A freelance photographer accused Raith Rovers chairman Alex Penman of ''going berserk'' yesterday when he was left bloodied and battered in an encounter outside the team's home ground at Starks Park, Kirkcaldy.

Mr Peter Kelly, 48, described the attack as the worst thing he had encountered in his career. Mr Kelly, a former picture editor with a Scottish tabloid newspaper, said he was repeatedly punched and kicked by Penman as he walked away from the ground.

The photographer, who required hospital treatment for deep cuts to his nose and left ear, had been accosted by Penman earlier as he waited to interview the Raith owner about speculation that the club is due to change hands.

However, before Kelly's accompanying journalist arrived, Mr Penman, according to Mr Kelly, ''went berserk and completely flipped''.

He said, ''I speak to footballers every day but I have never seen anything like this before. He literally kicked my head in.

''I turned up to talk to the players and to speak to the chairman. I talked briefly to a couple of the players.

''Then, five minutes later, Alex Penman came out and started swearing at me.

''He was shouting 'press b******', and 'What the f***k are you doing here?' I asked if I could have a word with him regarding the situation at the club after my reporter turned up.

''He was roaring about an article in the paper, saying that his lawyers were on to it.

''I said that, when my reporter arrived, he could set the record straight.

''He then shouted 'get to f***k' and told me that I was on private property. So I said alright and took a couple of photographs of him.''

Kelly then turned to walk away from the players' entrance, when the alleged assault took place.

He described the events, witnessed by a bill-poster, that followed: ''I was walking away, and Penman was at the side of me, when I felt a bash to the side of my head. I was rocked. It was like being hit by a sledge-hammer.

''He tried to yank the cameras off me and started hitting me with them. I had two cameras worth around #4000 and I was trying to protect them.

''The next thing, I was on the ground trying to hold the gear, and he was kicking me. He must have kicked me about three or four times before walking away.

''I was totally shocked and there was blood all over the cameras. He just went mad.''

Shortly after the incident, millionaire businessman Penman, who is attempting to sell his major shareholding in the crisis-hit club, drove away from the ground.

A reporter, who arrived to work with Kelly, said: ''I was totally shocked to see Peter standing there covered in blood. I couldn't believe it. He was badly shaken. He could hardly speak.''

Yesterday, Mr Penman was not available for comment.

The alleged assault is a further chapter in the tale of woe at Starks Park.

On Monday, popular manager Iain Munro's contract was terminated by Mr Penman and the Raith board.

Mr Munro was asked to resign by Mr Penman in the car park outside Fir Park, Motherwell, after the team's 5-0 defeat on Saturday.

Mr Munro refused to resign and is now seeking compensation from the club over his dismissal.

On Tuesday night, Raith were relegated from the Premier Division, after being defeated 6-0 by Rangers.