A few memories and photos of East End Park before I head off to the Women’s Euros in The Netherlands where I hope to be blogging a few reports from the Scotland games.
As usual I hope the Pars supporters will excuse any glaring errors. I try to use my own photography on these blogs and I apologise for any images not bearing my personal watermark as that means I have nicked them off the internet 😉
* Some perspective – although I have spent many a pleasant afternoon on the terraces at East End Park, none of them compares to The Stranglers backed by The Skids at the Kinema in 1978 🙂
Formed in 1885, the Pars have traditionally been the big club in Fife, with a European pedigree, although they have recently spent 3 seasons in the third tier (League 1) following a period of administration. The stadium has been their home since their formation and they were elected to the League in 1912. Their most successful period came after Jock Stein became manager in 1960. They won the Scottish Cup in 1961 and again in 1968, while reaching the final in 1965, and again twice in the noughties. They have won Scottish Football’s second tier 4 times. In 1969 they reached the semi-final of the Cup-Winners’ Cup, beating West Brom before going out to Slovan Bratislava, who went on to beat Barcelona in the Final.
Construction of the 3000 seat Main Stand in 1962. The overall ground capacity is about 12000, depending on who you ask…Checking back I see that I first went there in April 1969 when I was still at school. On the Saturday Rangers had been demolished 4-0 by Celtic in the Cup Final which ended Alex Ferguson’s Rangers career, after he failed to mark Billy McNeill at a corner in the 2nd minute. Not so well known is that Fergie fell over in 33 minutes when he had a chance to equalise from a rebound! He was dropped for the Monday night when Rangers drew with Dundee at Ibrox in front of only 6800, and didn’t appear in this game on the Wednesday. Rangers still had a Fairs’ Cup semi to play against Newcastle but poor Fergie didn’t feature in either leg. Fergie, of course, had joined Rangers from Dunfermline for £65000, a record between 2 Scottish clubs at the time.
On to the Wednesday night and 11700 turned out to see Dunfermline and Rangers finish their league campaign. The Pars could have finished level with Rangers if they had won but their goal average was far worse. In the end Rangers won 3-0 to finish 4 points ahead of 3rd placed Dunfermline and 5 behind champions Celtic.
In a day when the reputation of Scottish football was much higher than now, the teams are worth a mention:
Dunfermline: Martin, Callaghan, Lunn, Fraser, Barry, Robertson, McLean, McKimmie (Renton), Edwards, Gardner, Mitchell.
Rangers: Neef, Johansen, Mathieson, Greig, Provan, D.Smith, Henderson, Jardine, Penman, Johnston, Persson.
Amongst the Scandinavians there were a couple of Fifers, Willie Johnston and Billy Mathieson, in the Rangers side, and Johnston scored two before half time, while Penman added a late 3rd.
By the following March Rangers, as was their habit, had moved on to the next big-money striker, £100000 Colin Stein, who put them ahead, but it was to no avail as another Rangers “reject”, George McLean, belted the ball past the Girvan Lighthouse, Peter McCloy, for the Pars’ winner after a McLaren equaliser.
The Pars featured pretty heavily at the end of the 67-68 season. Rangers had led the league for most of that season but they had drawn away at Morton which was to set the nerves jangling. On April 27th Dunfermline beat Hearts 3-1 at Hampden to win their second ever Scottish Cup, in front of 56000, with goals from Pat Gardner (2) and Ian Lister, while John Lunn’s own goal counted for Hearts.
Meanwhile, even though it was Cup Final day, there was a league programme on. Rangers lost 3-2 at home to Aberdeen with an 89th minute goal, which effectively made Celtic champions on goal average, even if they lost at East End Park in their final match. However the match on the following Tuesday ended 2-1 to Celtic, in front of a ground record of 27816, many of whom watched from the floodlight pylons and enclosure roof. Unfortunately there was one fatality that evening and many injuries.
Another healthy away following – Falkirk visit in 1994:
The next few photos are from a match in September 1995 where Dunfermline beat St Johnstone 2-1.
I went along to a Scottish Cup tie with a Ross County supporting mate in 1997. County were soundly beaten 4-0 and, in true ‘wee club’ fashion, as the Pars scored the 4th, the County fans were actually jumping around at the news that ICT had conceded a goal in their cup tie at Inverness.
The next time I went the end terracing had been replaced in 1998 by two spanking new 3000 seater stands, the Norrie McCathie at the West End facing the traditional away stand at the East. So this was 1999 and we ICT supporters were pinching ourselves as our 5 year old club had reached tier 2 of the Scottish game, and was competing on an even keel with the likes of Falkirk, St Mirren and Dunfermline.
ICT had found the first season in Div 1 hard going, and on the opening day they were humbled 4-0 after having Barry Wilson injured and young centre half Andrew Allan sent off. The week before Christmas ICT were back at East End, having scraped together 5 wins in the league, and for much of the game they gave as good as they got. However their hearts were broken in injury time when Andy Tod thumped home a header from an Owen Coyle cross.
Two months later history was made with “SuperCaleyGoBallisticCelticAreAtrocious” at Parkhead in the Scottish Cup, and the Pars were promoted at the end of the season with ICT a creditable 6th.
Pars fans may not want to read this, but the Falkirk support in the East Stand was swollen by a couple of busloads of ICT fans in January 2000 after their game at Ayr was called off at short notice. The deadly rivals served up a 2-2 draw with some great strikes.
Since then I have witnessed 6 draws and 3 ICT wins at East End. The photos below are from a dull 0-0 draw in 2005 on the Pars’ short lived plastic pitch. Pars legend Craig Brewster is playing for ICT here.
Only one of the 6 draws produced a goal glut and that was in August 2011 with both clubs in the SPL. Andy Kirk twice put the Pars ahead with Greg Tansey and Johnny Hayes equalising. With 7 minutes left, Tansey looked to have won it for ICT, but big mad mental Martin Hardie saved a point in the 90th minute.
And so on the eve of the new season, the clubs prepare to meet in a league match for the first time since 2010, after being 2 divisions apart for a spell. A year ago ICT fans were optimistic about the new season as their Premiership squad, under Richie Foran, came to town and beat the Pars 5-1 in the League Cup. With hindsight, this would be pretty much our best result of the whole season (apart from taking a point against Celtic and beating Rangers in February) as we ended up relegated on the last day.
I’ll be reporting in a couple of weeks from Scotland Women v England in Utrecht. TTFN.