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Dundee and Scottish football must learn tough lesson

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Jim Spence | 23:36 UK time, Tuesday, 8 February 2011

So Dundee live to fight another day. It's been a day of immense relief for the Dens Park club as they get through their creditors' voluntary agreement and start the process of emerging from their second spell of administration.

Those who lost their livelihoods can be forgiven their simmering anger at their treatment, but it's the nature of football fans that, while they may sympathise with those who lost jobs, Dundee supporters' main focus will be on the fact that they still have a team to support.

The culprits who led Dundee down this path have escaped with a financial hit but have been spared the agonies of the supporters.

"Lessons will be learned" is the most abused phrase in football. But this time lessons must be learned.

A new board drawn from fans and the business community must ensure that rash, ill-thought plans, and living beyond means, never again threaten the future of the club.

A traditional old club, with 118 years of history, who once appeared in a European Cup semi-final, came within a whisker of dissapearing from the Scottish football landscape.

Dundee as a club found little sympathy among the wider football community after going into administration for a second time. Now, after their brush with exctinction, they must take a different path in the future.

They can be a force for the change that is surely coming in the brave new austere world of Scottish football.

Their experience has thrown up many interesting questions.

How has a squad scarcely big enough to fill a mini-bus managed such a long unbeaten run? How has a novice manager, Barry Smith (pictured), handled the job as to the manor born?

How has that small squad of players found a togetherness and a relaxed style of play that has ben both pleasing on the eye and effective?

What has been the key ingredient in bonding the squad so tightly with a support traditionally one of the hardest in Scotland to please?

The past is a dark and now hopefully distant place for Dundee FC.

Their place in the future is as a community club, drawing on the goodwill of their traditional support, which has rallied magnificiently to the cause.

They also, I believe, plan to engage with the female and ethnic population of the city and beyond in a way not previously attempted.

They can and must think differently and their support must back them when times get rough - as they undoubtedly will.

Spend spend spend is no longer an option. Think think think, is.

And, if the people charged with running the club in the years ahead can think in new and inventive ways, their future can be bright again.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Dundee have been mighty lucky to survive and I'm glad that they have, but what kind of message does it send to other clubs? How many times can a club go into administration and avoid liquidation?

    Let's hope the knowledge of the UEFA audit policy coming to the fore in two years will begin to force clubs to rein in their spending now, before the bubble the bursts. If SKY/ESPN lose the monopoly rights to broadcast football in pubs, watch suscribers flock to cheaper continental offers of coverage. Then the brown matter will truly hit the proverbial fan as the money dries up and clubs are left with players on ridiculous money and no income stream.

  • Comment number 2.

    Through this whole sorry mess, I've felt a bit of sympathy for the fans, as they were in no way to blame for the cavalier way the club was being run. However, their aspirations were obviously a factor in the attempts by the board to buy a return to the SPL, which eventually resulted in administration.

    But when you look at the list of creditors - Dundee City Council, Tayside Police, St. John Ambulance, Dundee University to name a few - all these organisations are being hit by drastic budget cuts , and can ill-afford to lose the money owed to them. Add to that the number of local businesses having to write-off 94% of the money owed to them, and you see the real effect of yet another disgraceful episode in the history of DFC.

    It absolutely beggars belief that a club can do this for the second time in 7 years, and just walk away with virtually no punishment - a 25 point deduction just means they will not get the promotion they desperately seek this season. relegation to SFL3 should be the minimum punishment handed down, and they should be subject to external financial scrutiny to try to ensure that this cannot happen again.

    Those who ran the club into the ground chasing a dream, can walk away with a financial hit that most of them can probably afford, while taxpayers and local businesses are left counting the cost. The UEFA rules on financial fair play can't start soon enough.

  • Comment number 3.

    Good post Jim. As a DFC fan I am really delighted that I can go to the match this weekend against Raith with my young lad knowing we still have a team to support. As I have posted before that is probably the most enjoyable part of the day for me, spending time with my oldest son at a match where we bond in a different environment.

