DUNFERMLINE chairman John Yorkston is hopeful his club’s relegation rivals will be spooked by the appointment of Jim Jefferies as manager at such a crucial stage of the season.
Yorkston revealed he has landed Jefferies for the job at the second attempt, having failed to lure him away from Kilmarnock in 2006. He is convinced the 61-year-old is the right man to revive Dunfermline in the wake of Jim McIntyre’s departure.
“I would hope the other clubs would be looking over their shoulder at us bringing Jim in,” said Yorkston. “I certainly wouldn’t like to think they are thinking ‘He’s not going to make any difference’. We are looking for Jim to make an impact. He’s an experienced manager and respected for everything he has done in the game.
“Just before we appointed Stephen Kenny [in 2006], we tried to get Jim. At that time he was having his troubles at Kilmarnock, but it wasn’t to be.
“Jim is not naive. He knows what the priority is, to keep us up. That will be his main effort for the next few weeks and hopefully he’ll get off to a good start against St Mirren at East End Park on Saturday and the fans will be out in force to support him.
“We know it will be difficult to stay up. We are bottom of the league on merit and Jim’s got a hard job. If he does it, great. If not, he has time to re-shape it and hopefully get us up the following season.”
Jefferies budget for the summer squad rebuilding he will want to undertake will depend on the outcome of Dunfermline’s relegation battle. But Yorkston admits the financial benefits of staying in the SPL are not always clear-cut.
“It’s hard to say what relegation would cost us,” added Yorkston. “It affects your turnover, although you spend less on your squad. In terms of turnover, we would drop by around £1 million, but we do have good crowds in the First Division. We had 11,000 against Raith Rovers and set a club record at Falkirk on the first day of last season, even though the Old Firm have played there a few times. There is interest, derbies and a good competitive league in the First Division and the fans come out for that. But you hope to play at the top level at anything you do. You want to play with the best and that’s what we want at Dunfermline. We would never settle for being in the First Division and finishing second every year.”