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Dundee fans can create success story

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Jim Spence | 11:07 UK time, Monday, 17 January 2011

Could Dundee fans run their club any worse than those who plunged it into administration?
 
If the answer is no, then the Dark Blues fans could be on the cusp of turning their darkest night into their brightest day.
 
And they could lead the way for fans elsewhere who have watched men with big egos, questionable business acumen and rank bad judgement steer their clubs to the edge of oblivion.
 
Dundee fans, who could shortly find themselves with the majority stake in the club, now have to get over perceived injustices, accept the 25-point penalty and drive the club on in a new way for a new age.
 
The old business model of running clubs is deeply flawed.

Dundee fans show how much they care about their team. Photo: SNS

Dundee fans show how much they care about their team. Photo: SNS

Dundee are set to become fan owned, and, while the possibility of making an almighty mess of things exists, once they find their feet, they will find that among their number there is a huge expertise across a wide range of trades, professions and skills, who can bring benefits to the club. Their club.
 
The game has been run for too long by those who have made wealth in other areas but who become overnight amateurs when they enter football.
 
Every club is different, of course, and if a rich benefactor with a deeply rooted sense of community wishes to run a club then it can be a great bonus.
 
But in Dundee's case that opportunity does not exist and the fans have had their fill of those who soaked up the adulation in the good times only to almost destroy the club.
 
It will not be easy for Dundee fans, but there is much in their favour.
 
They will be running the club out of love and passion.
 
And the team looks eminently capable of staying in the First Division so will be no worse off financially if and when they exit administration.
  
Dundee fans have rightly or wrongly nurtured a sense of grievance over their treatment by the Scottish Football League.
 
While those who caused the financial carnage at Dens go unpunished by the football authorities, the club, which in essence is the fans, sees its very future threatened.
 
Stirling Albion have proudly led the way in Scotland with their system of ownership, but with respect this will be the first time a major Scottish football club has come under the ownership of its fans.
 
They must ensure that there is no backbiting and jockeying for position.
 
And they must ensure that the club spends only what it can afford.
 
They can, and must, be better than those who have gone before.
 
Dundee fans know on which side of the street my loyalties lie. That is an open secret.
 
Recently they took me to task for suggesting that they had not been the people's club in the city.
 
Now they can ram those words down my throat.
 
For the future of Scottish football I hope they do and I think they will.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    "Dundee fans have rightly or wrongly nurtured a sense of grievance over their treatment by the Scottish Football League."

    Rightly.

    The SFL determination of a 25-point penalty specifically and explicitly stated that the reason for the imposition was because the debt which led to administration was onw owed to HMRC.

    The courts exist to protect the interests of all parties, esp. in this case HMRC, and - in claiming the right to impose a penalty on quasi-judicial grounds, overthrowing the rule of law - ALL members of the relevant SFL committee should have been prosecuted for offences related to sedition.

    Despite what it calls its RULES ("laws"!?), football is not a law unto itself and football authorities cannot act in an unrestrained manner.

    I have no standing to seek to request action against the SFL or any of the clubs' nominees to committees thereof; unless the wrong is righted, Dundee COULD - if it had the money - bring the SFL to the door of its own administrators....

  • Comment number 2.

    'The old business model of running clubs is deeply flawed.'

    'The game has been run for too long by those who have made wealth in other areas but who become overnight amateurs when they enter football.'

    Is this Dundee or another team in Red, White and Blue we are discussing?

    Kidding. Well, just a little.

    I fully agree with you though. I don't think rich sugar daddies have been all that great for clubs:
    -Banks allow them to underwrite (ultimately) unsustainable debt
    -they skew competition
    -they 'force' other teams to unrealistically compete (start of a vicious circle)

    One would hope that a 'fans board' would never have been allowed (by the banks) to run up debts at Dundee (Stirling, Gretna, Rangers, etc) like they have in the past.

  • Comment number 3.

    Without committing the entire BBC, Jim, I would have thought it possible for you to come down on one side of the fence or other as to whether our sense of grievance is justified. It seems to me that the the penalties imposed on Dundee are excessive and the reasons given to support them, originally, and then on the two appeals heard to date, spurious.

    Dundee must, for the sake of Scottish football, take this challenge as far as possible (which I believe means one of the European Courts). This is uncharted territory for everyone and could have a profound affect on all of Scotland´s clubs.

