Dunfermline Appoint New Head CoachAuthor: J.Scott Date: Saturday, 13th Nov 1999
After a month of speculation, Dunfermline Athletic have appointed 44 year-old Glasgow born Jim Calderwood as their new head coach.
Jim is currently Coach of Dutch Premier League side NEC Nijmegan, but Dunfermline have successfully negotiated his release from his existing contract to bring him back to Scotland.
Despite his very obvious West of Scotland accent, Jim has neither played nor coached football in Scotland at any time in his professional life. As a 17 year-old, he signed as an apprentice with Birmingham City in July 1972, and remained there for seven years as a regular in a City team which was never out of the top division in England.
After a short loan spell with Cambridge United, he signed for Sparta Rotterdam and he has remained in Holland ever since. After initially carving out a playing career that lasted a further ten years with Sparta, Willem II, Roda JC and SC Heracles, he took up his first coaching appointment in 1991 with Rietvogels.
He moved on to FC Zwolle, Cambuur Leeuwarden and Willem II, and in 1997 he was appointed Coach of NEC Nijmegan who finished mid-table in the Dutch League last year.
Jim's appointment shows the extent of Dunfermline's determination to get who they thought was the right man for the job. Club Chairman John Yorkston couldn't hide his delight at the appointment and said
"We cast our net wide for this appointment and weren't prepared to be rushed into an appointment. As a result, we had a fantastically high calibre of candidate for the position, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who did express interest in joining us. I was flattered by their interest."
He added "Despite all the many qualities of the other candidates, Jim came through because we believe that he can offer us something different. He is Scottish, yet has had this vast knowledge and experience of the game in a country which is admired for its approach to football - Holland. He is highly qualified and has impressed us with his thoughts on training and tactics, and in particular his approach to youth development."
Dunfermline fans have had to be patient while the appointment was being made, a subject about which the Chairman was very sympathetic:
"Our fans have had to endure a bit of a waiting game but we think it's been worth it. We've not taken the easy or cheap option because we are an ambitious club and we want to think longer term."
The reason for the fan's patience had not escaped Mr Yorkston either:
"Over the last month, we've been able to do our business because of the professional attitude of Jimmy Nicholl as Caretaker Manager. I would like to thank Jimmy for the great job he's done and I hope that he will be able to carry on coaching with the club for a long time to come."
Jim Calderwood has made no secret of the fact that he wants Jimmy Nicholl to stay on as his number two. For his part, the new Head Coach is looking forward to working in his native Scotland for the first time:
"I've had a wonderful experience in Holland where I've lived for the past twenty years, but the time is right to come home. I've been very impressed with Dunfermline - they are an ambitious club who really want to go places. They have sold me on the idea that they can do it, and I'd like to think that I can help them to get there."