Issues needing resolved as Raith talks continue

John Sim
John Sim

Rovers director John Sim has indicated he would welcome suggestions from supporters over how to deliver the best future for the club.

Things were moving slowly following last week’s revelations he said, and discussions were continuing.

“As with all deals, things move forward and backwards,” he said.

Sim’s move for a possible takeover of the club was exclusively revealed in last week’s Fife Free Press.

The Thailand-based businessman, a lifelong Rovers fan, from Kirkcaldy, is the majority shareholder in Stark’s Park Properties (SPP), the firm which owns the ground, and one of the main shareholders in New Raith Rovers, the football club’s controlling company.

Discussions have taken place with the board over a possible restructure which could see the stadium and football club come under single ownership.

Sim was heartened by feedback that Tuesday night’s discussions with supporters’ representatives appeared to have gone well, although he was not in attendance.

In a statement, he said: “This is important, as football clubs are in the entertainment business and the customer is always right.

“Going forward, we hope the fans will be more involved in suggesting ways that the overall product on offer can be improved.

“This is the easy part; making things actually happen can be more challenging.”

Sim added: “Currently, we are still in an information gathering phase and there have, unfortunately, been some unexpected surprises.

“These need to be addressed, as they will be an additional drain on funds.

“We are optimistic that, if the people involved are reasonable, they will not be deal breakers.

“However, we have learned lessons from 2005 and will not proceed to completion unless the outstanding issues have been satisfactorily resolved.’’

In last week’s announcement of his potential takeover bid, Sim had cited his concern over heavy financial losses of around £100,000 a year at Raith since 2005.

He also criticised the state of the stadium and indicated plans to lay an artificial surface pitch in the summer of 2018.

Sim added: “We are working with the RRFC board to see how we can help address the fundamental issues identified. This could result in an offer from SPP, subject to consultation with Supporters’ Groups and other NRR shareholders. There is no silver bullet, so, yet again, it will need all interested parties to work together to develop a realistic plan we can implement rather than to come up with something that gathers dust on a shelf.”

Sim also revealed that David Sinton, who had an 11 month spell as Raith chairman in 2006, has joined the board of Stark’s Park Properties.

He added: “An architect has been appointed to look at stadium possibilities and discussions have commenced with suppliers of all-weather surfaces. We expect to have a series of possibilities to discuss by the end of September.”

Raith fans want to begin talks