    I have some sympathy for Vics view above but I think the wakeup call has to be for all of Scottish football. Dundee fans are ambitious for the team to do well, as are fans of every club, but boards have an obligation to do what is right. I don't think the ambitions of the fans influenced the board above their own ambitions or in some cases ego's.
    I feel embarrassed that the team I follow have made decisions that lost people jobs and lost people money. We have a long way to go to earn back any sort of credibility within our community but I do feel that if the Dundee Supporters Society make the correct decisions then we can start that process. This is a chance to do things differently now, I feel we should appoint an independent Chairman. Someone with the best interests of the club at heart but no personal financial stake. We need to get an accountant on the board to ensure that the financial mess never happens again, we need members of the business trust on the board to help guide the club in moving forward but most of all we need transparency and honesty. I am not saying everything should be laid bare, contracts etc need to be private but general decision making needs to be open and honest to the fans.
    I also feel we need to be a voice for change within the SFL. I do feel that a lot of bad feeling of Dundee fans is the make it up as we go along attitude in the SFL and the hollier than thou views of certain people. This needs to be changed and a clear and open policy on administration needs to be in place.
    But overall I am relieved I still have a team to follow and maybe the Dees and Stirling Albion fans can be the brave new way forward.

  • Comment number 4.

    I'm not sure that any UEFA rules will have any implications for Dundee: the sanctions are largely toothless and Dundee won't be entering any UEFA competition in the near future: except if they had one specially for the financially challenged and people who dream but cannot count.

    Dundee FC might be possible European Champions on this basis alone.

    They might have their club back Jim but without investment they will continue to be just another small club with a big history. Slow death among diminishing numbers of diehards.

    The comments from #3 will be more relevant and lets hope its run as you suggest and not as one 606 poster suggested yesterday about being able to sign players again and crowing about DFC being in a better financial position than DUtd. And although you do feel some sympathy for the fans much of it evaporated when some starting talking of boycotting away matches and about how unfair a 25 point penalty was. I'm sure some will be on here again moaning about how unfair it all is.

    Sympathy has to really go to those hard pressed local businesses who trusted and lost, and the people who were chucked out of their jobs because of the incompetence of Directors and fans. Whoever would trust anyone at this club with a credit line again!? And sympathy also for those clubs, like DUtd, who realistically manage their debt and keep going. The problem with administration as I see it is what prevents a club doing it time and again? Will we be here with DFC again in the next decade? No guarantee that it won't happen is there.

    There are wider lessons for Scottish football and Rangers are possibly about to learn that one sooner than most. No surprise that the only bidder is waiting until the tax issue is resolved in early March before any takeover happens if at all. And with Walter Smith going it may signal more than just the end of an era for Rangers. Certainly if a takeover doesn't happen by the end of the season then things do get very interesting and we might well be watching an administration scenario at Ibrox.

    Bet you David Murrary wishes his talk of the annual 'transfer warchest' and that 'for every fiver Celtic Spend we'll spend a tenner' wouldn't haunt him the way it must.

  • Comment number 5.

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

  • Comment number 6.

    While I agree with a lot of what's been said it should be noted that there was a fans representative on the board after the last administration and he did nothing to stop this head long dash into a financial mess again.

    Why has the fans represenative not been held to account?

    I've seen Dundee fans on the 606 boards gloating about what's happened. one idiot even talking about being able to outspend United - do you really think some people will ever learn?

    Dundee spent money on a promotion push last year while ignorign an HMRC bill - how is that fair to other clubs?

  • Comment number 7.

    I have to agree with Vic's post in that any club who enters into Administration should be automatically relegated to the Third Division. Living beyond a clubs means (and in Dundee's case WAY BEYOND)is cheating every other club. It just so happens that my own club were relegated from the First Division last season having cut our cloth to suit our meagre means. We failed to survive by the narrowest of margins. Would we have stayed up had other clubs cut their cloths similarly? Maybe, maybe not, but there have been plenty of examples of clubs who cheated others out of success by their excessive and unsustainable models.

    Sustainable club management should be incentivised by punishing those clubs who have flagrant dis-regard for financial management.

  • Comment number 8.

    Hmm, I can have sympathy with Dundee fans to a certain extent, a lot of clubs left the 90s in bad shape. Most have awoken to this but others didn't.

    For me too many were happy to buy into the revolution and the money being poured into Dens. When SPL clubs couldn't compete on wages and fees you knew it was trouble.

    Sugar Daddies won't work in Scotland. We need responsible management and for clubs to cut their cloth accordingly. Dundee tried to buy their way to the SPL and it backfired. Unfortunately this hurts local businesses who supplied them, staff and ultimately every taxpayer in the country.

    Into admin once is bad and careless. Twice is down right foolish.

    You say Dundee are a force for change, no way. Dundee are only an example of how not to do things.

