Raith Rovers FC majority shareholder and Chairman John Sim has released the following statement regarding the transfer of Dylan Tait to Hibernian FC this week:
“In the interests of clarity I have documented the events that led up to Dylan Tait’s transfer to Hibernian:
At 4.30pm GMT (10.30 pm Bangkok time) on transfer deadline day – Tuesday August 31st – I received a call from Dylan’s agent advising me that Hibs were keen to sign Dylan before the deadline and that Dylan and his family were very keen to accept the offer that had been made to him.
Hibs had made a ridiculous offer which we had rejected. It involved no money but players in exchange. I reiterated that it was not our intention to sell at this time as we have no financial need.
Our number one priority is remaining in the Championship and until this has been achieved, we would not be interested in entertaining offers. I also pointed out that currently Brad Spencer is unavailable, and that Ross Matthews has a toe condition that we had not yet fully resolved.
I suggested that there was no way that the Raith Rovers manager would sanction a transfer at this late stage, so I did not think we needed to proceed further. I was then advised that the agent had already spoken to the manager and that the manager would not want an unhappy player. He also stated that the manager would have a backup plan.
I immediately called the manager and we agreed that we were not prepared to let Dylan go until we were confident that we had adequate replacements available. We also agreed to seek a win-win as best as we could, which would honour our commitment to encourage players to play at the highest level while protecting the club.
John McGlynn is a very resourceful manager, and he was indeed already considering the possible options open. We all expected that Dylan would likely be leaving mid 2022 so plans were already in place; Quinn Coulson and Luke Mahady are both out on loan to Cowdenbeath, and we have been looking at other loan opportunities to get our younger players experience of competing at senior level.
John also has a plan to utilise Frankie Musonda in midfield, which has been thwarted by Frankie’s delayed return from injury.
An important part of the Football pathway that we are building from the bottom up is the fact that young players can see it working. It is no accident that recently a number have chosen Raith Rovers FC over Dunfermline Athletic. These have included Kieron Bowie, Dylan, and Quinn Coulson. We did not sign them to make up numbers and we will support them when opportunities arise.
Starting in late 2020 we opened discussions with a number of players about extending their contracts. These included Regan Hendry and Dan Armstrong as well as Dylan. Dylan and his agent were willing to work with the club on this. His previous contract ran till June 2022, but he was willing to extend until 2024. This gave both him, but more importantly the club, protection.
Dan and Regan moved on as they were entitled to do without any transfer fee coming to the club. Dylan, had he not extended his contract, could have walked away June 2022 as a free agent and most likely to his significant benefit. However, he saw how we have acted in the past and trusted that we would not block him if a good opportunity presented itself.
The final decision on matters like these lies with the manager, in consultation with me. He has a budget and can wheel and deal within that sum. He is responsible for performances on the pitch.
After discussing the clubs options after learning of Hibs interest we went back to Dylan’s agent and explained that unless we could keep Dylan on loan till at least January we would not proceed as we did not have time to find a replacement with both Brad Spencer and Frankie Musonda currently injured.
In all of our transfer negotiations we now expect a significant sell on clause plus various incentives depending on how the player progresses. This was also conveyed to Hibs together with a requirement that the fee be increased.
At this point it looked like the deal would not go through because Hibs wanted Dylan immediately as they said that they saw him competing immediately for a first team place.
The rest of the Board of Raith Rovers FC were informed that something was in the works at 6.54pm on Tuesday the 31st of August. Negotiations then followed, and we stood firm on our requirement that Dylan stayed with us until after the Dunfermline game on Sunday January 2nd 2022. This required us to trade a little but not significantly.
The deal was done, and papers were lodged with Hampden at 2358hrs with discussions on the loan ongoing until 0045hrs on 1st September.
In summary; I think it is evident to anyone who has visited the Hibs website that Dylan is very happy with his move. We are pleased for him, but it is not a deal that we wanted to do.
We had always planned that he would only be with us in 2024 if he did not progress as we hoped and expected. Had he had a chance to play for us in the SPFL Premiership or had an English club come in for him we would have expected the fee to be higher.
The insistence on confidentiality clauses regarding the transfer fee did not come from Raith Rovers FC.
I can confirm however that we will receive more at the front end than has been quoted by some press outlets, with further significant payments to come if Dylan progresses in his career as we expect.
I am happy to respond to any specific questions emailed to the club, marked for my attention”.