Dunfermline Athletic

Exclusive Interview with new Director

Author: Stephen Taylor Date: Tuesday, 9th Dec 2003

It was understandable that the news three weeks back from East End Park of the appointment of three new directors did not cause to much of a stir in the same week that saw Dundee FC go into administration.

Perhaps, the question to be asked of the new Pars appointees would be why would you want to do it? Well, DAFC.net have been given an opportunity to do exactly that, with an exclusive interview with Rodney Shearer one of the new directors.

Rodney spoke candidly with DAFC.net prior to the recent Aberdeen match and here is what he had to say.

How did the offer to be appointed a director come about?

It has been discussed for a wee while...I have known John Yorkston since we were youngsters and I had also got to know Gavin Masterton through my business interests.

Of course, being a Pars fan all my life and a season ticket holder and minor shareholder had its part to play but even more recently my involvement with the new Pars Supporters Trust possibly was a further factor.

What is your background?

I am 47 years old and I am actually from Orkney. We came to Rosyth when I was only 2 years old, so I consider myself very much a Fifer.

I have got three sisters, only one of whom lives locally and also three brothers, two of them stay in Rosyth along with my mother.

It was my Dad, who worked at the Dockyard, who started taking me along to games and he told me he took me to the 1961 Cup Final although I cannot remember that, but I do remember the 1965 final when we got beat by Celtic. The Celtic fans around us took up a collection for me because we had got beat to cheer me up! I can`t see that happening nowadays!

My Dad would have been tremendously proud to see my appointment, Unfortunately, he died at a very early age and the offer of the directorship coincided with the 30th anniversary of his death. That made it all the more meaningful for me.

I am married to a local girl, Belle, and we have three grown up sons. We actually live in Haddington, which is where my business is based, Alba Trees Plc. I am regarded as one of the leading experts in the UK on growing trees. I think this business background will help in my role at the Pars.

How do you see your role as a Director of the mighty DAFC?

I would like to think that I am very much a representative of all Pars fans no matter their background! I respect all fans in similar measure who turn up to support the Pars whether they sit in the directors box, North Enclosure, Norrie McCathie stand or in the main stand. In fact I would go as far as to say that I also respect the away fans who actually turn up at East End Park and help put money into our own club.

I have always had a great interest in collecting memorabilia of the club and have an extensive collection and I would love to see some kind of Pars "museum" feature in part of the new building developments. In general I would like to be the fans director.

You have been involved in the setting up of the new Supporters Trust, why?

This was mentioned at recent AGM`s and last year John Yorkston asked to have a look at it and I thought, "why not?". It has been hard work but I think we have made terrific progress in the past 4 months.

We are looking at a formal launch in February and above all we are looking for a good take up of memberships by fans from all backgrounds, sections of the ground and even the ex-patriot fans who still have a tremendous interest in all things to do with the Pars.

It is all about giving the fans a genuine voice and role in how the club is run. We all know that Pars fans do have a bit of a reputation as a bunch of moaners, but I like to think of that as a group of people that really care about this club.

Through the Pars Supporters Trust all fans will have a chance to influence what happens at East End Park.

How do you see the future of the club?

Building on the success to date and, hopefully, getting us back into European competition in the near future, especially if it came on the back of winning the Scottish Cup!

I think the club is being guided under the excellent stewardship of John Yorkston and, at a playing level, with the "two Jimmies", a very good partnership.

Commentators have noted the lack of crowds at East End, how can this apathy be overcome?

The team needs to keep winning and playing attractive football. Bear in mind this is not a problem exclusive to us, it applies to the whole of Scottish football whatever the media say.

I think this is where the Supporters Trust, Centenary Club, Supporters Clubs, board of Directors and not least big Jim all have a role to play but working together to generate the sense of occasion at East End Park.

And Jim Leishman, a good idea bringing him back?

Without doubt. He is the best people person I know. He treats everyone with respect and like a long lost friend! I am sure we will all see the benefits of Jim being back in the course of the next few months.

Who were, or are, your favourite Pars players?

I had great admiration for the likes of John Lunn and Bert Paton.

Alex Edwards was a joy to see him racing down the wing.

More recently the underrated Bobby Smith and of course, John Watson.

As someone interested in the history of the club Andy Wilson who played in the 1920`s and who won 6 international caps and was captain of the national side while with the Pars.

And, what about the best or most memorable game you have seen the Pars involved in?

Probably the 1968 cup final, European nights under the floodlights, the 1989 promotion match against Meadowbank Thistle, beating Celtic at Parkhead 2-1 and even a game up at Montrose at the end of a season when a lot of the fans turned out in fancy dress. All great stuff...

Finally, Rodney, we have to ask the vital question, Pars fans are obviously anxious about all the recent talk of administration. Are we likely to be next?

No. I cannot discuss the club finances or the arrangements the other new directors and myself have made with the board but suffice to say we have a good board of directors who are developing the revenue generating projects and ensuring the survival of this great club.

I would not have taken on the challenge or responsibility of becoming a director if I had any doubts.

DAFC.net would like to thank Rodney for being so open and frank and without question showing he has all the essential qualities that supporters want to see of the people running our club.

If you would like to comment of Rodneys` views or if there is anything you would like to bring to the attention of the directors please post on the DAFC.net message board.

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