With a background in education, it was only natural that Bill Clark became involved in youth development after joining the Raith Rovers board of directors.
Bill’s work throughout his life has involved young people, whether as a school teacher, rector, HM chief inspector for Scotland or a consultant for governments introducing inspection and review systems in schools.
Having also worked in Australia, Hong Kong and the USA promoting cutting edge developments in education, Bill brings a wealth of experience into the Raith boardroom.
His appointment as a director was confirmed in October after making what he describes as a ‘substantial financial investment’ in the club. He is now working with Craig Easton to oversee the Development Squad, a role he inherited from predecessor, Tom Phillips.
“The first approach I made to the board was at the latter end of last season when we were doing so badly, and I intimated an interest in investing in the club, which was accepted,” Bill said.
“One of the things I said was that I felt my background and expertise could actually mean more to the club than just simply putting some money in.
“My whole career has been to do with things like leadership, management, target-setting, improvement-planning, which are skills you can use in any kind of organisation.
“My background is mainly in education and most of my time has been spent in schools. I always had a school football team, and I refereed as well, so I’m comfortable with having responsibility for the development squad.
“I was also involved with youth clubs, so working with young men is something that’s very much part of my background.”
So too is his love for Raith Rovers which stretches back to the 1950s. Born and bred in Dysart, Bill was a regular at Stark’s Park in his childhood.
“Although I’ve moved around the world, I’ve always followed the Rovers,” he said.
Bill is hopeful that this week’s relaunch of the Player Development Fund, and the release of new sponsorship packages, will attract the investment needed to help safeguard the future of the Development Squad.
“At the moment, we’ve got an excellent squad of boys, but things have stagnated a bit as far as raising money to support the fund is concerned,” he said.
“It is quite an expensive thing for the club to run a development squad, and when you consider the club had a deficit last year of £200,000 you have to think whether it’s worth running – but in my mind it’s absolutely the future of the club.
“It’s seems like the ideal time to say to fans, look, we’ve got something really good going here, can you support us financially to make sure this continues?
“Supporters seem to be identifying with that because the bucket collection we had against East Fife recently was fantastic and raised a record figure.
“More important is getting the commitment over a period of time, which is why we’ve got these forms that people can fill in and donate a monthly sum.
“It’s not about giving us too big a sum of money as an individual, but just a small, regular contribution which would help us enormously to keep this squad going.
“Think of it as a subscription towards the future of Raith Rovers.”
“We’ve also got sponsorship packages which we’ll take out to local companies and try encourage them that this is something worth investing in as far as Kirkcaldy as a town ins concerned, for the future of the football club and the local community.”
To donate to the Player Development Fund, visit Raith Rovers official website.