Dunfermline Athletic

Rebuilding our football club

Tuesday, 22nd Oct 2013

The Next Phase -

BOB GARMORY

Following the purchase of Dunfermline Athletic FC by Pars United, all supporters of the Club were invited along to the Alhambra Theatre on Tuesday 29 October 2013.

Chairman of Dunfermline Athletic  Bob Garmory welcomed everyone to the Alhambra. He started by thanking the fans for their support through the two phases Save the Pars, Buy the Pars and now Keep the Pars. His rallying call was to mobilise all Pars fans everywhere to help the cause.

"If we all work together for the benefit of Dunfermline Athletic Football Club then there is nothing that will stop us reaching the very pinacle of Scottish Football. The Pars fans have shown what they are capable of and to ensure that the Club survived was great. Now let us show what we can do to make this club great again."

Bob explained that to be achieve that regular fund raising events would be necessary. Patons Premier Pars would be held at the Alhambra on Thursday 14th November, a St Andrews Ceilidh will be held on Saturday 30th November. More shareholders will be welcomed with the minimum purchase reduced to £1000 and fans will be asked to bring more family and friends along to East End Park. Greater use of the facilities at East End Park are to be encouraged.

"We cannot rely any more on donations. They will be part of it but we must have regular income."

Bob introduced the Centenary Club Lifeline, an affordable subscription scheme with prizes before going on to invite Jim Jefferies to address the audience.

"This a man who has been a tower of strength throughout all of this. A man who came to our club probably not expecting to have to deal with all the problems he had to put up with. I earnestly believe that this is a man who will lead this club on the park to achieve the great things that we think is possible to achieve."

JIM JEFFERIES

Club Manager Jim Jefferies thanked everyone for the fantastic effort to keep the club alive.

"I speak on behalf of myself, the players and the staff, we appreciate all the hard work. I don't want to be negative about it but it is very difficult to save a football club. The supporters and Pars United have done that and should be very proud of it.

"We are on the recovery and we will make sure that we will go about it in the right way, playing the right way and if we get back to the Premier League we will be staying there."

JJ promised that he did not advocate making mistakes trying to chase the dream and players paying over the odds.

"When I first came in after the eight games in the Premier League, I sat down with the board and said to them that there were two ways to go and I was quite happy to go both ways. One was to continue with experienced players to try and get the club back up. One of the directors said 'we did that the last time, cost us a fortune and took us four years to get back. I said the other thing you could do was to develop a young side - I had identified one or two players who I had spoken to - and try and capitalise on our youth programme that Stephen Wright had started."

Jim decided to change the structure with young boys training together with the fitrst team and giving them a pathway.

"A big plus was the supporters bought in to the developing team, we all enjoyed it, the feedback was great and we would have been in the Premier League had it not been for what these young boys had to go through. It was tough when six of them went with the administration.

"I couldn't see where another point was coming from to be honest and we did remarkably given the circumstances. .Why did I stay? My wife Linda said 'surely you have had enough?'

"I said no, for some reason this is the best club.  I really really enjoy the job, you are good people to work with, the supporters give us a fantastic reception and to see these kids who want to learn, take this club forward and repay you for being given the opportunity.

"It is not through lack of effort or the desire to do well because they work their socks off. They keep going right to the end. It is the way the club is going to go forward. We appreciate this Centenary Club but you have given us this lifeline to take the club forward."

The Manager went on to talk about his Youths and the achievement of reaching the SFA Youth Cup last season when many of that squad were also having to play first team matches as well. He felt it was fortunate that there are more coming through and putting first team players under pressure already. One reason to keep the Club going is because it has a crop of good young players.

JJ then paid tribute to the Under 20s for knocking Dundee United out of this year's competition with a 15 year old in goals. He stressed that Cammy Gill was selected in goal because he was good enough and praised 16 year old Gavin McMillan for scoring the winning goal. He named Lewis Martin and Ryan Williamson as great prospects in that team.

"It is a bonus for me when they put first team players under pressure. We can only do it with your support and help because it takes a lot of money to run a football club but I can assure you that your money will enhance the team with your support.

