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Monthly Digest - August 2003

Lithuanian Andrius Skerla is faced with being deported after being stopped by immigration officials on returning to Edinburgh Airport after the team's Dutch tour. As the defender had not played in 75% of his country's internationals, the necessary work permit had lapsed. The club intend to appeal against the decision. As a result, Skerla misses out on the game against Portsmouth. Fellow players try to help the defender out by offering to buy his car for a tenner.
Even before the season started boss Jimmy Calderwood had a number of players missing due to injury. Out of the Portsmouth game are Scott Thomson, Derek Young, Steven Hampshire, Scott MacNicol, Noel Hunt, Aaron Labonte and Billy Mehmet
Date: 2nd August 2003 Opposition: Portsmouth Score (H/T): 1-0 (0-0)
Competition: Friendly Venue East End Park Attendance: 4,147
Scorers: [1-0] Nicholson (46)
Yellow Cards: Stefanovic (Portsmouth)
Pars Team: Stillie (Ruitenbeek HT); Bullen, Tod, Wilson, Mason, McGroarty; Nicholson, Darren Young, Grondin (Dair 67); Crawford, Brewster. Subs not used: Dempsey, Walker, McGarty, Fotheringham, Karnebeek.
Portsmouth: Wapenaar; Zivkovic (Aiyegbeni 69), De Zeeuw, Stefanovic, Primus; Stone, O’Neill (Robinson 69), Quashie, Berger, Todorov (Pericard 69), Sheringham (Brrton 84)
Referee: I Fyffe
Portsmouth provided the opposition for the final warm up game prior to the season's start in a week's time. Played in brilliant sunshine, this was a reasonably entertaining game, with Dunfermline putting in a good performance against the English Premiership newcomers. After a quiet first half, the Athletic took the lead with a superb shot from Barry Nicholson that looped over former FC Utrecht keeper Wapenaar's head. Lee Bullen almost made it two when he forced the Dutch keeper into a tremendous save after beating two defenders on a run from the half way line.
After the game boss JC was pleased that his defence had kept a clean sheet saying, "our problem, which has been well documented, is giving too many goals away, but I don’t think we looked in danger of doing that today." Goalscorer Barry Nicholson received some stick from his team-mates, who questioned whether the midfielder had intended to shoot or cross for his spectacular strike.
Thirteen years after his departure Jim Leishman makes an emotional return to EEP as General Manager/Executive Director. His role will be help re-ignite the community spirit that lifted the club during his seven year region as manager in the eighties. Chairman John Yorkston was delighted saying, "some people will think I've brought him back just to win back old fans, but he's here to do a job and he wouldn't be here if I didn't think he was capable of doing a good job for us." An emotional Jim said, "I am really chuffed to be sitting here today." 
Andrius Skerla receives his work permit just two days before he was due to be deported from Scotland. An appeals tribunal which included Craig Brown, Pat Nevin and Walter Smith reviewed the Lithuanian's case and found in his favour.
John Yorkston is reported to have told the press that he would rather Sutton stayed away from Saturday’s fixture, provoking a heated reaction from Parkhead boss Martin O’Neill. However, yesterday Yorkston said his comments were misinterpreted and that Celtic “could bring who they wanted” along to the game. "What actually happened was that a reporter asked how I would react if Martin O’Neill said Chris Sutton wasn’t going to the game and I said that would probably be best for all involved,” said Yorkston.
Scott Thomson's could be a further four to six weeks away from action after encountering further problems with his injury in Holland. The Pars skipper also restated his position on the Chris Sutton incident, saying, "I'll never forgive him for that - he crossed the line you just can't cross."
A meeting is held in the Jock Stein Suite to discuss the possibility of launching a supporters trust. Life long Pars fan Rodney Shearer chaired the meeting, which included speakers Mike Barile of the Arabs Trust, and Jim Proctor, a full time official of Supporters Direct. Those present unanimously agreed with the setting up of a  trust. 

