IAN RANKIN, Novelist
ANDY MILL, Chairman of The 200 Club
STEVEN GRAHAM, Area Sales Manager for Honda
To compete and improve in the modern football world, Raith Rovers need a steady flow of young talented players emerging from a new development squad.
We can’t afford to buy players. We will continue to use the free transfer market but over-dependence on it is fraught with difficulties. In recent seasons we have brought through the likes of Lewis Vaughan, Ross Callachan, David Bates and Ross Matthews – but we need many more home-grown players like them if we are to see continued success at Stark’s Park for years to come. We need to provide our management team with players they’ve seen develop, whose potential is clear and who buy into Raith Rovers.
The Fife Elite Football Academy (FEFA), which involves all four of Fife’s senior football clubs, has done well to establish the framework for improving the quality of selected, elite young players locally. But the Club believes that in order to reap future benefits we also need to create a better pathway from FEFA to our first team squad that supports a crucial period in a young footballer’s development – between the under 17s and the 1st team squad. The establishment of a Player Development Squad with a dedicated coach will achieve this.
Doing this will cost at least £110,000 per year which is £60,000 more than our current budget. With fans regularly asking how they can help contribute to the long-term success of the Club, this was seen as an ideal opportunity for supporters far and wide to put money into the club and see the rewards for years to come on the pitch. Our new Player Development Fund will raise a continuous stream of funding through monthly standing orders, corporate sponsorship and other activities.
The money raised will only be spent on the Player Development Squad – nothing else.
Everyone who contributes regularly will benefit from:
- A regular newsletter outlining progress
- Free admission to all development squad fixtures
- A regular prize draw
- Opportunities to meet the coach and the players
- Other ideas being considered by a Steering Group nominated by representatives of supporter groups
For this initiative to work we need the help of supporters like you. So please consider setting up a monthly standing order – we suggest a contribution of £10 per month, but any amount will help.
Video: The New RRFC Youth Setup
Each of the Raith Rovers supporter groups has nominated one of their members to participate on a steering group chaired by Dave Wann, a Director of Raith Rovers. This group will steer the administration of the Player Development Fund. They will also develop the recognition and benefits package for contributors and monitor the progress of the fund and the Player Development Squad.
It is recognised that the Player Development Squad is unlikely to have a full complement of players in its first year as it will require two year groups to achieve this. The first year is therefore a transitional period even though the main structure of the squad should be in place for June 2016. Throughout the first year we will continue to promote contributions to the fund, including commercial sponsorship and legacy giving. (If anyone wants to consider leaving a gift to the Player Development Fund in their will, please contact Dave Wann at email@example.com for more information.)