The San Starko is one of the iconic Scottish grounds and should be visited by everybody at some time. Rovers are in tier 2 at the moment and that does’t look like changing any time soon so I haven’t seen a league match there since 2004 with ICT.

Date and ownership unknown

A ground that I only saw from the outside for many years. Growing up in the 60s my family spent a few foggy damp holidays in a caravan at Kinghorn, with the foghorn booming out, quite a trek for my old man’s car round by Kincardine, before the Forth Road Bridge was built in 1964. Kirkcaldy was only one stop up the line and you could see right into the ground as you approached the station. As I got older I had the same sort of experience at Arbroath and Montrose, trying to see into grounds during the close season aka the summer holidays.

Rovers are famous for the phrase ‘They’ll be dancing in the streets of Raith tonight’ which was blamed on that eejit David Coleman but apparently it was coined by Sam Leitch who was actually a Scot.

The most unusual feature at the San Starko is the 2500 seat L-shaped stand by Archie Leitch, dating from about 1925 when Alex James was sold to Preston. Of course in 1960 they sold a certain James Curran Baxter to Rangers for £17,500, a Scottish record at the time.

I first knew the ground when it had terracing at both ends and this was replaced by 2 new stands by Barr Construction in 1996. The following 4 images are from 1996 when I poked my nose in one Sunday morning and nobody seemed to be about:

The Railway Stand, now closed
The Main Stand from the North
View from the Links Street End to the North terracing
Home terracing (Links Street) looking towards the Main Stand

Between 1999 and 2004 ICT were in Division 1 (now the Championship) and I had a few trips to the away end at Kirkcaldy. We had a few gubbings and didn’t get a win until my 5th visit in November 2001, when the dismal record was well and truly buried as Steve Paterson’s side won 5-1, with ICT legends such as Barry Robson, Charlie Christie, Bobby Mann and Dennis Wyness. After that it was plain sailing and I saw ICT undefeated a further 4 times before they gained promotion in 2004 under John Robertson.

Bobby Mann scores from the spot
Panorama from November 2001, the sky is genuine!
Main Stand from the North Stand, November 2001

Coming right up to date, a few recent shots:

Approaching from the North (railway station)
Looking down Pratt Street

Stark’s Park is very unusual from the outside as Pratt Street is very steep. At the North End you can walk straight in off the street but at the other end you have a large flight of steps to negotiate.

Main Stand and home end looking up Pratt Street
Looking north – compare this with 1996
Leitch’s Main Stand
The Rovers were formed in 1883. The visitors are somewhat younger…

My most recent visit, I now realise, was actually as far back as 2008. Four of us got comps from Andrew Cook who was an ex pupil of my mate Jamie and we went in the home end for a Cup match v Alloa which ended 0-0 on a cold November afternoon. The highlight of the day was having several very cheap doubles of the Malt of the Month at Stark’s Bar at the bottom of Pratt Street, where we were served by two very buxom wenches. Sadly, Stark’s Bar is no more: it was very basic to say the least but it was great on matchdays.

Modern-day aerial shot: unknown photographer