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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 April, 2004, 10:08 GMT 11:08 UK
Youth boss departs Pars
John Ritchie
John Ritchie is one of Scotland's best qualified coaches
Dunfermline Athletic have confirmed the departure from the club of head of youth development John Ritchie.

Former Pars players Hamish French and Sandy Clark will take over his responsibilities at East End Park.

Ritchie was the victim of cost-cutting measures, which also led to player wage cuts, designed to prevent Dunfermline going into administration.

He had made a personal appeal to chairman John Yorkston to remain at the club but has now left.

Ritchie is one of the most qualified coaches in Scotland, with coaching badges at children, youth, senior and goalkeeping levels.

He leaves at a time when his Under-19 squad have won three games in a row and his protégés have helped the Under-21 side record back-to-back victories.

Ritchie, whose playing career included spells with Bradford City and Dundee United, joined Dunfermline from Hibernian in 1999 to set up a player development programme.

There were only teams at Under-14 and Under-16 level at that time, but now the Pars have 15 part-time coaches as part of Skillseeker programme.

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