Dunfermline have adopted a similar strategy to Hearts by announcing a proposed share issue in a bid to help overcome the financial difficulties that are threatening the club’s future.
The Fife club were last month only able to part pay an overdue £81,000 tax bill to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and have been unable to pay their staff and players their full salaries on time for the past two months.
The first-team squad are still due 63 per cent of their wages for last month after being forced to wait until 24 November to be paid in full for October. Officials hope to raise between £300,000 and £500,000 from the share issue, and have indicated a full subscription will dilute from 95 per cent to 75 per cent owner Gavin Masterton’s stake in the club, held through his company Charlestown Holdings Ltd.
Chairman John Yorkston, who will step down from the post at the end of the season, said: “Dunfermline Athletic is at the centre of people’s hearts and minds in West Fife and a long way beyond. “We need our fans to support us now more than ever and if they do support the share issue we can all enjoy the successes that it can bring.”
Relegation from the SPL, which cost the club over £1 million, and a fixture list that has seen the team play just one game at home in the last six weeks have been blamed for their current cashflow worries.
A club statement said: “The club still has a huge financial hurdle to overcome, particularly with HMRC, and are urging fans to continue the immediate fund-raising efforts and do everything they can to get a sizeable crowd to East End Park this Saturday. We have been heartened by the show of support, in every sense, and if this continues, together with the income generated from forthcoming local derbies, Christmas parties and sales, there is confidence that the club can pull through this period.”
In launching the share issue, the board have also opened the way for greater involvement by supporters in the way their club is run. Fans recently launched a Pars Alive fundraising group and have already generated thousands of pounds for the club.
They will welcome the promise that their cash can be converted into shares and of “greater supporter representation and involvement in decision-making at the club, including at board level, with a longer-term aim of creating a community-managed club”.
A club spokesperson added: “While the proceeds of the share issue will enable us to bring ourselves completely up-to-date with HMRC and regularise our position with creditors, we also want it to support Jim Jefferies and his team in their drive to progress to the SPL, and to help fund other activities, such as the continued improvement in the youth set-up at East End Park.”