David Goodwillie: Council leader threatens to kick club from home ground if they sign rapist footballer

A council leader has threatened to kick a football club from its home ground if it agrees to sign rapist footballer David Goodwillie.

Goodwillie, and fellow footballer David Robertson, were ruled to be rapists in a 2017 civil case.

The pair, who have never faced a criminal trial over the allegations, were ordered to pay £100,000 in damages after a judge ruled they raped a woman at a property in West Lothian following a night out in January 2011.

However, Glasgow United FC fielded the 34-year-old former Scotland striker in a friendly against West of Scotland Premier Division side Pollok earlier this month – sparking condemnation from Rape Crisis Scotland.

The group branded the move a “bad decision that sends entirely the wrong message”.

Now, Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken has warned that the club could lose its council-owned Greenfield Football Centre home if it signs the striker.

In a statement, released by the authority, she said: “David Goodwillie has been found, in court, to be a rapist.

“However, in more than 12 years, he has never once shown any kind of contrition or remorse.

SNP's Susan Aitken at the Glasgow City Council count at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow, in the local government elections. Picture date: Friday May 6, 2022.

Image: SNP’s Susan Aitken

“Any club that signs him is making a very clear statement about its attitude to the safety of women and girls – both in sport and in its community.

“It would be an outrageous decision, wholly at odds with how community facilities like Greenfield should be run.

“I’ve asked officers to look at the council’s agreement with Glasgow United and made it clear that I’m ready for the city to walk away.”

Goodwillie has seen several football club contracts collapse due to public outrage over the case, but was spotted playing for ninth-tier side Glasgow United FC in a friendly match last Wednesday.

A club spokesperson previously told BBC Scotland that Goodwillie “deserves a chance” and that he wants to be “left in peace and be allowed to play the game he loves”.

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Earlier this month, Goodwillie said he was an “innocent man” in an appearance on the podcast Anything Goes with James English.

He also said he wants to move on with his life.

He said: “I’m an innocent man. I still say to this day, I’m walking about free, I’m not on the sex offenders’ register, I’ve not got any charges for this, I don’t even have a criminal record any more.”

The former Dundee United, Blackburn, Aberdeen and Plymouth player added: “I’ve cleaned up my act and I’ve tried to be a better person.”

Goodwillie said that he could not fully remember the night of the incident as he was drunk, but said: “This case wasn’t violent, this was three people drunk, having consensual sex, what was happening in front of me was normal, she was talking, laughing, joking, joining in.

Read more:

Raith Rovers apologise for signing striker

Rape Crisis Scotland ‘disappointed’ as Glasgow United FC says rapist footballer ‘deserves a chance’

“So for her to say she can’t remember that, it’s hard for me to live with because I’m thinking if I could only show you the way you were acting, we had no idea that you were going to wake up in the morning and not remember this.”

Goodwillie was playing for English club Plymouth at the time of the civil court judgment and left “by mutual consent” just days after the ruling.

Two months later, in March 2017, he signed for Clyde despite fierce criticism of the club’s decision to give him a deal.

He played for the Cumbernauld-based club for almost five years, becoming club captain, before Raith Rovers moved to sign him in February last year.

Following widespread opposition to the move, including from crime writer Val McDermid, a fan of the club, Goodwillie was released from his contract without playing a match.

A year later, there was a similar situation when Northern Premier League side Radcliffe responded to criticism by cancelling Goodwillie’s contract a day after he scored a hat-trick on his debut against Belper Town.

And Australian second-tier side FC Sorrento also followed suit, announcing last month they had cancelled his contract after the news of Goodwillie’s impending arrival was met with a social media backlash.

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