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Melville's millions can restore Dundee

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Jim Spence | 20:44 UK time, Monday, 26 October 2009

Calum Melville has put his money where his mouth is at Dundee.

A lifelong Aberdeen fan, the multi-millionaire responded to the Dark Blues' newspaper advertisement for new investors and Dundee found themselves with a man of sufficient means to ensure that they have out-spent Rangers in the transfer market this season.

Melville, who is listed at being worth around £130m, has been a whirlwind of activity since walking through the doors of Dens Park.

Dundee, previously cash-strapped, snapped up top players from their First Division rivals, like Leigh Griffiths from Livingston and Gary Harkins from Partick Thistle, for a combined outlay of £250,000.

He has also has not been shy of offering opinions, noising up neighbours United, with claims that Dundee are the bigger of the two city sides.

griffthsklimpl595.jpgThat readiness to pontificate publicly has seen him take his first real flak this week, after telling BBC Scotland that Dundee would bid for former midfielder Scott Robertson, who left them to join up at Tannadice under freedom of contract in the summer of 2008.

The fuss will be a seven-day wonder, and will blow over, albeit with relations between the clubs currently as poor as I can remember.

The key question for Dundee fans though is this. Is Calum Melville the real deal?

Dundee were once the city's establishment club. In the 1950s they had the richest board of directors in the Scottish game.

Since then, their fortunes have been like the Blackpool big dipper. A revolving door saw a succession of owners like Angus Cook, Ron Dixon and The Marr brothers, presiding over a roller coaster ride for the fans, ultimately ending with the club in administration.

Dundee fans, through the Dee for Life campaign, fought and organised with passion and stoic commitment to save their club, and now hope and believe they have a man with the ambition and drive, but most of all, the money, to restore their fortunes.

Melville, lives in Aberdeen. That insulates him from fans if things go badly, yet he also risks losing touch with the feelings of those supporters by not occupying the same day-to-day space.

For the moment, it is academic. Dundee are flying high - top of the First Division and attracting regular crowds of over 5,000.

For Melville and the long-suffering Dens faithful, life is good. Promotion to the SPL would make it infinitely better and bestow hero status on him as a Dark Blues legend.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    A lifelong Aberdeen fan, the multi-millionaire responded to the Dark Blues' newspaper advertisement for new investors and Dundee found themselves with a man of sufficient means to ensure that they have out-spent Rangers in the transfer market this season.

    Meanwhile, Aberdeen couldn't even out-spend Plymouth Argyle to get one defender. Why was Melville left to go to Dundee? Why did Aberdeen not get him on board first?

  • Comment number 2.

    #1 - because of the Aberdeen fans. Have you seen/heard what Stewart Milne has had to put up with?

    As for the blog itself, you imply that Melville allowed Griffiths and Harkins to be bought, but this was not the case. Two cup ties against Celtic in as many seasons, and extra cash from Burnley related to the transfer of Kevin McDonald and their promotion to the English Premier League is what gave Dundee cash to spend.


  • Comment number 3.

    Melville has said he will be at dundee for 5 years and by then the club has to be self sustaining. It was clear for the last few years that the club has only survived thanks to the work of people like Bob Brannan and the deal he did with the bank of Scotland to right of the 7 million debt from the Marr era. The only way this will be possible will be to move from Dens park and I imagine he will build a new stadium for Dundee or even both clubs that will generate income 7 days a week and not just 1 day in 14 like Dens does just now. if the club does not move when Melville moves on they will just return to the poor financial situation they have been in for the last 5 years

  • Comment number 4.

    I don't think Mr Melville has exactly covered himself in glory, and you'd think that a man estimated to be worth the wealth often quoted would be a bit more business savvy than he's shown this week.
    I've always been a big believer in doing this sort of business in private, so if it doesn't work out you don't end up with egg on your face.
    I've no particular gripe with the Arabs o'er the road and my apathy for them is far-outweighed by my mistrust of the bigot bros down Glasgow way. But I know that if the shoe was on the other foot, I'm sure my fellow Dees would be choking on their pehs.
    I'm sure DFC could better invest £500K elsewhere than spend that sort of money for a player who left to cross the road for nothing.
    That's meh tuppence worth.

