Raith fans’ anger over ‘shambolic’ stewarding

The stadium filled up quickly on Saturday. Picture: Fife Photo Agency
The stadium filled up quickly on Saturday. Picture: Fife Photo Agency

Gutted Raith Rovers fans who were left heartbroken after Saturday’s result have been left furious due to “shambolic” crowd management.

Around 4500 supporters turned up after the club urged fans to get behind them in the fight for promotion against Alloa Athletic.

However, the club was unable to accommodate all the fans who showed up, with some citing a lack of clear direction from stewards, and supporters ending up in a stand without working toilets.

A lack of seats in the home end meant around 200 fans moved to the railway stand while the match was in play, before the lack of toilets meant they had to be shifted once more to the away stand.

The club are understood to be meeting stewarding firm Solutions Security on Thursday to find out what went wrong.

One young member of the Roary Club was also told he had to discard his Raith Rovers branded juice bottle or face being turned away.

Six-year-old Jay White had to bin the bottle to get access to the ground, despite the fact that the bottle was previously bought there.

His dad Jonathan asked staff to keep it in a safe place, but it was discarded.

Jonathan said: “I’d describe the stewarding as shambolic.

“There wee too many people and not enough stewards. Whoever the stewards were getting instructions from had no plan B, much like the team on Saturday, unfortunately.

“We try and go to as many home games as we can. Two stewards in the queue told us ‘you can’t get in with that’.

“I tried explaining that it’s just plastic and with diluted orange juice but they just said ‘no.

“He loves that bottle and takes it to bed with him. He got a little upset during the game without it.

“It might not seem like a big deal, but for the wee boy it was.

“The numerous times we’ve been this season, he’s had the bottle with him and it wasn’t a problem.

“Bless him, he was sat there with some chocolate his mum had put in his pocket. I asked him ‘aren’t you going to eat your chocolate?’ and he said ‘I don’t know if I’m allowed, they might take it off me’.

“We were early enough to get seats, but they obviously didn’t count the number of people coming into the South Stand, and it was grossly overcrowded.

“For the first 15 minutes of the game, people were just standing up in the aisles.

“People were directed to the Railway Stand, and they were there for about five minutes, and then they got moved into the North Stand.

“I don’t understand. They knew it was going to be a busy game.

“I’ve supported Raith all my life. I don’t want to cause the club any bother, I just want the stewarding to be a bit better.”

Raith Chairman Alan Young said the club had already received complaints about the stewarding.

He said: “I think by virtue of the fact that we’ve had a number of complaints that it wasn’t up to scratch, but I have to emphasise that we’ve used that company for the last five or six years, and we’ve never had any problems at all.

“It was a one-off in a big game.

“I think one of the other difficulties is that it’s a crowd of four and a half thousand, and there was only 92 Alloa fans. It’s the biggest home support we’ve had certainly in the last 10 years, and that causes the difficulties as well.

“It’s something that we have to ensure doesn’t happen again.

“It’s fabulous that the people of Kirkcaldy turned out for a game. We’re sorry that we let them down and let ourselves down by not winning the game, but we’ve still got the playoff and we still need the support. So come out and support your local team.

“One of the great things that I experienced was when the players came out of the tunnel on Saturday was the fabulous support that they got from the crowd. It was wonderful to hear it. And we’ll be hoping to hear it again soon.”

He added that he had contacted Jonathan about the issues he had raised.

Alan said: “I’ve responded directly to the father who contacted us. Suffice to say that things that are on sale by Raith Rovers are allowed into Stark’s Park. Obviously somebody was being a bit over-zealous here, and we’ve invited the two of them in for complimentary tickets for the next playoff game.”