After relegation from the Premier League in 2011/12, Pars boss Jim Jefferies revamped his squad with a host of new players, including defenders Stephen Jordan and Callum Morris, midfielders Andy Geggan and Stephen Husband, and striker Ryan Wallace. One of Jefferies' most astute signings was 21 year old midfielder Josh Falkingham, Leeds-born and a product of the Leeds United youth team, who had moved to Scotland to rebuild his career after his boyhood team released him in 2010. The diminutive Falkingham became a regular in the Dunfermline team that led the First Division (now Championship) before financial mismanagement and eventual administration led to most of the senior players in the first team squad being released, and the club being deducted 15 points. Relegation followed, and it was not for a further 3 seasons that Dunfermline would return to Scottish football's second tier. During that period, Josh had been club captain for a period, and was a virtual ever-present in the team, making a total of 151 appearances for the club.
Seemingly not offered a new Pars contract in the summer of 2016, to the surprise and disappointment of many, including the player himself, Josh was to be 4 months without a club after his Dunfermline contract ended.
His next move was back to England, with Darlington, on a 1 year part-time contract. The club were in English football's sixth tier, the National League North, 2 divisions below the bottom rung of the Football League. Promotion was the club's aim and a fifth place finish should have been enough to enter the promotion play-offs. However, Darlington were refused entry to the play-offs due to failing to meet ground size regulations. This, combined with a wish to return to full-time football, saw Josh move to another club in the same division - Harrogate Town, closer to his Leeds base and more importantly, back to full-time football. He was quoted in the local media after signing in mid-May, saying: "I sat down with the manager and the chairman and heard what they both had to say. From that first chat the ambition of everyone at the club was clear and was a massive factor when it came to making my decision.
“Everything that they said were things that I wanted as well and this is a perfect fit for me. First and foremost, going back full-time is something that I’ve been striving for so I'm looking forward to that. I want to do the right things on the pitch because at the end of the day my ambition is to play at as high a level as possible. By performing well for Harrogate and pushing for promotion, hopefully we'll all progress together.
“I want to start by making a good impression and I want to obviously repay the faith that the manager has put in me. The manager, the chairman, and everyone around the place has spoken about the ambition of where we want to be, so personally, it’s all about getting my head down now and coming back for pre-season fit and ready to go.”
I am sure all Pars fans will wish Josh every success with Harrogate. He is a player who will always be fondly remembered for his time at East End Park. Personally, I wish he was still a Dunfermline player.
Photos: Daily Record & Darlington FC.