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Dunfermline will be a welcome addition to the SPL

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Jim Spence | 15:01 UK time, Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Dunfermline Athletic's return to the Scottish Premier League is great for Scottish football.

The Pars are a wonderful old club with a fine footballing history.

They also have the potential support to match that history, as the 11,000 crowd at the recent Raith Rovers game proved.

The side which Jim McIntyre has built will, once a few key areas have been strengthened, hopefully prove a welcome addition to the top division.

Jim McIntyre (centre) follows in the footsteps of some very successful Dunfermline bosses

Jim McIntyre (centre) follows in the footsteps of some very successful Dunfermline bosses

Dunfermline have had mixed fortunes in their 126-year history.

But their return to the top flight after being relegated in 2007 is welcome because everything required for the SPL is in place at East End Park.

They have the stadium, a big support base, and a loyal board of directors who have constantly dug deep into their own pockets to ensure the club's survival.

Only Pars fans of a certain vintage will recall the glory years of the 1960s under managers Jock Stein, Willie Cunningham and George Farm.

But they are worth noting because they represent an era when the Pars and Scottish clubs could compete with the best that Europe had to offer.

It's 50 years since Jock Stein won the Scottish Cup with a fine Dunfermline side, beating Celtic 2-0 in the final at Hampden after a replay.

The Pars repeated that feat in 1968 triumphing 3-1 in the final against Hearts, with George Farm at the helm as boss.

With 46 appearances in Europe in total, the club have a very decent record against the continent's finest.

Under Stein's command they reached the European Cup Winners Cup quarter-finals in 1962, losing 5-3 on aggregate to Ujpest Dozsa of Hungary. The season after that, they beat Everton in the Fairs Cup.

Then met Spanish giants Valencia, losing 4-0 away before winning 6-2 at home, only to lose out in the play-off game.

Under Willie Cunningham they lost the 1965 Scottish Cup final 3-2 to a Celtic side by then under the tutelage of Jock Stein.

The Pars came third in the league, just one point behind the two top sides Kilmarnock and Hearts. Rangers finished fifth that season, Celtic eigth.

The season after that, Cunningham took Dunfermline to the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup quarter-finals where they lost to Real Zaragoza.

In season 1968/69 Dunfermline hit their high point.

Having qualified for the European Cup Winners Cup, courtesy of beating Hearts 3-1 in the Scottish Cup final, they narrowly lost out in Europe's second trophy, going down 2-1 on aggregate to Slovan Bratislava.

European nights in the 60s at East End Park witnessed massive crowds snake down the Halbeath Road as the Pars took on top sides like Everton, Valencia, Stuttgart, Athletic Bilbao, Olympiakos and West Brom - when 26,000 turned up to watch.

It was a golden age of Scottish football and Dunfermline Athletic were right at the very forefront.

The Pars are unlikely ever to witness those kinds of times again, but they will bring to the SPL good crowds, Scottish football's liveliest mascot, Sammy the Tammy (stripped of his cardboard tank, no doubt) and chairman John Yorkston, who is never frightened to voice an opinion no matter who it upsets.

So next season, the SPL will once again echo to the sound of the Skids as Dunfermline take the field to the strains of 'Into the Valley'.

Great song, great club, great to have them back.


  • Comment number 1.

    'Into the Valley' is a great song Jim. But preferred 'The Saints are Coming' myself and so did the Edge and Green Day given their recent cover version!

    Dunfermilne a good addition yes but hopefully not to lie down again Jim!!

  • Comment number 2.

    Ach Jim. Many sides, outwith the OF, have a European ' history ' that very sadly dates back to the days when I was in short trousers. The game, and much more importantly, the finance has moved on more than a bit since my own side gave the European Cup a fright.

    Having done my grumpy bit, I am chuffed that the Pars are back, not least because Yorkston does not miss and hit the wall ! Should be entertaining.

    Do they still do those steak bridies at East End ? Food for the Gods and has anyone managed to finish one ?

  • Comment number 3.

    Thank goodness we have a blog for one of the teams outside the SPL!! Great news for Dunfermline Athletic, for both the club and the fans, as well as the manager. It is a shame that only ONE team in the first division can be promoted (we know the leagues are much smaller in Scotland than they are in England!) I was originally hoping that Raith Rovers would pip Dunfermline to promotion but of course, it wasn't to be. Anyway, my congratulations now goes out to Dunfermline Athletic. Well done the Pars. :)

  • Comment number 4.

    So congratulation to Dunfermline Athletic!!

  • Comment number 5.

    Congratulations to the Pars, but a quick look at the table shows that Dundee had a slightly better season than them...

    Still, next season's First Division is shaping up nicely, with both Dundee and Livi on the bounce and shaping up to prove the league authorities wrong - along with a restructured Falkirk, (probably) a young Hamilton side keen to get back up, a strong Raith side that only narrowly missed out.

    Of course, the nature of authority in Scotland means that this lot have the (admittedly slight) possibility of no promotion place to play for.

  • Comment number 6.