    The clubs in Perth and Paisley are the healthier examples. Sure the Saints might have sold their homes and got new ones, but debts get paid, budgets are balance and both after extended D1 runs are in the SPL.

  • Comment number 9.

    Only a matter of time till Dundee are wound up.

    Will be good for the game when they are.

  • Comment number 10.

    Would it have been so bad if we had lost Dundee?

    Not exactly fit for purpose are they if financial management is included as a criterion and it would have left United with the city to themselves as the club for kids in Dundee. They are after all the stronger club now and DFC are probably all but finished in the longer term with no investment coming beyond their fans.

    And the cheats are not out of the woods yet. HMRC may well appeal if ex-players are offered better than 6p in the pound. And if the players aren't offered better than this then the club may face further sanctions.

    Could merge these clubs. Sell off Dens for housing and invest the money in the new club. Some may not like it at first but it would soon be forgotten.

  • Comment number 11.


    Agree that it will take DFC several years to potentially become competitive again, and hard as it will be for the fans, they'll have to bit the bullet and just enjoy having a club again.

    A merger will never happen, although it may make sound economic sense, the fans would never sanction it. Plus the land on which Dens stands can only be used for football making housing a non-starter.

  • Comment number 12.

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

  • Comment number 13.

    Post 11

    A new 5-a-side complex then!

    It may make economic sense but I agree that fans would never sanction it despite the fact that people's memories tend to be short and a joint venture may win out in the end. More the pity because Dundee for all their history will be going nowhere for years to come and for all the bragging that some of their fans did about being able to outbid SPL clubs for players their really folly should have taken them way off the financial cliff.

    Think I would agree with you that clubs in administration should be automatically demoted were it not for the fact that it might kill the club stone dead which leaves me a bit unsure. Perhaps the adminstrators of football should not be seen to be doing that which makes me think that natural selection deaths through financial incompetence is a kinder way harsh though that is.

  • Comment number 14.

    #10 Strange,
    Is it possible for ex-players to be offered more than 6p in the pound?
    I thought that all creditors had to receive the same award in Scotland.
    I know in England they have the absurd situation whereby football debts have to be paid in full before any others excepting the administrator of course.

    #11 Vic,
    Why is the use of the land restricted to football?

  • Comment number 15.

    Yes, unfortunately most things you've got to "think think think"

  • Comment number 16.

    As far as I'm aware Morbhoy the 'player' issue is treated separately from the 'creditor' issue. Dundee could face sanctions from the SFL if they do not 'pay' their players. I think 9 players had their contracts terminated.

    Chisholm and Dodds were also named by the Administrator as creditors who objected to the CVA. Apparently wee Doddsy was stunned by being publicly named and described this move as very unusual and unprofessional. Well it is DFC after all.

    HMRC could appeal the CVA if players get more than 6p in the pound as they might argue that some creditors were being given special status.

    A rock and a hard place.

    So not out of the woods yet.

  • Comment number 17.

    Re #16 "Well it is DFC after all."

    Well actually it is not DFC after all. As any fule kno, Dundee FC have been in administration since last year and under the control of Mr Bryan Jackson since then. It was he who chaired yesterday's meeting and it was he who revealed that Messrs Chisholm and Dodds had voted against the CVA.

    The HMRC and indeed any dissatisfied creditor may appeal the CVA settlement to a court. They have 28 days to do this. The football authorities expect the club to attend to the sums due to ex-players in full, or at least to the point of agreement. This is to be seen as distinct from the CVA. As I understand it, in the past, the HMRC have objected to any other creditor receiving improved treatment in comparison to those other non-footballing creditors included in a CVA (Portsmouth FC, 2010). However, in that case, their objection was not sustained in court. Whether the outcome would be the same in a Scottish court, or whether HMRC would use the same grounds for objection in a Scottish court re the Dundee FC CVA, I do not know. Only time will tell.

    Contrary to the opinions of several contributors above the administration experience has been harrowing for the vast majority of Dundee fans. To see the club plunge yet again into the position that they barely exited just several years ago was almost unbelievable. The club now has no football ground of its own, no money, no overdraft facilities, very few players (It will have only 1(?) registered first team player under contract in the close season), several debts to pay off and an income limited only to what can be raised from its own fans. Clearly, not only will any kind of promotion challenge be many years off, the club may find it very difficult to remain in the 1st division. In some respects, on the pitch at least, next season may prove more much more difficult than this season.

