The very future of Dunfermline Athletic Football Club hangs by a thread today.
The club have until 5pm this evening to pay an outstanding tax bill of £134,000 or HMRC will enforce a winding-up notice they have served on the Pars, plunging the famous Fife side into liquidation.
The only man who can now prevent that doomsday scenario from occurring is Dunfermline majority shareholder Gavin Masterton.
The onus to rescue the club once again fell on the 72-year-old’s shoulders on Saturday afternoon prior to the Pars league match against Dumbarton.
Club legend Jim Leishman, who has been heading up a steering group tasked with uniting all the warring factions and negotiating a way out of the financial minefield, announced that they had reached “the end of the road” and the ball was once again in Masterton’s court.
Leishman said the steering group had investors in place willing to pay off the tax man and help the club through to the end of the season.
However, having completed due diligence on the club’s books, there were concerns about the long-term viability of the club in its present form.
Masterton was unavailable to speak about the latest developments and when The Courier contacted former chairman John Yorkston, he would only issue a terse “No comment”.
That left Leishman to fill the void as he briefed the Press at half-time during the Dumbarton game when he once again suggested that there was another route Masterton may opt for, voluntary administration.
Leishman said: “At 12 o’clock the steering group met to catch up, we told them where we are and at this moment in time, we’re at the end of the road and we’ve handed back to Gavin.
“Gavin’s the major shareholder, he’s in charge and he’s got to make a decision now what the future of the football club is. Gavin wasn’t represented at the meeting but knows the position.
“We made tremendous moves from where we started and we had money available, people wanting to invest for the short-term viability of Dunfermline Athletic.
“We had enough money to pay the income tax bill to HMRC on Monday. But the steering group wasn’t in it for that it was the long-term sustainability of the football club, and that’s where people were nervous.
“One or two things made people nervous and time wasn’t with us.
“It’s completely up to Gavin now, he’s got to decide. We’ve been dealing with the scenario where it was either sustainability or liquidation but the possibility of administration cropped up on Friday.
“We’re waiting to find out what route Gavin wants to go down. He might have another investor, we don’t know. He’s got to answer the tax bill and the long-term sustainability of Dunfermline Athletic.”
Leishman added: “What the steering group is saying is we’ve taken it as far as we can and we’ve handed it back to Gavin. I don’t know what Gavin is going to do.
“Monday could be it, but we’re not looking at it that way. We’re looking for Gavin to come and say this is the way I want to go, and we’ll be there and all the Dunfermline supporters will be there.
“We’re confident we’ve got a game on Wednesday. I’ve got Dunfermline versus Falkirk in my diary for Wednesday.”
For all the latest from East End Park, see Tuesday’s Courier or try our digital edition.