Black and gold won’t head into the red

East Fife's Willie Aitchison, Lee Murray and Kevin Drinkell.
East Fife's Willie Aitchison, Lee Murray and Kevin Drinkell.

NEW East Fife managing director Lee Murray has reassured fans that the club will not run itself into the red as it aims for Division One.

The Methil side found themselves splashed across the national media and the social networks last week when Mr Murray’s consortium secured a controlling share.

The new team quickly announced a series of ambitions for the club.

Amongst them was a suggestion that the club would become full-time for the new season.

Mr Murray (pictured), though, says the Methil support should not be worried that the club was over-stretching itself.

The new MD said: “A lot of the players who played here last year didn’t have any other job; they only played for East Fife part-time, training twice a week and then playing on a Saturday.

“So we’re saying to players to come in and train with us full-time.

“They won’t be getting paid any extra money, but their fitness will improve and their own game will benefit because of it.

“Then if we get an offer from somebody else and they can move on then we’ll let that happen.

“But they’ve got to be a success for East Fife first.

“It’s something we’ve put to the players and they don’t have anyproblem with it.”

Mr Murray added: “It’s not about spending lots of money.

“Our budget is actually down on what it was last year.

“We just need to take any opportunity we get with things like publicity and sponsorship.

“If we can get money for a player we can reinvest that into the squad and then make a real push for Division One.”

Mr Murray, head of pub and entertainment chain Flood Inns, said he was approached by Brian McNeill, who is also part of the consortium, last season with a view to becoming involved with hospitality.

From there his involvement snowballed until, after weighing things up with his family, he was persuaded to take over at the club.

The Fifers finished last season in the relegation play-off zone but managed to battle their way to Second Division safety.

They were guided there by manager Billy Brown, who, it was confirmed shortly after the new consortium took over, had left his position.

The new man at the helm is Willie Aitchison, known primarily for his work with young players at Heart of Midlothian.

Mr Murray said the manager, who will be assisted by former Rangers winger Kevin Drinkell, is a good catch for the Fifers.

He said: “He’s probably coming to us to work for less money than he’s been on.

“He’ll be working for less but also working twice as hard for East Fife.

“We’ll be meeting with all the players soon.

“He’s obviously not been able to do anything until everything was sorted out.

“There were other clubs chapping at his door as well wanting him to go to them.

“But he wants to be his own man.”

Next season’s Division Two is sure to be an exciting one for Fife fans with derbies against Dunfermline and matches against Rangers to look forward to.

Mr Murray said he is equally as excited about the new campaign.

He said: “You have Rangers, Dunfermline and also teams like Airdrie who’ll consider themselves a First Division team.

“You’ll have games being televised and also the attention that we’ve brought now as well.

“I think it’s going to be the most competitive and exciting league in the country.”