DUNFERMLINE have begun the search for a new manager after removing John Potter from the post amidst bleak warnings over the consequences of the failure to win promotion back to the Championship.
The Pars conducted a wide-ranging review of a bitterly disappointing season after missing out on a play-off place.
I will never have it said by anybody that John or Neil did not put their heart and soul into the club.Chairman Bob Garmory
In a lengthy statement released by the board yesterday, it was announced that Potter – who it was revealed had been subjected to “personal abuse” in recent weeks – would return to the coaching role he held prior to replacing Jim Jefferies in December. Assistant Neil McCann, who has gone unpaid for part of his three-year tenure on the coaching staff after being brought in by Jefferies, is also departing as part of the shake-up following a “wholly unacceptable” season.
Chairman Bob Garmory said: “John Potter and Neil McCann have been absolutely tremendous for the club. They’ve done everything they could to try and bring success to the team but, unfortunately, things have not worked out. But I will never have it said by anybody that John or Neil did not put their heart and soul into the club.
“We must also put on record our condemnation of the personal abuse to which John and his family have been subject in recent months, from a small, but vocal, minority of fans.”
The club will retain a core of full-time players for a third year in League 1, with ten – including the likes of Andy Geggan, Josh Falkingham and Michael Moffat – still under contract, but are likely to augment a reduced squad of 18-20 with part-timers.
With directors anticipating a trading loss in the region of £250,000 from the current campaign, which they say will “further diminish” their bank reserves, the East End Park outfit are seeking a manager with experience of success in the lower leagues to return the club to the Championship. But, just two years on from the club being plunged into administration, they have also confessed they still need to slash an estimated £50,000 from their already-stripped back annual budget and need the “full support of the fan base to keep our club afloat”. Fans have been warned that any major reduction in season-ticket sales, home attendances or monthly donations through the Centenary Club Lifeline would have “serious implications”.
The club statement read:
“Further cuts still need to be made. But, this will be very difficult given that a lot of the core costs have already been cut to the bone. As DAFC is now a widely owned community club, it clearly needs the support of the community more than ever.”
Potter himself was philosophical about the abuse he received. The 35-year-old ex-St Mirren and Clyde defender said: “You get it as a player. I’ve had it for something like 20 years, it happens. “People have got opinions and I’ve not got a problem with that, as long as it doesn’t affect anything else outside me. I’m big enough and ugly enough to take it.”
Of his removal as manager he added: “I’ve loved the job and working with good people. The results haven’t been great, even if there’s loads of reasons for that, but I’ve loved the job.
“I’m going to work to assist the new man coming in and hopefully we can work as a team and take this club back to where the club wants to go.”