    Dundee will of course continue to play and so long as the SFL do not impose even greater penalties in March, it looks like we will most likely stay in Division 1 whatever happens. But Dundee´s presence in Div 1 is not what this is about any more.

    As for who should run the club, I really doubt whether fans actually do have all the skills and experience necessary to manage the business affairs. Fans have a role, as shareholders, financiers, ambassadors, and guardians of the clubs heritage. It is the first two that matter most in this case. If the fans have a significant investment in the club (as will those of Dundee) then the fans should be privy to detailed management accounts every month or quarter. The simple act of publishing such financial information would I am sure mean an end to the kind of board room pantomimes that we see too often. What do clubs have to hide.......

  • Comment number 4.

    Dundee the club who jumped on the 'titanic' twice in recent memory and no doubt some think they should not be punished at all or as harshly for 'cheating' their creditors yet again and for using HMRC (the public purse!) as a 'credit card'.

    The 25-point penalty was not excessive at all. If anything it might even be seen by some as too lenient.

    And all this when they had Director Fans (the Marr's) and a fans representative on the board during the ill-fated Melville era. And now the club should be run by the fans?

    What difference would it make from what has gone on before?

  • Comment number 5.

    There is nothing wrong with people with more money than sense paying for a club's excesses beyond its own income - Rangers and Gretna spring to mind - if those individuals invest money IN the club; what is NOT acceptable is for such individuals merely to give a vague indication that they will meet the club's deficit (and this was what did for Gretna, once their sugar daddy was absent).

    The SFA should require all clubs to provide documentary proof that they can meet the obligations of contracts into which they enter - evidence of covenants, bank balances, etc. - proof that the money exists, or the terms upon which debts are repayable (and which are sustainable based upon then-current forecasts of income).

    It would still be possible for clubs to go bust, of course, but no club should be living beyond its means - or, at the very least, not beyond its means to finance the means of its living standard.

  • Comment number 6.

    The game has been run for too long by those who have made wealth in other areas but who become overnight amateurs when they enter football.
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    What makes you think Jim that Dundee fans (or any other set of fans for that matter) will be anything other than 'amateurs' when running a football club.

    After all we have been here before when Dundee fans with business skills (allegedly) were actually running their club.

    Maybe they will invite Giovanni Di Stephano back?

  • Comment number 7.

    "And the team looks eminently capable of staying in the First Division so will be no worse off financially if and when they exit administration."


    Remember that the SFL committee which imposed the 25-point penalty gave notice that that might not be the end of it : 'The SFL will "reconsider the matter and deal with the club as it sees fit", if the Tayside club are still in administration by 31 March 2011.'

    So, the clock is a-ticking (and growing ever louder).


    Perhaps each season ticket should come with a single free share in the club - rewarding loyal fans, and also giving fair weather fans an incentive to front up money to fund the season ahead.

  • Comment number 8.

    Whilst I like the principle of greater fan involvement at Board level in all clubs I think the proposal here is a step too far. The opening statement suggests that those running clubs have made their wealth in other ventures and are amateurs at running football clubs. Well self evidently the same is true of the fan base but with the added lack of business acumen. In my experience the businessmen I know and who are involved(two to be precise) with football almost all come at the problem the same way they run their business i.e. prudently and with an eye on profit. However, they soon realise that the fans by and large don't want to win the best run club award. Rather, they want success by whatever definition on the park ranging from avoiding relegation all the way to promotion or European football. Football has become an aspiration business - not a game where the objective is to be the least bad. That pressure comes by and large from the fan base, supporter's clubs and fans forums so to some extent you are suggesting the lunatics take over the asylum.

    For me its the expectation that needs managing and the resultant wage levels and demands of the mediocre players who play in our leagues. Football players, their agents and managers are vastly overpaid and the current wage bills are sucking the life out of the game.

    The news is full of so called fat cat businessmen earning six figure salaries etc yet lots of our players in the SPL would see that as a derisory salary (£100k). In fact we see Kenny Miller (superstar? - don't think so) wanting over £20K per week. Whoever runs the club, the basic structures are all wrong and its why we have to pay £30 - £40 for the next round of the cup for example.

