Raith Rovers reveal trust plans & action on attendances

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Raith Rovers are making moves to improve their performance off the pitch - launching a new charitable trust, employing a community officer and tasking a group to come up with new ideas to improve match day attendances.

The plans are all aimed at the 2014-15 season, and were revealed in a statement published on the club’s website this morning.

They come as talks continue over the lease of the ground which is owned by Thailand-based businessman John Sim.

The behind-the-scenes activity was revealed by Dave Wann, the current fans’ representative on the board, who spoke of the ‘‘disappointingly low’’ attendance levels at Stark’s Park even before the current slump took hold and dragged the team dangerously close to the relegation play-offs.

The charitable trust will be an arm’s length organisation set up ‘‘for the benefit of the community ... with indirect benefits for the club.’’

The project, to be up and running for the start of next season, is being led by Tom Philips, former fans’ representative on the board, who has also secured a grant from the SPFL to fund a part-time community officer.

Mr Wann said: ‘’I would encourage any supporters who feel that they have the skills, the time and the determination to help get this trust off the ground to volunteer to be trustees.’’

In tandem, the club has asked Ali More, a former fans’ representative on the board, to lead a group to come up with new ideas to improve attendances at Stark’s Park.

It will be open to supporters clubs and other individuals and organisations and, again, is expected to deliver in time for the new season starting in August.

Said Mr Wann: ‘‘Even before our slump in league form, crowd numbers were disappointingly low.’’

The club has benefitted from TV cash and good cup runs - giving them more income than forecast - and that, said Mr Wann, has allowed them to pay back some short term loans, which were ‘‘needed to tide the club over through leaner times and to carry out some necessary improvements to the stadium.’’

He added: ‘‘In this highly competitive league all the games between now and the end of the season are important. We need to avoid the relegation play-off spot and we need to get back into contention for the fourth place promotion play-off spot. There will be significant financial rewards for achieving a good league position.’’