What A Let Down
Players play football and appear to be blinkered to the financial requirements to keep a club going.
Jim Jefferies feels he and his players have been "let down" by Dunfermline owner Gavin Masterton. The East End Park are in danger of being wound up if they cannot find the £134,000 owed to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. Jefferies described working at the 128 year old club in the last six months as the worst of his footballing career. The Pars players have had to suffer delays in their salary payments and it is understood that the total owed to directors past and present is around £8million. The club has confirmed that Jefferies' squad and other staff received just 20 per cent of their wages this month. Despite all these signals, the former Hearts manager claims he and his squad only discovered the true extent of the financial crisis two weeks ago.He said: "Gavin Masterton has put a lot of money into Dunfermline. And there is no doubt he has done some good things. But he was dependant on a lot of things happening at the club. We as players and coaches just want to prepare properly and look after the football side. But you expect to get your salaries on time. The club can certainly be a wee bit late - that would have been okay with our players - but when it's gone on this long, there is a sense that we've been let down. A lot of the guys are dependant on that money and we didn't know how things were coming about. Gavin was trying to buy a bit of time but time ran out. The things he hoped would come off didn't and the up shot of that was that the players have been left with very little money coming in."Majority shareholder Masterton has announced he will walk away and hand over his stake to supporters in an effort to save the club. However, talks with The Pars Community broke down amid acrimonious squabbles over the conditions imposed and lack of proof that the group had the £250,000 required to start the process of due diligence. Another group - the Dunfermline Athletic Steering Group, led by ex-manager Jim Leishman - is trying hard to try to raise the necessary cash they would need to agree a deal with the club's owner. Jefferies believes the Steering Group is now being asked to tidy up the mistakes of the past made by others. He said: "This is probably the worst situation I've been in at a club. Dunfermline were at a stage a few years ago where they were able to spend decent money on trying to get success. They were in the top six of the SPL and in cup finals. But sometimes you just get carried away and start chasing it further and bring more players in. But like a lot of clubs have found, that will come home to roost. It's not managers' fault. They want to get what they can and if they get it, they will spend it on transfers or salaries. But it's down to people who run football clubs to say what they can spend and what they can't."Dunfermline had started the season with high hopes of bouncing straight back to the SPL after losing out to Hibs in the fight to avoid relegation last season . But despite mounting an early challenge for promotion, they now find themselves 17 points behind current leaders Morton. Their lowest point came on 2 March when they lost 4-0 at home to Partick Thistle and Jefferies admits the stress of the past few months has taken its toll on his players. He said: "Gavin was working hard and was promised some investment into the club through different route. He reassured everyone at the club when this all started that come the end of December, everything would be back on an even keel and everyone up to date with the money they were owed. But that didn't happen for various reasons. That led to frustration. When you are told 'it is coming, it is coming, it is coming', you can only go on so long. I said at the beginning that if it dragged on it would become a problem. We're into the fifth or sixth month now and that has happened. The players quite rightly became frustrated with the whole thing and the Partick game became the breaking point. But since then things have moved on. Gavin has understood that and it's forced him to move on. Everyone has now been explained to just what position the club was in. We didn't know that until a couple of weeks ago. But everybody knows where they stand now and the players have had to accept that. There has been a general change in the attitude. They know they are only hurting themselves by being frustrated. They have decided to get out there and use the football as an escape."
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