Kalder dismissed his birthplace as "a dead dump with a few historical ruins and a lot of charity shops". While it's not exactly Scotland's answer to Kyoto, the old capital has a lot more going for it than that. Things like free parking within walking distance of the football ground and a team which won two Scottish Cups, finished third in the league and reached a European semi-final in the 1960s, losing by the odd goal in three to a Slovan Bratislava side which beat Barcelona in the final. No, really.
The first pub we try has stopped serving food "due to sport". The second has no spare seats, the third no other customers and bean burgers which taste like "twenty coasters jammed together". As we enter the ground, a bear in a flat cap and some kids holding chequered racing flags jog around the pitch while the tannoy plays over the visiting fans' attempts to get a chant going. "Shall we sing a song for you?" they finally manage to ask. "Ath-e-letic, best in Fife," the home fans reply.
The first half is dire, made bearable by some blood and thunder tackling and a full forty-five minutes of world class vitriol from the row behind. Raith skipper Allan Walker is simultaneously "a wanker", "a fucking wanker", "a prick" and several other things which I can't make out but are probably not very complimentary. He's still more popular than Jason Thompson, who gets welcomed back to East End Park with a shout of "Dye your hair, you ginger cock." Every member of the Raith team is "a wanker" or "a paedo", leading Ian to speculate that the Fifers might be surreptitiously operating a less successful version of Athletic Bilbao's Basque-only policy. "Dig a hole," comes the chorus whenever a red-shirted player goes down, and when Thompson mistimes a tackle an irate fan screams "I'll drop ye in the toon, ye ginger bastard." On the pitch, Raith's Bobby Graham heads into the goalkeeper's arms and Dougie Hill clears off the line at the other end. There's lots of running. Mainly, though, into other players. "Not the most exciting 45 minutes of the season," Dunfermline's official match report says.
Kalder was wrong. Dunfermline is not dead yet.
Date: January 2nd 2012