Raith Rovers: Women's team play first game since split over David Goodwillie signing

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The women’s team formerly associated with Scottish outfit Raith Rovers has played its first fixture since disbanding from the club.

Now known as McDermid Ladies, the side cut ties after Raith signed rapist David Goodwillie earlier this month.

The team is named after best-selling crime author and shirt sponsor Val McDermid.

The novelist pulled her sponsorship from Raith Rovers following the signing of Goodwillie. Women’s team captain Tyler Rattray also resigned from the club, ending her 10-year tenure.

McDermid expressed her disgust with the club she has supported all her life and branded the acquisition of the player as “despicable.”

Similarly, Rattray expressed she wanted “nothing to do” with Raith in the wake of the news.

The Scottish Championship outfit initially doubled down on the Goodwillie announcement, backing it as a “football related decision” based on his ability to score goals.

The jarring statement sparked even more backlash, and the club were condemned by Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon and Rape Crisis Scotland.

After the widespread criticism, Raith Rovers released a further statement admitting they had “got it wrong” and would not be selecting the player. Chairman John Sim said everyone at the club has “learned a hard but valuable lesson.”

The club has also said the board will be entering discussions with Goodwillie regarding his contract, which was initially expected to run until 2024.

However, it has all come too little too late.

A new era for McDermid Ladies

McDermid, who became a shirt sponsor for Raith Rovers back in 2014, pulled her support as both a partner and a fan.

“I have this morning ended my lifelong support of Raith Rovers over their signing of the rapist David Goodwillie,” she wrote on Twitter last week. “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.”

The women’s team then completely disbanded from the Raith Rovers outfit and became its own entity. Now operating under a new moniker and with a new home at Windmill Community Campus in Kirkcaldy, McDermid Ladies has received an outpour of support.

The team also has a brand new home kit, with the Raith crest removed and the words ‘Zero Tolerance’ on the front.

 “The club’s position has been woeful, embarrassing, disgraceful,” McDermid told BBC Scotland, and showed her gratitude for the support shown to her and the squad for taking a stand.

The team played their first match of their new era on Sunday. It was an unfortunate outcome — a 4-0 loss to Livingston — but a hugely important moment regardless of the match result.

“Their silence deafened me”

In 2017, Goodwillie and former teammate David Robertson were found to have raped a woman by a civil court and ordered to pay £100,000 in compensation.

The victim, Denise Clair, has also spoken out on Goodwillie’s transfer to Raith Rovers.

“It’s shameful they have allowed Goodwillie to continue playing all these years without taking any action,” she told the Sunday Post newspaper. “They are just as complicit as [he is] with their silence and looking the other way.

“They talk so much about equality and respect but when faced with actual reality instead of waffle, their silence deafened me.”

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