Dunfermline face Dundee United tomorrow. Propping up the premiere league, every game counts. Jim Leishman, ex-player and director of football at Dunfermline, talks relegation, Rangers and a rough year.
“With football you’ve got to get results. We’re bottom of the league. A lot of times its not just the manager’s fault. It would be totally unfair to say were bottom of the league because Jim MacIntyre’s not a good manager. Just eight months before, he won the first division championship and it was great. I was part of the celebrations, I saw the delight in the families, I saw the delight of the players.
“Loads of things determine what league position you are. If you’ve got 3 million pounds to spend on players and you’re still at the bottom of the league you can get judged, it’s your fault.
“In Jim MacIntyre’s case he had loads of injuries. He brought players in and some of the top players were getting injured within two games. Now that is just real hard luck. But the public judge on league positions, and results and unfortunately Jim paid the price for that.”
Is there still time for Jim Jefferies to save Dunfermline from relegation?
“When I took over we had three games to go and we were bottom and we managed to stay up. Jim’s got seven chances to keep us up. So we’ve just got to start winning and believing this week.
“Hopefully he’s better than me. That’s the objective; try to give the players a lift, a new voice a new idea. Hopefully it works in a positive way.”
“Would you have liked to be the manager?”
“No, dinnae! I’ve worn that t-shirt, been there, seen it, done it, and you know – no.”
Because the blame’s laid at the manager’s door?
“I get the blame for everything anyway. It doesn’t bother me now! No, it does. It upsets you. No, I’ve been a manager since twenty-nine, I’ve done loads of things. So I’m content with what I’ve done. I’m fine with the director role. Would I like to be in charge of real Madrid?” a dubious pause and Jim starts laughing. “No as big as the pars. I’m with the big team.”
Has Rangers paid off its full debt to Dunfermline?
“We’re due 83 thousand pounds, and we’ve received 40 thousand pounds. The other moneys on its way in April sometime. The (Pars) players have been paid their basic salary. There’s still due some money for bonus and appearance money which were hoping to get that paid as soon as we can.”
Does he think the future of Scottish football is in trouble?
“It’s been a strange year, talking about league reconstruction, going down to ten, going up to sixteen, staying at twelve. I think that started to become a negative, chatting about that all the time. I don’t think that helps.
“When you do your budgets at the start, you estimate how many supporters are gonna come through the gate. For different reasons this year, we haven’t achieved those figures.
Our first game we expected seven or eight thousand people. Then they changed it from the Saturday to the Monday evening. And we get five and a half. Then Hibbs, estimated 6000, but averaged 4100. So that was harsh. We lost that revenue, we had a postponed game, storm damage and them the Rangers thing hit. So these are things that you don’t plan for.”
Was scoring the last winning goal at Ibrox one of your career highlights?
“That was great. That was forty years ago, April 72, thats the last time they won at Ibrox.”
“But it does mean that if Dunfermline win now against Rangers, your record is broken.”
“They better not! No, of course you want them to win, but, I just milk it, I’ve had some good fun with it. Everybody expects me to say that now, but it was a great achievement. I was only young at the time, eh? We won four-three, I scored the first goal it was great,. Loads of things. I was a Dunfermline supporter, and signing for the club was an amazing feature. Promotion as a player. Promotion as a manager. Nowadays, staying up in the premiere league is a major feature. Its not as easy as people think.”