THE support of fans and the wider West Fife community in raising £20,000 for Athletic is "humbling", according to its chairman.

Ross McArthur says that he and the club's board are "indebted" to those who have dug deep to help and plug an anticipated income shortfall of £40,000 over the next two months.

With football suspended because of the Covid-19 pandemic and East End Park being placed on complete lockdown from Saturday, supporters groups met last week to organise a 'fighting fund' to help the Pars recoup revenue lost from three cancelled home games.

Spearheaded by the Pars Supporters Trust, the 'Support the Pars' campaign was launched on Saturday and, within 24 hours, it had raised £10,000.

On Tuesday, another £5,000 had been added to the total and, this afternoon, the club have announced the total has reached £20,000.

In acknowledging the "substantial financial challenges" faced by the club, McArthur had also urged supporters to join or rejoin the Centenary Club Lifeline scheme, who have reported an "extraordinary" 130 new or rejoining members, who will contribute £31,200 over a 12-month period.

Speaking to Press Sport, McArthur said: "It is pretty humbling from my perspective as chairman, and it's great that all the supporters groups got together, off their own back, to do this.

"This has been a disaster of nobody's making, and there's a mix of feelings. Firstly, you're disappointed, because we felt we had strengthened well in January, three players that had been out injured for a while were almost ready to come back in, so we thought the play-offs were there for us.

"But then you take a step back. This is a far bigger issue than football, and we have to make sure the most vulnerable in our society are looked after.

"At the moment, we're planning week to week, month to month, and the best way to get through this is by remaining calm and gathering as much information as possible.

"It's difficult to keep appealing to the fans, who have been fantastic. But I am indebted to everybody who has put their hand in their pocket.

"It shows again the loyal supporter base we have got."

Drew Main, a director of the club and Pars Supporters Trust chair, commented: "The generosity of the fans never ceases to amaze me and they've stepped up to the plate again in the club's hour of need.

"Whilst the majority has come in from Pars fans, there has also been support from the wider community, which reinforces the role the club plays in the community.

"Although it's fantastic to have raised such an amount in such a short space of time, we can't rest on our laurels. We have to strive to keep raising as much as we can so we can be in as strong a position as we can when football does resume."

Fans who wish to contribute can do so by online bank transfer to The Pars Supporters Trust, using sort code 80-06-55 and account number 00662309 stating reference 'STP'; through the justgiving page at; or by posting cheques or cash donations through the letterbox beside the club shop.

Meanwhile, as part of the plan to lock down the club's ground to ensure the safety of staff and visitors, McArthur has confirmed the playing squad have been training individually at home.

Earlier this week, the Scottish Football Association and SPFL released a statement in which they said it had "become apparent" that some clubs were "still convening training sessions against the guidance of the Scottish FA".

Ian Maxwell, the SFA's chief executive, said: "I would urge our members, and especially our Affiliated National Associations responsible for grassroots football, to ensure clubs observe social distancing guidance outlined by government.

"While many of the instances have been anecdotal, I have seen it for myself this weekend. Please stop it. I urge everyone involved in the game to do what we can to safeguard public health as best we can."