Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Friday

Friday, 12th Jun 2020

12/06/20: SC - “ The problem with it is that until we get a start date for when the league is going to begin, you then don’t know when pre season is going to start and you then have the financial implications of when do you actually start trying to get a player to sign

It has been three months since we last heard from Stevie Crawford and he reflected with the website today on the impact of the restrictions due to the coronavirus.

The manager himself has been furloughed and that itself has created a situation that prevented him doing anything job related. Now off the Government’s coronavirus job retention scheme, Stevie related the story since the team was last in action at Firhill in the 1-1 draw with Partick Thistle:-

“We were training on the Friday, March the 13th of all days! We were preparing for the Dundee game like we normally do for our matches. It was getting towards the end of the session and I was involved in a finishing exercise that some of the boys like to do on a Friday before we finish up. Jason came over and said that the Chairman was standing at the side of the park, I hadn’t noticed him.

“I went over and then Ross (McArthur) broke the news that we wouldn’t be playing against Dundee, addressed the group and at that point thought we’d see what the next week brings. That was as short notice as we got.”

That was the last time the players were together and the coaches went in on the following Monday only to be made aware that the situation was serious and that they would have to stay away for a period of time. Stevie added:-

“We didn’t know what we were going to be facing but I thought a couple of weeks or a month. It has taken me by surprise what it led into, the seriousness of it all and we are now three months down the line which has been very challenging.”

The speed of it all and then the furloughing through the Government’s scheme, which included the manager and coaching staff has made it hard to communicate.

“The reality of it, when I look back on what Ross has been dealing with at the SPFL, with the season coming to an end and now trying to get the league up and running for the season ahead, there is not a much that I have been able to tell the players that I still have signed for next season. We are just continually waiting on this date, that becomes frustrating.

“Likewise I couldn’t have told the media very much so I can understand why I was put on furlough along with the rest of the coaching staff and the players. Even though I am off furlough we have had to try and leave it as long as possible to see where we are with trying to establish a playing budget for next season with a start date.”

On the 22nd May the club announced due to all the uncertainty announce that unfortunately it was not be in a position to offer new contracts to the 17 out of contract players. Amongst those leaving as a consequence were first team regulars Lee Ashcroft, Tom Beadling, Danny Devine, Ryan Scully, Joe Thomson and club captain, Paul Paton. Stevie explained:-

“We did not offer any of the seventeen players a contract to go ahead because of the position that we find ourselves in. We felt that was the right decision, it wasn’t an easy decision to make and Ross and I had several conversations but we had to protect the future of Dunfermline Football Club.

“I want to go on record to thank every one of those seventeen players for their efforts in their time with us. Hopefully they will find something and go on and have a decent career moving forward.”

Despite a start date for the Scottish Championship still not clear, Stevie is thoughtful about possible additions to his squad when things look more certain and pointed out that being aware of players that might be becoming available is all part of a manager’s job.

“You are always continually looking at who is coming out of contract, what players are possibly available, checking the market for young players playing in the lower leagues or maybe in England. You just try and keep in touch with people you know that way, keep your finger on the pulse.

“The problem with it is that until we get a start date for when the league is going to begin, you then don’t know when pre season is going to start and you then have the financial implications of when do you actually start trying to get a player to sign because if this continues to go on, the hardship is that we do not want to be paying players when we are not in a position to be doing so when we are not even actually in training.

“There is still talk about reconstruction so it is not just as simple as a start date. What I’ve tried to do is to concentrate on genuine targets and then, if Ross turns round and says we are going to be playing x amount of games this season, you can then target who you can and if that doesn’t happen, we have got to have a plan B and plan C in place to try and bring in the best players possible to Dunfermline to challenge next season.”

More updates on the manager’s thoughts will be daily briefs for the next five days

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