What Happened To…The Raith Rovers Team That Played Bayern Munich in 1995?
Rather the long title, I’m sure you’ll agree.
The picture above details an iconic moment in Scottish football, when the unknown Scottish club Raith Rovers were playing in the 1995/96 UEFA Cup against Bayern Munich, and had the audacity to be leading the German superstars 1-0 at half-time in the Olympiastadion. The Kirkcaldy club qualified for the tournament via another shock result, when the (at the time) First Division team defeated Premier League Celtic 6-5 on penalties in the Scottish League Cup the season before.
I should point out Raith actually lost the tie 4-1 on aggregate, and Bayern went on to win the UEFA Cup that season. Manager Otto Rehhagel said the games against Rovers were:
“…the toughest we endured during the competition.”
Quite the praise from the German considering Bayern played the likes of Benfica,PSV,Barcelona and Bordeaux as well as Raith on their way to lifting the trophy.
I don’t think I’m out of line in suggesting this was the highest peak Raith Rovers ever reached, and probably ever will reach. At the end of the season, the club entered a terminal decline for a while, although they have shown signs of fighting back and were unlucky not to win promotion to the SPL a couple of seasons ago. What happened to the team that played against Munich? Was this the highest heights the players would ever reach? I’m going to look at the careers of every player who took to the field against Bayern Munich in both legs of the tie, as we find out what happened next…
Scott Y Thomson
The Y is important. Scott saved the decisive penalty from Paul McStay in the League Cup Final the season before to ensure Raith made it into Europe, and he also played a key role in their previous UEFA Cup games against Faroese minnows Gotu and Icelandic team Akranes. He left Raith in 1997 to move to Hull City, playing on loan at Motherwell during his spell there. Scott left Hull in 1998 to move to Airdrie, before he finished up at Dunfermline (although he was on loan to Brechin when he actually played his last game.)
Thomson moved into a coaching role at the Pars along with Craig Brewster, who he followed to Dundee Utd when Brewster took over there. He is currently a goalkeeping coach at Hibs.
Coyle was at the tail-end of his career by the time the game came around and left the club at the end of the season to move to Ayr Utd. Ronnie retired with Queen’s Park in 1999 after short spells with Ayr, Albion Rovers, and East Fife.
Ronnie moved into sales and marketing in Glasgow after he called it quits, and was by all accounts very successful at the job. He led the ‘Reclaim The Rovers’ campaign that helped to save the club in 2005 after previous owners Colin McGowan and Alex Short threatened to sell the club’s stadium, Stark’s Park.
Coyle was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2009, and showing the same aggression he had in his playing career, battled it for over two years. On 27 March 2011 Raith hosted a benefit match for him involving their 1994 League Cup winning team and the Celtic runners-up team, but Ronnie sadly passed away only a few weeks later at the age of only 46.
Shaun became a club legend, playing over 400 games for the club in three spells from 1988 to 2005 before retiring due to a persistent knee injury. He then took over a coaching role at the club until 2006 when he was unceremoniously sacked as the club couldn’t afford to keep him on the payroll.
No-one seems to be too sure what Dennis is up to these days, but it’s believed he runs a local pub called Starks Bar in Kirkcaldy.
Davie had just joined the club the season before after spells with East Fife,Rangers,Hearts and Airdrie, before retiring with Raith Rovers in 2000. He moved into youth coaching after his retirement, starting with Raith before moving to Rangers. He then became the Head of Youth at Ross County in 2007 until 2011, when he became manager of Highland League team Wick Academy.
Julian was approaching the end of a long career spanning 10 clubs by the time Raith played Bayern, and the journeyman left back retired with Ross County at the end of the 96/97 season. After he called it a day, Julian became a policeman.
He was put forward for a commendation in 2001 for saving the life of teenager Rebecca Marsden, who was drowning in Croxteth Park, Liverpool. He received another commendation in 2008 for ‘courage & commitment during routine duties’ after his police car was attacked by a gang during a routine patrol.
Despite the number of clubs Broddle played for, the Englishman called Kirkcaldy home. So much so, he joined the ‘Reclaim the Rovers’ campaign with Ronnie Coyle in 2005.
Sinclair made over 175 league appearances for Rovers before leaving in 1996. He barely played 70 games over the next six years for the likes of Millwall, Dundee Utd and Falkirk before retiring in 2001 while playing for Hill of Beath from the Scottish junior leagues.
