Dunfermline Athletic

Chairman signals club back on track

Tuesday, 26th Jul 2022

26/07/22: Chairman thanks fans for season ticket boost and gives update on positive changes that have happened during the summer

Six months into the role as Chairman and Chief Executive, David Cook sat down with the media on Tuesday lunchtime to give an update from his point of view. He pointed out that the disappointment that came with how last season ended is well and truly in the past now:-

“I’m really pleased that there have been some really good signals of how the club is getting back on track. I have spoken before about that reset moment of relegation. A new manager came in, the board has changed a bit and there has been quite a lot of change over the summer but we do feel that there are positive signs that reset is starting to take shape.

“We have gone down a division yet season ticket sales are up. We are really chuffed with that, enthused because that speaks volumes for the loyalty of the supporters as well. They have gone through a huge disappointment and yet they are still going to be here in force next season to get behind the club, to get behind James and the players.

“We have launched our two new kits. The home kit has been flying out the door, the away kit which is burgundy has also proven to be a big hit. So there is a real positive momentum going on off the field at the moment.

“Obviously John Hughes moved on and James McPake came in. We had a clear profile in mind of the type of manager that we wanted to bring in. That was someone who was younger, someone who we felt could be a really good communicator, someone who was experienced with developing players as well as working with players under pressure of performing in front of a crowd, experience of winning promotion. So we had a very clear profile of the manager that we wanted and James fitted that profile perfectly.

“We were chuffed to get that done fairly quickly and give him the full pre season and give him time to get settled into the position. We have been really happy with how that’s started off. With myself and Thomas Meggle, from a sporting director perspective, the three of us have built a strong working relationship and we have been really pleased with how that’s going.

“We have been pleased with how pre season has gone, James has worked really heavily on the fitness and building them up for the start of competitive matches. It was a little disappointing at the weekend not to get through the group stages but this is a young group, a group that is going to have great days, some not so great days and some set backs. We have to accept that set backs will happen but it is about how you come back from those and how we can kick on again.”

The chairman is delighted with the way season tickets have been selling. Over 2500 have been sold to date, around 400 more than at this stage last season which is excellent given the lower league status:-

“If you take into account even the half season tickets that were sold last year we are neck and neck with that. We are really chuffed with that especially off the back drop (of last season). I know that the players and the coaching staff will be delighted that they are all in at the weekend and that they can really get behind us against Alloa.

“Where we have seen a massive uplift has been in the under 18 season tickets, we have more than doubled the base which is a fantastic result. We wanted to make sure that price was not a barrier for young people to come to Dunfermline Athletic matches and the response has been fantastic on that front and we are delighted because it gives us that long term security for the football club - knowing that there is a strong young fan base there is really important and obviously the support they offer on a match day getting behind the players is crucial as well. It would be great if we can continue that momentum because we have all been here with a jumping East End Park and that can really make a big difference for the team this season.”

Supporters can expect League One to be a tough place to be claimed David:-

“Any league where Falkirk and Dunfermline play is going to have added spice and we are delighted and excited that we have a Fife derby as well as the games against Falkirk. That’s great from a supporters’ perspective and from an attendance perspective.

“You just need to look at how competitive League One has been over the years to know that it’s going to be a real battle. A battle that we are up for. The language that we have used about short term objectives is ‘let’s win more football matches than we have been’. Let’s see where that takes us and that is still where we sit. It is exciting to go and play against those teams that we have not played for a while.”

David gave assurances on the ongoing support and interest from DAFC Fussball GmbH, the German owners of the club:-,

“We have got Thomas on the sporting side and he has been over every two or three weeks. We are in daily contact. One of the good things that came out of Covid is our ability to use modern communication tools like Zoom, Teams and even WhatsApp video calls. We will speak on a daily basis and between myself, James and Thomas all the crucial, critical decisions that need to be made, the distance doesn’t really count. Obviously when he is here he is immersed in it and he is involved with the sporting side of it while away until he gets back on the flight.”

The chairman and CEO role has not changed to any great extent explained David:-

“Thomas was always hands on but now that ability to travel is greater, he has been able to be here in person a bit more. We have been working really well. Essentially my job is the day to day management and running of the club. That’s fine and it has all settled in now. Everyone has got used to the way that I work and used to the way that I like to do things. No complaints on that front. It is 24/7 and all consuming but that’s the way we like.

“Nick Teller and Thomas Meggle are both on our board and they are the ones that I deal with most. From time to time we have different projects and different elements that we will discuss with some of the other board members, especially Damir Keretic who was previously on the board and who is still active on the marketing side.”

Asked about the progress of the Rosyth training ground, David Cook said:-

“The first team are now training there day to day. We have a couple of pitches in working order and the academy is in as well. The under 18s are playing there tonight in a development game against Hill of Beath so we are starting to utilise the outside areas. That’s been great especially from James’ perspective having the grass where he can spend more time with the players working on trying to help them maximise their potential and development.

“On the building side of it we are now getting closer to having a more accurate understanding of all the costs that are involved in delivering that element of the project. So we are probably two or three weeks away from having a more accurate position of all the costings around that.

“It is a bit slower than we hoped but that sadly is the construction world right now. You can’t put a time frame on it until we see all that put together but Rosyth remains a project that we are really keen on and something that we think can be a real positive for the club.”

An assessment will be made when all costs are known and a decision made then on whether the original plans can be accomplished:-

“We will have to look at all that when it comes in. Some of that is design, some of that is cost, some of might even be timeline. We will consider all that as and when we have all that information to hand and can work out what we do and what pace we can do it.”

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