Raith Rovers ’94 - Where Are They Now Part 4

Raith Rovers Hall of Fame 2014
Raith Rovers Hall of Fame 2014

The Raith Rovers Hall of Fame night on Monday, November 10, pays tribute to the Coca-Cola Cup winning side of 1994.

To mark the occasion, over a series of articles, we take an in-depth look at the players who were in the Raith squad at the time of that historic success.

All profiles written by Ally Gourlay.

DAVIE KIRKWOOD (pictured)

St Andrews born, Kirkwood signed for East Fife as a 16 year old in 1983, going on to make over 100 appearances for the Methil club before Graeme Souness took him to Rangers in 1987. It was a disappointing spell for him which saw him back at East Fife on loan, before moving to Hearts. It was a transfer to Airdrieonians, under the watchful eye of Alex McDonald, which re-invigorated Kirky’s career. Jimmy Nicholl signed him for Raith in August 1994 and he went on to play 137 matches for Rovers before retiring in 2000. He spent time as a youth coach with Rangers, and then Ross County before taking up the managerial reins at Wick Academy where he transformed them from perennial strugglers to title contenders. Shortly after facing Rovers as manager of Wick, Kirky accepted the post as manager of Brora Rangers, leading them to their first Highland League title last year.

RONNIE COYLE (pictured)

One of the most fondly remembered Rovers players of all time. A Celtic youth signing, he made a handful of first team appearances before moving to Middlesbrough. A spell at Rochdale followed before Frank Connor persuaded him to move to Kirkcaldy in January 1988. Six glorious seasons followed in which Coyle was an integral part of the defence. He won First Division Championship medals in 1993 and 1995, although he missed out on the Coca Cola Cup Final due to injury. He made up for that disappointment by playing in the UEFA Cup the following season, a scenario beyond his wildest dreams when he signed in 1988. After Raith, Ronnie enjoyed spells at Ayr United, Albion Rovers, East Fife and Queen’s Park before hanging up his boots and moving into marketing in the energy sector. He maintained his links with his beloved Raith by getting involved in the Reclaim The Rovers campaign, and frequently was to be seen at Stark’s Park. He was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2009 and initially looked to have won his battle. However the disease returned a year later. His old team mates got together for a benefit match against the Celtic 94 side in March 2011 but it would prove to be Ronnie’s last visit to Stark’s Park, sadly passing away just two weeks later.

ROBBIE RAESIDE

Signed from St Andrews United in 1990, Robbie was brought up through the youth system, going on to make 83 appearances in six years with Rovers, winning two Championship medals in the process. He moved to Dundee in 1996 where he won another First Division medal two years later. Spells with Arbroath, Morton, Alloa, Stirling Albion , and Shelbourne followed, during which time he made an unlikely Champions League appearance He moved into sports physiotherapy and took up a role with Dundee as their physio. He left there to join Tayside Police, with who he serves today.

JIMMY NICHOLL (pictured)

Raith Rovers most successful manager of all time, leading them to two First Division titles, the Coca Cola Cup victory and the club’s one and only UEFA Cup campaign. He joined Manchester United as a 15 year old in 1971. Since making his debut in 1975, he went on to play more than 200 games at Old Trafford, playing in two FA Cup Finals in 1977 and 1979, gaining a winners medal in the latter. After a short spell on loan to Sunderland in 1981/82, he joined Toronto Blizzard in the NASL, returning to play 29 matches with Sunderland. He signed for Rangers in 1983, winning the League Cup before moving to West Bromwich Albion and returning to Rangers under the Graeme Souness revolution in August 1986 where he won two more League Cup winners medals and the Premier League Championship in 1986/87. During all this time he won 73 caps for Northern Ireland and played at two World Cup finals in 1982 and 1986. He joined Dunfermline Athletic in July 1989 as player/coach before joining Raith Rovers in as player/manager in November 1990. Building on the foundations laid by Frank Connor, Nicholl ushered in Raith’s third golden age (The first two being James Logan’s side of the 1920’s and Bert Herdman’s side of the 1950’s) and took the club to previously unimaginable heights, during which time he played 149 times for Rovers. When he left for Millwall in February 1996, his successors dismantled the side so much that when he returned to Raith just over a year later in June 1997 only Davie Kirkwood and Danny Lennon remained from the team he had left behind. Since he left the club in 1999, Jimmy has spent much of the intervening years as assistant manager to Jimmy Calderwood at Dunfermline Athletic, Aberdeen and Kilmarnock, although in most peoples eyes it was a partnership of equals. Jimmy returned to the number one position in 2010 when he took up the reins at Cowdenbeath where he kept them in Division One, and then moved to Kilmarnock as assistant to Kenny Shiels. Once again he is back at Cowdenbeath as manager.

MARTIN HARVEY

Former Sunderland and Northern Ireland wing half who made nearly 400 appearances at Roker Park. When his career was cut short by injury, Harvey moved into coaching with Sunderland, and assistant manager spells at Carlisle United and Plymouth Argyle followed. He was also assistant to Billy Bingham at the 1982 World Cup with Northern Ireland. Jimmy Nicholl brought Harvey to Raith Rovers in November 1991 and the pair clicked right away as they took Raith to unimaginable heights. Harvey left for Millwall along with Jimmy Nicholl, and when Nicholl returned to Raith in 1997, Harvey elected to remain down south. These days he lives in Plymouth and has little to do with football.