Ramsdens Cup glory is payback for Raith directors

Raith chief executive Eric Drysdale (left) and chairman Turnbull Hutton with the Ramsdens Cup
Raith chief executive Eric Drysdale (left) and chairman Turnbull Hutton with the Ramsdens Cup

The Raith Rovers directors held their usual weekly meeting in the board room of Stark’s Park this week with one major difference - the Ramsdens Cup was sitting in the middle of the table.

While the team rightly laps all the plaudits for Sunday’s stunning victory, it’s fair to say that it would be not have been possible without the men sitting around that table.

Running a club like Raith can be a thankless task at times but Sunday’s win was some reward for all the hardship the directors have faced keeping the club going over some turbulent years.

“It’s payback time for everyone at the club who has worked so hard to get us where we are, and for the people who’ve supported us through thick and thin,” said chief executive Eric Drysdale.

“There’s been some difficult times over the years, but Sunday was a great day - it’s days like this that make it worthwhile for all Raith supporters to stick by the club.

“It was just great to be involved in that type of occasion and our fans were terrific - they were the 12th man that got us over the finishing line.”

Drysdale has been on the board for 16 years and has sat through many crisis meetings, including one when the club was seven minutes from going bust.

However, the Ramsdens Cup win comes at a time when the Kirkcaldy club is in a much healthier state, on and off the pitch.

“When I joined the board in 1998 it was on the back of a situation where the club had vastly overspent on wages,” Drysdale said.

“We went from a bank overdraft of £30,000 at the end of one year, to an overdraft of £1.1m one year later due to overspending.

“Truth be told, it’s taken us these 16 years to get things back on an even keel.

“We don’t have any bank debt, we don’t have any overdue creditors, and we have some money in the bank.

“The club is more stable now than at any time I’ve been involved.

“That’s been possible firstly as a result of prudent budgeting and good housekeeping, and secondly because of the extra income brought in as a result of successes on the pitch.

“There’s a lot of people involved over my time who deserve praise for getting us into the stable position we now find ourselves in.”

Sunday’s cup win has also gone a long way towards justifying the board’s faith in manager Grant Murray, who was handed a three-year contract last year before a sudden dip in league form.

“I’m absolutely delighted for Grant - he’s an unflappable character,” Drysdale said.

“When things have gone wrong over the course of the season - such as long term injuries and the run of bad results - he’s stayed resolute and confident in the ability of his players and himself to get us through the difficult patch.

“I’m absolutely delighted for him, and the rest of the backroom team, because they’re a great bunch of guys, they work bloody hard, and they deserve this special day that we’ve had.”

With a national cup in the bag, the next task for Raith is to secure their place in the Championship for next season.

“Sunday was good, but we can’t afford to bask in the glory for long,” Drysdale said.

“We haven’t finished our business for this season and first of all we’ve still to get ourselves safe from the prospect of the relegation play-offs.

“There’s also still an opportunity to play towards the promotion play-offs if the results go our way,.

“By the time we get to three o’clock this Saturday it’s back to business - we can’t allow ourselves to be distracted by what happened last week.

“We need to focus on the task in hand. Assuming we can continue to play in the Championship next season, that is going to be such a challenging contest.

“We’re going to have to prepare very thoroughly in terms of getting players signed up, getting the pitch ready, stadium ready, kit ready - everything ready for next season.

“This club is going to go to another level next season. Rangers, Hearts, Dundee, Hibs, Dunfermline - all of these clubs could be at Stark’s Park next season.

“We could have as many as a dozen all ticket matches so we’re hoping our regular supporters will decide that now is the time to buy a season ticket.”