    However, as Jim has stated above, there is a potentially interesting future opening up for Dundee as a community club. I like and am encouraged by this notion of engaging with the female and ethnic population of the area. I am impressed by the humility of the DFCSS reps who insisted that yesterday should be seen as a day of reflection and relief rather than celebration. I sense that now that the fans have full control, as opposed to mere representation muzzled by confidentiality agreement, that the club will be more open, especially with regard to policy and general decision-making. Above all I am confident that the DFCSS will never allow the club to fall away into near-oblivion as the last 2 BoD's did. On this matter I would only disagree with Jim in one respect by saying that instaed of 'think, think, think' it should be 'prudence, prudence, prudence'.

    Finally, well done to Barry Smith and his players for their magnificent efforts since last October. Going 13 league games unbeaten under such circumstances is truly remarkable. And as Jim states above 'to have done so which has been both pleasing on the eye and effective'. An equal thanks must go to a wearer of the tangerine, Bob Bennett. We really have to name a part of his ground after him!

    Regards to all

    Rab Cluvell

  • Comment number 18.

    #14 mhorboy

    I believe it was in terms when the ground was sold to John Bennett to ensure that DFC would have a 'home'.

    #17 Rab

    I don't doubt that the situation was harrowing for fans of the club, but that is, quite frankly, irrelevant. While I have some sympathy for the fans as they did not directly cause the problem, they willingly bought into the dream that the club could buy success. The fans rep on the board could and should have been far more vigilant, and asked questions about the level of spending. Once again local business and the public purse have had to subsidise the financial misprudence of a football club.

    I've heard more than one DFC fan boasting about being 'debt free' and 'promotion to the SPL' next season, and this puts the whole thing in perspective for me. This cavalier attitude among some of the fans does not bode well for a club run by supporters.

  • Comment number 19.


    Congratulations on being able to offer 6pence in the £ this time round as opposed to 1p(?) in the £ when you were last in administration. And as opposed to debts of around £25m last time you can compare this with debts around £2.5m this time. These figures suggest to me at least that there has been a significant improvement in levels of indebtedness that is remarkable and worthy of some applause. No doubt the creditors are mostly very pleased and some may be almost giddy.

    Next time round might they expect 10p in the £?!

  • Comment number 20.

    Jim can you clarify Mr Bennett's role in the CVA. it looks like they included all the remaining rent on Dens in the deal to ensure that HMRC did not get the 25% required to stop this very low offer.

    It's only a few days since you reported that Bennett was interested in taking over at Tannadice so do you have any idea what his plans are for both teams. Dens cannot be used for housing but is badly in need of a lot of investment on the North and South sides to bring in extra off field revenue and proper facilities for this decade not the 1960's where a lot of Dundee support seem to be stuck in. Where will the fans get that sort of cash?

    Is he working to some sort of ground share? or merger?

  • Comment number 21.

    Re #17 Rab Cluvell

    Please dont name a part of your ground after Bob Bennet, the person who owns dens is John Bennet!!!

  • Comment number 22.

    Post 17

    Reading your post, if true, convinces me that DFC may not be long for this world.

    If Jeanfield Swifts is hinting that the same individual who owns Dens is also interested in taking over at Tannadice, this does suggest a ground share at the very least. A Tesco will probably be of greater community benefit than Dens at this stage to be honest.

    DFC will be paying the rent to Dundee Utd because they own next to zilch themselves and that once only the few Dee diehards remain they will just merge the clubs with Utd taking the share of the spoils, colours and name of the club.

    And all this just to get to the SPL quicker than you would have got there anyway? Utter folly.

  • Comment number 23.


    Do you know what is the position now regarding Jocky's Employment Tribunal? Are the new owners liable for this as well?

  • Comment number 24.

    #16 7 #18 Thanks for the info lads.

    I still don't think what happened was right and it's the taxpayer who has lost out big time.

    In my opinion it would have been better to go bust and start from scratch with a new club and fans in control of finance and decision making.

    Doesn't sound good if one individual is in a position to take over both clubs if that's allowed. Looks very much like a merger and housing or some other commercial enterprise on the other site which, if info correct, would be Tannadice.

    I think it's time Jim voiced an opinion or gave us some information.

  • Comment number 25.

    Dundee Council accepted 6p in the £1. If I was unfortunate to live in Dundee, I wonder if they'd accept that from the money I would be due in Council Tax?! I'd promise to gamble the rest in the vain hope of getting myself a bigger, better house!! They seem to deem that as an acceptable way to behave!

