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.
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. It makes much more sense to grow these players within the club. In recent seasons we have seen the development of players such as 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.
For these reasons, in 2016 we established a Player Development Squad with a dedicated coach: Craig Easton.
Over the past year, Craig has recruited and developed this new squad – and the results have been superb. Not only have many of the players gone on to feature alongside the first team, the development squad has had success in its own right – winning the 2016/17 SPFL Development League East.
However, the cost of running this new setup is high. We estimate the cost is at least £110,000 per year – which is £60,000 more than our current budget allows. 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 Player Development Fund is there to support the squad by raising a continuous stream of funding through monthly standing orders, corporate sponsorship and other activities.
The money raised is only be spent on the Player Development Squad – nothing else.
Everyone who contributes regularly benefits 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
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.