THE new investors in Athletic are “humble” and “unassuming” individuals who understand “what the club stands for” and are driven to take it forward.

Ross McArthur has moved to allay any anxieties supporters may have about the acquisition of shareholding in the club by DAFC Fussball GmbH by emphasising that if he and his fellow directors “didn’t think this was the right thing, we wouldn’t be doing it”.

Hamburg-based quartet Thomas Meggle, a former St Pauli player and coach who will take up the role of sporting director, Damir Keretic, Nick Teller and Dr Albrecht Gundermann completed a deal to acquire 30 per cent of the club’s share capital, with the option to take a further 45.1 per cent stake by May 31, 2022.

In the statement that was released by the club, McArthur said that the agreement “should now be transformative”, with the investment including plans to create a youth academy and a training facility.

Speaking extensively to Press Sport, he acknowledged that some fans might be wary about external investors but said: “At the end of the day, I’m a Dunfermline supporter. I would never prejudice the future of the club and if I didn’t think this was the right thing, we wouldn’t be doing it. Simple as that.

“I want to go to my bed at night and sleep, and look myself in the mirror. I don’t want to be walking down Dunfermline High Street in a number of years down the line and think this has happened or that’s happened.

“It’s about giving the club a base, an infrastructure, and looking at doing things we wouldn’t be able to do normally; for example, our own youth academy, and looking at getting our own training facility. If we’re serious about developing young players, how can we do that without our own training facility?

“It’s about doing these types of things that the club’s in dire need of, and now we can start to look at these types of things. It’s making sure the business grows in a sustainable manner, it’s about improving our income and revenue streams to generate more money into the club to allow us to move forward and develop.

“It’s not about burning through cash and throwing cash at something to try and buy success. We’ve seen on so many occasions that that doesn’t work and you come straight back to where you started.

“They’re a very impressive group of people. They’ve been very successful in their own careers, have a broad range of knowledge, and are really humble people. They’re very unassuming, they don’t have big egos – this isn’t about them showing off or wanting to be in the spotlight. Far from it.

“They want to come in and complement what we’ve all done and use their knowledge, experience and contacts to help move the club forward. There’s other people as part of the investment group behind these guys as well who I’ve met. They’re a hugely-impressive bunch of people.

“You pinch yourself that we’ve managed to land them as an investor in Dunfermline Athletic because they’ve been speaking to quite a lot of clubs.

“When I went over to see them in Hamburg, I did say to them, why Dunfermline? They said well, you might not be the biggest club we’ve spoken to, but the way you’re doing everything is honest and transparent, the information that we asked for is the most professional we’ve ever had from any other club, and they just felt there was trust and respect there.

“It just built from there and there’s been a real, great spirit amongst everybody through the discussions.”

McArthur, who revealed that the group are all supporters of FC St Pauli, a club known the world over for its social culture, continued: “They understand what the club stands for, how it’s managed and it’s controlled, and they like the way we do things.

“This isn’t just about investment in the club; this is about fresh ideas, innovation and improving certain things that we’re doing. But the community basis, the spirit of the club and everything we stand for that we’ve created since we’ve come out of administration, won’t change.

“It’s imperative that doesn’t change, the guys understand that, because at the end of the day, there’s nothing more important in football than fans. The good thing about this particular investment group is they’re all football fans themselves; they’re all St Pauli fans, that’s how they all met, so that’s how they’ve all got together and they want to build something special at a football club they got involved in.

“They’ve looked across Europe at different clubs and they settled on Dunfermline because they see the growth potential, they see the history, they’ve been really impressed with how the whole community’s got behind the club and they know they need to retain that going forward. That’s the important part.

“When change happens, people get anxious, they get nervous. I know there will be mixed emotions; this is change, is this the right change?

“The board’s been through all this for months. We’ve had the privilege to meet the guys on numerous occasions and discussed different things. These guys are the real deal.

“They’ve got the right ethics and morals and, because they’re based in Germany, they understand what football and fans is all about.

“We can’t stand still as a club. We’ve got to try and move forward and try to adapt – not lose the DNA of the club, because that’s vitally important and everybody has to be on the same page – but if we can get a competitive advantage by bringing in external investors who respect everything the club stands for, but are providing new ideas and innovation to help us try and be successful, then it’s win-win.

“There’ll be very, very few clubs, if any, who will be able to attract investment at the moment in the middle of a global pandemic so it’s a real feather in our cap, a real coup for us as a club that we’ve been able to land this.”

Some supporters have raised concerns over the dilution of a fans’ voice if DAFC Fussball GmbH go on to take up a 75.1 per cent of shareholding, and, if they do, the purchase of the company which owns East End Park, which they can do so by May 2024.

On the stadium issue, McArthur said: “It’s not really been part of our discussions – they’re not property people. We had suggested that, at some stage in the future, they might want to bring the club and the stadium back together but all it is is an option.

“I genuinely think they won’t buy the stadium but they’ve got that option. That’s why they’ve got two years to do their full 75 per cent and two years after to buy the stadium.

“I don’t think they’ve got a great interest in the stadium. The other thing is that if they do buy the stadium, and at any stage in the future they do decide they want to sell the stadium or they want to sell the club, Pars United have got first option on buying it.

“There’s no concerns. These are all the safeguards we’ve built in to protect the club. Yeah, they might buy the stadium, but I’ll be honest, I don’t think it’s of great interest to them. They’ll just look at continuing to pay the rent to the stadium company, which is owned by myself and a few other people.

“We need the new investment group, the existing board, the existing fanbase to come as one and they understand that. They’ve come from an environment in German football where fans are at the heart of each club and their community. They’re not going to change that model.

“They know if you alienate your fanbase, you’re on a hiding to nothing.

“Their actions need to speak louder than words. They had a long chat with us about what we need to do and they know how the fans are an integral part of the club.

“Nothing will change the way we do things; the culture, the ethos we’ve got as a club. That needs to stay and they understand that totally.

“One of the attractions about working with the guys is that they get that. They’re not coming from an environment where we’ll do this, we’ll do that and we’ll dictate. If that’s the modus operandi, the whole thing will fail.

“There’s no point in creating what we have to get to this point to throw it in the bin. That would just be silly.”