EXCLUSIVE: History made as Raith Rovers fall under new ownership

John Sim is now the owner of both Starks Park and Raith Rovers Football Club.
John Sim is now the owner of both Starks Park and Raith Rovers Football Club.

Raith Rovers are under new ownership after John Sim’s historic takeover of the club was completed yesterday (Wednesday).

An agreement has been reached whereby Stark’s Park Properties, the company which owns the stadium and where Sim is the majority shareholder, now holds the controlling interest in the football club.

The two companies have operated as seperate entities since the New Raith Rovers takeover in 2005, but will now work in tandem under one structure, with Sim calling the shots.

The Press spoke exclusively to the new club owner before Tuesday night’s Irn-Bru cup victory over Brora Rangers, where Sim detailed his vision for transforming Stark’s Park into a community hub, and for Raith Rovers to become a self sustainable club while competing at the highest level (see page 62).

Sim, a businessman with bases in both Kirkcaldy and Bangkok, also met with fans forum representatives, who were given the opportunity to question him about the structure of the agreement.

Other than the recent departure of CEO Eric Drysdale, there are to be no immediate changes in the day-to-day running of the club, with chairman Alan Young and the board of directors remaining in place, although David Sinton is expected to join the board in the coming weeks.

Sinton, who had a brief spell as Raith chairman in 2006, has been working for, and alongside Sim, who spends most of his time travelling the world in his role as CEO for global accountancy firm PKF International.

Part of the takeover deal involved Stark’s Park Properties providing an investment in the football club that enabled it to continue to operate as a full-time outfit in League One.

Chairman Young explained: “Stark’s Park Properties effectively provided the financial support to enable to club to remain full-time in season 2017-18.

“If that assistance hadn’t been there, then we would have had to convert to a part-time club. In my opinion, that would not have been the right thing for the medium to long term future of the club.”

A statement issued to the Press also confirmed the “impending appointment” of the fans director onto the board of Stark’s Park Properties.

The position is currently held by Gordon Adamson, who has urged fellow fans to get behind the new club owner.

“This is a new era for the football club where everyone connected – fans, players, employees, directors – must stand together,” he said.

“The decision to move forward with this agreement has been made after many hours of discussions, some quite heated, where directors have pondered long and hard over the pros and cons.

“In this instance the pros heavily outweighed the cons and the decision was made to back this agreement.

“Will there be further changes in the boardroom? No one knows but be certain that any changes made will be made for the improvement of the club.

“As a director I am only a custodian of the football club and it is my duty to leave it in a better place than when I came in. I firmly believe that this opportunity will help me and fellow directors do so.

“This can be achieved with the help of the most important part of the jigsaw: you, the fans. As the tannoy says before a game, ‘let’s get right behind the Rovers’.”