The squad threatened to strike ahead of their league game against Partick Thistle earlier this month, but the players will not revert to such extreme action again, despite the club's circumstances.
Dunfermline owe Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs £134,000 and are also believed to be in arrears to Hamilton Academical and Cowdenbeath over gate receipts.
Jim Leishman, the former manager, is leading a group to try to save the club, which is heavily in debt – £8.4m in the last accounts – but also suffering acutely from cashflow issues. Last weekend, Leishman admitted that Dunfermline could go out of business in a matter of weeks, unless a share issue raises enough funds to avert the crisis.
Last night, at a meeting in the Carnegie Hall attended by around 2000 supporters, Stephen Taylor, an accountant who is part of Leishman's Steering Group, said fresh talks with Gavin Masterton, the majority shareholder, had been positive. A proposal put to Masterton on Friday which would move the club towards 50% supporter ownership was rejected. However, the new talks have led to fresh optimism. "I was hugely encouraged in that there is a recognition from Gavin that he has to substantially reduce his shareholding and I think that's a common theme from supporters. Getting the counter proposals was a huge step forward and hopefully in the next few days we will have more definitive news as to where we're going."
In the meantime, the players have suffered. Last month, they received only 20% of their wages, with a further 10% promised to them. There was an angry meeting when the squad were called together to hear about the extent of the club's financial difficulties, leading to the strike threat.
PFA Scotland intervened, and the players were per-suaded to back down, despite frustration at the lack of communication from the directors and remarks by Masterton that they should consider themselves fortunate to have a job. As well as outstanding wages, the players are also owed bonus and appearance money.
"We've taken out a complaint with the Scottish Football League," said Wishart. "There was a real danger that the game against Partick Thistle wouldn't go ahead. I know the players were beginning to question whether they would receive any more money from the club, given its perilous situation, and whether they, as professional footballers, should put their livelihoods on the line. They were worried about getting injured which would put them out for months and then not being able to get a club in the summer. That was averted.
"We spoke to a number of the players. They realise that they have to put their shoulders to the wheel. At the moment there's no danger of that [strike threat] happening again now that the truth has come out and everyone is aware of the severity of the situation. The players are fully behind the club and, in particular, the fans in their efforts to save the club. So the players will continue to play and train as normally as they can until this situation is resolved."
Wishart is not aware of any other clubs, apart from Dunfermline and Hearts, facing an uncertain future, but he does believe that directors should be more open with staff and supporters when there are difficulties.
Both Raith Rovers and Cowdenbeath, who are due around £4500 in ticket revenue from Dunfermline, have both said they are willing to help out their Fife neighbour. Dunfermline travel to Stark's Park on Saturday and Raith will hand back gate money received from any visiting fans exceeding 2000. "The away end holds 3250, so if we get an extra 1200, that's £20,000," said Leishman.
Cowdenbeath said if 200 Dunfermline fans visit one of their homes games, they will write off the debt.