Fifers look for answers call-off

East Fife chairman Lee Murray and boss Gary Naysmith.
East Fife chairman Lee Murray and boss Gary Naysmith.

East Fife chairman Lee Murray has called on Scottish footballing chiefs to investigate the lateness of Saturday’s postponement at Stranraer.

Many fans had made the three hour long journey to Stair Park, only for the game to be called off around an hour and a half before kick-off.

A waterlogged pitch was blamed for the postponement, although East Fife fans reported that locals told them that the rain had been heavy since Friday - and that a decision could have been made earlier.

Mr Murray told the Mail: “We, as a club, have asked the league to look into it and that we have expressed our unhappiness at the lateness of the call off.

“I also would like to say that we will try as a club and help with the bus for the rearranged fixture.”

Frustrated Fife fans contacted the Mail to vent their anger at the wasted journey.

Bob Hunter said: “I was on the supporters bus and we only found out it was off while on the outskirts of town.”

Fellow Fife fan Craig Brown added: “We were at Maybole when I looked at Twitter at 2.10p.m. and found out.”

The date of the re-arranged game between the two has yet to be decided.

Colin Hickman, speaking on the Mail’s Facebook page, was aggrieved.

He said: “I’m not going back there for a long time.

“It was shocking Stranraer doing that.”

Diane Rae said her son travelled down on the supporters club bus.

“A long journey for them for nothing,” she said.

Kenny Mackay was another who wasted a day, he said: “It was torrential rain all the way down to Ayr.”

Bayview boss Gary Naysmith was left absolutely livid by the postponement.

He sympathised with supporters who had to shell out for the journey and said the call-off need to be investigated.

Gary Naysmith has backed chairman Lee Murray’s calls for the football authorities to look into the late call-off at Stranraer.

Both the club and travelling fans were left out of pocket by the wasted 300 mile round trip.

According to Naysmith, it could have been avoided if the hosts had called an early pitch inspection following several days of rain.

He told the Mail: “I was looking at the papers over the weekend and they just mention that the East Fife and Stranraer game was called off.

“But I find it unbelievable that nobody has said anything more about it.

“We left at 8.30a.m. and didn’t find out until about 12.45p.m. that the game was even in any doubt.

“It had seemingly been raining down there for days.

“Our chairman phoned their chairman to let them know that we may arrive a little bit late and nothing was said.

“Then 15 minutes later we get a phone call saying the game is off. If this was two Premier League teams everybody would be talking about it.

“The players are probably the least affected by it, but the fans would have paid £40 or £50 in petrol to get there.

“The club will also lose out because of it.

“The game will be played on a Tuesday night now and I’ll have lads working who might not be able to play.

“I’m also conscious that after the Arbroath game we had to wait nine days until our next game and now we were left without a game until Forfar on Saturday.

“We could have organised training or a bounce game on our park if we’d known.

“With Stranraer being so far it needs to be looked at because something similar happened to Forfar.”

Blair Henderson and James Thomson have joined the list of players departing Bayview, while two new players have arrived at the club.

Naysmith confirmed this week that Henderson’s short term stay at the club had expired, while Thomson’s loan from Dundee had also ended and would not be renewed.

With two players departing the club, a striker and a defender, replacements were quickly brought in.

The Bayview boss has added former Dunfermline centre half Kevin Rutkiewicz, who has most recently been playing for US side Carolina Railhawks.

Also arriving at Bayview is former Raith Rovers striker Kevin Smith who joins the club from Dumbarton.

The boss said: “The main reason I brought Kevin Rutkiewicz to the club is quite simply because he’s a good player.

“You don’t have the sort of career he has had without being a good player.

“He’s also a talker on the park and that’s something I think we needed.

“I spoke with a few people about Kevin Smith, like Grant Murray at Raith, and he said he did very well there.

“There were other clubs wanting him but he was really keen to sign for East Fife because of what we’re trying to do here and I really liked that in him.

“He wants to be at the club and I think he’ll do really well along with Liam Buchanan.”

The boss added that he is still on the lookout for a midfielder and may make a further couple of signings before Saturday’s visit of Forfar.

“We also don’t have many options at left back,” added Naysmith.

“So I’ll be looking to play the next couple of reserve games and hopefully make myself available again.”

Naysmith conceded that Forfar, who have beaten the Fifers in cup and league competitions this year, were the club’s “bogey team” but added that East Fife were increasingly becoming his side so is hoping for a different outcome.