Turnbull Hutton to leave for ‘second retirement’

Turnbull Hutton, right, celebrates Raith's Ramsdens Cup triumph with manager Grant Murray. Picture: SNS
Turnbull Hutton, right, celebrates Raith's Ramsdens Cup triumph with manager Grant Murray. Picture: SNS
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Outspoken Raith Rovers chairman Turnbull Hutton has revealed he is to step down after 15 years at Stark’s Park, declaring “mission accomplished” as the Fife club announced a profit of almost £100,000.

It is understood Rovers will appoint three new directors in the coming weeks, with Hutton continuing to chair the board meetings for the remainder of this year. The reshuffled board are expected to elect Hutton’s successor by early 2015.

The news heralds the end of a successful – and occasionally controversial – rein in which Raith returned to the second tier, reached a Scottish Cup semi-final and won their first trophy since 1994. All while restoring financial stability to the club.

However, Hutton also became a reluctant hero to many supporters during the Rangers saga of 2012, railing against the notion that the fallen Glasgow giants be allowed to begin their journey back to the top flight in the old First Division.

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In a memorable broadside at the powers-that-be, he decried the now-defunct SPL as “a dead parrot”.

But after an eventful decade-and-a-half since joining the Raith board in 2000, Hutton makes no secret of his desire to finally enjoy a “second retirement” with his family. “Now is the right time to move on,” explained Hutton. “I am making the announcement on the back of our latest financial results – a healthy profit for the second year running.

“As a 69-year-old geriatric, what more can I do? Mission accomplished, it’s time to go. I will pass the baton on and I’m sure whoever replaces me will take things forward. I don’t want to be a 70-year-old chairman with bad knees, climbing boardroom stairs every day. I have had 30 years of involvement in various boardrooms, with 15 at Raith Rovers. That’s over and above the call of duty.

“I think I deserve a second retirement. I can sit with my son in the main stand and we can relive his childhood again. I can’t wait…I’m not sure whether he agrees.”

Hutton is bowing out in style, with Rovers’ annual accounts for the year ending July 2014 showing a profit of £97,499, almost 20 per cent up from £81,350 in the previous 12 months. Turnover is also up by 23.7 per cent to £1.29 million, the club boasting zero bank debt. The only money owed byRovers is £88,000 due to directors and £388,000 in “inter-company debts”.

“The Scottish Cup and the Ramsdens Cup final were boosts, as was our live TV game,” he continued. “But, we have also spent money improving the area in and around the stadium and trying to move the club forward in numerous ways behind the scenes.

“We may get criticised for not spending more on players and things like that. However, I think the current board has done a hell of a job in terms of getting the club moving forward sensibly.”

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