Dunfermline Athletic
East End Park

Ground No. 127
Visited - Saturday 19th May 2007
Result - Dunfermline Athletic 0-3 Falkirk
Competition - Scottish Premier League
Attendance - 5087

When it comes to nicknames it’s fair to say ‘The Dumps’ perhaps takes the title as the worst one ever, and so it comes as no surprise that Dunfermline eventually discontinued its use for the more preferable, but equally unusual ‘Pars’.

Formed in 1885 the club had been an offshoot from the local cricket club who had established a football section 11 years earlier. They turned professional in 1899 and in 1912 joined the Scottish League for the first time, having won both the Central League championship and the Scottish Qualifying Cup in that year. It was around this time that the Pars nickname came into use, although its source is unclear. Some believe that it’s due to the parallel strips on their jerseys, whilst two more interesting theories are that either it was a shortening of ‘paralytics’, a term that had stuck with them for a number of years due to the players barroom antics(!), or that it was exiled English workers from a local factory that took their banners to the match claiming themselves as the Plymouth Argyle (Rosyth) Supporters Club, the initials giving rise to the moniker. No one seems to know for certain, but from the First World War onwards the name has stuck.

It was after the war that, having only played in the SFL for three seasons that the club were forced back to the Central League when the SFL Division Two was abandoned, but common sense prevailed, and in 1921 Division Two was re-established, allowing the club to step up again, gaining promotion to the top flight in 1926 following their title success. Their history after that is largely unremarkable, flitting between the first and second divisions until the 1960s when two of Scottish football’s two greatest ever managers came to the fore, one on the field, the other off it. Jock Stein took up his first managerial position in 1960 at East End Park, and having guided the club away from relegation that season, in 1961 followed it up with their first Scottish Cup success, defeating Celtic 2-0 in a replay. The following season’s European campaign achieved great heights, reaching the Cup Winners Cup quarter finals, and one year later they knocked Everton out in the Fairs Cup, with them reaching the last four before eventual defeat to Valencia. Stein left for Hibs in April 1964, just missing out on managing a young Alex Ferguson who signed for the club in the summer. 66 goals in 89 appearances soon saw him move on to Rangers, but the club still prospered, winning the cup again in 1968 and reaching the semi-finals of the Cup Winners Cup in 1969, having knocked out West Brom on the way (hurrah!) After that though, and with money troubles coming in 1971, then the good times were over, and since then they’ve spent their time either surviving in the SPL or at the top end of Division One, the highlight (or time to forget depending on your viewpoint) perhaps coming in the mid 2000’s when they reached Cup Finals for three out of four years, losing to Celtic every time, twice in the Scottish Cup, once in the League Cup. It was just before this third defeat in 2007 that I decided to make my way north to visit the ground finding a strange sort of mood with the team having just been relegated from the SPL the week before, yet waiting on a trip to Hampden a week later!

With the English season having packed its bags ready for the summer hols, then I wasn’t ready to succumb to the close season just yet, so I’d decided to head to Scotland to tick off a new ground there, with a local derby between the Pars and Falkirk looking the most attractive option for the afternoon. As if a 600 mile round trip wasn’t enough to contend with though, then it wasn’t helped with the game being a 12:30 kick-off, so setting off extra early, I made my way to the station before catching the train up to Edinburgh and on, over the Forth Bridge into the Kingdom of Fife, and to what was once the capital of Scotland, the journey going without any difficulty.

Since forming in 1885, the club have always played at East End Park, although the ground was originally situated slightly further to the west. At one time it was home to greyhound racing, but now is four sided in the traditional British shape. With the early kick-off, then there wasn’t much time beforehand other to have anything but a quick rush round the outside before going in.

I’d chosen to sit in the West Stand behind the goal which is a medium sized all-seated stand mirrored opposite in the East Stand. Both were built in 1998 and in part, due to their steepness, help give a good feel to the ground by making it feel quite compact. The West Stand is officially named after Norrie McCathie, the club’s former captain who tragically died from carbon monoxide poisoning, aged just 34 and still playing for them. To the right is the Main Stand, built in 1962 from the cup win money. Two tiered, it’s the tallest stand at the ground and looks impressive with a classic pitched roof, although the lower tier is slightly spoiled by a number of portacabin-style boxes taking up space. The North Stand is the only part of the former pre-Stein East End Park still extant, having been seated at the same time the two ends were built. Formerly a terrace it adds character with its own pitched roof helping balance the ground well with the Main Stand opposite.

When the game got underway, neither side had anything to play for, and in all fairness, it showed! The home side had made eight changes in light of the cup final the following week, but they started off brightest, and had a penalty shout for a handball turned down early on. After that it was a bit of a bore fest with neither side really going for it, Kasper Schmeichel in the visitors goal having little to do.

In the second half things brightened up early on, although it was more misery for Dunfermline with Falkirk taking the lead in the 49th minute when Steven Thomson fired the ball home through a crowded box. A mini pitch-invasion followed from the away end, and the visitors were obviously buoyed up by it, increasing their lead seven minutes later when Alan Gow played a great one-two with Russell Latapy to get into the box and poke home under Roddy McKenzie. A deluge of rain started to come down at that, fizzling out Falkirk’s tempo, and the hosts looked to have got one back with 10 minutes left when Tom McManus hit the bar, but there was to be no fight back thanks to Pedro Moutinho who scored an absolute cracker in the 90th minute to make it 3-0 when he hit it home from all of 25 yards into the top corner.

After leaving then with the rain pouring down other than grabbing a few pictures of the outside which I hadn’t managed earlier, then I made my way back to town to have a brief look round before back on the train and home, having enjoyed the day out.

Whilst the crowd was a little disappointing, the fans presumably having saved their money up for Hampden, the ground itself was a great one to visit. At 12,000 capacity it suits the clubs needs perfectly, whilst feeling almost twice the size. To all intents and purposes it’s pretty much what the new builds like Airdrie, Clyde, etc. are, but instead manages to offer the same facilities with the added bonus of a bit of character! At the time of writing the club haven’t managed to return to the SPL yet, but hopefully with a bit of luck then the team will be able to give the ground the level of football it deserves.

East End Park Main Reception

The Ticket Office

Rear of the East Stand

Rear of the West Stand

The North Stand

The East Stand

The Main Stand

The Main Stand

The East Stand

The North Stand

The Club Shop

Rear of the Main Stand

East End Park Panoramic
(click here for full size picture)

Click here to read Shaun's review of the game -


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