Paquito heads west: 'I was forced to leave'

RAITH Rovers midfielder Paquito has been forced out the Stark's Park exit door.

The Spaniard, who was contracted until the end of the season, will join First Division rivals Hamilton Accies at the end of the month, despite insisting that he wants to stay at Raith Rovers.

The 35-year-old has revealed how cash problems at the Kirkcaldy club left him with little choice after financial director Colin McGowan urged him to join Accies for "business reasons".

The shock move has prompted an angry response from Raith fans who idolised the former Las Palmas man since his move to Kirkcaldy in 2001.

But McGowan has defended the decision to offload one of Rovers' highest earners after admitting that the club is in the middle of a cashflow crisis.

"He asked if it would help Raith Rovers if he left, I told him it would, so he agreed to go – it's as simple as that," he told SportsPress.

"It looks like we will be in the Second Division next season so we couldn't afford to offer him a new deal.

"At least this gives him the chance to prove himself at Hamilton and win a contract for next year.

"The interest from Hamilton was genuine. There is no way that we could have engineered the signing.

"I don't expect many fans to be in favour of this but I know there will be many who will understand the reasons for it."

Paquito admitted that he was finding it difficult to come to terms with the reasons for his departure.

"It's really difficult to explain because I don't want to leave," he revealed.

"Everybody knows that I'm really happy here but I've been forced to go because of the money situation and it's very sad for me.

"All I want to do is help the club but I don't know if this is right.

"I was already told that I wasn't going to be offered a new contract next season so perhaps the club is looking towards then.

"All that is left for me to say is a big thank you to the supporters and the players who have been great to me during my three-and-a-half years here."

Paquito will continue his work as Youth Development Officer at Raith until the end of the season.

"I will finish the season then sit with my agent and see what happens,"he said.

"I'm getting older so all I want is to be able to enjoy my football."