The pitch at East End Park is to be dug up immediately after Dunfermline play Celtic tomorrow, to make way for a new state-of-the-art synthetic surface. The supplier of the new pitch is Symbior Technologies, based in Montreal, Canada, who have signed a contract to install the £130,000 pitch - the first of its kind in the UK. The pitch is certified by UEFA for properties that allow the ball to bounce and roll like it would on a natural surface. Dunfermline is one of only four European clubs to pilot synthetic pitches on behalf of UEFA, with the others being Torpedo Moscow, Austria Salzburg and Orebro in Sweden.

Davie Nicholls joins Faklirk after being released by Dunfermline. Nicholls joined DA in May 2001 and had been on loan at Falkirk last season.
The injury list that blighted the Pars pre-season eased considerably before the first game. Only three players were listed as injured, Scott Thomson, Noel Hunt and Mark McGarty, with Lee Bullen serving a one match suspension.
Immediately before the Celtic game, new General manager/Executive Director Jim Leishman took his bow in front of an enthusiastic crowd. Ever the showman, Leish kissed the turf and did his famous airplane impression. 
Date: 9th August 2003 Opposition: Celtic (photos) Score (H/T): 0-0 (0-0)
Competition: Sc Premier League Venue East End Park Attendance: 10,082
Scorers: None
Yellow Cards: Nicholson (DAFC)
Pars Team: Stillie: Skerla, Wilson, Tod; Nicholson, Darren Young, Derek Young (Grondin 71), Mason, McGroarty; Crawford, Brewster. Subs not used: Ruitenbeek, Storrie, McNichol, Walker
Celtic: Douglas; Valgaeren, Balde, Mjallby; Lennon (Miller 71); Agathe, Lambert (Smith 71), Petrov, Thompson; Larsson, Maloney. Subs not used: Hedman, Varga, Beattie
Referee: H Dallas
An excellent performance from the Pars saw them pick a point from a game that will be remembered for all the right reasons. Whilst the best Dunfermline performances came in defence from Andrius Skerla and Derek Stillie, and particularly from Man of the Match Andy Tod, Dunfermline had a number of opportunities to score in a game which could have gone either way. Excellent chances fell to Derek Young and Stevie Crawford, whilst Celtic came close to stealing the game in the dying seconds when a Thompson shot scraped the outside of the post. The result saw Jimmy Calderwood gain his first league point from Celtic since arriving in November 99, and it wad the first time in 57 matches that Celtic had failed to score in the league game.
Pos   Pld W D L F A Pts
7 Celtic 1 0 1 0 0 0 1
8 Dunfermline Ath 1 0 1 0 0 0 1
9 Dundee United 1 0 0 1 1 2 0
Not surprisingly at the post match press conference Jimmy Calderwood was the happier of the two managers, expressing his delight at not only the point, but the fact that his defence had kept a clean sheet. A disappointed Martin O'Neill was pleased that his team's behaviour throughout the match had been exemplary 
Two pieces of trouble took the tarnish off a match that had passed off without incident. The first came when a Dunfermline supporter threw the ball with some vigour at Larsson (despite the incident appearing in the referee's report, no action will be taken), and after the match Celtic supporters threw stones and bottles at the Pars support exiting the North West Stand. Supporters were forced to leave the ground via the pitch. Meanwhile Celtic managed to take offence at an article in the club's matchday programme!
Immediately after the Celtic game, work started to lift the 100 year old East End turf in  preparation for the installation of the plastic pitch. The following day, as bulldozers ripped the ground to pieces, square metres of turf selling at £2 were snapped up by fans and gardeners alike. A further sale took place on the Monday as the last remnants of the once hallowed turf disappeared forever.  
The Pars Under 21s start the season where they left off at the end of last, with a defeat. The team lose 3-0 to Celtic at New Douglas Park. 
A strong team of first team fringe players sees off East Fife 1-0 in the semi-final of the Fife Cup at New Bayview. Billy Mehmet scores the only goal of the game after half an hour.
Stevie Crawford is called into the Scotland squad for the friendly game Norway..
Despite having been placed on the open to transfer list, David Grondin revealed that him and his girlfriend had now settled in Scotland.
