ON THE CUSP OF A NEW ERA!Date: Saturday, 11th Jul 2020
It was in 1987 that Jim Leishman coined the phrase "We have sold an ace to buy four Kings". It was a reference to the transfer of midfield star Ian McCall to Rangers for a fee of £250,000.
We older fans are wondering if History is repeating itself as we come blinking into the sunlight of a new dawn after a very dark period indeed.
It has been galling, in recent years, to watch a big club such as ours, rummaging around the bargain basement after Administration, although it is testimony to some wonderful Managers that they unearthed the players of the calibre they did.
We have just witnessed a supremely choreographed event which must have taken Ross, the Board, and Stevie weeks to prepare. Any disappointment at the loss of Kevin Nisbet, arguably our most exciting young striking talent since Alex Fergie Ferguson, was quickly dispelled as the Pars swooped for Declan McManus(Falkirk), Kevin O`Hara (Alloa Ath) and Dom Thomas (Kilmarnock) with Paul Watson (Dundee Utd) and Steven Whittaker(Hibs) already bagged at the checkout. Have we trodden this path before ? (That is five Kings:ED).
Whisper it under your breath but we appear to be on the cusp of a new era. Paul Watson has conceded that Hearts are overwhelming favourites though watch for the Bookies installing us as second favourites, against the sad backdrop of financial concerns at Dundee.
Hearts will have to cope with the burden of expectation,a squad in transition, the intense media scrutiny. They will not have the backing of their legions, at least in the early days.They may also find matches at Arbroath and Alloa Athletic a culture shock.
The most crucial element of the reported £250,000 transfer fee was the phrase "and add ons". I give you Hamilton Accies whose average Gate is 2565. Today James McCarthy and James McArthur are both at Crystal Palace.
In 2009 McCarthy moved to Wigan Ath for £1.2m.This rose to £3m due to his appearances. In 2013 he was transferred to Everton for £13m (that club`s second biggest fee ever). Hamilton got a further cut. He moved to Crystal Palace last year. McArthur was transferred to Wigan Athletic for £500,000 in 2010 and on to Crystal Palace for £7m in 2014 with a proportion paid to the Accies.
We all know that Hibernian are watching the progress of John McGinn at Aston Villa, who looks certain to move were they to be relegated. Celtic gained from the further sale of Van Dijk.
It is a long time since Dunfermline Athletic received a huge sum for any player as our stars frequently left for derisory sums whenever the club hit financial trouble. Supporters of a certain age will recall a star like Alex Edwards sold for £13,000 in 1971 to Hibs. Yes, Jackie MacNamara went to Celtic for £600,000 in 1995 but let us not forget that Istvan Kozma only brought in £300,000 from Liverpool in 1992; Andrius Skerla £250,000 to Tom Tomsk; Barry Nicholson the same to Aberdeen in 2005.The key though is add ons. Sol Bamba left for Hibs in 2008 for £50,000 but we did benefit from his later transfers.
In recent times Willie Gibson went to Crawley Town for £150,000 in 2011, Callum Woods remarkably for free to Huddersfield Town in 2011 and Jackson Longridge to BradfordCity for a reported £75,000 last year. There were add ons but they have, sadly, not borne fruit.
Add ons can ensure our future and a lot now rests on the shoulders of our new prospect, Kevin O`Hara. That three year contract tells you all you need to know.
Of course, once back in the Premiership ,we will not need to sell.