The fans-led group aiming to save Dunfermline last night issued a “final, non-negotiable” offer to owner Gavin Masterton and set a deadline of 10am today after fresh talks failed to find a breakthrough in the bid to prevent the liquidation of the financially-stricken club.
Negotiations involving supporters’ group The Pars Community (TPC) and representatives of majority shareholder Masterton were yesterday unsuccessful in reaching an agreement over a plan that would remove the threat of the winding-up order issued by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs over a £134,000 tax bill.
The discussions have been further complicated by two of the main figureheads being out of the country, with Masterton’s departure for a family holiday in Switzerland this week being followed by Jim Leishman’s pre-arranged trip to Germany in his capacity as Provost of Fife.
However, with the clock ticking over HMRC’s pursuit of their arrears, and with debts to players, staff and business creditors thought to be in the region of £500,000, TPC have issued a take-it-or-leave-it last offer that expires this morning.
The consortium, who have an initial £250,000 to invest, insist they are doing all they can to convince Masterton to give up control of the ailing Fife club as it lurches towards extinction.
Donald Adamson, a representative of TPC, who are proposing a supporter-led future for the club, said: “We are doing our best to save the club, but it’s not in our control; it’s in the hands of one person. It’s interesting negotiating with someone who is not present, but we will keep plugging away.”
The fear is that HMRC could tip the Fifers over the edge, unless Masterton can be convinced to vastly reduce his 94 per cent stake in the club in return for desperately needed fresh investment. Dunfermline face Raith Rovers at Stark’s Park tomorrow in a match that is already being described as potentially the final Fife derby between the clubs.