Raith Rovers: The club has a bright future says Chairman MacDonald

Steve MacDonald says he aims to be the Chairman to take the club into the Premiership.

By Paul McCabe
Thursday, 2nd June 2022, 9:00 am
KIRKCALDY, SCOTLAND - MAY 24: Ian Murray (L) is unveiled as the new Manager of Raith Rovers with chairman Steven MacDonald at Starks Park, on May 24, 2022, in Kirkcaldy, Scotland.  (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)
KIRKCALDY, SCOTLAND - MAY 24: Ian Murray (L) is unveiled as the new Manager of Raith Rovers with chairman Steven MacDonald at Starks Park, on May 24, 2022, in Kirkcaldy, Scotland. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

The 61-year-old is a Kirkcaldy born and bred lifelong fan of the club who has gone from the terraces to the boardroom and now harbours ambitions to make the step up to Scotland’s top division.

He says his love for Raith was there from the start.

"My dad usually worked a Saturday so it was my uncles that used to take me to the match,” he says.

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"The three of them were crazy on the Rovers and took me to away games too so I've lots of fond memories of them lifting me over the turnstiles.”

Favourite players whilst growing up include Gordon Wallace, "a fantastic, fantastic player", Roddy Georgeson and, as a left winger at amatuer level himself, Malcolm Robertson.

MacDonald left school with no immediate job to go to but says he was soon taken under the wing of a Raith Rovers legend.

“My mum heard they were looking for store boys at Ross Electrical at Overton Road, so I went up on the Friday and lo and behold, I was met by Bobby Reid.

“He was the manager at the time and once he found out I played football he said I could start on the Monday.”

After working in various jobs in the electrical trade, he decided he was ready to branch out on his own and started his electrical wholesale business in 1988, aged just 27, which remains successful to this day.

In time his SM Electrical Supplies business would lead him to become involved in Junior football; Firstly as a sponsor for Thornton Hibs before becoming chairman for over a decade at Memorial Park then moving on to the same role at Glenrothes.

He says it gave him a good footing when it came to taking his place on the board at Raith.

“It gave me a bit of an insight as to what goes on.

“I had the basics. I had carried out player negotiations and things like that but this is a much bigger scale, it was a huge step up from where I was.

“But I like a challenge, my whole working life has been one and I like to win.”

Having joined the board three years ago MacDonald made the step up to Chairman in April, replacing owner John Sim, during a turbulent spell on Pratt Street in the wake of the David Goodwillie signing and just before losing manager John McGlynn.

“That was a major dent with the fans,” he admits, “we aspire to be a proper community club.

“Were we maybe blinded by thinking about football too much? I looked at it purely as a football decision, but It was devastating at the time.

“I shouldn't be here according to some because I was one of the ones who voted for it, but I think it's time to move on for the betterment of the community and the club.

“We're trying our hardest to create something at Raith Rovers that we've never had before in terms of being a community club.

“We want to start the next chapter working together with the community.”

He added: “Personally, I was sorry to see John go. We had a good understanding with each other and got on very well.

“John was looking for a bit more security at the age he's at and we just couldn't offer him any more than we did, but we parted on amicable terms and now it's time for a clean slate.”

And that clean slate has arrived in the shape of Ian Murray, an appointment which MacDonald says he's excited about.

"He's been watched by a few clubs. He's done very well with Airdrie and he was one of out top candidates from the start.

"He's a young manager with ambition, he knows what he wants to do and it matches what we were looking for."

In the short term MacDonald says the club will be aiming for the play-offs next season.

"That's our target. At this moment in time it would be great to achieve that.

"We have the nucleus of a good team and Ian is adding to it.

“Long-term, on the playing front, our goal is the Premiership. We want to get up there.

“Certainly we want to make a real challenge. You have to try and play at your highest level.

“Off the field there's a lot to do. The community hub has been approved and that's exciting to see.

“The Community Foundation has been very good for us. I see a lot more Raith Rovers strips being worn by the youngsters playing out there now. A few years ago it was all Man United and Barcelona, so that's great.

“There's other developments around the stadium too like new seating in the old stand for the hospitality crowd.

“It's all a continuation of the upgrades we've been making around the ground in recent years.”

Sitting in the hot seat in the Stark’s Park boardroom, MacDonald admits he sometimes has to pinch himself.

“It's quite surreal in a way. How can this wee, useless Kirkcaldy boy who left school with three ''O' levels be where he is today?!

“But I feel very privileged. Absolutely. I need to thank John Sim for having faith in me and I will certainly try my best to make the club successful and help in any way that I can to do that.

“There's a lot of work to be done here and it's exciting. We've gone up the ladder quite a bit in the three and half years that I've been here and there's so much we can still do.

“I'm very positive about the club's future.”