Ian Rush and the inventor of the artificial pitch visit EEP to sing the praises of the new surface.
Joining Scott Thomson and Noel Hunt on the injury list ahead of Dundee, are Kevin McLeish, Sean Kilgannon, and the unlucky Andre Karnebeek.
Date: 17th August 2003 Opposition: Dundee (photos) Score (H/T): 2-0 (1-0)
Competition: Sc Premier League Venue Dens Park Attendance: 7,750
Scorers: [1-0] Wilkie (45 og), [2-0] Crawford (88)
Yellow Cards: Crawford (DAFC), Nemsadze (Dundee)
Pars Team: Stillie; Skerla, Wilson, Tod; Bullen, Nicholson, Mason, Derek Young (Mehmet 87), McGroarty (Dair HT); Crawford, Brewster (Dempsey 55) Subs not used: Ruitenbeek, Labonte
Dundee: Speroni; Sancho (Caballero 66), Wilkie, Mair; Brady, Smith, Nemsadze, Rae, Hernandez; Novo (Carranza 77), Lovell Subs not used: Langfield (GK), Hutchison, Jablonski
Referee: C Richmond
This Pars committed daylight robbery as they stole three points from Tayside. With Dundee well on top, having hit the post, had close misses and forcing Derek Stillie into making a number of excellent saves, the Athletic took the lead on the stroke of half time, when Lee Wilkie, under pressure from Andy Tod, diverted a Scott Wilson free kick past his own keeper. The second half continued in much the same vain, with Stillie and his defence once again preventing Dundee from breaking through. With the home side looking like they would score in the closing minutes, the Athletic broke away and after a fine move involving Dempsey, Mehmet and Crawford, the latter popped the ball into the net to steal all three points away from Dens Park.
Pos   Pld W D L F A Pts
3 Celtic 2 1 1 0 5 0 4
4 Dunfermline Ath 2 1 1 0 2 0 4
5 Livingston 2 1 1 0 2 1 4
Post match it was a contented Jimmy Calderwood that spoke to the press saying, "it is a very difficult place to come and in games you do need luck and we got that today."
The Under 21 side lose 2-0 to Dundee at Bayview.
A delegation from Dunfermline Athletic will travel to Lithuania to discuss the possibility of a tie up between the club and country. Chairman Yorkston believes that the tie-up could be of benefit to the Athletic.   
Stevie Crawford plays for 79 minutes as Scotland draw 0-0 in a dull game away to Norway.
Chris McGroarty is to go on loan to Clyde. The twenty year old left sided defender Richie Byrne from Shamrock Rovers spent a week at East End Park on trial.
It is revealed that an international select match will take place prior to the game with Hibernian. Karl Heinz Ruminige, Jean Pierre Papan, Ian Rush will all participate.
Missing from the game at Dundee through injury and illness are Scott Thomson, Noel Hunt, Steven Hampshire, Jason Dair and Chris McGroarty. There was better news for the long term injured with Noel Hunt who returned to training earlier in the week. Scott Thomson is due to start the following week.
Date: 23rd August 2003 Opposition: Aberdeen Score (H/T): 2-1 (1-1)
Competition: Sc Premier League Venue Pittodrie Attendance: 10,870
Scorers: [0-1] Zdrilic (23), [1-1] Brewster (30), [2-1] Nicholson (56)
Yellow Cards: None
Pars Team: Stillie; Bullen, Skerla, Wilson, Tod, Grondin; Nicholson, Darren Young (Dempsey 88), Mason; Crawford, Brewster (Mehmet 74) Subs not used: Ruitenbeek, McGarty, Labonte
Aberdeen: Preece; Hart, Anderson, Deloumeaux, McGuire, McQuilken; Tosh (McNaughton 75), Heikkinen, Sheerin; Booth (Muirhead HT), Zrdilic (Hinds 40) Subs not used: Esson, Tiernan
Referee: J Rowbotham
For the first 25 minutes or so Dunfermline looked second best to every ball, but after finding themselves a goal down, the Pars rallied to the cause and put in an excellent performance. After just eight minutes Stillie had to look very lively to knock a Sheerin long distance effort over as it headed towards the net. Then Zdrilic gave the Dons the lead with an angled shot from some fifteen yards out. With Dunfermline coming into the game, some superb work from Stevie Crawford saw him put in an inch perfect cross for Craig Brewster to head past Preece. Eleven minutes into the second half and a poor Preece kick out was seized on by Brewster, who slipped the ball to Nicholson who closed in on goal to pop the ball past the beleaguered goalkeeper. Although Aberdeen tried to come back into the game it was the visitor's that stayed the stronger of the teams to return home with a very welcome three points. 
