Two year lease - but a long-term future at Stark’s

Stark's Park, the home of Raith Rovers
Stark's Park, the home of Raith Rovers
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Raith Rovers have reached an agreement with their landlord that will see the club remain at Stark’s Park for at least a further two years.

Negotations have taken place between club officials and John Sim, the majority shareholder of Stark’s Park Properties, since before the original lease expired in August 2013.

Rovers have been paying £4000 per month in rent to Mr Sim since the Thailand-based business bought the stadium as part of the New Raith Rovers takeover in 2005, however the club refused to disclose the terms of the new lease arrangement.

Despite the short-term nature of the new lease, club chief executive Eric Drysdale, who helped broker the deal with Mr Sim, insists there are no plans to relocate from Stark’s Park.

“Nobody wants us to move away from Stark’s Park, neither ourselves or the landlord,” he explained.

“This deal was a long time in the making and I was involved in several meetings with Mr Sim to get to this stage, and we’re pleased with where we are.

“Discussions will continue in the weeks and months ahead to get into a more settled long-term position so we can concentrate on the rest of the football club.”

The club has also decided to proceed with plans to re-open part of the Railway Stand to away supporters next season.

The project, which will be funded by club profits from the past two seasons, will increase the capacity of Stark’s Park by 500.

“We don’t yet know all the teams that will play in the Championship next season but we know Rangers and Hearts will be there,” Mr Drysdale added.

“In particular, with Rangers coming to town, we want to be able to satisfy demand, which we would be struggling to do with the McDermid Stand on its own.

“We are also conscious of the need to improve some aspects of the facilities for our own supporters and work on this will be ongoing throughout the close season.”

The club view the Railway Stand project as phase one of plans to redevelop sections of Stark’s Park, as club chairman Turnbull Hutton explained.

“We’ve needed to do something with the Railway Stand and we’ve known that for a long time,” he said.

“This project brings that side of the ground back into play, and gives us options to put smaller groups of away supporters in there instead of opening the big stand, which would save us money on security.

“There is the issue of the home end of the Railway Stand, and what happens there depends on what we want to do.If it’s just seats then it’s not a big job, but there are other options, possibly executive boxes or catering.

“There’s a whole list of options open to us, but it’s not all going to happen next season. It’s part of a long term goal.”