The Raith Rovers ‘chairman’ has admitted he was wrong about the controversial signing of David Goodwillie, and said the player will not play for the Kirkcaldy club.
In a statement released today, signed ‘Chairman, on behalf of the Raith Rovers FC Board’, the club say they will ‘enter into discussions with the player regarding his contractual position’.
The 32-year-old’s transfer from League One club Clyde to Championship side Raith Rovers sparked a storm of protests, with crime perpetrator Val McDermid – who was a major sponsor – withdrawing all his funding, with various volunteers and board members leaving the club.
Their women’s team broke away from the club entirely and Premier Nicola Sturgeon questioned the signing.
Goodwillie was ordered in 2017 to pay £100,000 in damages by a judge in a civil case, after it was ruled he had raped a woman in a West Lothian flat six years earlier.
Raith Rovers’ statement read: “First of all, I would like to sincerely apologize to our fans, sponsors, players and the wider Raith Rovers community for the anguish and anger caused by these last days.
“We were wrong.
“In making our initial decision, we focused far too much on football matters and not enough on what this decision would mean for our club and the community as a whole.
“Over the past two days, we have listened carefully to the fans who have reached out to us and I am very grateful for their honesty. As Chairman, as a Board of Directors and as a management team, we have all learned a difficult but valuable lesson. .
“This very unfortunate episode is something we all regret bitterly and we are now fully committed to putting things right. I can therefore confirm that following a Raith Rovers board meeting the player will not be not selected by Raith Rovers and we will enter into discussions with the player regarding his contractual position.
“We share a desire to do what is best for our club and will do everything in our power to win back the trust of the Raith Rovers family.”
In response, Val McDermid, who gets a lot of publicity at Stark’s Park and was a major fundraiser, released a statement calling on the board and trustees to leave.
It read: “I welcome this (unsigned) statement from Raith Rovers.
“It’s a victory of sorts for the hundreds of people who MAKE the club, who were appalled by the initial decision of the board and who weren’t afraid to speak up.
“But this is only the first step on a long road back.
“The same people who made the decision are still in charge.
“Those who love and appreciate the club are always on the outside; they have to be on the inside, shaping the future of the community.”
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