"It  won't be going down the same path as before, the money will used wisely in the future to develop your team. I can't thank you enough because you saved the club and all we can do is repay you by bringing the success that you crave for."

JIM LEISHMAN & JASON BARBER

As an introduction to the Centenary Club Jason Barber and Jim Leishman then recalled the position the Club was in when the Centenary Club was formed in 1985. When Leishman came on 31st October 1983 Dunfermline were 35th in Scottish football. In 1984-85 they came third in Second Division. In 85-86 they won the Second Division, and the following season were promoted to the Premier League. Champions 1988-89, the Club won its first ever First Division title. The Centenary Club was a significant funder throughout this period.

The Centenary Club had 1100 members at its peak in the late 1980s. Membership contribution has not changed since its inception in 1985 (£8.66 in 1985 is worth £3.46 in 2013). The concept had successfully paid off for Bolton Wanderers and was copied with the help of Wanderers legend Nat Lofthouse who travelled up for the launch of the Centenary Club in the Kinema Ballroom.

£1.5m has been raised by Centenary Club in its lifetime but now it will be rebranded Centenary Club Lifeline and will be Dunfermline Athletic's official fund raising partner with a target of 500 members will raise a gross income of £120,000. £20,000 to be given away in prizes so that £100,000 can be provided to the Club.

Lifeline will be starting 1st December at £20 per month. Existing members can continue to pay £8.66 per month. New members at £20 per month will be entred into the prize draw three times.

ALHAMBRA

A question and answer session followed with Bob Garmory, Jim Jefferies, Jim Leishman, Ian Hunter, Kip McBay, Drew Mayne of the Pars Supporters Trust, Ross McArthur and David McMorrine.

The first question asked for policy on selling players that are currently being developed at the Club. Bob Garmory explained that he wanted the club to be a sustainable football club that makes its books balance. We have to have money in the bank at the end of the season. May be impossible to hold on to them at this point in our history. Jim Jefferies said that they want to keep everybody at the club and the work behind the scenes is to have somebody to step in. He revealed that the club had recently knocked back an approach from a Premier League club for John Potter.

The matter of settling the bill to administrators BDO was questioned. 50% of the bill for the administrator has been paid, that amounted to £50,000 and the balance will be paid over two years on a monthly basis. Legal fees will also be covered.

Football debt owed to former and current players and other football clubs will be paid off in an orderly way.

What steps will be taken to restore the reputation of the football club in the local community? Some businesses are now back on board. Community involvement will be increased and as an example a schools penalty kick competition involving the eight local high schools will take place at the next four home matches.

Questioned on the training ground at Pitreavie Bob Garmory explained that Pars United did not want the responsibility for running Pitreavie. Too much complexity and still working way through working relationship with Pars Trust. Now looking at Pitreavie with a fresh pair of eyes. Dunfermline Athletic has the lease and will make sure that it runs properly.

Would the club consider laying an artificial pitch at East End Park?

Bob Garmory replied "yes, we are thinking about it but we cannot afford it at the moment." Technology has moved on and there are advantages but the Intention is to continue with grass at East End Park.

Whatever happened to ClubDraw scheme that replaced the Pars Lottery? ClubDraw is contracted until July but is not fit for purpose. From the 250 or so subscribers hardly any money comes into the Pars ClubDraw and it is apparent that subscribers would be better joining the Centenary Club Lifeline.

Fraser Gow praised the articulate responses that he had heard from the panel before Bob Garmory summed up:-

"Feedback is welcome. We need to make the match day experience far better than it is so that we can attract a lot more.

"We need effective management and we have a great group of people who are doing their best. We need more people to step up to the plate. What we have done to get to this stage is absolutely fantastic. To go to the next stage we need to re-double our efforts we need more people who want to be part of something really special.

"If you know people out there tell them how wonderful it is. The feel good factor is coming back to this club. Let's go on from here, we cannot stop now. There is no doubt in my mind we can do it. We will be back at the top of Scottish football within the next four or five years. Thank you for all your efforts but go out there and work harder for your football club."

Patons Premier Pars



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