A new era beckons for East Fife

East Fife
East Fife

With last year’s turbulence surrounding Hearts, Rangers and Dunfermline dominating the national headlines - events at East Fife slipped slightly under the radar.

The year 2013 was certainly one of change, with a new board, chairman, manager, backroom staff and several new players all arriving at Bayview within the space of a few short weeks.

The season had ended on a high with the club securing its League One status through the play-offs.

Then things changed dramatically - and quickly

Out went chairman Sid Collumbine who was replaced by local businessman Lee Murray.

Manager Billy Brown was relieved of his position and Willie Aitchison was brought in as a replacement.

Aitchison turned over the playing squad and with the exception of a handful of players, brought in some from the Scottish leagues and others from France.

The Twitter tag #Revolution became adopted by chairman Mr Murray as he announced signings on social media.

The fact somebody in his position at East Fife was using the likes of Twitter in this way proved a seismic shift in thinking from the former board to some fans as the Fifers were pulled into the digital age by the young owners at its helm.

Aitchison’s reign was short, though, with the side playing well but not picking up enough points.

He was replaced by one of his signings, former Hearts defender Gary Naysmith, and it was he who guided the Fifers into the New Year.

After the upheaval of last year, something Fife fans can look forward to in 2014 is stability.

With managers coming and going regularly at the Methil club, Mr Murray handed Naysmith an 18 month contract after picking up two wins during his time as caretaker manager.

Naysmith cuts an impressive figure around Bayview and, talking to board members about him, his determination to ensure high standards are maintained has clearly won them over.

At the time of writing East Fife were still locked in a battle to edge away from the relegation zone.

Mr Murray has spoken of his desire to see East Fife compete in the Championship so, naturally, the current position is one Naysmith has been challenged to get them away from.

That’ll be the objective this year, avoid relegation and build for the new campaign.

Naysmith, a former Scotland international, has contacts in the game and expect him to use these as the months go on to bring in both loan signings to bolster the squad and hungry youngsters who have possibly lost their way at other clubs.

In fact, he’s already started doing this, bringing in Kilmarnock midfielder Gary Fisher for a temporary spell and former Dunfermline forward Blair Henderson to the club.

There will no doubt be more re-building over the summer, probably not to the same extent as the one just past, but 2014 will be the year that the Fifers really do make a push for promotion.

If East Fife don’t make the promotion play-offs themselves this year, they’ll be hoping Dunfermline join Rangers in going up to the Championship to create a much more level playing field.

League One really would be East Fife’s there for the winning.