Pos   Pld W D L F A Pts
2 Celtic 3 2 1 0 7 1 7
3 Dunfermline Ath 3 2 1 0 4 1 7
4 Hearts 3 2 0 1 5 1 6
Post match Jimmy Calderwood revealed that he had told his team a few home truths at half time, and upped the pace for the first 15 to 20 minutes of the second half. New Executive Director Jim Leishman praised the support that had made the long journey up to Aberdeen, saying "the players were across giving them a clap and the fans deserved that. They have travelled a long way today and they are going home happy. I say just watch this space!" 
Dunfermline's Under 21 side pick up their first point of the season with a goalless draw at home (played at New Bayview) to Aberdeen. Marco Ruitenbeek prevented the visitors from returning north with as string of excellent saves.
As Chris McGroarty heads to Clyde on a six month loan deal, six of the other transfer listed players leave the club by mutual consent. Andre Karnebeek, Jason Dair, George Fotheringham, Kevin McLeish, Steven Hampshire and Scott Walker all agree severance deals, which will allow them to find new clubs even after the transfer window closes at the weekend.  
Youssef Rossi has managed to go missing again, and is believed to be back in Morocco. The Pars again stop paying his wages.
Stevie Crawford is included again in the Scotland squad for the forthcoming Euro Qualifiers against the Faeroe Isles and Germany.  
With players departing, Irish 20 year old defender Richie Byrne signs for Dunfermline, although his clearance doesn't go through in time for him to be included in the squad for Tynecastle.  Missing from the Hearts game through injury will be Scott Thomson, Noel Hunt and Derek Young.
Date: 31st August 2003 Opposition: Heart of Midlothian Score (H/T): 0-1 (0-0)
Competition: Sc Premier League Venue Tynecastle Attendance: 11,934
Scorer: [0-1] Wyness (62)
Yellow Cards: Bullen, Brewster, Wilson (DAFC), (De Vries (Hearts)
Pars Team: Stillie; Bullen, Skerla, Wilson, Tod, Grondin; Nicholson, Darrren Young (Dempsey 78), Mason; Crawford, Brewster (Kilgannon 71). Subs not used: Ruitenbeek, McNicol, Labonte.
Hearts: Moilanen; Neilson (Kisnorbo (64), Pressley, Webster, Maybury; Stamp, MacFarlane, Severin, Hammill (Boyack 71); De Vries, Wyness (Weir 81). Subs not used: Gordon, Hartley.
Referee: A Freeland
A disappointing performance from the Pars at Tynecastle, a ground where they have failed to win for the past thirteen years. Hearts dominated for most of the game, and although Stevie Crawford had the ball in the net and had a penalty claim turned down, most of the action came from Hearts. Derek Stillie had a tremendous save from a Severin header which kept the Athletic level at the break. The second half was much of the same, but then Wyness capitalised on a poor Nicholson pass and strode through the defence before slipping the ball past Stillie. Despite pushing Tod and Bullen up front, the Pars could only muster one shot on target, a weak effort from Crawford.
Pos   Pld W D L F A Pts
3 Dundee 4 2 1 1 6 4 7
4 Dunfermline Ath 4 2 1 1 4 2 7
5 Hibernian 4 2 1 1 6 7 7
It was a disappointed Jimmy Calderwood after the game who said, "taking nothing away from Hearts, we can play better than that. I don't know if it is our style but we didn't play at all until I had to go for it in the end. We deserved nothing - too many players had a day off without telling me."