    When your 'average' consultant surgeon gets paid £90k per annum for doing your heart bypass and the young lad down the street gets double that for playing fitba the world has gone bonkers!!!

  • Comment number 9.

    Hmmm Jim

    Punishing those who were not there? Seems to me that their CEO Harry McLean is still there. What was his job?? Running the club?? The Dundee fans have also been badly let down by their representive who was also on the board.Is he still there?? As for not paying HMRC this is a disgrace. They took the money from their employees (deductions) and spent it elsewhere. Financial irregularity? It is almost theft!With regard to the punishment this is the second time the club have got into this mess.Livingstone were relegated to the third. Personally I think they should consider themselves fortunate that they have been given a chance to remain in the league.For ordinary Dundee fans (I have a few friends who are)I honestly hope that the club is sorted out for their benefit.To do this they will have to stop blaming everyone else. It is not the SFL that put them in this position. It was not HMRC who did or anyone else. It was the directors of the club and those who may have been paid to run it.I am sure that some people who were or are in the club are very glad the SFL and HMRC are being blamed. It takes the light off their incompetence!

  • Comment number 10.

    #9, cj9ru

    If the directors have behaved improperly or unlawfully, there are legal remedies - such as their disqualification as directors or action for fraud.

    These are NOT matters for the football authorities, bur rather for the Crown Office!

  • Comment number 11.

    Jim Spence: "The Old Firm are interesting, but so was my breakfast this morning."

    Go on, give us an exclusive - what did you have?

  • Comment number 12.

    Jim Spence. Can you please explain why for months you have made up rubbish rumours about our club?

    That people's club remark you made proved to everyone in the city that you didn't have a clue about Dundee.

    Dundee FC are the Dundonian peoples' club and always will be. You and your fellow Angus residents support United.

  • Comment number 13.

    #7 Actually the SFA rejected the SFL's threat to punish Dundee FC further if they were still in administration by 31st of March, so that's not going to happen.
    As for Dundee 'deserving' to be relegated for going into administration, show us anywhere in the rules of the SFL that relegation is the punishment. Well you won't find it anywhere because it is not there.

  • Comment number 14.

    #13

    I am pleased to be disabused of my incorrect belief regarding the potential for additional penalty.

    As soon as I saw the headline news - 'SFA backs SFL-imposed deduction' - I didn't have the heart to read how the knife was to be twisted.

    (And I'm not even a Dee supporter.)

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 16.

    I really can't believe that this is being dredged up again and that some people still think Dundee have been treated harshly.

    The people running the club deliberately withheld payments due to HMRC,money deducted from employees ranging from players to tea ladies,and used it for other purposes.

    This is a crime and if I did it I would be prosecuted.

    Football clubs are not exempt from the laws of the country and while I do sympathise with Dundee fans I believe the clubs has been let off comparatively lightly when you consider what happened to Livingston.

    I can't wait for Platini to introduce the new rules and make clubs live within their means.

    As for fans running the club,that has been proven not to work in the case of Dundee.

  • Comment number 17.

    Good post, Jim, and I'm slightly disappointed that so many people aren't bothering to discuss the topic you were really writing about.

    Firstly, who really cares now whether or not the Dundee fans sense of grievance is justified? Dundee fans think they are justified. Others think differently. No-one's going to change their minds, and there's no point rehashing the old arguments here. It's just going to turn into abuse, and it's tangential to Jim's main point.

    Secondly, I'm past caring about the views of outsiders who want to lecture Dundee fans about the morality of administration, debt, paying taxes etc. I hate what's happened and what's been done to people. I have paid more than I'm comfortable with into the fighting fund. I've had to spend a *lot* of money paying for debts run up by other people. I'm not unusual. That's just the way Dundee fans have been reacting. So I've no patience with outsiders issuing lectures about what we should do and think.

    Dundee fans are acutely aware, as is Jim Spence, that fan ownership isn't some abstract utopian ideal. it is the only option. There is no plan B if the supporters do not take over. The alternative is liquidation. There is simply no credible and willing alternative owner.

    Dundee supporters like me have had enough of wealthy white knights riding into town in their Bentleys. If the club survives, the future will be a club owned by the supporters, the ordinary guys who've been stiffed over the last 7 years and who have had to pay so much money for the mistakes of Dundee’s owners. The club has to be run by people who represent us, and who respect us, and it's got to be our club.

