BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
Having joined the club just months before it was plunged into administration, Josh Falkingham confesses the joy of clinching the League One title will be mixed with a sense of relief should things go Dunfermline’s way this afternoon.
However, the midfielder insists promotion back to the Championship should be seen as no more than a ‘small step’ in a journey he believes will only be completed if the Pars rise all the way back to the top-flight.
Falkingham has been with the Fifers for the last four years and admits his love of playing for the club has been tinged with the deep lows associated with administration and relegation to League One during his first year in black and white.
However, after failed attempts to play their way back to the Championship in the last two campaigns, the East End Park outfit are finally within touching distance of the prize they have craved for so long.
A win at home to Brechin City, coupled with a loss for Peterhead against Cowdenbeath, would secure the silverware they are so close to and a huge crowd is expected to flock to East End Park in anticipation.
For Falkingham, and the likes of skipper Andy Geggan, striker Ryan Wallace and midfielder Shaun Byrne, who all suffered the devastating blow of administration, it will be a special moment if the perfect scenario does play out today.
The 25-year-old, who won the Third Division with Arbroath in 2011, said: “For the likes of myself and the lads that have been here over the course of this period, I think there’s just going to be that moment of joy and a bit of relief after everything we’ve gone through.
“This is my fourth season now and it feels as if it’s been bad times, bad times, bad times, even though I’ve loved my time at the club.
“It will just be a great feeling to everybody that’s stuck in and grafted that extra bit.
“It’s built up even more so because of the years we haven’t got back up. There will a sense of ‘finally, we’ve done it’.
“We’ve pulled together and we always knew if we stuck together and worked hard that times like this would come.
“Fingers crossed, we can be on the up now and we can continue. This is only one step.
“When I joined Dunfermline, it was a club I felt should be in the Premiership and when I joined we were on a great run. It looked as if we were going straight back up in to the Premier.
“This is hopefully going to be a little step towards a bigger step and we can try and push on for next season.”
After learning he will be banned if the promotion party is held over until next weekend, Falkingham has a very personal reason for dreaming that Dunfermline can clinch the League One title this afternoon.
There is a steely determination in the Fifers squad that they will do their bit, before keeping their fingers crossed Cowdenbeath can give them a helping hand.
And Falkingham added: “It’s about winning the league, home or away, wherever it is.
“But the quicker we can get over that line the better, for me.
“If it’s this Saturday then that would be unbelievable. If it’s at Albion Rovers, so be it – it’s just got to be done.
“For me, I want to be involved in that game. You want to be on the park when you do it, just because of all the emotions.
“It’s a great feeling. I’ve had it once before, even though it was the Third Division. Winning the league is a special moment, no matter where.
“It’s a feeling you really want to be on the park to experience.”
It is an experience Falkingham enjoyed with Arbroath five years ago but he knows from that triumph that things do not always go according to plan the closer the celebrations get.
Falkingham will forever remember the lessons dished out by the likes of player-boss Paul Sheerin, Kieran McAnespie and Allan McManus as the finishing line approached.
He commented: “These are always the toughest games to win, when people start asking when you’re going to do it and talk about it as if it’s a foregone conclusion. That’s definitely not the case.
“These are the toughest games of the season, just to get over that finishing line. It’s the hardest push.”