Raith Rovers Hall of Fame: magic memories from the most special nights
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An idea hatched over a beer became something incredible, amazing and utterly joyous. None of us had hired a theatre before, let alone staged a show on this scale, but when good people get behind you, magical things happen.
Alistair and I went to the Alhambra Theatre to see Alex Ferguson in conversation. On stage he was joined by a host of Dunfermline Athletic team-mates. The thought process went something like this: Raith Rovers+Jim Baxter = live show. I texted Gordon Brown, who was sitting in one of the royal boxes, and he replied “great, let’s do it.”
So we did. We gatecrashed Fergie’s post-show drinks and introduced ourselves to host Bill Leckie, and then we went to the Adam Smith Theatre who asked what we planned, and did we have any money. The answers were a vague ‘Hall of Fame thing’, and, er no. They jumped on board.
Ally Gourlay was next and he was the catalyst to expanding it into a night of celebration about Rovers. He also insisted we shoot for the moon when it came to VIP guests. Aim high, dream big. We asked Gordon Brown if he knew Pele - he did. When that didn’t come off - and we came close - he asked who else we wanted. Er, Beckham? He laughed. We were serious.
Aiming high landed us everyone from Jeff Stelling to Harry Redknapp, from Souness to Strachan, from Merson to Molby. Each one of them not only said yes, but they loved the show, the venue, the people and the sheer joy of the night.
The shows were built from scratch over Wednesday curries at the Beveridge Park where we chatted, sometimes argued, but laughed often as we birled down rabbit holes and came up with ideas which lit up the stage. The nights worked because the team on stage and behind the scenes were all invested in the show.
This year would have marked the pandemic-delayed tenth anniversary show,. Two major milestones were in the eyelines of the organisers - 30 years since the Coca Cola Cup win, and a decade since the Ramsdens Cup - so for them to step back says so much. The work Alistair, Greig Hopcroft and John Greer put in to bring the show back this year was unbelievable. It was a triumph on par with that first show in 2012.
The Hall of Fame has been part of all our lives for over a decade, It has given us incredible memories that will never fail to make us smile or bring a tear. The fans who bought tickets a year in advance with no idea what the night would hold - they got it. The players who came every year, Silky, Jock, Daz, Tom Houston - they got it. The sponsors who stuck with us - they got it. Everyone involved did.
It was a night that filled the room with pride and love for Rovers, and celebrated its finest people and teams. We hope we did everyone inducted proud. Above all, the show always was about them.