It’s not been long since the 2017/18 season ended for the Pars, but their 2018/19 campaign is already taking a turn for the worst.
Last season marked the return of the Dunfermline we’re typically used to. Up there competing at the top end of the championship and even breaking back into the premiership. Things were looking up for them as well, watching them against Inverness in the game which all but secured a play-off spot, they looked like they had chemistry flowing through the roof. Yet we’re barely into June and that’s all gone out the window. Big players leaving left, right and centre. And so far nothing decent seems to have been recruited in their place.
Heading the list of departures and the earliest loss was Nicky Clark. The former Rangers striker moved to Dundee United on a two-year deal not long after the window opened. He is far from consistent, but still managed to hit double figures despite failing to hit the target half the time he’s on the pitch. Where he will be missed is the big games. He might not have always turned up in black and white, but he was there when he was needed. It was his 95th minute header that secured their play-off spot, and his goals were vital in keeping Dunfermline competitive throughout the season.
If he can hit his stride at Dundee United, it’ll hurt for the Pars. However he’s not he only player moving from Fife to Dundee, as Fraser Aird made the switch aswell.
There will be a bitter taste about this one. Aird confirmed he would re-sign at East End Park, but then United swooped in with a much bigger offer. And within 24 hours, he was now signing with United instead. He was another player who could’ve been so much more in his time at the club. But if he finds his stride in that Orange shirt, he will rip defenders apart next season.
Other departures include Captain Callum Morris leaving to move down south, Jason Talbot moving on after his contract expired, Dean Shiels (another 2017 signing who could’ve been so much more) who is moving to join his father in Northern Ireland and Aaron Splaine, who’s season was derailed by a broken leg last November.
Possibly the biggest loss however is the most recent one. Declan McManus leaving to join recently relegated Ross County. A move which in the short term will benefit McManus and County, but in the long term hurts everyone. McManus was phenomenal for Dunfermline, and is a real threat in the box. A player of his standard will be vital if Dunfermline wish to make a promotion charge this season. But he is Championship standard at best. So he will get County over the line and back into the top flight, and earn a big pay check whilst doing so, but he won’t have much of a future beyond that. As once the Ross-shire club make it back up, they’ll revamp their team all over again.
There is a slight positive in this as it will give young players such as Andy Ryan and Callum Smith an opportunity to really prove themselves in the Championship. But there’s a lot of rebuilding to do now, Beadling is a start for the Fife club, but they’re going to need so much more.
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