    I think that a club like this will really speak deeply to the Dundonian character. Traditionally Dundee United were the underdogs, the corner shop club, the “people’s club”. Dundee FC were the traditional club, the bosses’ club. That’s turning on its head now.

    A supporters’ owned club would appeal to Dundonian anti-establishment, community minded, bloody mindedness. The attitude would be; “You can stick your big, glamorous, celebrity clubs. This is the club we’ve saved and that we own. It’s our club!”

    Dundee FC has survived this far only because it turned to the only people it can rely on, the supporters, the only people who have never let it down. I believe that there are enough of us to sustain the club – if we get the chance, if the recklessness of the previous regime doesn’t drag us under now!

    Supporters having a minority shareholding was only ever a step on the way to a controlling stake. It wasn't an effective brake on recklessness, and it's hard to see how it could be if control rested in the hands of one or two individuals.

    A supporters’ club wouldn't be run by a monthly members' meeting with a few hundred supporters shouting at each other, then taking a vote after four hours debate about whether to fix the TV in the Bobby Cox Stand. There would be an elected board, and they'd appoint people to run the club.

    There are people in the support who are fully competent to do what would be required. The big difference between them and previous directors wouldn't be one of competence (feel free to snigger), but vision. Entrepreneurs have a different approach to life in general, and to football clubs in particular. They take risks, and are inclined to go for glory.

    Their vision is often one of personal glory and prestige, of chasing the elusive silver. The vision is usually too ambitious, and almost always too short term.

    The vision that supporter directors should have would be passing on a club to be proud of to the next generation. That doesn't require Richard Branson, or a financial genius.

    It requires mature, intelligent people who can ask, and keep asking tough questions, and face reality rather than chase dreams.

    It needs people who will be thinking about how their decisions will pan out in 20 years time.

    It needs people who take pride in belonging, not people who take pride in being on TV.

    We've got such people in DFCSS (the supporters’ trust).

    There’s a place for clubs like that in Scotland, and in Dundee in particular.

    Jim's bang on the money in this piece!

  • Comment number 18.

    #16 "As for fans running the club,that has been proven not to work in the case of Dundee."

    Untrue.

  • Comment number 19.

    #12

    But if DFC are as you say the 'people's club' in Dundee, which people are you talking about since so few people attend your games now compared to Utd?: who are undoubtedly the bigger and more sucessful team for the past few decades and more now.

    Jim I can understand where fans might help with the ongoing maintenance of a club but surely it would just turn into a big bunfight between them when it came down to actually running the show, appointing (and sacking) a manager, being a visible leader for the club and so on. Or does it really just come down to he/she who is best political operator and those who 'shout loudest'?

    After the last 2/3 lots of fans that have been running this club you'd think they would want someone either from the bank or wholly independent running the show.

  • Comment number 20.

    OK No.17 I am happy to take up the challenge of addressing Jim's piece and yours for that matter.

    In my view, the idea that a club, any professional club, could be run as a sort of fans collective is fanciful. No.19 described it well.

    Of course, fans may, and some would say should, own a significant portion of the club, but that is not the same as running it. Professional clubs must be run professionally and unless you either have an enormous, dedicated supporter base or all the luck in the world, it is unlikely you would have all the skills and experience necessary and with the free time on their hands, to run such a business. Few people make lots of money running football clubs in Scotland and most senior managers in the private and public sectors would have to take a pay cut to join a club like Dundee.

    Accountability is the key. Those running the club must be accountable to the fans. This is where being an owner helps as accountability becomes an obligation rather than just something you tell people. By accountability, I don't mean having a fans' rep on the board. That could not really be called representation because the views of the rep carried no weight whatsoever and the board were provided with a partial get out of jail free card.

    Accountability means being transparent with the finances and decision making. Lets publish simplified management accounts every quarter and all board and management team meeting minutes. Maybe even have regular elections for the Chief Executive role.

    All this dreamy nonsense about the people's club is irrelevant. This isn't little House on the Praire, it is Scottish Football. lets steal a march on the people that run the game and some of the journalists caught up in their own jealousies and biases (not you Jim) and create something really professional and sensible that will last and give us a chance to relive former glories.

  • Comment number 21.

    I see rob04 remains obsessed with the big club in the city. 3 posts and counting thus far......

