This is the second of a 2 part feature where I look at the performance of all 12 Dunfermline managers in the time I have supported the club (since September 1991). To rate their time at the club as fairly and objectively as possible, I have based the markings on the players they had available, the club's status at the time of their period in charge, together with factors that influenced their success and/or failures. Understandably, this can be like comparing apples to oranges, but I hope the article is fair and allows each manager's time to be seen in context.
A contender for best ever Pars assistant manager, during his 6 years working with Bert Paton. Dick took over from Paton in January 1999 but was unable to prevent relegation to the First Division after 3 seasons in the Premier. Despite guiding the team to second place (with the top 2 clubs being promoted), Dick was sacked before Christmas 1999 when John Yorkston and Gavin Masterton took control of the club. An enthusiast as opposed to being a master tactician, Dick's most successful periods as a manager since leaving Dunfermline have been with lower league clubs from Angus.
Jefferies is the only manager in this feature to have been in charge for 2 relegations, yet his time at the club has to be seen in context more than any other Dunfermline manager of the past 30 years. He was brought in with the club heading out of the Premier League, but rebuilt the squad in the summer of 2012 and by Christmas that year had led the team to the top of what is now the Championship. Financial problems followed by administration decimated the squad and the club were relegated to League 1. A second place finish behind Rangers in 2013/14 was followed by a promotion play-off defeat, with a team robbed of some of its few experienced players. The next season was a huge let down and Jefferies left the club in December 2014. His leadership of the club during administration should never be forgotten, and had it not been for the financial mismanagement of Masterton and Yorkston, he could well have taken the team back to the Premier League.
With his playing career coming to an end, Jim McIntyre was made interim boss after the sacking of Stephen Kenny in 2007 before being given the manager's job permanently. He gradually built up a squad capable of winning promotion to the Premier League in 2011. Perhaps too loyal to certain players who were either too old or not good enough for a season in the top flight, McIntyre was sacked before season 2011/12 ended. He has since proved himself to be one of Scotland's best homegrown managers, particularly with his work at Ross County.
Season 2014/15 ended with Dunfermline seventh in League 1 - the lowest ranked full time club in the SPFL and the club's worst League position for 30 years. Allan Johnston was brought in as manager in May 2015 and made several new signings in addition to releasing every out of contract player. When the new season began, Dunfermline began with 2 League games, a League Cup tie and a Challenge Cup game, scoring 4, 5, 6 and then 7 goals in those 4 games. That set the pattern for a title winning season, which also saw a victory over Premiership Dundee in the League Cup. A fifth place Championship finish last season continued the progress under Johnston. He is an attack minded manager and although not the most flexible tactician, it could also be argued that he has faith in his system and has been very successful as a result.
Brought in by new owners to replace Dick Campbell, Calderwood did not actually improve the club's League position that he inherited from Campbell (second in the old First Division) but in 2000 that was enough to win automatic promotion to the Premier League. Armed with almost certainly the largest budget of any Dunfermline manager (which later cost the club dearly), he built up a quality squad including players such as Craig Brewster, Ian Ferguson, Andrius Skerla, Marco Ruitenbeek and Barry Nicholson. The team's League position improved every season under his management, peaking in 2004 with a fourth place SPL finish and a Scottish Cup Final defeat to Celtic. He moved to Aberdeen immediately after the Cup Final which soured his legacy at the time. Looking back at his time, over 10 years later, he achieved more than any manager since the 1960s but with a much larger budget than his immediate predecessors.
In a case of history almost repeating itself, a former Pars player, a Fifer, breezed into East End Park to breathe life and enthusiasm into a depressed club in the same way that another true character of the game had done ten years before. Bert Paton, along with his assistant Dick Campbell, raised spirits and brought success and fun back to the club in a style reminiscent of Jim Leishman in the 1980s. Just as Leishman took over from the dark days of Tom Forsyth in 1983, Paton followed Jocky Scott into the manager's chair in 1993 and set about reinvigorating the club, the players and the supporters. Paton was one of the greatest Pars players of the club's golden years of the 1960s but was faced with an entirely different challenge as Dunfermline manager. With a modest budget, he built the team around some players who were already stalwarts of the club, including Norrie McCathie, Craig Robertson, Ian Westwater and Paul Smith, and added players from lower leagues (among them Stewart Petrie), juniors (Andy Tod), others released from rival clubs (Ivo Den Biemen) and the occasional veteran who Paton had worked with before (Kenny Ward). In Paton's first season, promotion to the Premier League was missed out on narrowly but the team finished top goalscorers in Britain. Two seasons later, despite the tragic loss of club legend McCathie, the team won the First Division. A year later, Paton's Pars finished fifth in the Premier League.
Paton resigned in early 1999 and left a legacy of attacking football, his teams containing some of the best-loved Dunfermline players in the club's history. It was a great period to be a Pars fan, and there was a real connection between the man in charge and the fans. It is great to see Bert back at the club, with fellow ex-Pars and team mates of his from the 1960s and 70s, promoting the club and attending supporters events. It's time for a stand to be named after him.