Raith Rovers owner blasted by Val McDermid for supporting ‘unrepentant rapist’ David Goodwillie

Raith Rovers owner John Sim has been blasted for standing by rapist David Goodwillie and threatening to close the club.

Lifelong fan and former sponsor Val McDermid said Sim has a “tin ear” and expressed her dismay that he was showing support for an “unrepentant rapist rather than his victim”.

Former chairman Sim said he was appalled at the public backlash surrounding the signing of Goodwillie.

The Championship club bought striker Goodwillie from Clyde in January and sparked furious protests from fans who were unhappy at the signing of a player who a civil court judged had been guilty of raping a woman in 2011.

World-famous author Val was infuriated at the signing and walked away from the club which she had supported all her life.

Val McDermid has slammed Raith Rovers over their support of David Goodwillie

She said: “(Sim) has a tin ear. Still hasn’t grasped that the club belongs to the fans not him. I find it curious that his sympathy is directed at an unrepentant rapist rather than his victim.”

The 66-year-old crime writer had previously called the signing “despicable” and a “stain on my club.”

As well as Val, directors Bill Clark and Andrew Mill stepped down, the ladies team severed ties with Raith and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon condemned the signing.

Picture of John Sim
The author criticized Raith Rovers chairman John Sim for his handling of the matter

It took days of controversy and angry reactions before Raith grudgingly backed down and said he would not play for the team.

In an interview yesterday Sim, who stepped aside as chairman in the aftermath of the fiasco, said: “I’m appalled by the reaction to it and, initially, my reaction was, ‘well, if he can’t play for the club , let’s close the club’, I didn’t think it was fair.

“The guy has been playing at Clyde for years. He’s been coaching, been their captain and won player of the month awards.

“Surely you need to move on and let the guy pick up the pieces.

“How much do you punish someone? Since I’ve been knee-high to a grasshopper, I’ve believed in forgiving but not necessarily forgetting.

“I feel for David, and I feel for his wife and daughter.”

Clyde also dropped the player when it was announced he was rejoining the Bully Wee on loan from Raith.

Sim also said he was sympathetic to the plight of Goodwillie’s victim, Denise Clair, but also said Goodwillie had suffered.

Sim added: “I am sorry she went through what she went through.

“I have sympathy for her. Both of them have paid dearly. If I could help her, I would, just as I’d try to help him.”

Goodwillie has not played a professional game since the deadline day moved on January 31.

His wages are still being paid by Raith with a contribution from Clyde.

Sim said he wants to leave Scotland to play elsewhere.

Goodwillie and his colleague at the time, David Robertson, were accused of raping Ms Clair in 2011 but the Crown Office did not pursue a criminal prosecution, blaming “insufficient evidence”.

However, the pair were found by a judge to have raped Ms Clair in civil court proceedings in 2017 and were ordered to pay damages.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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