    To the subject.

    I agree with the basis of your piece Jim.

    It would be almost unimaginable that the fans could make such a mess of things as happened over the past year. If the fans takeover goes ahead then there will no longer be a fans representative on the club board (muzzled by a confidentiality agreement) - the fan's representatives will be the board! I am all in favour of this as I have a lot of confidence in many of the DFCSS people. Their activities over the past few months have demonstrated ingenuity, resolve and passion. If all goes well then in 5 years Dundee might well be the model for fans elsewhere. Here's hoping.

    Dundee were probably rightly deducted 25 points for the mess they got themselves into. Initially, I wasn't so sure. It seemed (still does) a bit heavy. Interestingly, there was the bit about punishing the 'guilty'. But of course, they'd all scarpered when the sentence was being handed down and it landed on those left behind. On the other hand, it may be viewed as an example punishment i.e. go into admin and this is what you get. Either way, its done now. However, if the manager and players can save the club's 1st division status then I believe that this might just be the kick-start needed to set the stage for the DFCSS. Dundee have enjoyed the biggest average home crowd every season since they were relegated from the SPL in 2005. No board has managed to exploit this advantage - upto now.

    I sincerely hope therefore that DFCSS at least get the chance to run the club..... and the first thing on the agenda..... whit aboot the broken TV in the Coxy!!

    (Finally, you are always welcome at Dens Jim, especially as its owned by Mr Bennett!)

  • Comment number 22.

    #20 I was expecting you to disagree with me when you seemed to agree with #19. The version of supporters' ownership envisaged by #19 is a strawman. I've never seen that seriously proposed. The only people who mention it are those who are either opposed to supporter ownership, or don't understand it. I explicitly rejected that in my post.

    As for the substance of your post, I agree with almost everything you say about how a supporter owned club should be run. It seems to contradict #19. If anything you've gone further than me, suggesting a possible direct election for the chief executive. Hmm! I'm sceptical, but I'm prepared to hear serious arguments about the merits of direct elections. Maybe I'll be convinced. At the moment I'd prefer to see elections to the board who would appoint the management.

    However, the details have still to be worked out. In my post #17 I was talking about the dream. You were talking in terms of a more practical plan, but one that seems entirely consistent with my dream.

    I understand your impatience with idealistic talk about "peoples clubs" and such like. However, I do think that myths and legends play a huge role in buttressing supporters' views of themselves and their clubs. They might have little basis in either history or current reality, but their ability to motivate and inspire shouldn't be underestimated. Certainly they are not rational, but then football clubs are rooted in emotion, not reason.

    Football supporters are not rational consumers of an entertainment product. The rational thing for Dundee FC supporters to have done if they had been customers would have been to let a failing company disappear and transfer their custom to a more successful outfit. But we are not customers, we are supporters and we are fired by dreams and emotions. Football would be utterly dull and pointless otherwise.

  • Comment number 23.

    #21
    Nice to have a following even if it is a blog censor. That's No.4 now Rab!

    Is it okay to be interested in fan ownership or is this a Dundonian-only blog (if so there are very few of you around here!)?

    And no need for you to take notes since I'm writing it all down for you!! Good to see that you have got over yourself about the 'punishment' part because that was getting tedious.

    I don't think it is unimaginable at all that 'fans' in the widest sense could make such a mess of things again. You've been here before and there are no guarantees whatsoever. And your potential for 'mess' may get even wider under this model.

    You will need a figurehead for the club and someone who is both able to represent the club externally and be 'clean' internally with as #20 rightly points out an emphasis on transparency and accountability. But this is not all far from it. My concern however, with this model of ownership more than some others is that it may lend itself too much to 'personality' or an unhealty and continual emphasis on transformational leadership and the need to play (to sustain itself) to the gallery (or whatever the equivalent of the old Roman Mob is in Dundee. Shudder to think really). Many community organisations founder, splinter and schism on 'strong' personalities who fail to marry the very different visions for their group. Easy to say that you should just focus on the funcitional and operational aspects of directing a club but these can sometimes get lost in the petty politics of the political operators (think of the analogy between the very different styles of Fergus McCann and that guy who first brought him onto the Celtic board, Brian Dempsey).

