Raith Rovers: Val McDermid attends debut game of McDermid Ladies women's team named in her honour
Best-selling crime author Val McDermid attended the first game of McDermid Ladies today – the former Raith Rovers’ women’s team.
It walked away from the Kirkcaldy football club in protest at the signing of the toxic David Goodwillie, and re-named itself after the Kirkcaldy-born writer who was a lifelong supporter, team sponsor and former director of Rovers.
The team’s first game – played at Windmill Campus on the opposite side of town to Stark’s Park – attracted a significant media presence as well as number of former Raith stalwarts.
The women moved their game against Livingston Development from the ground and also unveiled plans to wear strips minus the Rovers’ crest.
The severance of all ties between Raith’s thriving women’s section and the football club was just one aspect of appalling damage done in the wake of the Goodwillie signing.
The striker was ruled to be a rapist in a civil court case in 2016, although he did not face a criminal prosecution.
His signing saw Rovers’ reputation as a family club destroyed as up to 30 volunteers quit in protest, two directors resigned, sponsors pulled the plug and Fife Council was asked by Depute Provost, Julie Ford, to review all its links.
The first big blow came when McDermid ended her lifelong association with the club, and cancelled next season’s strip sponsorship deal.
She branded Goodwillie’s arrival as “disgusting and despicable” and said it “shattered any claim to be a community or family club".
The story went global – and viral - and over 5600 people signed a petition launched by the Fife Free Press calling on Goodwillie’s signing to be revoked, and steps taken to restore the damage done.
On Thursday, Rovers’ owner, John Sim, confirmed a U-turn, and said talks had begun to tear up the player’s contract.
While that move was welcomed as the first step towards repairing the significant damage - the club also apologised to fans got getting it so badly wrong - the women’s team had already moved ahead with its plans.
On Saturday, Rovers played their first home game since tearing up their deal with Goodwillie, and there were chants of ‘sack the board’ from some supporters in the south stand.