Dunfermline Athletic

Jim Jefferies 2012-2014

Jim Jefferies career as Dunfermline manager came to an end on Tuesday 16th December 2014. Jim had previously indicated that he would step down at the end of the 2014-15 season in any case, but he had hoped that it would be a happy one where he could enjoy the Pars winning the League One title. Unfortunately with results not going his way and an earlier exit than hoped in the Scottish Cup, Jim decided to make way and give his loyal coaches the chance.

Jim took over as manager at East End Park following the dismissal of Jim McIntyre on 16th March 2012, and was in charge of his first match on 24th March against St Mirren. The team had not enjoyed a good first season back in the SPL and by March were firmly at the bottom of the table with just 19 points from 30 games, four points behind second-bottom Hibs.

While there was partial success for Jefferies, including a first home league win of the season with the convincing 3-0 defeat of Aberdeen, it was too little, too late. Dunfermline managed just six points from eight SPL matches under Jim and were relegated.

Jefferies’ first full season in charge got off to a good start despite a Ramsdens Cup defeat to Forfar, and by November 2012 Dunfermline were challenging Partick Thistle at the top of the First Division table. By now however, Dunfermline’s poor state of financial health had kicked in. The combination of late payment of players’ wages and unrest among the fans affected what was happening on the park and results began to deteriorate.

This all came to a head when the club went into voluntary administration at the end of March 2013. The consequences of this were considerable: ten first team players left immediately, the club were deducted fifteen points, and an embargo was placed on the club signing any player over the age of 21 until administration was cleared.

Dunfermline found themselves in the relegation play-off position with just a handful of games to go, but Jefferies’ by now very young side beat Morton and Cowdenbeath, and were within a whisker of defeating champions-elect Partick Thistle at Firhill but cruelly the Jags equalised late into added time.

Still, it required an unlikely scenario to put the Pars back into the play-offs – second bottom Cowdenbeath would have to win away at Hamilton and Dunfermline would have to lose at home to bottom club Airdrie United. Sadly, that is precisely what did happen and Dunfermline’s young team were thrown into the play-offs. They managed to negotiate the semi-finals against Forfar thanks to Forfar’s kamikaze-style behaviour in the second leg, but the finals against Alloa proved too much and relegation was confirmed.

Season 2013-14 was always going to be an interesting one since the Pars found themselves in the same league as Rangers. Jim Jefferies made some good additions to his squad and that seemed to work as his side made their way comfortably into second place in the table behind Rangers.

Despite some mid-season inconsistency, it was a position they held comfortably and concluded the season twelve points clear of third placed Stranraer. It was the same Stranraer who were their opponents in the play-off semi-finals and a good result in the second leg at East End Park allowed the Pars to progress to the final against Cowdenbeath. After a 1-1 draw at Central Park, Dunfermline were favourites but couldn’t raise their game for the second leg and remained in League One.

As with other seasons under Jim Jefferies management, Dunfermline got off to a good start, notably taking the scalp of Championship side and League Challenge Cup holders Raith Rovers. Despite having some highly-rated new signings, the season to date has been marked by inconsistency.

Having remained as a full time club, it’s not surprising that there were concerns as Dunfermline exited the Scottish Cup in December 2014 and fell to fourth place in the league.

Jim Jefferies record as Dunfermline manager is not all about results; fans will recognise the part he has played in keeping Dunfermline afloat. Only a manager of Jim’s calibre and experience would have been able to deal on the park with the succession of crises that befell it off the park.

Jim’s legacy as a successful manager with Berwick Rangers, Falkirk, Hearts and Kilmarnock is already recognised. Hopefully his contribution to Dunfermline is likely to become clearer in the years to come as the young players to whom he gave an opportunity show that they do have the skill and ability to succeed, and that Dunfermline can once again become a thriving club in the Scottish League.

Jim Jefferies was the 28th different person to hold the position of manager of Dunfermline Athletic Football Club. This is only counting once for those that have held it twice (William Knight, Jim Leishman) and excludes caretaker managers. Jim won 54 of the 124 competitive matches played under his charge, losing 48 and drawing the remaining 22. It is very difficult to make comparisons with other managers due to the different leagues in which Jim’s teams have played. In the First Division, Jim had a 45.3% success rate compared to the 49.2% success rate of Jim McIntyre, but of course the circumstances were different.

Jim Jefferies’ Record  P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts 
Scottish Premier League  8 1 3 4 10 16 6
Scottish League First Division  36 14 7 15 62 59 49* 
SPFL League One  52 27 9 16 93 68 90
Scottish League Play Offs  8 3 1 4 13 13   
Scottish League Cup  6 3 0 3 12 6   
Scottish Cup  9 4 2 3 15 16   
Scottish League Challenge Cup  5 2 0 3 7 8   
TOTALS  124 54 22 48 212 186   
* Deducted 15 points due to administration

Jim Jefferies used a total of 62 different players in his two and a half seasons in charge at Dunfermline. His most selected players during that time (including sub appearances) were Ryan Thomson (102), Josh Falkingham (101), Andy Geggan (100), and Alex Whittle (85).

Goalscoring was always a bit of an issue for Jim and that is reflected in the leading goalscorers of his period as manager. The top goalscorers were Ryan Wallace (25), Ryan Thomson (19), Stephen Husband (17), Andy Geggan (16) and Andy Barrowman (14). Two of those players are no longer with the club and one is long-term injured.

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