Man United and Dunfermline plan summer friendly

SIR Alex Ferguson has agreed to help out former club Dunfermline by taking his Manchester United side to Fife for a glamour pre-season friendly – should the Pars successfully fend off critical financial problems.

Roy Barry, captain of the club’s 1968 Scottish Cup winning side, last night told supporters at a meeting in the town’s Carnegie Hall that he asked Ferguson for assistance during a recent trip to catch-up with his former Dunfermline team-mate.

Following debilitating wages issues that have affected players and staff since last October, Dunfermline’s plight has reached crisis-point with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Custom’s initiating winding-up proceedings over an unpaid £134,000 bill.

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Ferguson has a great affection for Dunfermline after revealing in 2007 – when he was inducted into the club’s hall of fame – that his three years at East End Park from 1964 were the most enjoyable during his playing career.

Barry, speaking in front of an estimated 2,000 fans who packed into the venue to hear club legend Jim Leishman discuss the club’s future, said: “I went down a few weeks ago to see Man United and Everton play and I finished up getting quite drunk with Sir Alex.

“We were having a chat about the problems up here, and I said ‘what can you do to help us’?

“He said, ‘I tell you what I will do, I will send a team up and that will raise a few quid’.”

Leishman was joined on stage by Stephen Taylor – an accountant who is part of the Steering Group that was set up last week after owner Gavin Masterton announced he would step down from the board, and Bob Garmory of main sponsors Purvis.

Garmory appealed for calm from fans after revealing a member of Masterton’s family had recently been physically attacked.

Taylor last night said fresh talks with Masterton have given him hope the club can survive.

Taylor said: “We do have a desperate situation, HMRC are breathing down are necks just now. The proposal put to Gavin on Friday was largely based on TPC group, which would move us towards 50 per cent being owned by fans and the other 50 per cent being owed by other key people.

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“It was no surprise that was rejected on Friday. This morning I spoke to Gavin and he was quite down about the situation and struggling to find away forward, and was mentioning the L (liquidation) word.

“I was then quite surprised to get an e-mail from Gavin to invite myself, Bob and Jim along to meeting to get a counter-proposal. I was hugely encouraged in that, there is a recognition from Gavin that he has to substantially reduce his share holding and I think that’s a common theme from supporters.

“Getting the counter-proposals was a huge step forward and hopefully in the next few days we will have more definitive news as to where we’re going.”

Leishman added: “A proposal went in and it was rejected, a counter-proposal went in and it was rejected. They are away now trying to get a solution.

“We’ve not much time so the talking has to be done really quickly.”