Dunfermline Athletic

Dick Campbell 1999

The club was still in the SPL when a disillusioned Bert Paton resigned on 4th January 1999. Dick took over, initially as caretaker, and guided the Pars to a run of just one league defeat in six matches, and that was against Rangers.

When Andy Dickson left Dunfermline in 1960 and stated that the one sure way of disassociating oneself from a football club is by becoming its manager, he was expressing a sentiment that Dick Campbell would become all too familiar with almost forty years later.

Born in Dunfermline on 22nd November 1953, Dick was signed by Dundee United as a youngster but things didn't turn out as he had hoped and he came home to play part-time with Cowdenbeath while completing a shipwright apprenticeship at Rosyth Dockyard. In 1974 he linked up with twin brother Ian when George Miller signed him to boost Dunfermline's chances of a top ten finish that would guarantee entry to the inaugural Premier League.  A versatile defender, Dick made 21 appearances for the Pars but a disastrous second half of the season saw their hopes turn to dust.

One of eleven players released, he continued his career with Ross County in the Highland League before the first of two periods with Brechin City and a stint as player/coach with East Stirling.  A flourishing coaching career began with Raith Rovers and carried on with Brechin, a period that was interrupted in 1987 by a short spell as manager of Cowdenbeath.

After spending time away from the game, Dick was invited by Pars legend and former St. Johnstone assistant manager Bert Paton to help out at Rosyth Recreation, from where they made their return to Dunfermline in 1993. Dick's charm and Lochgelly humour were a good foil for Bert and the two worked well together as they brought the excitement back to East End Park.

After achieving promotion in 1995/96, the club was still in the SPL when a disillusioned Bert resigned on 4th January 1999. Dick took over, initially as caretaker, and guided the Pars to a run of just one league defeat in six matches, and that was against Rangers. This culminated in back to back wins over Dundee and St. Johnstone that lifted the club into eighth place, giving hope that Dunfermline could avoid relegation and encouraging the board to hand Dick the reins on a permanent basis.

The view of some that the board had acted impetuously seemed to be reinforced after a shocking 0-6 defeat by Kilmarnock that led to questions over the new manager's tactics and team selection. Sadly, the Pars gained only one point from the last eight matches and slid into the First Division.

The appointment of Jimmy Nicholl as his assistant was well received and although there was the added pressure of being installed as favourites for promotion, Dunfermline enjoyed a pretty good start to 1999/00, capped by an excellent win at Livingston in early September. Following that, however, the team struggled to find consistency and the old failing of too many draws began to haunt Dick again.

The very high level of expectation from a section of the support led to him being subjected to some unfair abuse, something that St. Mirren's rise to prominence did little to help. Losing 3-1 at Love Street on 30th October left Dunfermline six points adrift of their rivals and, although it was Dunfermline's first league defeat of the season, prompted Dick to offer his resignation. His tenure lasted just 302 days and 31 matches, the third shortest in the history of the club. While there were those who argued that he wasn't given enough time, others expected a lot more from one of the most highly qualified coaches in Scotland.

Since then, Dick's career has continued in an up-and-down fashion, leading Brechin to consecutive promotions before dropping down to the Second Division in 2003/04. In January 2005 he took over at Partick Thistle and despite failing to prevent relegation, he took the club back up to the First Division via the play-offs in 2005/06. Sacked in March 2007, Dick had a short spell at Ross County before taking up his current position at Forfar in May 2008.



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