Last Monday evening an audience of 475 enjoyed an evening of laughter and tears as the Adam Smith Theatre hosted the seventh annual Raith Rovers’ Hall Of Fame evening.

The laughter came from the anecdotes told by the former players, there to pay tribute to their former teammates. The stage was full of former players and three players that had gone on to manage the club, Gordon Wallace, Peter Hetherston and Jimmy Nicholl.

The tears came from the story of young Katie Pake, the youngster that plays for the Raith Rovers’ girl’s team, who contracted a rare form of cancer which saw her bravely fight the cancer, before having surgery to remove part of her shin and to reconnect her foot to create a new knee joint. She appeared on stage to receive an award for courage, helped by Raith Rovers’ club captain Kyle Benedictus and Iain Davidson, along with her mother who narrated a very powerful video telling Katie’s story. Katie’s story was told on screen to complete silence before the sell-out crowd gave her a standing ovation.

Grant Stott, a substitute for the usual host Bill Leckie, hosted this year’s evening and claimed he had never experienced a football event like this.

The first induction was for Chris Candlish who had made 312 appearances scoring 17 goals. His old colleagues Tom Houston, Alan Forsyth and Jim Marshall gave praise to Chris for his career with Raith Rovers.

The second induction went to Keith Wright, an honour that saw him join his third Hall Of Fame, after his earlier inductions into both the Dundee and Hibs’ similar clubs. Keith explained how he made the rules to fellow inductee and former striking partner Paul Smith, when on two occasions that they both scored hat-tricks in the same game, on who got the match ball, in case of the first one his was completed first and on the second he scored five goals, so he took both match balls. Paul Smith told how he was delighted to be back at the Rovers as assistant to John McGlynn.

When Scott Thomson was inducted, Jimmy Nicholl, who signed him, explained with his tongue completely in his cheek how he took the advice of something he had read, that you should never sign a good looking goalkeeper.

It was wonderful to see the reaction to Tony Rougier’s induction as he returned to Kirkcaldy where his professional career started. Nobody then expected Tony to ask the whole audience to stand in prayer for the Rovers’ future, but it came from the heart of the former Rovers’ winger, who was so humbled to be honoured.

It was an honour to see another legendary Raith Rover Ian Porterfield being inducted in front of his family and his daughter Claire was delighted to receive her father’s award.

The Welsh International duo of Robbie Savage and Dean Saunders had the audience enthralled with their stories of their careers. Robbie turned to the current young Rovers’ players on the stage and implored on them the importance of hard work to maximise their potential. He told of his rejection at the biggest club in the world, Manchester United and how had went on to have a full career, winning the League Cup and becoming a Welsh International.

Meanwhile, Dean Saunders had the audience in tears of laughter with stories of the managers he has encountered, mainly Brian Clough, Howard Kendall and Ron Atkinson.

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