Goodwillie nets hat-trick on Radcliffe debut before being released

Football rapist David Goodwillie secretly signs for non-league Radcliffe – and scores a hat-trick on his debut – before the club RELEASE him just hours later after admitting they ‘took a bridge too far as a community club’

  • David Goodwillie only confirmed a Radcliffe player after named on a teamsheet
  • The former Scotland striker scored a second-half hat-trick for the club
  • But in a statement Radcliffe admitted they were wrong to sign the 33-year-old

David Goodwillie has been released by Radcliffe FC just hours after scoring a hat-trick on his debut and the non-League side having not announced his signing.

Along with fellow footballer David Robertson, Goodwillie was accused of rape in 2011 but never faced a criminal trial due to prosecutors stating there wasn’t enough evidence.

However, in the first civil case of its kind in Scotland, their victim successfully claimed £100,000 from the pair in a civil action at the Court of Session in 2017, after a judge ruled they had raped her.

Radcliffe FC feature in the Northern Premier League and the first mention of Goodwillie came from when they released a team-sheet for their 4-2 win over Belper Town and it featured him in the starting line-up.

The 33-year-old netted three times in the second half to extend the club’s run of six games unbeaten in the seventh tier of the English football system.

David Goodwillie (above) has been released from Radcliffe FC after playing just one game

Radcliffe have now decided to immediately release him from the club after admitting an error of judgement in signing him.

A statement on Wednesday morning read: ‘We can confirm that David Goodwillie has left the Club.

‘As a Club we have always been about second chances and have been a part of many players and staff members rehabilitation along that journey, we’ve always given people a chance to improve their life and found support in this endeavour.

‘When the Club were presented with David Goodwillie that same logic was applied, but in this case it’s clear that was a significant misstep and our due diligence should have been of a much higher standard.

‘We can vouch for all the people at the Club involved in this signing did so out of the desire to do a good thing for an individual with an admittedly tainted past as we have done so successfully before but this was a bridge too far.

‘This move came about very quickly, with clearance only granted extremely late leaving us in a position where our media volunteers were unable to release details prior to team sheets being produced – while regrettable this was also unavoidable.

‘From the Board down to the Management team, who we backed, and have always backed on playing decisions – it’s clear that as a whole we got this wrong. The focus was misplaced and as a growing Community Club we realise that our impacts are also more widely felt too.

‘We have always strived to be a source of pride to our town with good and honest intentions, and we think we have made a significant positive impact for our town over the last 6 years both on and off the field and we sincerely apologize to everyone connected with the Club and the Community – this is a mistake that will never happen again.’

Goodwillie was released by former club Raith Rovers in September just eight months after signing the striker who has previously been capped three times by Scotland.

Goodwillie sits in the stands having never played a game for Raith Rovers following his controversial move in January 2022

On joining Raith at the end of the January 2022 window, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called on Scottish football to step in and urged Rovers to recognise their importance in the community.

The club quickly made a u-turn on the signing and in statement in February admitted they had ‘got it wrong’ in the decision to bring Goodwillie to Stark’s Park.

Chairman, John Sim, said: ‘I firstly want to apologise wholeheartedly to our fans, sponsors, players and the wider Raith Rovers community for the anguish and anger caused over the past few days. We got it wrong.

‘In reaching our original decision, we focused far too much on football matters and not enough on what this decision would mean for our club and the community as a whole.

‘Over the past couple of days, we listened carefully to the fans who have got in touch and I’m very grateful for their honesty.

‘As chairman, as a board and as a management team, we have all learned a hard but valuable lesson.

Goodwillie was found by a civil court to have committed rape in 2017 and was ordered to pay £100,000 to the victim 

‘This very unfortunate episode is something that we all bitterly regret and we are now wholly committed to making things right.

‘I can therefore confirm that, following a meeting of the Raith Rovers board, the player will not be selected by Raith Rovers and we will enter into discussions with the player regarding his contractual position.

