It is with deep sadness that we report the family’s announcement of the death, late last night, of Ally Gourlay (53), our Media Officer, Club Historian and Chairman of the Former Players’ Association following a long and extremely brave fight against oesophageal cancer. The thoughts of everyone at Stark’s Park are very much with Ally’s family at this desperately sad time.
Speaking on behalf of everyone at the club, Chief Executive Eric Drysdale said, “Ally has been ‘in with the bricks’ at Raith Rovers for many years and his loyalty, commitment and hard work were central both to the formation of the FPA and to the professionalising of the club’s important links with the sports media. Ally was also a key member of the independent Hall of Fame committee which has delivered several highly popular and successful events in recent years.
“Ally will be sadly missed by us all. Manager Ray McKinnon and the players have all come to greatly value and respect Ally’s significant contribution to the smooth running of all interaction with the media, but more than that, he became a friend to all and was always willing to help. Ally was also greatly respected by his many friends in the media and at other clubs, and nobody but nobody had a bad word to say about the guy.
“It is testament to Ally’s incredible character that, less than 48 hours after being diagnosed with the illness that was to claim his life, he still was able to manage a very busy media conference ahead of our 2014 Ramsdens Cup Final win against Rangers. In the 22 months since, as the illness gradually took hold, that inner strength stayed with him throughout to the extent that he managed the trip all the way to Dumfries in December for what turned out to be the last time he watched his beloved Rovers. His final visit to see Stark’s Park one last time, and to say an emotional goodbye to his colleagues there, just 3 days before he died showed once again his quite extraordinary courage in the face of terminal illness.
“In the words of that famous football song, Ally, “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.”
Details of Ally’s funeral arrangements and of the club’s plans to pay tribute to Ally will follow at the appropriate time.