Raith Rovers welcome “fantastic gesture” from Scottish football benefactor

The Fife derby may only be played three times next season (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)The Fife derby may only be played three times next season (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)
The Fife derby may only be played three times next season (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)
Raith Rovers have welcomed the £50,000 cash boost from Edinburgh businessman James Anderson.

The money will come as part of deal made by Mr Anderson with the SPFL to help clubs through the coronavirus pandemic.

Anderson, who is a fund manager and partner with Baillie Gifford, has agreed a deal to give £3,125,000 to the Scottish Professional Football League Trust to help clubs survive the coronavirus crisis – the biggest single personal donation in Scottish football history.

Raith chairman Bill Clark called it a “fantastic gesture”.

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James Anderson  (Pic: Matt Marcus)James Anderson  (Pic: Matt Marcus)
James Anderson (Pic: Matt Marcus)

“The money will mean we can make sure that, in terms of health and hygiene, the stadium is absolutely fine for our players coming back,” he said, “and then, hopefully, making sure it’s ready for the ladies starting up again, for the walking football, the youths and the Community Club in due course.

“Each club has to fill out an application form which will come to us later on this week from the SPFL, and it’s got to be related to COVID-19 and have a benefit for the community.”

It was one of two donations made to the club this week, the other coming via the Donate A Ticket scheme – the brainchild of Rovers fan Ruaridh Kilgour – which saw Rovers knocked out last weekend by Beath Juniors, but still pocket £15,468 into the bargain.

“I think what Ruaridh has done has been absolutely magnificent,” Mr Clark said, “it just shows you what a guy with his kind of imagination can bring to the game.

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Raith chairman Bill Clark (Fife Photo Agency)Raith chairman Bill Clark (Fife Photo Agency)
Raith chairman Bill Clark (Fife Photo Agency)

“We’re very pleased with what we’ve got out of it and it was interesting to me that a lot of the Junior clubs got involved.

“They’ve seen it as a lifeline, and my goodness it has been.

“The likes of Tranent Juniors have made a fair amount of money out of this.

“The other good thing about it was that it wasn’t gambling, but it was keeping your interest in the game going.

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“It was quite competitive in that way. When it was us against Beath Juniors it was great watching how it was ding-donging backwards and forwards.

“We’re very pleased with what we’ve got out of it.”

As the Press went to print the SPFL were meeting to discuss the possibility of league reconstruction model put forward by Hearts owner Ann Budge, one which Rovers voiced their disapproval towards.

Mr Clark said: “We’re really just waiting to hear the outcome of that, but of course the Rangers proposal has muddied the waters a bit.

“We don’t know where that’s going to be discussed.

“It’s more League One and Two clubs that their proposal affects directly, but I recall being at a meeting of the League One and Two clubs last year where there was quite a lot of opposition to bringing in Colts sides, so I can’t see that will have changed much.”

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Ahead of next season, Raith offered a partial refund of season ticket money from last year after the fixture list finished with four home games left to play, but the vast majority of the Stark’s Park faithful have turned the offer down.

“It’s terrific from our supporters,” Mr Clark said, “now what we’re looking to do is when we put out the season tickets for next season, which will be in the next three to four weeks, is to put them at a rate that is less than we would usually do.

“It’s to recognise the fact that the supporters have been so good in all sorts of respects.

“We’re waiting on a final decision as to what the league is going to look like - is it going to be 10 in the Championship or is it going to be 14?

“We can’t really put them out until we can be sure.

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“The away strip is being launched on the 28th of this month, we might just get the season tickets out before then but I think it’s more likely to be early July.”

Indications are the Championship will resume in mid-October with each side facing each other three times during the season – meaning the loss of a Fife derby against Dunfermline.

Mr Clark said: ““We’re working to that model at the moment so until we hear that there is definitely going to be reconstruction, in order to do any planning at all, we have to make an assumption that that’s how it’s going to be.

“We have to face the reality - is this the best solution or not?

“Under the circumstances, OK we accept it.”

He added: “We’ll be fine.”

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