After a career spanning 561 senior appearances over 20 years, Chris Higgins has announced his retirement from football.
A product of the Motherwell youth system, Higgins signed for Clyde in June 2005, immediately establishing himself in the Bully Wee defence. It would turn out to be an eventful first season for the 20-year-old with Clyde knocking Celtic out of the Scottish Cup following a famous 2-1 win at Broadwood Stadium, on an afternoon when Roy Keane made his debut in the hoops.
The following season the Cumbernauld men reached the final of the Challenge Cup and were unfortunate to lose the final against Ross County at McDiarmid Park on penalty kicks.
Higgins spent four years at Broadwood before signing for Dunfermline Athletic in 2009. The Pars finished theirs in the First Division, followed by a title win in 2010-11 which ear ned them a place in the Premier League under Jim McIntyre.
Higgins put pen to paper for Queen of the South in the summer, with Gus McPherson’s men suffering relegation in his first league campaign but bouncing back the following season by winning the Second Division championship, with Allan Johnston now in charge. Higgins also played an instrumental part in the Doonhamers’ Challenge Cup success beating Partick Thistle in the final on penalty kicks at Livingston.
The Dumfries side competed will in the newly named Championship, reaching the Premiership play-offs in the next two seasons. After six years at Palmerston and having made more than 200 appearances, Higgins was on the road again, signing for Ian McCall’s Ayr United in May 2017.
A third career league championship medal was earned in Higgins’ first season, but the following campaign saw his appearances restricted owing to injury., leading to his move to East Fife, initially on loan, in February last year.
In 3 and a half seasons at Bayview, Higgins pulled on the black and gold 106 times and also captained the side on a number of occasions.
“Everyone at East Fife Football Club would like to offer Higgy out best wishes on his retirement. He has been the consummate professional during his time here at Bayview and we thank him for his efforts over the last 3 and a half years.” Jim Stevenson, East Fife Chairman
“I know from several conversations I had with Chris in the short time we worked together that he really enjoyed his time at East Fife but it was a deciaion that he felt was right for him and his family. I’m sure everyone at the club would like to wish him all the best for the future and also make sure he’s welcomed back to Bayview anytime to lend his support. Good luck Higgy and thanks again.” Stevie Crawford, East Fife Manager.
Clyde (2005-2009): 159
Dunfermline Athletic (2009-2011): 43
Queen of the South (2011-2017): 222
Ayr United (2017-2019): 31
East Fife (2009-2022): 106
We’re pleased to announce that season tickets for our 2022/23 campaign are now on sale to existing season ticket holders.
Season tickets are valid for all 18 of our home League 2 matches this season and those purchasing their tickets before Saturday 9th July will also be able to take advantage of our early bird offer. Tickets will go on general sale from next Thursday (26th May) however existing season ticket holders have until Thursday 30th June to retain their seats from last season.
This season we have introduced 2 new pricing categories for 16–19-year-olds in full-time education and U16 Members of East Fife Community Football Club which we hope, along with our Under 16s ticket, encourages the next generation of East Fife fans to attend Bayview.
We are delighted to announce that all East Fife Community Football Club members under 16 years old, will be entitled to free admission to all SPFL League Two games at Bayview when accompanied by an adult, or as part of an organised group, for the whole of season 2022/23. Distribution of tickets for these games will be handled by the EFCFC and they will issue details of this in due course. We would like to thank everyone at the EFCFC for their cooperation in facilitating this.
As previously announced, the age for concessions tickets will rise from 60 to 65 bringing us into line with most other SPFL clubs.
Tickets can be purchased online here or by contacting the club office on 01333 426323. Existing season ticket holders will be required to enter their email address to access their reserved seats when renewing online. Please contact the club office directly if you wish to change your seat.
Please note, those purchasing concession or age-discounted season tickets may be asked for proof of age/disability.
We’re delighted to announce that Kieran Millar has penned a 1-year extension to his current contract, extending his stay at Bayview until June 2023.
The midfielder originally joined the club from Stenhousemuir for the start of the 2017/18 season where he made 33 appearances and picked up the Players’ Player of the Year award before moving onto Airdrieonians in 2018 then to Stranraer for the 2020/21 season.
