Dunfermline Athletic were formed in 1885 and have always played at East End Park. The club were formed out of a cricket club based at Lady’s Mill (now McKane Park) and acquired the land that became the current East End Park for £3,500 in 1920 from the North British Railway Company. Prior to this the original orientation of the ground was further to the west of the current site. Similarly to many Scottish stadiums, the club garnered vital additional income during the Great Depression of the 1930’s by reconfiguring the ground to cater for greyhound racing. It was in this decade that the club bolstered existing terracing with wood salvaged from the great ocean liner RMS Mauretania which was being broken up at the nearby dockyards of Rosyth. The 50’s and 60’s saw some welcome modernisation which allowed a record attendance of 27,816 for the visit of Celtic in April 1968. The occasion was tempered by chaotic scenes of spectators scaling the floodlight pylons for a better view. One man subsequently died from his injuries after falling off.
The ground was significantly redeveloped during the late 1990’s and became the superb all-seater venue it is today. In 1998 the club named a stand after the clubs record appearance holder, Norrie McCathie, who had died two years previously at the age of 34, along with his girlfriend, after carbon monoxide escaped while they slept at home. His image adorns the stand and McCathie is revered for his battling spirit among the Pars faithful. It is a privilege to take my seat in his stand tonight, for here is a genuine leader and legend.
The club were originally nicknamed “The Dumps” but this was superseded by “The Pars” which has a plethora of folklore as to its origin. Theories espoused include their traditional parallel black pinstriped shirts, a corruption of the word “paralytics” based on their celebrated drinking prowess or indeed their parallel style of play. The club’s iconic badge is worthy of mention, designed in 1957 by an art teacher at the local High School. The eye catching design depicts the local monument of Malcolm Canmore’s Tower in Pittencrieff Glen.
The Pars golden era came undoubtedly in the 1960’s when under the guidance of Jock Stein they became regulars in the UEFA and Cup Winners Cup. Nowadays the Pars find themselves in the third tier and have thankfully survived some severe recent financial problems. Tonight is a big night for the Pars and indeed the League One table. The Pars are second trailing runaway leaders Rangers who boast maximum points from their 16 League games to date this season. The Sky Sports cameras are in town as the Halbeath Road throngs excitably with East End boys and East End girls plus a truly impressive turn out from the visitors. The “Sold Out” signs go up and the Dunfermline coffers jangle with some very welcome revenue in what has been a particularly austere time for the club.
The opening fifteen minutes are even as both sides have chances, however once Fraser Aird bursts clear from the home defence after 22 minutes and finishes with great style, the visitors take a keen grip on proceedings. They rattle in three high quality goals in the second period and are good value for the win which extends their lead in the table to fourteen points. You do have to take your hat off to Rangers who have just rolled their sleeves up and got on with things since they paid a heavy price for financial mismanagement. The Pars however can hold their heads high, a young team under the guidance of the wily veteran Jim Jeffries, have performed well under a cloud of financial constraint. Dunfermline will challenge for promotion until the end of the season. The spirit of Norrie McCathie, both on and off the field, is evident for all to see.
Scottish Professional Football League One – Monday December 30th 2013
Dunfermline Athletic (0) 0
Rangers (1) 4 (Aird 22, Clark 51, Law 70, Crawford 90)
Attendance: 10,089 (at East End Park)
1. Ryan Scully, 2. Ryan Williamson, 3. Alex Whittle, 4. Stephen Husband, 5. Kerr Young, 6. Lewis Martin, 7. Andrew Geggan, 8. Shaun Byrne, 9. Ryan Wallace, 10. Josh Falkingham (c), 11. Jordan Moore.
Subs: 12. Lewis Spence (for 2,89 mins), 14. Allan Smith (for 8,77 mins), 15. Craig Dargo, 16. Faissal El Bakhtaoumi, 17. Chris Kane, 18. Ross Drummond, 19. Robin Goodfellow.
1. Cammy Bell, 2. Sebastien Faure, 3. Bilel Mohsni, 4. Steven Smith, 5. Lee Wallace, 6. Lee McCulloch (c), 7. Fraser Aird, 8. Ian Black, 9. Jon Daly, 10. Nicky Clark, 11. Nicky Law.
Subs: 12. Lewis McLeod (for 4,57 mins), 14. Arnold Peralta, 15. Dean Shiels, 16. Emilson Cribari, 17. Steve Simonsen, 18. Richard Foster (for 10,69 mins), 19. Robbie Crawford (for 8,79 mins)
Yellow Cards: Falkingham, Young, Geggan (Dunfermline), Mohsni and Aird (Rangers).