  • Comment number 5.

    Please please please spare the sanctimonious, sycophantic garbage about Mr Melville. Dundee fans should be warned that if or when things do not go the way of the afore mentioned "white knight" you will be dropped like a stone. My advice is enjoy the ride while it lasts.

  • Comment number 6.

    As a DFC fan for around 28 years I have seen false dawn after false dawn. We have had Angus Cook who promised the world but delivered little, we had Ron Dixon who may have been a bit hard hearted at the end but I believe came in with good intentions and we had the Marrs who took a gamble and lost.

    Thankfully we have Bob Brannan and Dee4Life to keep things right and to ensure that our club moves forward with the fans on board and not taking any unnessary risks. Calum Melville is not long at the club and is learning the nature of what it means to be involved. The issue with Scott Robertson sadly has got the two clubs bickering to a degree, but Dundee Utd and in particluar Stephen Thomson have handled this with dignity. I hope that we will gain promotion to the SPL ( for the derbies ) and that we take things a step at a time.

    As for Scott Robertson, I actually wouldn't like to see him return or Paul Dixon for that matter. I accept that players have the right to choose their employer when they are out of contract,and that is correct, but I actually think that they handled their moves very poorly and thus soured their relationship with the Dundee Fans. I wish them all the best ( but not against the Dees ) but would prefer they did not come back. If we have £500,000 to spend lets get a scouting network set up and try and attract the next set of good young players to Dens. Spending huge money is not the answer, seeing young Dundee Players making the grade is the answer.

    As for Mr.Melville, I am glad he is at Dens, I appreciate his support and would just ask that he use his undoubted business skills to ensure a bright future for us, I hope that at the end of the day that is why we brought him on board, for his skills.

    As Gordon Brown would say no more boom and bust ......... ooops maybe the wrong person to quote.. oh well I'am an optimist I'm a Dundee FC fan. Great blog Mr.Spence.

  • Comment number 7.

    This isn't a wee blog post to make up for the hastily edited article about SRob, is it Spencey?

  • Comment number 8.

    Has Mr Melville paid Mr Bennett the £500k for Dens or does Mr Bennett still own Dens park.
    As marks87 (below)has already stated just what exactly has Mr Melville paid for.

    "As for the blog itself, you imply that Melville allowed Griffiths and Harkins to be bought, but this was not the case. Two cup ties against Celtic in as many seasons, and extra cash from Burnley related to the transfer of Kevin McDonald and their promotion to the English Premier League is what gave Dundee cash to spend."

  • Comment number 9.

    I would have thought that the fans of Dundee, more than any club, would know how dangerous these big spending investors can be. They come in and promise so much but it is inevitable that they will one leave the club. When this happens Dundee will be in the same position as they were a few seasons back.

    The bottom line is that teams simply cant spend more than they make. If your playing in the First Division, or even the SPL, the ceiling to how much you can make is low. Spending hundreds of thousands on players isn't feasible.

    How many more examples do we need? Gretna, Leeds, Dundee and many more. But they say football fans have short memories, dont they?

  • Comment number 10.

    Good blog Jim.

    It was heartening to see Dundee against Rangers the other night. They looked like a right good side, and with a bit more luck would have been in the semi's. I remember when I was a kid (the eighties, basically), Dundee were one of the sides that used to cause the Old Firm no end of bother, particulary Rangers who came to regard them as a bogie side. I would be delighted to see them back to that sort of status again, as it would mean a more contested championship again.

    As for Dundee needing to beware of high powered business men - I think if anyone knows what the cost is, it's Dundee. I would imagine that they are very careful about what they sign over, or in who's name the assets of the club are given.

    On a final note, does anyone else find it ironic that in the week that Rangers financial problems were announced, and the fact that (as we all knew anyway) the entire squad was up for sale to highest bidder, they met Dundee? I seem to remember that when Dundee were in trouble and desperately trying to raise funds, Rangers were signing their players and offering a fraction of their true value (alongside the usual guff about 'stifling their careers by blocking the transfer'). Looks like things have reversed in spectacular fashion.

 

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