Raith Rovers Hall of Fame

The Origins of Raith Rovers Hall of Fame

The Heart of Raith Rovers

Allan Crow encapsulated the essence of Raith Rovers in November 2012, stating, “People are at the very heart of Raith Rovers. They make it tick, they deliver its successes, they shape its structure and, the very best leave a footprint that remains visible for eternity.” His words reflect the deep connection between the club and its community.

The Inspiration

The concept for the Raith Rovers Hall of Fame originated following an event with Sir Alex Ferguson at the Alhambra Theatre in Dunfermline, attended by Allan Crow and Alistair Cameron. Inspired by this, former Prime Minister and Rovers enthusiast Gordon Brown suggested hosting a similar event at the Adam Smith Theatre to honour football legend Jim Baxter. Willie MacGregor and Ally Gourlay were later added to the committee, expanding the event’s scope to celebrate all of Raith Rovers’ legendary players.

A Unique Celebration

Unlike other clubs’ Hall of Fame events, Raith Rovers’ Hall of Fame stands out for its theatrical setting and community spirit. The event, held annually at the Adam Smith Theatre, is more than a ceremony; it’s a night filled with the atmosphere and camaraderie reminiscent of a football dressing room. It’s an evening where humour, character, and enduring bonds among players come alive on stage.

Honouring the Inductees

The Hall of Fame night is primarily a tribute to the inductees and their families, showcasing the highest honour the club can bestow. Witnessing the standing ovations for the late Ian Redford and Ronnie Coyle, the emotional speech by Marvin Andrews, the humility of Peter Hetherston, and the pure emotion of Paquito the event has seen many poignant moments. It’s a testament to what being inducted means to the players and their loved ones.

The Evolution

In 2015, John Greer joined the organising committee. That year marked the last show for Ally Gourlay, who, against all odds, made an appearance and was unexpectedly inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014.

Following the 2018 event, Allan Crow and Willie MacGregor stepped down, passing the torch to Greig Hopcroft to carry on the legacy of this extraordinary celebration.  So now Alistair Cameron, John Greer and Greig Hopcroft are on the organising committee along with representatives from the Football Club board who all pull together to make this magnificent event happen.

2023 – The Return

Following a 4 year break, brought about by the Covid pandemic plus a £7.6million makeover of the Adam Smith Theatre, 2023 saw the Hall of Fame return with a bang for the first time since 2019.

Ally Gourlay

Bill Leckie wrote a piece on Ally Gourlay in November 2016:

“Ally Gourlay was the life and soul of the Rovers, the heart and soul of the Hall of Fame.
It was his desire that drove the show from the very start, his relationships with the club’s old boys that added the extra spark it needed to go from a good idea to a brilliant experience.

The players he rang round to attend loved him. They respected him. Most of all, they couldn’t say no to him. None of us could.

From my point of view as the guy brought in from the outside asked to hold the night together, having Ally on stage was magnificent.

I could introduce the guys and link the awards together, but he really KNEW the people involved, knew them personally as well as knowing their careers about forensically as they did themselves.

I could throw to him at any time, to talk to any player, and he’d have a question about a specific game or a memorable goal, asked with the absolute passion of a true fan.

The passion, the knowledge – that was what Ally brought to the party.

Well that and a personality big enough to fill the Albert Hall, never mind the Adam Smith Theatre.

We’d gone through 2015 fearing he wouldn’t make November, not with the ratbag that is cancer ravaging his system more and more by the day. But make it he did, because he wasn’t missing it for the world – and when I announced his name the audience raised the roof, he walked out with a daft grin on his coupon, clutched his chest and pretended to have a heart attack. Remember that moment? How could we forget it? That was Ally. Not looking for sympathy, not wanting a fuss made of him or his illness, just up for a right good night out.

The year before, of course, he’d been the most surprised person in the place when he himself was inducted into Rovers’ history. He said to me afterwards: “I heard the nominations being read out and I was thinking that I hadn’t read this one in the running order….then I heard my name and thought: ****ing Hell!” To say he was touched was an understatement.

But who among us could think of anyone more fitting to take his place in among the other greats who’d been brought up to receive their trophies before him and those who are still to come?

Who could deny Ally Gourlay that moment in the spotlight and an eternity in the annals?

Not for me, for one- because of all the privileges afforded to me since being asked to play a part in these Hall of Fame nights, becoming his friend was undoubtedly the greatest. He taught me so much about courage, about humility and about friendship and for that I thank him with all my heart.

The turnout at his funeral spoke for the love so many felt for him, as did the atmosphere at that brilliant tribute match held at Stark’s Park a few weeks later.

His spirit will be alive and kicking throughout the auditorium, backstage with the old boys and in every presentation to every Rovers’ hero at every show from now and into the future”



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