James ‘Jim’ Kerray
It is with great sadness that the club have learned of the passing of former Raith Rovers’ player Jim Kerray aged 85, on Saturday 6th November 2021. He died peacefully at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, Falkirk. He served Raith Rovers from 1956 until 1960.
Born in The Raploch, Stirling, Jim’s earliest memories were of playing football on the large green outside his house. Jim started work as an apprentice painter and decorator on leaving school and he combined this with playing for Dunipace Juniors. He also was a fine sprinter, taking part in the 60-yard and 100-yard races at the local gala and fares, often coming away with the prize money on offer.
It was in August 1956, when Jim was 22 years old, that Raith Rovers came calling and offered him his first professional contract. This was the beginning of a professional football career that would last 12 years until his retirement from the professional game in 1969 at the age of 34.
Jim made his first team debut for the Rovers on Saturday 24th of August 1957 at Firhill in a 4-1 win against Partick Thistle, when Bernie Kelly scored all four Rovers’ goals. Seven days later, Jim scored his first two goals in a 4-3 win over Glasgow Rangers at Stark’s Park in front of a crowd of 23,824. He scored 11 goals in his first season. The other youngster introduced to the first team that season was Jim Baxter.
On Saturday 21st November 1959, Raith Rovers won at Ibrox in a league match 3-2. Jim Kerray scored two of the goals that afternoon, with Jim Baxter scoring the other. Jim’s strike partner that afternoon was Willie Wallace who would go on to win the European Cup with Celtic within seven years. This was their first win at Ibrox since Alex James scored the only goal back in 1924; and they haven’t won at Ibrox against Rangers in the league since that day in 1959.
Jim Kerray joined Dunfermline in February 1960, where he played under Jock Stein. Jim’s performances attracted the attention of Huddersfield Town who were his next club between 1960 and 1962. Jimmy was a contemporary of Ray Wilson who went on to become a World Cup winner with England in 1966.
In 1961 in a win over Newcastle United, Jim impressed so much by scoring in Town’s 2-1 win he secured a swap transfer with Len White to Newcastle United in the February of 1962. Jimmy enjoyed a short but successful career in Newcastle between 1962 and 1963 and is still remembered fondly for his goals in Tyneside / Wearside derbies particularly his performance in a 1 -1 draw in October 1962, when he scored Newcastle’s equaliser. Sunderland’s scorer that day was Brian Clough.
He then returned to Scottish Football having a further spell with Dunfermline, before moving on to St Johnstone, Stirling Albion and Falkirk.
He then moved back to Huddersfield to take up a job with ICI Paints. Into his thirties, he still played semi-professional with Buxton Town. When he finally hung up his boots, became a coach for local football teams in various Yorkshire and Huddersfield district leagues. He started coaching at Ossett Town and went on to manage Lower Hopton, and Bracken Hall United.
Jim Kerray was a loving husband of Sandra, proud dad to David, Maureen and Mark, the late James and the late Brendan. A treasured grandad, great grandad, brother, uncle and friend to all who knew him.
Funeral Service at Stirling Crematorium on Wednesday 24th November at 12.00pm.
All relatives and friends invited.
Raith Rovers, 1956-1960. 111 appearances 37 goals