Kieran returned to Bayview in August last year, making 28 appearances last season and scoring 3 goals.
Jude Smith, Scott Gallacher, Pat Slattery, Scott Mercer, Stewart Murdoch, Aaron Steele, Liam Newton, Connor McManus, Jack Healy, Brogan Walls, Ryan Wallace and Mikey Cunningham are all under contract for next season.
As promised in my notes in the last issue of The Bayview, I hope to provide both a review of the season past as well as a look forward to season 2022/23 as we aim to bounce back at the first opportunity. I apologise in advance for the length of this update, but I feel it’s important to keep fans informed of the goings on at Bayview.
Firstly, I would like to say a big thank you to all of you who have supported us both home and away over the past year as well as to all the volunteers who continue to provide their support that the club always needs. Thanks, must also go to our sponsors who have supported the club over the season, should that be the team kit, match sponsorship, kit donors or advertising. We hope you continue to enjoy your relationship with East Fife and thank you for your support.
Season 2021/22 did not end as anyone connected with East Fife would have liked. Although we suffered badly with injuries this season, the league table doesn’t lie, and we were deservedly relegated after 6 seasons in League One. No one is more acutely aware than me that we need to be better as a whole and, as you will see below, we are now undertaking an extensive review of all areas.
We took the decision to change managers in November with Stevie Crawford replacing Darren Young. It is without doubt the hardest decision I've taken while in the position of Chairman at East Fife and I’d like to put on record my thanks, and that of the board, to Darren for everything he did for club during his 5 years with us and wish him well for the future. Stevie was dealt a difficult hand to try and retain our League One status but had to deal with the same team selection dilemmas as Darren and there is no doubt that being without so many key & experienced players for the majority of the campaign also contributed to our final position.
A review is also already underway at board level where we are assessing the changes required to support the team on the park.
One plus point from this season was the emergence of a number of young players at the club. Already we have several of them tied down for next season who we hope, given time, will turn into important players for the club.
At the time of writing, our Under 20s side are sitting in 7th position in their Lowland Development League Conference A with 2 matches to play - a remarkable achievement given the vast majority of the squad are aged 18 or under. A huge credit must be given to Steve Batty and his team for the development of the squad. The date for their final home match against Broomhill is still to be confirmed but I’d encourage all supporters to come to Bayview to support the boys. Any changes to the U20s squad ahead of next season will be announced following the conclusion of their season.
The club also entered the Scottish FA Youth Cup (Under 18s) for the first time this season and we were handed a very difficult first round tie against Celtic. This was the first time many of the boys had played with linesmen let alone in front of a crowd of over 500! The team gave a good account of themselves against their much more experienced opponents but were knocked out in the opening round. Overall, the coaches feel it was a valuable experience for the youngsters and we plan to enter the competitions again in 2022/23.
Squad Update for 2022/23
As announced last week, Ross Davidson, Aaron Dunsmore, Ross Dunlop, Dan Higgins, Danny Swanson, Jamie Semple, Ryan Blair and Sean Brown will all leave the club when their contracts expire in June. I'd personally like to thank them all for their efforts whilst at the club and wish then all the best for the future.
I would like to give a special mention to Club Captain Kevin Smith who will also be leaving this summer after 8½ seasons at East Fife. Kevin has been the consummate professional throughout his time at Bayview and I know his influence will be greatly missed in the dressing room. The series of events planned for Kevin's testimonial are still going ahead as planned and I'm sure this will be well supported by all East Fife fans.
Stevie has his budget for next season, and I know he is already hard at work speaking to potential targets as he looks to strengthen the squad for our 2022/23 League Two campaign. As always, any new additions will only be announced after the appropriate paperwork is in place.
2021/22 saw a number of changes at board level:
Biographies for all directors can be found here.
Season Tickets for 2022/23
Season ticket prices will be announced within the next couple of weeks however I can confirm that prices will increase for next season for both season tickets and individual match tickets. I understand that fans will question an increase after relegation, but the rising costs required to run Bayview, coupled with the desire to provide the manager with a competitive budget, mean we were left with no alternative.
