Raith youth academy survives cutbacks

DIFFICULT JOURNEY: Raith director Tom Phillips
DIFFICULT JOURNEY: Raith director Tom Phillips

RAITH Rovers will continue to invest in youth despite the club’s financial troubles.

The club has announced that its academy has survived its budget cuts – albeit with two fewer teams.

The Raith academy will be made up of four teams for next season – under 13s, 14s, 15s and the joint 16/17s team.

The under 19s, which operate seperately from the academy, will also continue but will move to the Reserve League.

The decision to cut back follows a restructure of youth football by the Scottish FA, which affects the size of grant the club will receive.

Tom Phillips, the club director with the responsibility for the academy, explained: “It has been a difficult journey to get to this point.

“It is no secret that we have examined the budget of the whole football club and searched for areas of saving. The academy couldn’t be immune.

“However, given the changes to the structure and the funding available, we feel that this is the best way forward for Raith Rovers at this time.

“It still means a considerable financial commitment to youth football by the club and I hope it clearly demonstrates that, as a board, we still want to find and bring on our own young players and nurture them to a position where they become first team players. For a team like Raith, this must be the future.”

Raith manager John McGlynn, who has taken on the additional role of youth academy director, added: “Everyone at Raith wants to see young players coming through and playing for the first team.

“This way I have a more active role in maintaining coaching standards and ensuring that that we give all the young players we sign as good a chance as possible to make their way into the professional game.”

Keeping four teams means that the academy will be rated as a Two-Star Academy within the new SFA structure.

However, there is a ‘significant’ gap between grant aid received from the SFA and the true cost of operating the academy – which the club hopes to cover via sponsorship.

For sponsorship details, contact Bill O’Neil at Stark’s Park on (01592) 263514.