‘We share a desire to do what is best for our club and will be doing everything in our power to regain the trust and confidence of the Raith Rovers family.’

Following that statement Goodwillie did not make a single appearance for the club, and was loaned out to former club Clyde in March.

However, it was a move that fuelled even more fury when North Lanarkshire Council, who own the clubs Cumbernauld Stadium, wrote to the club to warn them of an immediate eviction and said they would not have their lease renewed if Goodwillie entered the ground.

While Clyde Ladies Football club general manager resigned and all of their players stated they no longer wanted to play for the club.

Goodwillie’s loan was terminated and he returned to Raith before his release.

David Goodwillie Q&A: Why wasn’t he charged for rape in a criminal court? What happened in the civil hearing? Has he ever publicly acknowledged his guilt? 

By Brian Majoribanks for Sportsmail 

Q) Why was the former Dundee United, Blackburn Rovers and Scotland striker never tried in a criminal court?

A) Goodwillie and former Dundee United team-mate David Robertson were accused of raping Denise Clair at a house in Armadale, West Lothian, after a night out in Bathgate on January 2, 2011. But the Crown said there was insufficient evidence to bring the case to court and the charges against Goodwillie were dropped. Robertson was never charged.

Q) What happened next?

A) Despite the stance of the Crown Office, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority determined that Ms Clair had, in fact, been raped and awarded her £11,000 — the highest possible award.

Q) Was that the end of the legal process?

A) No. Ms Clair decided to sue Goodwillie and Robertson in a civil action in what was the first civil rape case of its kind in Scotland. Ms Clair sought £500,000 damages from the duo.

Q) What is the burden of proof in a civil court?

A) The case needed to be proven to a judge on the balance of probabilities. In a criminal court, a jury would have to be persuaded of Goodwillie’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

Q) What happened in the civil hearing?

A) The case centred on whether Ms Clair was too drunk to give consent to have sex with the players. Goodwillie and Robertson admitted having sex but said it was consensual. Witnesses testified to Ms Clair being very drunk when she left a club with the footballers. Medical and forensic witnesses also backed her story. In January 2017, Lord Armstrong, presiding, ruled Ms Clair had been raped and was awarded around £100k in damages.

Q) What was said about the testimonies of Goodwillie and Ms Clair?

A) Lord Armstrong was critical of Goodwillie, saying his evidence was ‘partial’ and partisan’. He ruled: ‘both defenders took advantage of the pursuer when she was vulnerable through an excessive intake of alcohol and, because her cognitive functioning and decision-making processes were so impaired, was incapable of giving meaningful consent; and that they each raped her.’ In contrast, the testimony of Ms Clair was described by Lord Armstrong as: ‘cogent, persuasive and compelling’.

Q) Why did Ms Clair waive her anonymity?

A) In 2013, Ms Clair waived her right to anonymity to hit out at the justice system. Later after winning the civil case, she again told of her devastation that the rape case had never reached the criminal courts. She revealed how lawyers acting for Goodwillie and Robertson had offered her up to £115,000 to drop the case.

Q) Why did Clyde FC sign Goodwillie after the civil case ruled he had raped Ms Clair?

A) Faced with a backlash when Goodwillie signed for Clyde in March 2017, incoming chairman Norris Innes defended the move. He said the then-League Two club was ‘seeking to help someone when others want to punish him…there is no positive purpose or societal gain whatsoever to wish ill on him and allow his talents to stagnate and waste.’

Q) What has Goodwillie had to say about the case?

A) In 2011, he told The Scotsman it had been: ‘total and utter hell, the worst moments of my life. It was a dark time. My life stopped after the accusation was made. It’s the end of the world when something like that happens to you.’ Goodwillie was declared bankrupt in 2019.

Q) Has David Goodwillie ever publicly acknowledged his guilt?

A) No. But he declined to appeal the civil case ruling in the Supreme Court.


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