Dunfermline Athletic

Designs on bigger things

Monday, 29th Jul 2019

Pars fans have planned a crowd display for the opening match of the new league season.

As the teams emerge for the kick off, fans in section G of the North West Stand will be primed to hold up materials such as flags and banners that will be on their seats.

What the display will show remains a closely guarded secret but organiser Jason Canning says that it will not only be “large” and “colourful” but suitable for the BBC Scotland cameras which will be providing live television pictures of the match.

The display for the Dundee game does not require the section to be full but supporters from different stands are being encouraged to join the North West and stand as one. The objective is to create an impressive design to encourage the players, to gel the fans together and try to help build an atmosphere in the stadium. Jason, 30, explained the motivation behind the display:-

”I am really keen to get it going as the season starts and want to bring everybody together. It is going to be colourful and a bit of artwork. There is also a wee extra ‘treat’ in there.”

Jason has researched other team displays and he considers it fortunate that there is fantastic backing from the fans that enables him to try and pull it all off.

“I do the plans behind the scenes but without everybody contributing, I couldn’t do it. I created a Go Fund Me page and post on my Facebook page - Dunfermline Athletic Displays page - and on dot net as well. I raised the money within 24 hours.

“My ideas and inspiration have come from seeing what they do in Europe. I zoom into pictures to find out how big their cards are, how long their canes are, what size of flags they used. I would love to be at that level someday.”

Jason spends hours mapping out displays and working out the logistics. It began with a tribute to Norrie McCathie in January 2016, the 20th anniversary of his death:-

“Although I could see what to do, it was all brand new to me. I was unsure how it was going to work out and most of it was down to myself. I had to figure out the perception - stands are angled so you lose a bit of perception and I wasn’t sure how much that was going to skew the number.

“It worked out perfectly to be honest and my only disappointment was that I didn’t make it bigger!”

Last season he produced two displays, home and away, for matches against Falkirk and in May, he was presented with ‘Moment of the Season’ for the DAFC fan display at Falkirk in December at the Centenary Club Lifeline Player of the Year awards.

“I was very lucky when Falkirk worked very well with me. They were really keen for me to do a display and for them to do a display.

“It was a humbling moment to pick up the award at a player of the year event for a fan was quite unreal. I’ve got it up proudly on my wall!”

A lot of planning and communication is required and on the design work Photoshop and Excel are used, the sales manager from Dalgety Bay, explained.

“Once you get a seating plan you can overlay your picture or design and on those seats you mark what needs to go there to create the pattern - if it is a piece of card or a piece of foil or whatever - and then work out how the display would go over the section.

“It can be a wee bit tricky! Especially the first time I did it, there was a wee bit pressure because you don’t really know what it looks like until on the day.”

The preparation work started weeks ago, the elements have been sourced and constructed and even as late as Saturday Jason estimated that there was still another eight hours work ahead of him laying it all out at the warehouse at his work.

“You need to make sure that you are prepared, we will do a couple of test runs and make sure that our group of helpers know how everything works.”

Equally time consuming is putting the items on the seats.

“There is a group of lads from the North West Stand who are brilliant and quite quick to ask if you need any money, any help, any hands just give us a shout. Folk are desperate to help and I am really really grateful for that and obviously couldn`t do it without them.”

A lot of the work is done by Jason and his dad and there is also the matter of a girlfriend who puts up with him disappearing most nights to work on it. Apart from the time, costs involved are for the materials - polythene, flags and card etc. and then there is all the clearing up. Jason continued:-

”It is all part of putting on the display, I`m not going to leave it for volunteers to go and pick up 2000 bits of paper. It might take me two hours and maybe just as well that the materials being used now can all be re-used.”

Jason is hoping to catch the eye of the BBC cameras on Friday night:-

“Sometimes television can be a wee bit nervous of displays but I’m hoping they pick up on it and show the rest of Scotland this is what we do at East End Park. I hope it appeals to a few more people and they turn up to join us.

“Without the fans giving the money we could not do these displays, I am just very grateful that people have been so generous. I am looking forward to doing more. Hopefully we can build it up, do bigger displays and a full stadium here at East End Park.”

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