    You will need certainly need someone who is able to represent all of the fans and be above the community politics and not wrap him/herself in the some imaginary 'Dundee flag' as the sole guardian of some imaginary heritage. Maybe better if you have someone as a 'respected' but largely figurehead (like Jim Spence maybe!) and leave the business operation to those who are better plaved to do it and are recruited in from the outside.

  • Comment number 24.

    'Stirling Albion have proudly led the way in Scotland with their system of ownership, but with respect this will be the first time a major Scottish football club has come under the ownership of its fans.'

    I'd like to ask Jim why he felt the need to discredit Stirling Albion in this way, and how he thinks its more difficult to run a bigger club like Dundee than 1 the size of Stirling.

  • Comment number 25.

    So what did you have for breakfast this morning Jim? Come on, you've been boasting about it for months, if not years, now. You can hide behind this smokescreen of innuendo no longer. We - the fans - deserve to know. And it had better be intersting.

  • Comment number 26.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 27.

    #22

    But not as much a 'strawman' as your shortcut vision of the 'rational' organisation!

    I'm afraid though you have us all at a disadvantage in that you seem to know the model that will be applied. Please tell.

    If fans ownership is not decided by the financial input or shareholding of any one individual or group then how is influence determined and by whom? And if you think of these latter issues in the absence of objective financial clout, then far from being a 'strawman', the issues become very real and very far from 'rational' and straightforward.

  • Comment number 28.

    #27 I don't follow. I didn't say anything about "rational organisations". I was talking about the relationship between a club and its supporters, which is not a simple, rational relationship.

    I wasn't setting up any sort of strawman, unless you mean my depiction of the people who've run Dundee FC. Well, that's my depiction of people who've cost me a fair bit of grief and money, rather than a debating ploy, so I see no need to qualify it.

    You may think that I'm unduly jaundiced by experience and that other clubs are better run. Many are, but few would qualify as well run. Dundee's latest problems would have been deferred if they'd had an accommodating bank, or an overdraft facility (which they lack for obvious reasons). Many other clubs are simply delaying the day of reckoning by running up debts that that will never be paid off. Either they will lead to administration or they will have to be written off by friendly creditors.

    The model for ownership of Dundee FC that I expect to see is that when and if a CVA is agreed the shares that are currently in limbo (52% from memory) will be handed over to DFCSS and the Dark Blue Business Trust in proportion to the money they put up for the CVA. DFCSS already have 26%, and it currently looks like they will put up the bulj of the CVA money, so they will have a controlling interest, and the DBBT will have a significant minority. Both trusts will presumably appoint directors following elections. DFCSS members have one vote each. DBBT members have one vote per share (I think, I'm not a member). Note that this is only what I expect to happen. I'm not on the board of DFCSS. I'm just an ordinary member.

  • Comment number 29.

    #28

    Reading your last post the differences in terminology may be more of degree rather than substance.

    But liked your distinction between the consumer and the supporter earlier on.



  • Comment number 30.

    #29 Thanks. Disagreements in these sorts of debates are often about definitions and terminology as much as the substance. I've got to be careful about that. Looking back I can see I've been a bit loose in my use of "ownership" and "running".

  • Comment number 31.

    There is no doubt that the fans can run the club, it looks like despite what has been said by Harry McLean that it's the fans and not the club or the business community that have raised most of the money that is going to pay the CVA.

    The big question for those who end up running Dundee FC will be how to generate a long term cash flow to meet their ambitions while staying at Dens park, with its very limited use out with match days. The Main and South stands are very outdated and without outside investment. Where are the fans going to come up with the money to make the improvements, which in turn would generate the revenue that could support the clubs ambitions?

    You only need to look at the likes of Hamilton or St Johnstone who despite having very small crowds in comparison to Dundee, generate a lot of money from off the field activities.

    I wish the fans all the best with this, with a bit of training (McLean is not as much of a PR disaster as he used to be) they could get their club back to the SPL and at least they will be in control of their own destiny, but after the last few months many will just be gald to have a team to support.

  • Comment number 32.

    Fan control is the way forward. If it works for Barcelona it can work for Dundee, or Rangers or any other Scottish club for that matter.

