David Goodwillie: Val McDermid and Nicola Sturgeon attack Raith Rovers’ move – ‘disgusted and wrong'
Raith Rovers’ announcement that David Goodwillie has returned to Clyde on loan has sparked fresh criticism, led by author and lifelong fan, Val McDermid, and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
The former director and team sponsor - whose family name adorns one of the stands at Stark’s Park - hit out at the move on social media, and took the board to task.
She described the move as “disgusting” and was backed by the First Minister who said it was “as wrong as the signing by Raith Rovers.”
Rape Crisis Scotland branded it “a shameful decision.”
McDermid’s initial anger followed last month’s signing of the striker who was ruled to be a rapist in a 2016 civil court - although no criminal proceedings followed - and saw her sever all ties with her home town club.
Rovers also plunged into crisis as the issue gained global coverage.
A host of volunteers quit in protest, the women’s team walked away and re-named itself McDermid Ladies, and two directors quit.
The club doubled down on its decision before finally issuing an apology and said Goodwillie wouldn’t play for the team.
It then began negotiations to tear up his contract.
Last night, Rovers confirmed Goodwillie was returning to Clyde on loan - where he was their team captain and had played for the past five years - until the end of the season, and they thanked the Cumbernauld based club for their co-operation.
But the announcement sparked fresh criticism.
On her Twitter account, McDermid said: “Disgusted doesn't even begin to touch it.
“All that mealy-mouthed stuff from the board about contract-ending negotiations?
“Do Raith Rovers think we'll all have forgotten about this by the end of the season?”
Ms Sturgeon also commented, stating: “For the record, I think this is as wrong as the signing by Raith Rovers.”She continued: “I strongly support rehabilitation but it must start with remorse. Someone who has shown none for the trauma he caused cannot be a sporting role model.”
Rape Crisis Scotland also hit out at the announcement.
"It said: “Footballers are role models; it is not okay to have someone in this position who has been found by a senior judge to be a rapist.
This is a shameful decision that sends yet another clear message of disregard to survivors of rape and sexual violence.”
Rovers have committed to learning the lessons of what many saw as the worst week in the cub’s long history.
It has issued a full apology, and pledged to regain the trust of volunteers and fans – as well a reviewing the composition of the board “with a view to broadening the experience and expertise of the board and to ensure that all our stakeholders are fully represented.”
The club’s statement said: “"We have reached out to the supporters’ groups, and meetings have already taken place, with more planned over the coming weeks to begin discussions that will lead to agreement on a plan to repair the reputational and financial damage.
"We know this will not be easy and we are not underestimating the size of the task ahead of us. It is, however, one we are wholly committed to in the belief that the club can come out of this stronger in the long term."