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The Game’s Up

It looks like today is D Day. The D in this case is for Dunfermline.

The Pars have traditionally been one of Scotland’s leading ‘town’ or provincial clubs. They are in a bracket I suppose with Kilmarnock, Motherwell, St Johnstone and the like.

I’ve heard many figures bandied about in the midst of Dunfermline’s current crisis but yesterday I heard one that took my breath away. That was that the East End Park club are £8.5 million in debt.

If that figure is in any way near accurate then there are serious questions to be asked of the sanity of those in control of the club.

I wonder if Dunfermline would even take an eighth of that total in at the turnstiles this season even were they to survive?

I have said for years that clubs like Dunfermline should operate with a part-time playing staff – certainly if they are operating below the top league. I heard recently that during the completely bonkers time a few years ago, Kilmarnock were paying a player £6,000 per week! That figure should be about their whole wage bill for the first team.

Even now there are reputedly players with clubs whose attendances only nudge into four figures who are paying players full time weekly wages er….nudging into four figures.

Complete madness, and yet the current league reconstruction proposals on the table in Scotland have at their core the mission statement of keeping middle ranking clubs like Dunfermline full time. Jeez!

How many administrations/liquidations does it take to convince people that Scottish football has lived way beyond its means for decades?

Airdrieonians and more recently Rangers actually did go bust to rise again in another guise. It seems that neither of these new clubs have learned anything from history. Rangers are paying players more money than any SPL club bar one and their last two home games have yielded one point against a team whose entire first team probably can’t match the wage of just one Rangers player. Airdrie seem to stumble on but sit bottom of the first division, like Dunfermline rattling around a 10,000 seater stadium which has never held a capacity crowd. Indeed these days Airdrie rarely attract over 1,000.

I’m afraid that unless the financial reality of the situation is embraced by administrators and those running clubs in Scotland, and there is no sign of that happening any time soon, then Dunfermline will sadly not be the last club to face oblivion as their future. Hearts and Kilmarnock are probably next in line but there are others too.

The games up gentlemen.

Time for a reality check.


One Response

  1. There wis a £13m loan to be repaid in 2043 against the stadium also (although this may be written of by a taxpayer ownd bank). There is a whole intricate web behind the mess that Dunfermline is in. It has much in common with the Rangers debacle and apparently some links also. I am at work just now so can’t even begin to go into it.
    As it stands, I think there is £134k due to the tax man and between £400k to £700k due to local / other businesses. God knows what else behind the web that Masterton has taken the club into.

    EEP has seen a capacity crowd. Against Raith in what was effectively a title decider. A club that had signed players in the January transfer window that it couldn’t afford (and hadn’t paid St Johnstone for – although a local businessman had financed one of the deals, the money did not directly go to St Johnstone) versus a club, cutting it’s cloth and making a valiant bid for the top flight before cutting it’s cloth further and having a part -time squad.

    “The club has no debts”
    Gavin Masterton, January 2013.

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