Hall of Fame beckons for Joe Baker

Joe Baker on the ball in training
Joe Baker on the ball in training

The organisers of Raith Rovers Hall of Fame night have revealed the name of the first legend to be inducted at this year’s show.

Joe Baker, a star in Scotland, England and Italy, will be honoured at the fourth annual live show at the Adam Smith Theatre on November 9.

The committee, Ally Gourlay, Willie McGregor, Alistair Cameron and Allan Crow, chose the striker, who played for the club between 1972-74, not just for his scoring exploits at Stark’s Park, but for his overall contribution to football.

Ally said: “He was one of the all time greats, not just in Scotland but in England too.

“When we consider a player we look at his career as a whole and if you’re taking about Joe Baker then what he achieved was phenomenal. He thoroughly deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.”

In a career which saw him have two spells at Hibs as well as playing for Torino and Arsenal amongst others, as well as amassing eight caps for England, no-one could have ever expected the goal scoring legend to end up in Kirkcaldy.

“It was incredible signing him,” Ally said. “It would be the equivalent nowadays of Rovers getting someone like Ryan Giggs. I don’t know how the manager George Farm pulled it off.”

Despite coming to the end of his career - he retired after his two year spell at Rovers - Baker carried on his prolific scoring record with 50 goals in 75 games.

Ally said: “I remember him playing very well, I was at the game when he scored five against Berwick.

“The great thing about him also was that despite his stature in the game he was never a big-time Charlie. He just didn’t have that about him. He was just one of the lads.”

Baker’s last game for the club was a friendly against Preston North End at Stark’s Park on August 7, 1974 where he lined up against his former England team mate, Bobby Charlton. Baker died in 2003 at the age of 63.

The committee is now looking for Rovers fans to get in touch with their nominations for entrants into this year’s Hall of Fame.

Ally said: “We’ve picked a name - now it’s up to you!”

To get involved, simply email your nomination to rrfchalloffame@gmail.com.