The discussions lasted into the evening and Herald Sport understands a rescue plan is being considered that involves Masterton abandoning a share issue and instead selling a majority stake in the club to supporters. There remains pessimism among fans about a deal being agreed, but time is running out for the club.
Although Dunfermline have not yet received a winding up order, served by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, over a bill of £134,000, they know that its arrival is imminent. It may even come today, and would leave Dunfermline with seven days to avert liquidation. Administration is unlikely due to the club's complicated ownership structure, which includes the stadium being owned by a separate company, East End Park Limited, which is also owned by Masterton.
The rescue plan involves Dunfermline being sold, with 50% to The Pars Community, four chunks of 10% to non-executive directors, with Masterton retaining 10%. The generated funds would pay off the immediate debts. Fans hold a mistrust of Masterton, which has hampered talks, and he has previously refused to relinquish his shareholding because of the impact on his family's financial security. However Herald Sport understands he accepts the urgent need to now reach agreement with the fans.
Dunfermline are £8.4m in debt, much of it to Masterton's companies, which are themselves facing difficulties. As well as the tax bill, £35,000 is owed to staff in unpaid wages, with a further £95,000 due at the end of March. Cashflow is the immediate problem.
"During the conversations I have been having, nobody is wanting liquidation," said Jim Leishman, who is head of the steering group attempting to save the club. "It's how we get to the point where we can avoid that."
Talks will continue this week, although it is likely that the serving of the winding up order will focus the minds of people on both sides of the takeover talks. "I thought that liquidation might have been the only option for us on Monday morning, but progress has been made to steer us towards a supporters-owned club," said Stephen Taylor, an accountant who is also part of the steering group.
"When administrators are appointed, they have to look at keeping the business as a going concern and there is no chance of that happening here, so that the next step is realise the assets and that's moving to liquidation. We want to avoid that because there are the issues of losing a position in the league and having to be voted back in."