Monday, 16 May 2011

Dunfermline Athletic - East End Park (1)

3rd January 1998

Dunfermline Athletic 0-1 St Johnstone

Living as I do in a village just a few miles west of the town of Dunfermline, East End Park seemed an apposite (if decidedly lazy) place to start my quest to record visits to all Scottish Football League grounds.  

This was not my first trip to see what was in fact my local team: that had been to witness Bolton Wanderers (boasting an unfeasibly youthful looking Jason McAteer, fresh from his exploits at USA 94) wipe the floor with their palpably inferior hosts in a pre-season friendly.  

I had also pitched up to offer moral support when Dunfermline faced Aberdeen in the second leg of a promotion play-off, nine months later.  But I did not regard myself as a Dunfermline supporter at either of those matches nor, indeed, had I yet morphed into one by the time of this match.  That would really come once Son was old enough (October 2002) to be dragged along to support his local team – all part of the brainwashing process to avoid him jumping into the promiscuous arms of either of Glasgow’s Ugly Sisters.

On this afternoon in January 1998, East End Park was a forlorn place lashed by wind, rain and occasionally hail for the full ninety minutes of the match, which made me feel slightly sorry for those away supporters who had chosen to stand at the uncovered end.  Season 1997/98 was actually the last when East End Park retained standing terracing, as during the following Summer both the east and west terracing were removed, and two new 3000 seater stands constructed at either end of the ground.  

East End Park main stand, plus drookit photographers.

Sammy the Tammy tries to raise spirits - part of the old
east terracing can be seen at the far right of the pic.

I spent the match in what would become the Norrie McCathie Stand, the old west terracing.  I recall during one particularly inept Dunfermline attack a voice to my right and slightly behind me bellowing “Yez couldnae score in a bucketload o’ fannies!!”.  

Leaning slightly back to see who had emitted this wonderful witticism, I was more than slightly surprised to note it had come from the mouth of a very well-groomed middle-aged guy in a three piece pin-striped suit.  Twas even more of a surprise to see his equally well turned out wife and two teenage daughters standing beside him, both seemingly oblivious to their father’s quaint turn of phrase.

The weather deteriorated as the game progressed and spoiled things as a spectacle to some degree; with the single goal coming from Paul KANE after only seven minutes, although his shot did seem to ping-pong off a couple of home defenders on its way in.  

It was great to see the visitors’ redoubtable Roddy Grant, not caring a jot for the conditions, playing in a short-sleeved shirt, whilst a number of the other contestants on both sides looked as if they would rather be anywhere else.  This seemed particularly true of Dunfermline’s Brazilian Sergio Duarte, who must have wondered what sort of a meterological nightmare he had wandered into.  

Signed from Boavista the previous October, the player (surprise, surprise) never really fitted in with Bert Paton’s Route One approach, and was released at the end of the season, having amassed 16 appearances.  A brief spell at Hibernian followed, before the chap cut his losses and returned to Portugal with Uniao Lamas  

External view of the ground, taken on a sunnier day.

External view of East End Park, Dunfermline.

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