Potter Wheels back to ParsTuesday, 21st Jun 2011
Nearly ten years after leaving John Potter is back: "I want to get into the team for that first game of the season but it will be difficult breaking into what was a very successful team last year.
In common with Paul Gallacher his travelling companion from Fife to Paisley, John Potter will now have a short five minute walk to training. All very welcome after clocking up the miles on the M8 over the past few years.
That walk can begin on Wednesday when he meets up with his new team mates for the start of pre season training. Gary Mason is the only player who remains at Dunfermline, but he will still find Mo Hutton the kit man in the same role as when he left the Club in 2002. That was while John made 25 Pars appearances from 1999 and the only other familiar faces will be Paul Gallacher and Chris Smith with whom he played at St Mirren. He said:-
"It is a different club but as you could see at the end of last season that the fan base is still there. The attendances were incredible so hopefully those fans can come back and there will be a great atmosphere and we can make East End a fortress."
The 31 year old supported the Pars in the days under Bert Paton, Dick Campbell and Jim Leishman and his hero was Norrie McCathie. When John played Jimmy Calderwood was the manager and the club were doing well:-
"They were getting to cup finals and were fourth in the league the year after I left. They were doing really well; they had a big squad and they were paying a lot of money to a lot of boys. But the whole of Scottish football has changed since then - that was ten years ago. Clubs were getting into debt and were cutting back. Dunfermline have had a good couple of years under Jim McIntyre in the First Division and I am sure that they will be glad to be back in the Premier League."
After the disappointment of not getting a contract at St Mirren, John went on a coaching course in Largs just to get away from it all. The transfer market was slow as clubs held off signing players for economic reasons but what can be a worrying time ended when Dunfermline came in for the former Saints captain.
"The clubs take their time realising that there are a lot of players out there. I thought I was staying at St Mirren and it was a bit of a shock. It was the manager and the club's choice to let me go. Disappointing obviously but in a few days you get over it and realise that you have to get on with your career."
John went in to meet Saints boss, Danny Lennon on the Friday prior to the last game of the season expecting to sign a new contract only to discover that the offer had been removed.
"He told me that was it and I didn't stay for a conversation. On the Saturday I went out and played in the last game against St Johnstone, drew 0-0 and left. I had a good spell there and have some good friends at the club. It was reasonably successful and I enjoyed it."
Glad to have secured a future in the SPL again John is looking forward to restarting his Dunfermline career. After only one defeat at East End Park last season, John is hopeful that that winning habit can continue in the SPL:-
"I think it is important to get a good start. The staff at Dunfermline are accustomed to winning games and hopefully we can take a lot of points here. Dunfermline go up with a lot of confidence, when I saw them playing a few times last season I thought they were excellent. A good footballing team and very attack minded. If they can go into the Premier League and score a few goals I think they will have a good season."
Having got to a League Cup Final in 2010 and a Cup Semi Final with St Mirren John Potter is proud of his time at the Paisley club but he is looking forward to the opening game of the season against St Mirren in a game that will now be shown live on Sky TV on Monday 25th July.
"I want to get into the team for that first game of the season but it will be difficult breaking into what was a very successful team last year. These guys will be looking to play and I have just got to come in and impress."
Competition for places will be great and it was that, from the likes of Andrius Skerla, Scott Thomson, Justin Skinner, Andy Tod and Youssef Rossi, that limited his appearance in his first spell at the Club.
"I played a lot of games in the First Division in the year we got promoted but I was injured for most of the next. The year after that I only had four or five games but Dunfermline were doing very well at the time and I was nowhere near ready for Premier League football at the time. The players in front of me were better players so I had to go away and play. I managed to do that at Clyde; I had three good years there playing first team football and moved on to St Mirren where I have played in the SPL for the last four or five years.
"I got a lot of experience there and hopefully I can use some of that at Dunfermline. It is important financially that we stay at the SPL for the first season and then look to build. Your expectations can change throughout the season if you do well but first and foremost you are looking to stay in the SPL."
The new Par warned that it can be tough getting a run of wins in the top flight especially when it is anticipated that the likes of Aberdeen and Hibs will do better than they did in 2010-11.
"Everyone is looking to improve and it will be difficult." Although he does not know Jim McIntyre John acknowledged that "everyone speaks highly of him and he is looking forward to working with him."