Dunfermline need £300K to help club survive season
DUNFERMLINE Athletic can draw inspiration from the efforts of Hearts fans after it was confirmed the Fife club require £300,000 to survive until the end of the season.
The Pars will imminently launch a share issue designed to raise that amount and alleviate pressure on the football club, whose staff are currently enduring a fourth successive month of salary delays.
Majority shareholder Gavin Masterton yesterday spelled out the stark situation, stating: “We need a few hundred thousand to take us through to the end of the season. If we get the share issue, that is going to generate enough funds to see us through. Administration is a word which is used a lot but we want to avoid that at all costs.” The situation mirrors events at Hearts, Jefferies’ former club, earlier this term when Tynecastle supporters were warned to invest in the cash-strapped Edinburgh side or watch their team go to the wall.
More than £1 million was raised through their share issue and the veteran coach is acutely aware of the importance of Dunfermline’s own effort proving to be a success.
“Hearts are the club who have shown the way in terms of raising money in this manner,” noted Jefferies. “I think Hearts supporters, like our own, wanted to be clear about where their money is going, but in the end a great deal of funds were raised when the club badly needed them.
“As long as any money raised is used for the benefit of the club, and I am sure it will be, then it will be vital. One thing is for sure – we cannot carry on like this. We were told these problems would be over within a couple of months. That was in October and we are now in the middle of February.
In 45 years as a player and coach within the game, there are few things that Jefferies has not experienced. The financial woes of this season, however, are a new low.
And the former Bradford and Kilmarnock boss is honest enough to admit that the perilous situation is having a real affect on the players at Dunfermline, who have suffered four defeats in their last five matches.
“I’ve been at clubs which have run tight ships before,” he continued. “First time at Hearts, at Falkirk and Kilmarnock – we always worked on a budget. But we always got paid.
“I have never been through anything like this.
“We have tried to distance ourselves from what has been going on. But that is not easy when you consider what these players have had to put up with, and now it is affecting the club. Our loss of form has coincided with these problems.”
The Pars have also had to contend with arrears to HMRC and ScottishPower, their electricity supplier.
Former Bank of Scotland executive Masterton confirmed yesterday that he is aiming to cut the annual running costs of the club by a massive £600,000 as he seeks to make Dunfermine a sustainable operation. Around £400,000 of reductions, he claims, have already been identified.
Jefferies also believes that he has put in place the foundations for a frugal, yet talented, squad to compete in the coming years – if the Pars survive. “We decided to go down a path of youth earlier this season,” he added. “Whether this squad is ready for promotion, I’m not sure. But the players are learning and improving, and if we can get through this spell we have put some exciting things in place for the future on the pitch.”
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Thursday 20 June 2013
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