    Delighted for them but their debt makes me worry.

    On a side note I played in a Tay FM vs Kingdom FM game at East End Park last Sunday for Cash For Kids. We (Tay) won 8 - 4 and were treated brilliantly by the staff. High point of my footballing career so far probably - I'm a 31 year old animator so I'm still keeping my options open obviously. I saw THAT Arsenal team play there in 2002 so it was a bit special.

    #2 BaldyHibby I got wired into a steak pie straight after the game. Thought it was pretty decent myself but I hadn't eaten all day which probably helped. 7 out of 10.

  • Comment number 7.

    WELL DONE DUMFERMLINE Nice to have you back in the top flight
    my late step uncle who was a avid supporter would have been delighted

  • Comment number 8.

    Welcome back Dunfermline. Should add some passion to a league rather devoid of it at the moment.

  • Comment number 9.

    Good to see that John McGlynn got manager of the year on Sunday despite missing out on promotion. Just reward for shaping a team with next to no resources. Unlike watching Norwich get promoted last night, it would have been more than a 'miracle' if Raith had got to the SPL.

    And what about the 'moral' champions of the Division as some of them refer to themselves these days!!?

    Agree with the post above that next season will be an interesting match up between Raith/Dundee/Livi and one of Hamilton/ St Mirren.

  • Comment number 10.

    I love Into the Valley. I love Sammy the Tammy.

    So it's a big welcome back to the Pars from me.

  • Comment number 11.

    The Pars are back where they belong in the top flight, and I can't wait for next season to start. But looking forward to receiving the first division championship trophy on Saturday first. I'm sure if any Bairns fans turn up they will be warmly congratulating us too.

    Let's stop this talk about Dundee being the 'moral' champions though - it makes me sick. Dundee were rightly punished by the football authorities, and besides, do you honestly believe if Dundee had been in the title race, with the extra pressure that puts on teams, they would have got the same amount of points? No way.

    The Pars are champions and they deserve it. Walking down the Halbeath Road......

  • Comment number 12.

    @11 - Agreed. Dundee fc are a club that can certainly never talk about morals seeing as they don't exist at dense park... and if they ever did come up, any spl money earned should be returned to them at 6p in the pound. Scandalous what they have got away with - again.
    Daresay it won't be the last time either.

    Dunfermilne will bring more to the spl anyway.

  • Comment number 13.

    #1: "Dunfermilne a good addition yes but hopefully not to lie down again Jim!!"

    I'm hoping that's a joke. There was NO lying down initially and it's an unjustified slur on our club which has continued through the last few years.

    Sutton got it badly wrong and, sadly, ignorant thousands followed suit instead of accepting that, on the day, the dice went against them.

    Anyway, back in the SPL - come on ye Pars! :-)

  • Comment number 14.

    Congratulations to Jim McIntyre, Gerry McCabe and the rest of the team! Tremendous effort this season, done it in style playing the best football in the league!

    This has without a doubt been my favourite season as a Pars fan, in a strange way I'd rather stay in this division as opposed to returning to the boring SP Hell. The derbies with Raith, Falkirk and Cowden have been superb and sadly missed.

    As for people talking about Dundee being "moral champions", away take a run and jump. I'm sure if Dunfermline or any other team had built up a team with money they didn't have and then offer back 6p in the pound, they would be challenging too. No sympathy for them what so ever and they are lucky to still have a team.

    Can't wait for the trophy presentation on Saturday against Falkirk, what an end to a great season!


  • Comment number 15.

    Congratulations to Dunfermline on a hard fought promotion! I have to say, I am concerned that they will be only team to be promoted in the next two seasons due to league reconstruction.

    On a side note are is the moral champions that you speak of?

    The only reason I ask, is that it's just it only seems to be Par fans who are mentioning it...


  • Comment number 16.

    I have Into the Valley as the ringtone on my phone. East End Park is one of my favourite away trips and not just for the Steak Bridies!
    I always think the atmosphere is good there, must be something about the ground's acoustics.
    Welcome back Pars!!

  • Comment number 17.

    Congratulations to Dunfermline,let's hope Yorkston keeps his mouth shut this time.
    Good club, love Leishman can't stand Yorkston.

  • Comment number 18.

    Well that is what you have exclamation marks for. Sutton's reaction was natural disappointment and to understand it in any other way was OTT. Enter John Yorkston. Commented that Sutton would not be welcome at EEPark on the opening game of the next season. Complete nutter.

  • Comment number 19.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 20.

    Jim, Anyone can cobble together 10,000 or so for a 'big' game. The fact is the Pars have an average crowd of between 3,000 and 4,000. Dunfermline will add nothing to the SPHell except some good bradies. They will have zero away support, will achieve nothing and continue to do what they do very well : yo-yo between the divisions uselessly.

  • Comment number 21.

    Well that clears up the "dundee are moral chumpions" rubbish. A quick look at the table #5 and you'll see Dunfermline are worthy winners - 26 points and 15 goals better off than those lot over the Tay...


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