit]

  • Record attendance: 31,306 vs Hearts, 7/2/1953[3]
  • Record victory: 10–1 vs Coldstream, Scottish Cup, 1954
  • Record defeat: 2–11 vs Morton, Division 2, 1936
  • League goalscoring record: Norman Heywood 1937/38, 42 goals
  • Most league goals (individual): Gordon Dalziel, 154 (1987–1994)
  • Most goals in a league season (team): 142, 1937–38 (British Record)
  • Most capped player: David Morris, 6 caps for Scotland
  • Highest transfer fee paid: £225k for Paul Harvey (from Airdrie, July 1996)
  • Highest transfer fee received: £900k for Steve McAnespie (to Bolton Wanderers, September 1995)

European record[edit]

Season Competition Round Opponent Home Away Aggregate
1995–96[22] UEFA Cup Preliminary round Faroe Islands GÍ Gøta 4–0 2–2 6–2
First round Iceland ÍA 3–1 0–1 3–2
Second round Germany Bayern Munich 0–2 1–2 1–4

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://spfl.co.uk/clubs/raith/
  2. ^ a b c d e Kirkcaldy Civic Society (2007). Kirkcaldy Remembered, 2nd edition. ISBN 978-1-84588-386-7. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Kirkcaldy Civic Society (2005). Kirkcaldy: A History and Celebration. The Francis Firth Collection. ISBN 1-84567-749-8. 
  4. ^ Taylor, Simon; Gilbert Markus (2006). The Place-Names of Fife, Volume One. Shaun Tyas. p. 496. ISBN 1-900289-77-6. 
  5. ^ Kirkcaldy's Famous Folk, Volume 3. Kirkcaldy Civic Society. 2000. p. 13. 
  6. ^ Gray, Daniel (2010). Stramash. Edinburgh: Luath Press. pp. 109–110. ISBN 978-1-906817-66-4. 
  7. ^ George Farm profile on "Queens Legends" on the official Queen of the South FC website
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Litster, John. Rovers Recalled: Raith Rovers in pictures through the years, Volume 1. John Litster. ISBN 0-9534682-1-6. 
  9. ^ Fimister, Tony (2002). Raith Rovers Football Club 1991–92 – 1995–96. Tempus Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0-7524-2425-4. 
  10. ^ "Ministers reveal their interests". BBC News. 12 March 2009. Retrieved 12 March 2009. 
  11. ^ "Raith Rovers 0–0 Arbroath". BBC Sport. 9 May 2009. Retrieved 26 May 2009. 
  12. ^ Part-time route may be prudent for Scotland's clubs BBC, 15 December 2011
  13. ^ "Glory for Raith". Scotsman. 6 April 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2014. 
  14. ^ "2013/14 Kit Revealed". Raith Rovers F.C. 15 May 2013. 
  15. ^ "Raith Rovers Away Kit". Raith Rovers F.C. 9 July 2012. 
  16. ^ a b Moor, Dave. "Raith Rovers". Historical Football Kits. Retrieved 9 October 2011. 
  17. ^ Confident Raith consortium face new deal deadline The Scotsman, 23 October 2005
  18. ^ [1] The Courier, 17 June 2011
  19. ^ Donaldson, Mark (11 April 2010). "Ian Rankin : Stretching the Imagination". The Active Nation Scottish Cup Semi-Final Official Programme – Raith Rovers v Dundee United (Glasgow: The Scottish Football Association). pp. 34–5. 
  20. ^ "RRFC – 2013/14 Squad Details Announced". raithrovers.net. Raith Rovers F.C. 23 July 2013. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  21. ^ Known as Second Division prior to 1975
  22. ^ UEFA Europa League 1995/96 – History – Raith. UEFA. uefa.com/

External links[edit]