Leishman’s Dunfermline rescue group admits defeat

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DUNFERMLINE Athletic legend Jim Leishman, the Provost of Fife, was adamant that yesterday’s match against Dumbarton was not the East End Park club’s final match, despite its possible liquidation on Tuesday over an unpaid six-figure tax bill.

This was despite Leishman having to admit that the steering group which was co-ordinating efforts to rescue the club had admitted defeat in its bid to take control of Dunfermline’s future from owner Gavin Masterton, following court action by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs to wind up the club.

Administration with a points deduction and possible relegation is now a real possibility for the club, as Leishman conceded: “If we have to go down to come back up, then so be it.”

Going into administration would prevent liquidation and closure, but the club would have points deducted by the Scottish Football League – there’s no set tariff but clubs have been docked 25 points or been forcibly relegated for past administrations.

Leishman said: “Today we had a steering group meeting and decided that at this moment we are at the end of the road.

“We have handed back to Gavin the future of the club, it’s as simple as that. he must tell us the way ahead. Gavin is the major shareholder, he’s in charge and he has now to make a decision what way the future of the football club will go.”

Leishman admitted he had no knowledge as to how Masterton would now proceed but said he was sure Dunfermline would fulfil its fixture against Falkirk on Wednesday. He added: “We were dealing with liquidation or sustainability until Friday when administration was mentioned. We would have to take that into consideration and if we have to go down to come back up then so be it.”

Leishman was adamant that the various supporters’ groups had come together to back the moves to save the 128-year-old club, and praised the businessmen who had given time to the steering group which had shown “pure dignity” throughout.

He said: “We had the money available, with people ready to invest to ensure the short-term viability of Dunfermline Athletic. We had enough money to pay the income tax bill on Monday but we were not in it just for that. It was about the long-term sustainability of the club, and there were one or two things that cropped up that got people nervous, and time was wasn’t with us.”

Masterton was not available for comment.