'Disgusted' Raith Rovers legend withdraws from club's Hall of Fame over David Goodwillie signing
Raith Rovers legend Stephen McAnespie has instructed his lawyer to write to the club asking to be removed from its Hall of Fame over the signing of David Goodwillie.
The former right-back, who starred in Raith’s famous Coca-Cola Cup final win over Celtic in 1994, said he was left “disgusted” by the club’s decision to sign a player ruled to be a rapist in a civil court case in 2017.
Several club officials and volunteers, including directors Bill Clarke and Andy Mill, have already quit the Kirkcaldy outfit over the move, while the women’s team have taken steps to disassociate themselves with Raith and set up on their own.
Val McDermid, the award-winning crime author, has also withdrawn her support and sponsorship of the club, while Nicola Sturgeon and Gordon Brown have both urged Rovers to reconsider their position after the club paid an undisclosed transfer fee to sign Goodwillie from Clyde on Monday.
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McAnespie, who earned the club a record transfer fee of £900,000 which still stands to this day when he was sold to Bolton Wanderers in 1995, was inducted into the Raith Hall of Fame along with the rest of the Coca-Cola Cup winning side in 2014.
But the former Aberdeen youth, who now lives in the USA, no longer wishes to be associated with the accolade.
“I am disgusted… disgusted by the signing of that player by the club I love,” he said.
“My lawyer is issuing a statement today, it needs more of our guys to make a stand. I have a daughter and we all have females in our life. The club statement was embarrassing, whoever wrote it needs to step down and apologise.
“I’m beyond livid, I loved being proud of being a Rover.
“So many Raith fans are like me disgusted. They are stopping giving money to the club and many have contributed instead to the fundraiser for Rape Crisis Scotland Helpline. Supporting all victims of this sort of act, victims who will be upset and appalled by events at Stark’s Park.
“The fans, the volunteers, all those who have felt forced to step away or resign deserve better than this. Like so many who love the Rovers I am horrified and deeply upset by this episode. I’m disgusted.
“I’m withdrawing my Hall of Fame membership with a heavy, heavy heart. I can’t be involved with an organisation that excuses that sort of behaviour.”
McAnespie, who turned 50 last year, now lives in New Orleans where he coaches young footballers at Louisiana Fire SC.
He added: “I’ve coached here in the USA since 2002 with boys, girls and young people at every age group. I’ve coached several women who’ve gone on to play for the USA. I have been involved in football all my working life promoting being both better players and better people.
“We are role models. Young people look to football players and clubs for examples of how to play, to act and to live. I know and understand how important a club’s reputation is.”