Raith players weigh up future amid wage cuts as boss hunt begins

Stark's Park, Raith Rovers FC.
Stark's Park, Raith Rovers FC.
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The wounds of relegation are still raw at Raith Rovers.

But the message from within Stark’s Park is clear – we aim to bounce back stronger.

Rovers will play their football in League One next season after suffering a penalty shoot-out defeat to Brechin City in Saturday’s play-off at Stark’s Park.

However, in a message of defiance, the club has confirmed its intention to sustain full-time football with the aim of making an instant return to the Championship.

They will attempt to do so under a new manager, following the swift departure of John Hughes in the aftermath of the defeat to Brechin.

The board will now look to put a disastrous season behind them and appoint the right man to steer the club back to where it belongs.
Club chairman Alan Young said: “Saturday was an awful day.

“As the fans left the stadium there was anger, disbelief and tears - understandably.

“Those feelings are shared by everyone at the club.

“What we’ve got to do is to pick these people up and try to get things moving, get things sorted, get things resolved.

“We will get it sorted.”

While the search for the next manager is underway, the future of the playing squad remains uncertain.

All players and backroom staff were summoned to Stark’s Park for meetings on Tuesday, first collectively, then individually in one-to-ones.

Players were informed of the club’s intention to remain full-time in League One, however, they have also been told that their wages will be cut, in some cases by as much as 25 per cent.

This has left some players, particularly those with families to support, to weigh up whether they can sustain full-time football on a reduced salary.

One player has already decided his future lies elsewhere, with player of the year defender Jean-Yves M’voto signing for Fife rivals Dunfermline Athletic.

In order to retain the players they want on the wages they can afford, the club may be forced to consider a hybrid model that allows certain players to train part-time hours in order to supplement their income outwith football.

Chairman Young said: “Contracts are legally binding no matter what league you’re in, but we’re not a club that’s going to hold players against their will.

“It’s possible we could lose players who are under contract. It depends what their personal circumstances are.

“There are a lot of difficulties and we need to find solutions.

“However, there are a core of players who accept that they have created the problem and who want to do everything they possibly can to resolve it.

“The most important thing now is to get out of League One in one season. The best way to do that is with full-time players at Stark’s Park.

“Whether that’s having everyone full-time, or a mixture of full-time and part-time, we’ll have to see how that pans out.

“We want to keep the good players who are contract for next year so we’ll have to look at how best to accommodate them.”

Discussions over the next manager also took place this week with a shortlist of candidates drawn up and interviews to commence this week.

“Everything is still a bit raw but we’ve got to move forward,” Young added.

“We’re trying to set things in motion as far as plans for next season are concerned.

“We can’t sign any players until the manager situation is resolved so that is our priority.

“There’s a shortlist and we’ll be carrying out interviews, but it will probably be into next week before anything comes out.

“The last thing we want to do is move too quickly. It’s very important that we get this one right.”

Young refused to comment when asked whether U20 league title-winning development coach Craig Easton would be considered for the post, however the Press understands that internal candidates are being considered for a first team coaching role.

Other names in the frame include Darren Young, who recently departed Albion Rovers, former Raith player Danny Lennon, and Dumbarton boss Stevie Aitken. All three are believed to have interviewed for the post in the past.

John McGlynn, the man who steered the club back to the Championship the last time it was in the third tier, and who is currently working as an opposition scout at Celtic, is another possible candidate.