We have tried to keep the increase as low as possible for season ticket holders including the return of our early bird prices and the introduction of 2 new pricing bands. As announced last season, the age for concessions will increase from 60 to 65 bringing us into line with most other SPFL clubs.
Over 300 members of the East Fife Community Football Club attended our matches against Dumbarton and Cove Rangers, and it was great to hear how much they enjoyed their visit. Following on from this, we have agreed a hugely discounted kids season ticket price for members of EFCFC (details to follow in the coming weeks).
For the first time we will also include a new season ticket band for 16-19-year-olds in full-time education. It’s been fantastic to see an ever-increasing number of young adults attending matches at Bayview, so we felt it was important to acknowledge that with a new season ticket category.
Finally, we will implement an option to pay-up your season ticket for supporters who are unable to lay out the full amount up front. Those wishing to take up this option should contact the club office directly after tickets go on sale.
Hospitality/Commercial Opportunities 2022/23
Chef Tom Will is retiring after a number of years running our matchday hospitality and pie stalls. Tom has been a great servant to the club, and I would like to put on record my thanks for everything he’s done over the years and wish him well in his retirement.
John Barclay has been working hard behind the scenes and we’re pleased to confirm a replacement has been recruited to cater for both hospitality and the pie stalls. Further details on pricing for hospitality will be announced over the coming weeks.
Our new commercial brochure detailing all sponsorship opportunities for next season will also be published in the coming weeks.
Strips for 2022/23
Our black & gold checked home strip will remain in place for next season. I am also delighted to confirm that BW Technology will continue as our home shirt sponsor for the next 2 seasons. I’d like to thank Dave Bryce & the team at BW Technology for their continued support.
Our all-red 3rd kit will be retired, and our green & white away kit will take its place as our 3rd choice kit. The final design of our new away kit is being finalised with our kit suppliers Football Nation, but we are aiming to be in a position to reveal this by the end of May.
Several other change/events are also planned over the close season including:
Introduction of a club mailing list with regular updates from the Chairman/Manager.
Introduction of an Overseas Fifers Supporters Club in conjunction with East Fife TV. This will be primarily aimed at supporters who reside outside the UK/Ireland but there will also be options for supporters who are unable to regularly attend matches in person.
A club open day with the opportunity for fans to meet the players along with a Q&A with board and management team.
East Fife TV will also be looking for assistance in all areas of club media related activities. Keep an eye on our social media platforms over the next couple of weeks.
Additionally, we are also in the process of sourcing additional merchandise for the club shop and starting the process of revamping the official club website.
Once again, many thanks for your support over the season and we look forward to welcoming you back to Bayview for season 2022/23.
Yours in sport
The East Fife Supporters’ Club Player of the Year dance took place on Saturday 16th April following our home match against Falkirk. The winners were:
Supporters’ Club Player of the Year (sponsored by Gordon Love)
Supporters’ Club Young Player of the Year (sponsored by Bill Young)
Supporters’ Club Players’ Player of the Year (sponsored by Nick Chalmers)
Supporters’ Club Top Goal Scorer (sponsored by Jean Veitch)
Supporters’ Club goal of the Season (sponsored by East Fife TV)
Kevin Smith v Elgin City (H) 24th July 2021
Supporters’ Club U20s Player of the Year (sponsored by Keith Fairley)
Directors’ Player of the Year
East Fife TV Gold Subscribers Player of the Year
East Fife Supporters’ Trust Player of the Year
Thank you also to the Supporters’ Club for their donation of £1500 to the football club.
After 8 and a half seasons, Captain Kevin Smith will leave the club this summer. Kevin first signed on at Bayview in January 2014 on loan from Dumbarton before making the move permanently that summer. He was appointed Club Captain in 2015 and guided the side the to the League Two title that season.
Kevin finishes his East Fife career just outside the top 20 all-time appearances on 238. He scored his 50th goal for the club earlier this season to finish on that milestone.
Dubbed ‘King Kev’ by the East Fife support, Kevin was awarded a testimonial in recognition for his service to the club with the first of 5 event to mark the occasion scheduled to take place this month.
Kevin has been the consummate professional during his spell at the club and we wish him all the best for the future.