Raith Rovers move online to keep in contact with support

Lewis Vaughan's hat trick against Dunfermline was an online hit recently during lockdown (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)Lewis Vaughan's hat trick against Dunfermline was an online hit recently during lockdown (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)
Lewis Vaughan's hat trick against Dunfermline was an online hit recently during lockdown (Pic: Fife Photo Agency) | walter_ neilson
After what turned out be the final game of Raith Rovers’ season on March 7 v Forfar, the club were keen to make sure supporters remained engaged with the club.

To maintain interest, it was decided that three things would take place: a weekly bulletin replacing the Rovers Review matchday programme, social media Q&As and live re-runs of memorable matches.

When the season was suspended, the scheduled East Fife match programme was well advanced, so volunteer programme editor Bill Gilby and his team decided to forge ahead and publish it free on the club website.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Bill said: “We then thought let’s keep going with a weekly bulletin, supporting our local advertisers.

“We have a pool of 20 plus contributors plus the football club board, manager and players.

“We’ve obviously no match specific material but we’ve introduced anagrams, playlists, memorabilia, a guess who? feature with photos of the players as youngsters.

“We’ve also had new advertising from Ian Rankin and Val McDermid – many thanks.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“This weekend sees our seventh bulletin. The most downloads we’ve had is 428, many more issues than we’d sell at a normal game.

“We’re reaching new readers who will hopefully support us when normality returns.”

Social media volunteer Blair Hopcroft was determined to keep the supporters and players “in contact” via the club’s official social media channels, and has facilitated an online Q&A session every day for 50 days since March 14.

“We started with club captain Kyle Benedictus and have done the full squad plus lots of former players from Coca-Cola Cup winners,” he said, “three former managers in Peter Hetherston, Antonio Calderon and Grant Murray as well as cult heroes from the past 30 years including Damian Casalinuovo, Tony Rougier, Willy Nanou and Jock McStay.”

“We even did one with local referee John Rowbotham.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

With no matches to attend, the RaithTV team of volunteers spent hours synchronising full match audio and video footage of memorable games from this season and from years before.

Media officer, Niall Russell, says: “On five matchdays when Rovers supporters would have been getting ready to leave for Stark’s Park or travelling to away grounds they were able to get their Rovers ‘fix’ from the comfort of their own home, watching an “as live” broadcast of a Rovers victory, complete with the commentary that RaithTV subscribers would have listened to on the original matchday.

“This run of broadcasts started with a re-run of the Scottish Cup victory v Dunfermline Athletic from season 2018/19 – sold as a fundraiser for the crowdfunding drive that had just started – when a memorable Lewis Vaughan hat-trick saw the Rovers progress to the 4th round of the tournament.

“Over 100 viewers tuned in to relive this match.”

“At this point in the lockdown, the SPFL allowed member clubs to broadcast one match per week free of charge so it was decided that on subsequent Saturdays – ending last week – four matches would be made available to watch on YouTube for free in real time on Saturdays at 3pm.”

All four of these matches remain available to watch (with full commentary) at https://www.youtube.com/RaithRoversTV/videos.

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.