Since initially hearing about the proposed takeover of Raith Rovers by Starks Park Properties a fortnight ago, the board of Raith Supporters Trust have participated in further discussions to discover more about the detail of the deal. Whilst nothing concrete has been finalised, we feel that it is important to share as much of this information as we can with our members, and will continue to provide regular updates as we learn more.
The proposals by Starks Park Properties stress the importance of the club operating sustainably within its means, and being an asset for our community. The Trust share these principles entirely, and we welcome the opportunity of exploring how this can happen in practice. Football is not an industry in which financial prudence and responsibility are rewarded in the short-term – in most seasons the leagues are won by the highest spenders, and the culture of “speculate to accumulate” dominates. The proposals from Starks Park Properties do not yet address this challenge, and we look forward to seeing a business plan which demonstrates how Raith Rovers could buck this trend.
We are excited by Starks Park Properties’ ideas for developing our home, and look forward to discovering more about what is planned. Despite its limitations it is a unique football ground, and in any redevelopment we will be keen to see this unique character retained while it is modernised to help the club improve its commercial performance.
We have approached John Sim to initiate discussions that will help us understand more about the takeover proposals and the plans for the club, but have not yet managed to speak directly with him. We believe there is broad alignment between how he would like to see the club operate and what we would like, and also hope there is some scope for flexibility in how any takeover happens. As we made clear in our statement last week, we believe in shared ownership of football clubs and observe that the most common route to clubs’ demise is when a single individual takes control – regardless of their intentions or the robustness of their initial plans. Football can be a precarious business, and we will strive to ensure that permanent structural safeguards are incorporated in any deal that takes place in the coming months.
If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions about the proposed takeover, please post them in the comments section of this post or come and speak to us at the Trust’s information point at our next home match.