“Together! We can save the Pars…” rang out from the old main stand at Firhill. A glorious day would unfold in more ways than one. The Fifers challenge; to Go West and face the first division champions, Partick Thistle, in the penultimate game of a thoroughly traumatic season. Due to financial crisis, administration, and redundancy, much of the under-20 squad due to face Celtic in the Scottish Youth Cup Final at Hampden this week featured as Dunfermline Athletic established a 3-1 lead. Two late Thistle goals robbed the Pars of a relegation-evading win and DAFC will now ask the young players to win a cup final this Wednesday and a relegation-decider at home against Airdrie United this Saturday. If Cowdenbeath beat Hamilton Accies away, the Pars will need a home win. If Cowden fail to win, the Pars will almost certainly avoid a relegation play-off. It’ll be a massive occasion at East End Park.
As Thistle enjoyed the glory of their title-winning party some Pars fans said it was the best game in 20 years. The young Pars players were glorious in both their play and their unstinting effort. That’s what fans want to see; skilful play, good football, and unquenchable team spirit. Jim Jeffries and his team can’t take all the credit though. It was also a glorious effort from Pars fans who travelled to support a club under grave threat of liquidation and fighting for survival both on and off the pitch. What made this a glorious day for DAFC was that not only has the team spirit returned as displayed in recent wins over Morton and Cowdenbeath, but the fans spirit is also very clearly back.
I truly believe and earnestly hope that this game is a turning point for a support deprived of good news in recent months. The black and white shoots of recovery are starting to show and we need to keep the good news coming. It won’t happen by itself. It’s up to fans to make it happen. The good-natured pre-match party at The Old Inn, birthplace of the Pars, and informal fans’ march to the ground at a time of dire adversity was followed up by two successful gatherings in The Gallery at East End Park before successive home games. This Saturdays pre-match event is starting at 11am in The Lizzie and is entitled Walking Down The Halbeath Road. A professional camera crew will be filming it for posterity and good-looking fans should make a special effort.
Only joking, we can’t afford any vanity at East End Park these days. Pars United, the umbrella fans’ group established to unite the Pars and create a sustainable DAFC, is winning hearts and minds. Pars fans are uniting. Saturday should be treated like a Scottish Cup Final. The whole town, in fact the whole of West Fife and beyond, should turn out, as the campaign slogan says, to Save the Pars. However, in these harsh economic times of worldwide recession I’ll settle for 6,000.
C’mon ye Pars! Oh, and don’t forget the all-important words; “Together! We can save the Pars…”