- Raith Supporters Trust - http://www.raithtrust.org.uk -

Raith Rovers

The Unofficial Story

Raith Rovers were founded in 1883 and play in the town of Kirkcaldy. Though there were a few other team who incorporated the town name, such as Kirkcaldy Wanderers, Raith were the most successful of the local teams. A mixture of local success and ambition took the club into the Senior leagues where they established themselves and thereby became the pre-eminent team in the town. As a curiosity the town also plays host to the oldest British ice hockey team but they too eschew the town’s name, instead taking the county name to be called Fife Flyers. Perhaps the tricky pronunciation of Kirkcaldy is to blame!

The town itself is located on the south coast in the County (or Kingdom) of Fife in the east of Scotland, just north of Edinburgh over the Firth of Forth. It has a population of around 50,000 and is therefore the largest town in Fife and around the 12th largest in Scotland. The old Kirkcaldy District which includes the surrounding towns and villages has a population of around 148,000 people.

There are three other senior league teams in Fife with East Fife around eight miles to the east, and Cowdenbeath and Dunfermline nine and fourteen miles respectively, to the west. Kirkcaldy has historically been an industrial town with linoleum and coal mining the main employers. However times have changed and following the closure of most of the local coal mines in the 1980’s the town has diversified and modernised its employment opportunities – a process that is still ongoing and hasn’t been entirely painless.

A Potted History

A totally inexhaustive look at some of the important (and not so important) events in the long history of the club:

Scott Thomson saves Paul McStay's penalty to win the Coca-Cola Cup
Unthinkable surely for the skipper to miss… but he has!

One nil up at the Olympic Stadium
One nil to the Rovers!

There’s also a nice graphical history of Raith strips through the years here [1]and a detailed Wikipedia entry for the club here [2].

Players and Managers

Andy Young
Raith Rovers are very fortunate to have a very active Former Players Association, with heroes from the near and distant past in attendance at every home match. As Honorary President of the association, Andy Young was one of the greatest ever Rovers players, having played 611 first team games and scoring 141 goals between 1945 and 1960. In the last few years of his life Andy took to the pitch almost as many times as that to pick the winning ticket in the half-time draw!

Here is a selection of some of the great players and managers to make their name at the club, or who went on to go to the very top of their profession after getting their first chance at Stark’s Park:

Starks Park

Football grounds throughout the UK have changed almost beyond recognition over the last twenty years and Starks Park has been no different. But from ash terracing to cantilever stands, Rovers fans have been watching their favourites perform at the same venue for over 100 years.

Raith moved to Starks Park on the west edge of the town late in the 19th century when their original pitch, Robbie’s Park, was chosen to become a new local park with money bequeathed by Provost Michael Beveridge.

The ground itself has undergone substantial changes over the years. Initially there was a simple pavilion with cinder banks for spectators. In 1922 the Main Stand was built and remains in use to this day. The money borrowed to build the grandstand was only finally paid off in 1948 when a player was transferred!!

The Main Stand at Starks Park

The Main Stand

Much less ambitious redevelopment happened in the 1950’s with both ends of the ground receiving covered standing enclosures. Floodlights were installed in 1960.

These all survived until the major ground reconstruction that accompanied the club’s most successful period in the 1990’s. Two identical all-seated covered stands were built at either end, while the smaller Railway-side stand, which had been built in the early 80’s, was extended the full length of the pitch.

The South Stand at Starks Park

The new South Stand

Today the Railway Stand is no longer in use as is the case with the terracing on the opposite side. Therefore apart from the Main Stand which runs only a third of the way along the side of the pitch, the vast majority of fans see the game from behind the goals.