Last kick of the ball for Fife footballer Pauline Harley

Pauline (centre) in action for Raith Rovers
Pauline (centre) in action for Raith Rovers

A Kirkcaldy footballer has blown the final whistle on her playing career which has lasted over 30 years.

Pauline Harley has decided to hang up her boots at the age of 45 after spending the last 35 years playing, coaching and managing in the women’s game.

She said it all began when she was a pupil at Fair Isle Primary School.

“Back then girls didn’t get to play football,” she said, “my auntie had to go up to the school to get them to let me in the school team.

“After primary I got into women’s football because there weren’t any girls teams. I went on to play for quite a few teams in my career.

“I played for Raith and before I moved up north four years ago I brought the ladies and girls teams at Raith together.

“Raith Ladies was started by Eddie Doig but they were on the edge of folding. I put in a good couple of years into making sure it carried on because when I was younger, there was no girls football.

“We only had about 10 members then we had it up to about 120.

“I was the manager of the ladies and girls before I had to move on. That was really difficult because it’s one of the bigger achievements in my life and it’s nice to see them still doing really well.

“Raith has a very special place in my heart.”

A mental health nurse, Pauline spent four years living in Aberdeen before returning to the Lang Toun in 2018.

To mark her retrial, Pauline’s last team, Forfar Farmington, voted her the Player’s Player of the Year, one of the many highlights of her long career.

“I won the League Cup at Stark’s Park whilst playing for Cove Rangers.

“That was away back in the early 1990s and it was something special.

“I also played in the League Cup Final for Raith at Stark’s Park and we finished fourth in the Premier League that season too.

“I was top scorer in Scotland in 1997 and another highlight is the development of Raith Ladies and Girls.”

Though she hasn’t ruled out a return to management, Pauline says she has definitely finished playing.

“It takes a lot of time and effort but I’m going to have a break, put my feet up and then see what happens.

“I said I would play until I was 35 so I’ve not done too badly!”