Raith Rovers FC is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the popular and respected local football legend and ex-Raith centre half, Jock Forsyth, who played for the club between 1961 and 1963.
Signed by Bert Herdman from Newburgh Juniors in the summer of 1961, Forsyth was thrown into the first team when the season was only four games old, taking over from Willie McNaught who had occupied the centre-half berth for the previous seven seasons. Jock once remarked, “It wasn’t just a case of following in someone’s boots, but the boots of the club’s greatest ever servant!”
A robust centre half with more than a little skill, the young Forsyth adapted to first team football well and formed a defensive partnership with Bobby Stein and Andy Leigh, with the latter being the only remaining player of the famous ‘Young, McNaught & Leigh’ half back line.
Jock Forsyth made his Raith debut in a 3–1 home win over Hearts in the League Cup on 26th August. From then on, he was ever present in the side as they struggled with, but went on to win, their battle against relegation.
The following season, Forsyth kept his place at the heart of the defence as the team was re-shaped, with the accent on youth rather than experience. Alas, it was to prove a difficult season for the club and the last of Jock’s 69 appearances came in a 4–2 defeat at home to Dundee on 22nd December 1962.
Upon leaving Raith in the summer of 1963, Jock went on to have spells at Alloa Athletic and Brechin City before joining Glenrothes Juniors, with whom he gained legendary status and had an association with, right up until his passing.
Whilst at Glenrothes, he appeared in the side that reached the Scottish Junior Cup Final in 1968 and he went one better in 1975 when, as manager, he led them to a famous victory over Rutherglen Glencairn in the Final.
Jock Forsyth became the ‘Bert Herdman’ of the Glens. His many years as manager saw unparalleled success, with no fewer than ten league titles and numerous local cups. He developed many fine players who went onto the senior ranks, most notably Derek Stark who became one of Dundee United’s greatest players. His years as manager coincided with Glens becoming one of the most respected junior clubs in the country and, in the late 1980’s, his side boasted Raith legends Allan Forsyth, Donald Urquhart and Tom Houston.
He went on to serve as Chairman of the club for many years although, in recent years, Forsyth succumbed to illness. Nevertheless, he was still to be seen at Warout Stadium on match days. He was reunited with his former Raith colleagues, namely Felix McGrogan, Jake Bolton, Jim Thorburn, Bobby Adamson and Ian Lowrie, at the Scottish Cup Semi-Final against Dundee United at Hampden two years ago.
At this sad time, the thoughts of everyone at Raith Rovers are with his wife, Nancy, and his family. His funeral takes place at Kirkcaldy Crematorium on Friday 4th May at 10:15am.
Everyone at Raith Rovers FC would also like to send their condolences to the family of Alan Grieve, one of Neeburs O’ Geordie Munro, who sadly passed away on Saturday night. Alan, a loyal Rover’s supporter, spent the day in hospitality at Stark’s Park as Match Sponsors with his group. John Baird, who spoke to Alan on Saturday while being presented with his Man of the Match trophy, was also sad to hear of the sudden death and would like to pass on his deepest regards to all Alan’s family and friends.