Raith Rovers manager Jimmy Nicholl famously said after their League Cup triumph:
“Even Davie Sinclair was crying and he’s so tough he’s got tattoos on his teeth!”
Colin was destined for bigger and better things and left Raith at the end of the season after 152 league games to move to Hearts for 400k. While at Tynecastle, he won the Scottish Cup in 1998 and made his Scotland début in 1999. He was club captain by the time he moved to Wolves in 2001 for just under £2 million.
Cameron was adored by the fans at Molineux, and was a first team and international regular during his five years at the club, racking up 168 club games and finished with 28 caps for Scotland. He was released against the fan’s wishes in 2006 and eventually started to wind down his career with spells at Coventry City, MK Dons, Dundee and Cowdenbeath, where he is the current player-manager.
He took over the managerial reins in 2011 and led the club to the Division Two league title in his first season.
The nephew of Rangers and Scotland legend Jim Baxter made history by scoring Raith Rovers’ first ever goal in Europe against Gotu. Dair made a big move to Millwall at the end of the season along with David Sinclair and Stevie Crawford, but he was back in Kirkcaldy within 18 months, the move not working out for either party.
In 1999, he moved to local rivals Dunfermline and stayed there for four years before being released on a free transfer. Fellow SPL team Motherwell picked him up for one season before moving to Livingston. He left the club in 2006 and moved to East Fife, where he ended his career.
He moved into a coaching role with East Fife and took over from Scott Crabbe as the club’s assistant manager in 2011. He currently manages junior team Oakley United, taking over in May 2012.
Danny scored THE goal.
He was capped four times for Northern Ireland’s B team during his tenure at Raith, and left the club in 1999 for Ayr Utd. He moved to Partick Thistle the same year and spent four seasons as Firhill before winding down his career at Gretna, Workington and finally Cowdenbeath, retiring in 2008.
He took over as Cowdenbeath manager in 2008, and despite severe financial restraints, he led them to two successive promotions. Due to his feats, he was offered the St Mirren job in 2010, taking over from Gus MacPherson, where he remains and continues to impress neutrals with their style of play.
Jim left the club at the end of the season to return to Dundee Utd, where he had previously spent nine seasons. He moved on to Dundee for the 1997/98 season, then Silgo Rovers, where he became manager for the 99/2000 season.
Early results were poor however, and he chose to leave the club at the end of the season for personal reasons. He joined the coaching staff at Celtic, working in a variety of roles until 2004 when he became manager of Greenock Morton. He resigned in February 2008 but moved to perennial Third Division strugglers East Stirling in May 2008.
He again resigned from a job, quitting in May 2011 and taking over at Peterhead manager in October of the same year.
The nomadic striker left Raith at the end of the season, and played for 10 different clubs before retiring in 2006 with East Stirling.
Stevie made his Scotland début in the same season as the UEFA Cup campaign and as mentioned earlier, went to Millwall at the end of the season. He only lasted one season in London before moving back to Scotland with Hibs. He stayed there until 2000, when a successful loan deal with Dunfermline became permanent.
Crawford stayed at East End Park until 2004, then he played for four clubs (Plymouth,Dundee Utd, Aberdeen then Dunfermline again) in five years. He ended up at East Fife in 2008, where in a strange set of circumstances, he became player-manager in April 2009 before resigning in October 2010, yet stayed at the club as a player.
He ended his playing career with 25 Scotland caps, scoring four goals.
In October 2011, Stevie was appointed assistant manager under Steven Pressley at Falkirk.
Alex was already approaching the end of his playing days by the time the tie came around, and he moved to Ross County at the end of the season. He spent two years with the Dingwall club before moving to Forfar, where he ended his career after being released in January 2001.
Alex now runs a string of successful businesses in the Hamilton and Kirkcaldy areas.
The Trinidadian left the club for Hibs in 1997 before being sold to Port Vale in January 1999. Despite being the club’s top scorer in the 1999-2000 season, he was sold to Reading. He left the Royals in 2003 after leading them to promotions in his time there, and had short spells at Brighton,Brentford,Bristol City, Chinese team Nanjing Yoyo, Americans Rochester Rhinos before moving home to United Petrotrin then North East Stars.
He co-founded a new team called FC South End in 2009, and registered himself as a player-coach soon after their inception to boost their fortunes.