    My own club have a fans rep on the board and these reps are usually retired professionals who have held senior positions before in the 'real' world. I would have thought that fans who are retired professionals would be ideal directors for a supporter-owned club. The sooner it happens the better. Clubs should be forced to live within their means, as they are not ordinary businesses. People invest a lot of emotional capital in their football clubs; it would be like a bereavement if their club died.

    I don't want my club to bankrupt itself for success. I want it to be as successful as it can in a sustainable manner (money through attendances, sponsorship, etc.). If that means we end up playing in the Third Division, then so be it, at least we would still have a senior club to support.

  • Comment number 33.

    Sorry Jim, but i think you'll find Clydebank FC were being run by their fans(and very successfully too) several years before Stirling Albion.

  • Comment number 34.

    I'd also add that given this is the second time Dundee have been in administration a 25 point deduction is quite lenient in my opinion.

  • Comment number 35.

    I remain unconvinced by many of the arguments being made about fan power. David @32 writes that he would rather have a sustainable success even if it was in the third division but the reality is that average crowds over the last three seasons has been consistently under 1000 supporters and typically 600. Of course it can be made into a sustainable proposition for a handful of diehards but for the thousands who see football as an aspiration will desert the club at the first sign. The vast majority (rightly or wrongly) have no interest in winning the best run club award.

    It all feels a bit like the local social club where the handful of committee men make it their life's work but the vast majority just want a cheap pint. Most decline because the few running the club fail to understand the needs of the many.

    Dundee as an example should be run be whoever emerges as the most competent - if that's a fan based consortium the great but for me they would need to demonstrate that they could deliver something that would engage a growing number of fans prepared to pay every week and not just a small core of self concerned individuals.

  • Comment number 36.

    to 24 How can you read into what I've written any attempt to "Discredit" Stirling Albion. I was merely pointing out that Dundee are a major club in terms of history and achievement.

    It may have been a long time ago but they did reach a European Cup semi final, win the old first division with a team often described as the finest classical scottish side ever, and in their heyday attract crowds bigger than the population of Stirling.

  • Comment number 37.

    to 25 markrp OK I'll admit it I'm a poridge and fruit man....sometimes though I yield to temptation and go for the healthy fried egg roll option.

  • Comment number 38.

    I am disappointed in you're comments at #'s 36 and 37 Jim. Several contributors have made excellent and considered points re. the current state of DFC and the chance of a fan's takeover being successful.

    I had assumed that the reference to you're breakfast menu indicates that any topic that you instigate would be free of OF baggage. I am lead to the conclusion that you dream up a thread and then pay little attention to any cogent and thoughtful contributions.

  • Comment number 39.

    And possibly better models of security than ambition. Dundee may need that more than anything just now but shouldn't put in any newspaper ads looking for investors anytome soon!

  • Comment number 40.

    Wish this saga of Dundee Football club would end,going into administration twice within a decade is unacceptable and they should have been put out of business.As for former directors being allowed to give their pennies worth is also unbelievable.One of the reasons they are in this position is that they are a mickey mouse club ,in a mickey mouse league and if they were that much loved why only get about 10% of the crowds they used to command.The reason is simple the product and facilities they offer in 2011 is no longer relevant in today's society.Get a grip and start afresh and join the super league in the juniors,then we will see the great supporters going every week.NOT.

  • Comment number 41.

    Building on the comments of ever so 'umble Uriah Heep on 17th inst. I have always said that annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery. By that account most football club boards are far from prudent and must lead miserable existences. Overpaid and underskilled scottish football professionals must take heed and in these post crash days, fans must fear for the sustainability of their clubs.

  • Comment number 42.

    @41 Well what the Dickens.... (as the professor would say)

    Today I have read about Kenny Miller's new £50K per week, his existing offer of £20k per week and even Diego Forlan's £100k per week. All paid for by the 'average' man in the street who earns £27k in a year. At a time where everyone is feeling the pinch £100 per week for a Dad to take himself and lad to the match, these figures are no longer justifiable. Unless players stop milking this particular cash cow we will soon be back where we were 50 years ago - playing for the jersey, now there's a thing!!

  • Comment number 43.

    Do us a favour JIM and stop writing about the same old nonsense all the time. you love dundee. thats fantastic. you might wanna think about travelling elsewhere. plenty of other stories out there other than ones on the diddy team in dundee

  • Comment number 44.

