Under 19s sign upWednesday, 23rd Jun 2010
Under 19s squad takes shape for 2010-11. Eleven sign on as Leish promises reward if any can follow his success.
Back Row: Steven Leslie, Shaun Byrne, Kerr Young, Grant Munro, Scott Mackintosh, Jamie Birnie, Front:- John MacDonald, Conor Schiavone, Ben Martin, Blair McWhirter
Addressing the Club's latest signings, Jim Leishman, Director of Football related how he had sat in the same position 40 years ago. He stressed the history of Dunfermline Athletic and how proud the young men and their parents should feel. However he couldn't resist telling his new audience his most famous story:-
"You are now looking at the last player in Dunfermline's history to score a winning goal at Ibrox. It was 1972, Dunfermline won 4-3 at Ibrox and I scored the winning goal. If any of you do that I will buy you a case of Moet et Chandon."
Ten U19s were at East End Park on Wednesday to sign their full time contracts for the coming season. They join Jordan White who already has a contract for the coming year and Aaron Scott who was not able to attend.
Central defenders Grant Munro and Kerr Young, midfielders Ben Martin and Shaun Byrne, striker Scott Mackintosh and full back Jamie Birnie all signed two year deals as they stepped up from the U17s. Also signing on for another year were last year's U19s who were eligible for a second season in that age group - Blair McWhirter, Steven Leslie, Conor Schiavone, Aaron Scott and John MacDonald.
Jim Leishman welcomed the young footballers to East End Park:-
"It is an important day for you to get a chance to get on the ladder to be a professional footballer." He went on to point out the club history that the Dunfermline Board Room reflects:-
"A lot of famous players have come in here to sign contracts since this stand was built in the early 60s. People like Sir Alex Ferguson now manager of Manchester United, Davie Moyes now manager at Everton, Billy Davies the manager of Nottingham Forest but also lots of top players from all over Europe - internationalists like Istvan Kozma and Geir Karlsen. So it is an occasion for you and it is important that it is not just any football club that you are signing for but a club with a first class history.
"We have played nearly 50 games in Europe because we have had great runs in the cup. We have played eight cup finals which for a club the size of Dunfermline is a magnificent achievement.
"It is a great time for you to sign because it is a great opportunity for you all. Throughout Scottish football now budgets have all been cut, everything is being reduced. When I signed for the club there were 24 senior pros but at this time we have 18. So there are opportunities to progress; work hard with the attitude to grasp that opportunity. Be focussed on getting into that first team squad, it doesn't matter how old you are.
Head of Youth, Stephen Wright with his new signings
"Good luck to you. To get this opportunity you have done really well to get here, every one of you. It shows that somebody has a belief in you, so enjoy today and tell everybody. All your parents who have come here today to support you are very proud of you. They have been wanting this day for you for a long time so give it your best shot."
Leish stressed the importance of the Under 19s to the Club in the coming season. With a smaller first team squad he explained that this team is really the Club's Reserve team and the back up.
Hamish French will again be the coach in charge of the Dunfermline Athletic U19s. They start their pre season on 12th July and have pre season friendlies already arranged all away from home against Valleyfield Amateurs (13th July 7.00pm), Kelty Hearts (20th July 7.00pm), Steelend (24th July), St Johnstone (29th July) and Lochore Welfare (1st August 2.00pm).
The fixture at Wick on Saturday 17th July that was scheduled to be fulfilled by the U19s has been cancelled.
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