Dunfermline Athletic

Interview with Chairman

Friday, 15th Mar 2013

"I have my doubts as to whether they were seriously wanting to do anything because every time we agreed to something, they changed the goalposts.


Club Chairman John Yorkston, explained on Friday evening just where the Club was in their efforts to create stability at the Club and to resolve matters with HMRC.

Firstly he explained why it was him and not the Steering Group that was talking to the website:-

"I attended their first meeting but the whole point of the Steering Group was to have neutral brokers away from Gavin (Masterton) and I. I am seen by some as too close to Gavin so Jim Leishman, Bob Garmory, Stephen Taylor are the three fronting that group trying to broker an agreement."

He commented on the breakdown in discussion with TPC.

"Gavin kept making concessions but every time he made a concession they wanted something else. It went on and on and then they went back to the original offer. This was not the way to conduct negotiations."

Can it be fixed without TPC?

"It is going to have to be fixed without them. They have said that they are finished but they have said that before and kept coming back. They have kept saying that they will go away if the offer is not accepted. When we say it is not accepted, they keep coming back. If that is the way that they are going to do business I just hope that they just leave us alone to get on with the real business of saving this club.

"It has been a distraction and I have always had my doubts about how serious their intentions are. We asked them to put the money into an escrow account which is standard business practice when anybody buys something. You put your money into an escrow account, you can't touch it, I can't touch it but it is there so that when the transaction is completed the money is transferred over or if it does not complete it goes back to the person who put it in.

"We thought we had got somewhere on Wednesday night but they came back and changed the ballpark. The terms of the emails that we have been receiving is 'that these are non-negotiable. This is our offer and they went back to their first offer and said that it was non-negotiable. They have been negotiating all along and then they came up with this."

John said that Gavin Masterton is determined to get below the 50% mark but he is not just going to walk away.

"There are ways, we are talking to other parties - we have been speaking to a gentleman who spends a lot of time in Switzerland that we have been speaking to. He contacted me over a week ago, I met him at Edinburgh Airport at the beginning of the week and we had discussions and these discussions about investment are ongoing. He does not want sole ownership but he wants to get involved. That is an option."

So will the lead now be taken by the Board?

"The Steering Group was just to deal with the TPC but we have been talking to other folk away from these discussions but you keep them quiet, you do not make them public by publishing or putting on Twitter your first offer. I do not know any other business that would do that. They have to be held confidentially and to do that is totally unprofessional.

"I find it impossible to deal with the way that they have been acting. Whether you are pro or anti Gavin I think most folk realise that the level of abuse that has been shown is totally unacceptable. It is like a pack mentality, if anybody says something positive and they all hound them.

"We have made mistakes in the past, we are not saying that we are perfect but we have done a lot of good things as well."

"£134,000 now needs to be paid by around 26th March but Thomas Docherty has been doing a great job for us on our behalf. He has spoken to the Revenue; it is a lot of money but we are confident that it will be there."


But that is the end of the month again and salaries will be due?

"That is why we need someone else involved, whether it is this gentleman that I have been speaking to or other parties. Now that the TPC is no longer involved we can concentrate on other ones. They have taken up a lot of the time with the Steering Group."

Will the share issue still go ahead?

"We are still to discuss that one but on the basis that the TPC is not happening, a share issue or something similar will go ahead. We understand that any investment would not be to make money - it is a love affair with the Club. The more that is put in the more share that will be individual fan owned."

So how do you see the sustainability of the Club:-

"Obviously we have a difficult few months ahead. Nobody is saying that it is not going to be but there are a few things coming up. Alex Ferguson has mentioned that he is bringing a team up and that could be a quarter of a million or so - 10000 folk at £20."

Yorkston confirmed that Gavin Masterton wants out:-

"He is not going to step forward again and we have to go ahead without him. Gavin and his daughters will be coming off the Board. At the moment that would just leave me, it could be lonely but that will be at a time that suits the Club. We can't do that right now. If we go ahead with the share issue then certainly there would be representatives of those who buy the shares on the Board.

"I think there is light at the end of the tunnel and the Dunfermline fans can make that light brighter by coming to games and doing their bit for the Club. Our support has been good this season but the biggest disappointment has been the away support. When we played Cowdenbeath a couple of weeks ago they brought 180 - two years ago when they came there was about 1200. That is a thousand off your gate."

Is 26th March the crunch day?

"Hopefully there will be no crunch day, hopefully we will have things in place before that. There are negotiations going on and we are hopeful that we will get a solution but I cannot say which particular horse we will be riding."

Gavin Masterton was criticised for leaving the country at this critical time, was that the right thing to do?

"Gavin and his family have been under a lot of pressure; there have been a lot of incidents and unpleasantness and he needed to get away from it. Gavin was not directly involved in negotiations with The Pars Community. Like me I don't think I could be in the same room as them to be honest. His phone bill will be sky high when he comes back. He has had a lot of emails and faxes. I have spoken to him four times to him today, as have others so he might be away but he is by no means out of it."

John Yorkston said that he had not experienced levels of abuse to the same extent that Gavin Masterton has:-

"The level of abuse that has been directed to him and his family is totally unacceptable."

TPC appear to disappointed at the lack of detailed accounts, is that fair criticism?

"No, Stephen Taylor has come in and brought the accounts up to date. He has done draft annual ones which Thomson Cooper (Club's auditors) are looking at and also done management accounts. Now we don't just hand them out to anybody who pops in the door and asks for a copy of them. What we said 'put your money on the table, when we know that you have the finances to do it we will show you the accounts'. We are still waiting on them putting the money on the table. If they come in tomorrow with the money and put it in an escrow account, they will get a copy of the accounts. That is standard business procedure.

"I have my doubts as to whether they were seriously wanting to do anything because every time we agreed to something, they changed the goalposts. We can concentrate on other things now.

"We are optimistic that we can get out of this situation but it will require a lot of hard work. We are grateful to Pars Alive who gave us money this morning which went directly to the staff salaries."

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