Dunfermline Athletic

Supporters Council Meeting Part two

Thursday, 14th May 2015

The manager:- Just six days after being appointed the Dunfermline Athletic manager, Allan Johnston, addressed a Supporters Council Meeting

Speaking to a packed out Kingdom Suite Allan Johnston re-iterated how happy he was to have joined the club.

"It is a massive club, I think it is fair to say that in the last couple of years there has been underachievement. For me personally I am ambitious, I want to do well and I can see that everybody I have spoken to is desperate for the club to do well. That is the main reason why I have taken the job. I think there is massive potential and this year we need you more than anytime to get behind the club, get behind the players and make sure that we take it forward.

"We are going to be working with a smaller squad this year. It is going to be tighter but hopefully we can get better quality. I think that is what we need and probably emphasised by the league position we finished in last year. It just wasn't good enough. We need to freshen up the squad, it is a great opportunity to do that with so many players leaving.

"Now it is about recruitment and we have to make sure that we get the right players in to get a winning team on the park.

"Unfortunately I don't think Ryan Scully will be returning since Partick Thistle are quite keen to get him back. That is disappointing after all the awards he won last season but there are a lot of options out there and as I said it is all about getting the right people in."

Asked about his back room staff and if he had any plans to bring in his own men?
"I have only been here a matter of days. I am assessing everything; assessing the playing squad, the back room staff and looking at ways of maximising the budget.

"I have known John Potter for a long time. As a player I played with him at St Mirren and at Queen of the South and he couldn't have been anymore helpful. It is difficult coming in after being manager and obviously been put back down to head coach again, it must be difficult for him but he has given me 100% and I couldn't have asked for any more help. That is all you can ask for."

The manager was asked what lessons had been learned from being with QOS in the third tier of Scottish football, Allan replied:-

"I think we all want a successful team on the park. I found that I learned last time playing in this division that you need exciting players. It doesn't matter what division you are playing in you want players who can go by people, players who can create. You want to see goals, you want to be entertained and that is the type of group that we have to bring to the club.

"You can see the support that you have got at the club, it is a massive turnout again tonight so thanks very much for coming. You can see the amount of season ticket holders we have got so now we just have to make sure that we have a successful team, one that you are proud to watch.

"We are going to try and stay full time. It is going to be difficult because obviously the budget is a lot lower than last year. I am going to look at ways of maximising that, we might need to bring in a couple of part time players. Maybe training two days during the day but preferably I'd rather have full time players if possible."

Responding to a comment that last season some of the part time teams really showed us up, Allan said:-

"Looking back through the DVDs I think that we maybe never had the right quality last year. I don't think we had enough pace and we need a natural goalscorer. If you watch a few of the games, we maybe got bullied a wee bit as well. I think there is a lot to be addressed there."

Questioned on that need for a natural goalscorer, it was pointed out that was why Michael Moffat was signed but was it because of the way the ball was playeed to him that he had less success. The manager responded:-

"We have to be positive this year. I like players who can create things, create chances, beat players and get supporters on the edge of their seats. That is what you want to see, that is how you score goals.

"At Queen of the South we had Nicky Clark score 40 goals, at Kilmarnock I had Kris Boyd score 25 goals so that is the type of players that I want to bring to the club."

Question from online forum: How confident are you that suitable replacements can be identified and signed in the close season?

"I am talking to players constantly. Over the last few days I must have talked to 15 players maybe. There is a lot of quality players out there. A lot of people who would like to come to a big club like Dunfermline, they know the potential that you have got here.

"They know where we want to go, we don't just want to get promoted this year. There are plans to go further but it is one step at a time. It is going to be a massive season for us and we have to make sure that we not the ground running as well.

What would Allan Johnston be looking for in his captain?

"Captaincy is not a massive thing for me. They have got to be leaders on the park, have determination, attitude and they have got to be winners. That is then reflected in the results and performances on the park. Hopefully that is turned into wins."

How much do you know of the players left here?
"I know limited amounts about the boys who are here. I have only seen some of the DVDs. I know that there are a lot of young players coming through. I know that there is a lot of potential here.

"They underachieved last year but I know that there is a lot more to come from the players already signed. If we bring in the right quality alongside the players that are already here we should have a really good chance of doing well this year."

Is Andy Goram continuing as goalkeeping coach?
"I spoke to Andy the other day and said to him that I haven't decided what is happening next year regarding goalkeeping coach. We might need to go down a route of player coach for the goalie coach. It is one option that I am looking at but he is an option as well. I never closed the door on anything so he is still part of my plans unless that changes.

What will happen with the 18 players out of contract?
"I have said to some of those players that if they want to come back for pre season the offer is there to come back and train and I would have a closer look at them. I am not in a position to offer contracts without making sure that they are the right players for the club. I have only said that to a couple of the players."

Are you taking into account the grounds in League One and the surfaces we play on?
"It is eleven v eleven, it doesn't matter the size of the pitch if you can pass the ball quickly and go by people, get crosses in the box and score goals it does not matter where you are playing. As long as you are playing the right manner of football, being positive.

"Obviously you have to stand up to the challenge and match that. Maybe last season we got bullied physically last year so we are going to have to match that but if we have players who pass the ball quickly we should win these games."

Another online questioned sought out the long term objectives of the Pars manager, was this appointment a stepping stone?
"I am ambitious, I am not going to lie I want to be at the highest level possible. This is a club who can go there as well. That is why I joined because it has the potential to be massive. It is as big as the majority of clubs in the Premier League and I think that I can take us back there with the right players."

Will we still have an Under 20 team?
"There is definitely still an Under 20s team, we just don't know what league we are going to be in because that has not been decided yet. We will find a bit more clarity in June to find out exactly what league we will be playing in."

Post Administration the club relied on young players to come into the team. What strategy would Allan Johnston take to integrate young players into a team at the right time?
"If they are good enough, they are old enough. It doesn't really matter what age they are. They need to deal with the physical side of the game and if they are starting to look as though they are burned out they might need a rest but if they are good enough they will play.

"I had young guys like Gavin Reilly and Keiran Holt at Queen of the South who were playing week in week out and doing extremely well."

Pre Season Friendlies?
"Important to hit the ground running. John had already organised a few Friendlies so we have games against East Fife, Berwick Rangers, Queens Park and Livingston. Closed door game against Partick Thistle and still looking for another.

Will the manager go for seasoned pros or ambitious boys who can be sold on and make money for the club?
"A good mixture. There is nothing wrong with having a little bit of experience there as well but I like people who can run. I like energy in the team, I like pace, I like attitude and exciting players and the majority of them are obviously younger. You are looking to attract younger players but there will be some seasoned pros in there as well to help guide the younger players."

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