Why is the David Goodwillie controversy kicking off again?

Furore surrounding former Scotland international shows no sign of abating.

David Goodwillie controversy rumbles on after Clyde terminate loan agreement with Raith Rovers SNS Group

David Goodwillie’s return to Clyde is already over, just days after the club announced it had agreed a loan deal with the former Scotland international.

And the controversy surrounding the striker – who was found by a judge in a civil case in 2017 to have raped a woman – shows no sign of abating.

Two Scottish football clubs – Clyde and Raith Rovers – have faced a furious backlash in recent months following their moves to bring Goodwillie on board.

But where does he stand now? STV News looks at the twists and turns associated with the furore surrounding Goodwillie.

How did this all begin?

The origins of the anger directed at Goodwillie stem back to an incident at a flat in Armadale, West Lothian, in January, 2011.

Goodwillie was arrested and charged with raping a woman, while his former Dundee United teammate David Robertson was also questioned by police.

Criminal charges against Goodwillie were dropped later that year because there was insufficient evidence to prosecute in a criminal court. Robertson was never charged.

Six years later, in a civil case at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, Goodwillie and Robertson were judged to have raped the woman and ordered to pay her damages of £100,000.

Robertson has since retired from professional football, but Goodwillie resumed his professional football career, spending five years with Clyde and also serving at the club’s captain.

If Goodwillie has continued playing for years, why the furore now?

In the years after the civil court ruling, Goodwillie continued to ply his trade at Clyde more or less under the radar, scoring more than 100 goals for the club.

But Raith Rovers’ interest in the striker changed that dramatically.

Speculation mounted last Christmas that the Kirkcaldy club were keen to acquire his services, prompting high-profile author Val McDermid, whose name adorns Raith’s strips, to speak out about the potential move.

She tweeted: “I argued strenuously against this when I was a board member.

“We call ourselves a community club. He’s not a role model in any sense. I don’t want him running around with my name on his chest.

“Two criminal convictions and a civil finding of rape. That’s pretty guilty in my book.”

Despite the warning, Raith announced on transfer deadline day in January that they had signed Goodwillie on a two-and-a-half-year deal.

What happened next?

The fallout was instant and ferocious, with criticism pouring in from across several different spectrums of Scottish society.

Several prominent supporters, directors and sponsors, including McDermid, withdrew their backing of the Championship club and a number of staff and volunteers quit their roles.

McDermid said: “The thought of the rapist David Goodwillie running out on the pitch at Stark’s Park in a Raith Rovers shirt with my name on it makes me feel physically sick.”

The captain of the club’s women’s team, Tyler Rattray, also announced she was quitting.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted her support for both Rattray and McDermid, saying they had made “principled” decisions.

The club’s supporter liaison officer, Margie Robertson, also resigned from her post and stated her values and those of the club were on a “divergent path”. Former chairman Bill Clark and Andrew Mill both quit the club’s board.

Rape Crisis Scotland, a group which campaigns to end sexual violence, claimed Raith’s decision was a “clear message of disregard to survivors of rape”.

How did Raith Rovers respond to the criticism?

The club’s initial response was to defend the signing.

Raith released a statement saying: “The management team is familiar with David’s career and background and – in particular – his footballing ability. That is our foremost consideration, and we believe that he will strengthen the Raith Rovers playing squad.”

But as the backlash intensified and showed no signs of abating, Raith performed a U-turn and said Goodwillie would never play for them.

Manager John McGlynn last week appealed for the chance to make amends following the “enormous” mistake and the club’s four directors – chairman John Sim, David Sinton, Tom Morgan and Steven MacDonald – plus chief executive Karen Macartney, issued a fresh statement in a bid to appease disillusioned fans.

After repeating their apology, they wrote: “We fully acknowledge that there is still a long journey ahead of us to reach a position where the many thousands of people who are part of the Raith Rovers family feel they have trust and confidence in those of us who take the day-to-day decisions at the club.

“Some of the first steps on this journey are already under way.”

What has sparked the latest escalation?

Clyde announced on Tuesday that Goodwillie would be spending the rest of the league campaign back at Broadwood following a loan agreement with Raith Rovers – a move that sparked a fresh backlash.

Clyde Ladies players quit in disgust and the First Minister spoke out against the move.

The women’s team said its general manager and secretary had resigned and players were “all in agreement that we no longer wish to play for Clyde FC”.

Furthermore, North Lanarkshire Council, which owns Broadwood Stadium, banned him from entering the ground and told management that “Goodwillie must not be permitted access to the stadium, for any purpose, with immediate effect”.

The local authority also said it had informed Clyde it does not intend not to renew its lease with the club in May 2023.

North Lanarkshire Council’s move will now mean it is impossible for Goodwillie to attend home games.

So Clyde were next to make a Goodwillie U-turn?

Yes, the League One side released a statement late on Thursday, announcing they were “in the process of terminating the loan agreement” for the player.

Goodwillie remains on the books with Raith Rovers, under contract until 2024, but his prospects of taking to the pitch anytime soon look non-existent.

Meanwhile, the survivor of the 2011 incident is working with lawyers to bring a private prosecution against Goodwillie and Robertson.

The rare action involves an individual or organisation seeking to prosecute the accused, rather than the Crown Office taking action.

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