    I'm a United fan, but the best team I EVER saw was the Dundee team who should have won the European cup. Those days will never return, same with the United team of the eighties. Attendences are way down, ticket prices are way up and football quality is laughable at best. This seems like the ideal time to bring up ammalamation again. It appears to be the perfect solution.

  • Comment number 45.

    As a man who benefited from the fine education on offer at Dundee Uni, it saddens me to see Dundee in such a state. However, my pity doesn't extend so far as to expect that an "exception" could be made for Dundee. Administration twice in 7 years should have led to relegation (much like Livi). Hopefully Dundee will emerge leaner and meaner as a result of the savage cost cutting on show at Den's Park.

    Amalgamation was mentoned in post #44; an interesting option. I'm not sure the differences between the two Dundee senior teams run so deep as to rule this option out, but a sustainable financial model would have to be in place before any merger could take place or we could end up with no team from Dundee before long!

  • Comment number 46.

    Dutd - 7 mill in debt with their ruling family looking to reduce their input. Utd looking for an investor.

    Dundee - coming out of admin with a clean slate who can only look for security with little chance of future investment.

    Merger?

  • Comment number 47.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 48.

    Hey Jim,
    Thanks for your reply: refreshing clarity and honesty in the Scottish footie world!
    I had Special K with red berries this morning, then followed this up with second breakfast about an hour ago: a black pudding and wholegrain mustard roll. The black pudding wasn't Stornaway unfortunately but it was very nice. I got it from the deli counter at the supermarket.
    Cheers
    PS. can't help thinking that a Dundee groundshare is surely long overdue. Maybe they could build a new ground in the middle of the street.

  • Comment number 49.

    Enough with this post now,time to move on when we're reduced to discussing breakfast.
    Majority opinion seems to be Dundee deserve the punishment.

  • Comment number 50.

    Standard issue sleeping bags on issue any minute soon as this blog runs longer than a House of Lords filibuster debate. When we got onto the breakfast menu little did we know how long this would drag on...

    Guess Jim's on a weeks holiday!

  • Comment number 51.

    DFC spent money they never had to spend, they are lucky to still be in the 1st division let alone appealing a rather light punishment!

    Its the local companys owed money you should feel sorry for Jim not a poorly run football club and their fans who afterall were repersented on the board.

  • Comment number 52.

    50 Uriah Heep, No not on holiday just up to my oxters in chasing transfer speculation. But fair point, I didn't get where I am today as CJ once said by not knowing when a dead horse has had a decent flogging, and this topic has been flogged without mercy.

    Fresh blog thoughts coming shortly.

    Stand by your laptops.

  • Comment number 53.

    Jim, maybe you can update us on the current situation at Dundee, as media coverage has been thin on the ground of late.

    As far as I am aware Dundee are still curently in administration yet have been far more active in the transfer market of late than other 1st division teams.

    Given the fact that the club have missed several potential opportunities for income in December due to postponed games I was somewhat perturbed when they lined up against Morton towards the end of the same month with 2 new loan players from Hearts and Celtic in their squad - are Dundee contributing to these players wages?

    Secondly, Dundee have recently signed former Morton player Stewart Greacen on a short term contract which seems a little odd to someone like myself unschooled in employment law - if only a few weeks previously they have made players redundant surely they cannot then contract someone to perform an identical role regardless of the tenure of their contract?

    As a fan of a rival club again it is somewhat of a concern to me that if Dundee are in such dire financial straights they are still capable of employing players like Gary Irvine, Stephen O'Donnell and Sean Higgins who are likely on higher wages between the 3 of them than the combined squads of immediate rivals (now) Cowdenbeath and Stirling Albion. The above players do not strike me as sellable assets; no other club in Scotland would either be interested in signing them or could afford their wages/transfer fees; they are probably not of a standard that English clubs who could incur such costs would be interested - how can the administrator justify keeping such players on their books while players who could have been sellable assets (Antoine-Curier had been subject to multiple bids from Hamilton if the press is to be believed) have been let go?

    I would of course not subscribe to such conspiracy theories such as those that allude to Dundee using a fraudulent administration to offload their management team and dead wood in their squad, but would be keen to hear your thoughts on:

    - Dundee's current financial position
    - The administrator's position on/role in their current transfer market manoueverings
    - The legality of such transfers given the position of the players released


 

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