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Football: New order at Raith as Smith sells up.

MARIO CAIRA last night bought out former club chairman Danny Smith's majority shareholding in Raith Rovers.

The Kirkcaldy hotelier and existing director at Raith purchased outright Smith's 50.1 per cent interest in the Stark's Park club yesterday.

And Caira is expected to name a new boardroom lineup at the First Division outfit this afternoon.

Rovers have been rocked in recent days following the shock resignation of Smith, who was a member of the consortium that bought the club from Allan Kelly in June 1999.

Last night's statement was the first time the club has spoken out about the recent sweeping changes, with supporters demanding they remove the veil of secrecy surrounding recent events.

Caira runs the Victoria Hotel in Kirkcaldy as well as having other leisure and catering interests.

Last night he said: ``I am sorry to see Danny go afterhis four-year reign as chairman of Raith Rovers and fully understand and support his reasons for leaving.

``I retain the utmost respect for Danny and what he has done here and I will continue to build on the foundations he has laid.

``Although Danny left sooner than was anticipated, I am excited about the challenges that lie ahead. However, my first job is to confirm the make-up of the board, which I will do in the next few days.''

Smithresignedfollowinga board meeting on December 30, saying he could no longer adhere to the club's vision.

With his power diluted by recent share deals and the sale and lease-back of the stadium to Turnbull Hutton and Colin McGowan, Smith felt increasingly at odds with other directors.

During his stewardship the former printer turned Raith's financial fortunes around, helping save the club from closure in 1999 when it was saddled with debts of pounds 1.8 million.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 7, 2004
Words:296
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