Raith Rovers double down on David Goodwillie signing after women’s team captain resigns

Raith Rovers

Raith Rovers has come under extreme backlash after announcing the signing of David Goodwillie, a player found in 2017 to have raped a woman.

In the wake of the news, Rovers women’s team captain Tyler Rattray has resigned, and the club’s shirt sponsor has also withdrawn her support in protest. 

Val McDermid — the shirt sponsor, best-selling crime author, and long-term fan of Raith — has slammed the club for its “disgusting and despicable” decision.

Goodwillie and former teammate David Robertson were accused of raping a woman, Denise Clair, on a night out in 2011. Goodwillie was charged but not prosecuted, on the grounds of insufficient evidence.

After Clair took civil action against the footballers in 2016, they were both ruled to have raped her and ordered to pay £100,000 in compensation. 

Goodwillie and Robertson denied the events took place and appealed against the ruling, but they were unsuccessful. Robertson retired from football shortly after the case concluded.

Raith Rovers announced the signing of Goodwillie on a two-and-a-half year deal earlier this week and was met with immediate backlash. 

Rattray, the former women’s team skipper, responded to the club’s social media post to confirm her departure from the club. 

“After 10 long years playing for Raith, it’s gutting I have given up now because they have signed someone like this,” she wrote, stressing she wants “nothing to do” with the situation.

“It was good being captain of Raith while it lasted.”

McDermid echoed Rattray’s sentiment and described Goodwillie as a “stain on the club”, admitting it was heartbreaking for her and many other fans. 

The Fife-born author became her girlhood club’s shirt sponsor back in 2014 and also has a stand named after her at Stark’s Park.

“I have this morning ended my lifelong support of Raith Rovers over their signing of the rapist David Goodwillie,” McDermid wrote on Twitter. “I have cancelled next season’s shirt sponsorship over this disgusting and despicable move.

“This shatters any claim to be a community or family club. Goodwillie has never expressed a shred of remorse for the rape he committed. His presence at Starks Park is a stain on the club. I’ll be tearing up my season ticket too.”

Along with Rattray and McDermid, the decision to sign Goodwillie has also been condemned by Rape Crisis Scotland and Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon.

However, despite the enormity of fallout off the back of this transfer, Raith Rovers has doubled down on its decision and chosen to stand alongside Goodwillie.

In a jarring follow-up statement, the club backed the signing of the 32-year-old, justifying there decision by describing him as a “proven goalscorer.”

The statement then says Raith has “carefully considered our position as a Community Club” after signing Goodwillie, before claiming the Stirling-born player as “part of Raith Rovers Football Club”, based on the fact he made 21 appearances during a seven-month loan spell. 

Additionally, the club admitted the board is in full belief of Goodwillie’s ability to strengthen the team.

Raith Rovers signed off by stating “this was a football related decision.”

Raith Rovers

As well as being ruled a rapist, Goodwillie was convicted of assault on three separate occasions between 2008 and 2012. 

Sandy Brindley, the chief executive of Rape Crisis Scotland, surmised the deal as Raith Rovers holding a man’s talent of higher value than a woman’s life. 

“We wonder whether those who took this decision thought for a second about how it may look or feel to survivors to have to watch someone judged to have committed rape be celebrated and applauded.”

News Now - Sport News