Winning games and good to watch - so what's stopping Raith fans turning out in numbers?

Raith fans celebrate a last minute winner against Morton in October. Credit - Fife Photo Agency -Raith fans celebrate a last minute winner against Morton in October. Credit - Fife Photo Agency -
Raith fans celebrate a last minute winner against Morton in October. Credit - Fife Photo Agency -
Raith Rovers are making a renewed appeal for lapsed fans to return to Stark's Park and get behind the team in the push for the play-offs.

Club directors are frustrated with a downward trend in attendances this season despite an impressive campaign that has put Ray McKinnon’s side seven points clear in fourth place with eight games remaining.

In a reversal of recent seasons, Rovers have been particularly strong at home with nine wins from 15 in the Championship so far, and they have just won four on the bounce.

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With only three home games left in the regular season, starting with Saturday evening’s live BBC Alba clash against Hibs, the club is hoping the people of Kirkcaldy and surrounding areas can respond to the team’s performances by turning out in numbers.

Eric Drysdale, Raith chief executive, told the Press: “We’d like to ask our regulars supporters, who have been with us through thick and thin, and who see how the team is performing now - scoring goals and playing attractive football - to talk to their friends and relatives and encourage them to come along and give it a go.

“We’ve got three very important home games left against the teams above us and the support from Rovers fans is going to be critical to help us get the results we’re all hoping for.

“It’s good to watch just now - we have a manager who encourages attacking football and players who like to go forward. We’ve even got a good defence as well!

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“But for some reason the message isn’t getting out to the people who were regulars but who have fallen by the wayside. What’s stopping occasional supporters from coming along? That’s what I’d like to know.”

Raith’s average attendance for the season so far, 1984, falls behind the likes of St Mirren, Queen of the South and Morton while local rivals Dunfermline are averaging 3274 in League One.

“It’s clear we’re facing an almighty struggle to get people to attend games on a regular basis,” Drysdale added.

“We’ve got a decent number of season ticket holders but we’re struggling to attract the occasional supporters who pick and choose their games.

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“Our match day co-ordinator, Ali More, has done a power of work to improve the match day experience and attract young people and families in particular. We’ve also handed out free tickets to youth clubs and schools in Kirkcaldy, Glenrothes and surrounding areas.

“We’re doing what we reasonably can to make the overall match day experience as positive as we can, but we just aren’t getting the lapsed supporters returning in significant numbers.

“Ray McKinnon is doing a fantastic job on what is probably the lowest full-time budget in British football. It’s certainly the lowest in Scotland - I know that for a fact.

“For him to have achieved what he has so far - and for the club to back him to the extent it has - is nothing short of remarkable.

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“To sustain that into next season we need to know people will come out and support us and the best way to do that is by coming to games, and buying season tickets.”

Drysdale also revealed that, for the first time, Raith fans will be able to pay for 2016-17 season tickets in instalments.