  • Comment number 26.

    As a Dundee fan therefore a Scottish football fan, I am finding some of the comments here very disturbing.

    I was stunned when the news came through of our impending second stint in administration, disgusted at the board, incredibly sorry for those who have lost their jobs and truly humbled by the generosity of 81.6% of our creditors, especially after reading the list.

    Administration is being used all over the business world. It is a mechanism to save as much jobs therefore livelihoods as possible, but inevitably at a cost. I have seen many a failed director dust themselves down and move on to directorships new - 'Hey its business'. Still waiting to hear one cry of 'foul play' there.

    Yet, through administration, a 118 year old Scottish Football club has just about survived annihilation. There is a core of employees, still in a job. The name, the history (both the good and bad) lives on, the community (that fought hard for) still has its team; yet this is deemed abhorrent?

  • Comment number 27.


    Oh well since its normal its probably worthy of, if not applause, then a shrug of the shoulders.

    Perhaps even an encore now that this is your second time round?

    If 'foul play' can be defined in terms of buying players you didn't have the money for and offering contracts that the public purse was part funding in the full knowledge of your directors (including the fans representative) that you didn't have the funds available, then this is what it is.

    And they were aware of the unsustainable financial position for some time before the crash happened.

    Now what would you call this?

    Nice that the public purse can be used as a cheque book to let you lot have your history though! And in case you live in a bubble, other people in the public sector are being laid off because of a lack of funds.

    Abhorrent? I would settle for deceitful and stupid.

  • Comment number 28.

    When you see creditors such as St. John Ambulance, it's disgusting to think that many Dundee players have pocketed large weekly salaries when playing in the Premier Division.

    Just over a season ago, Dundee were signing expensive players on high salaries - these directors need to be held accountable - publicly.

    I expect many other Scottish clubs are in deep financial trouble, especially several other provincial/traditional clubs such as Kilmarnock, Dunfermline Ath. and Partick Th.

    As for learning lessons...I;m afraid its not a strength I associate with the Scots - just look at the football set up!! Start with three governing bodies all badly running our national sport.


  • Comment number 29.

    #26 Ruffifan

    The comments on here are not disturbing, but the attitude of some DFC fans is.

    Nobody wants to see the demise of a football club, but to be honest, many people wouldn't really care if it happened to DFC given the totally dishonest way in which they have been conducting their business over the last decade. There's lot of sympathy for those who lost their jobs through the stupidity and incompetence of the board.

    I personally know DFC fans who are openly boasting that the club are now 'debt free' and are talking of promotion next season. If these people have anything to do with running the club, then their fate will be sealed.

  • Comment number 30.

    While I can commend you on your single mindedness in sticking to your generalist approach to Dundee FC, on your use of SFL rhetoric and your charming patronising slant, I have to correct you - no, I am not living in a bubble. At least I am trying to look at this sorry mess from all directions.

    I have made a big distinction between the board, the club, and the fans. Bar one person, whose tenure I would hope would be at an end should Dundee exit administration, the board has gone. Yet you conveniently implicate the fans and hold them as accountable as the board because they had full knowledge of the clubs financial state.

    Total nonsense.

    The timeline of Dundee FC's second stint in administration came totally out of the blue.

    How would you as a fan respond to board room statements of being debt free and transfer funds of up to £0.5 million? Get excited? Claim one-upmanship with your rival supporters? Of course you would. You would not perform a due diligence appraisal of your multi million pound benefactors finances. You definitely would not expect your club to be entering administration, again, within months of these statements.
    There is the issue of fans representative, George Knight. I do not want to go into his conduct, but the simple truth is he did not serve the fans. Should Dundee FC exit administration, then I as a fan would demand nothing less than full transparency of how our club is run from the next representative.

    You can accuse us Dundee fans as being gullible, naive, or being easily overexcited, but financially responsible?
    Sorry, but that's just lazy and convenient.


    I would hope I was pretty clear on how I feel about those effected in my first post. However, stereotyping all Dundee fans as insensitive because of some over excitable idiots (all clubs have them) really doesn't hold much weight.

  • Comment number 31.

    I repeat, where is Jim Spence with his comments on this debate?

  • Comment number 32.

    So they live to fight for a wee while longer eh?

    Just prolonging the misery IMO as I dont think HMRC are quite finished with DFC yet.

  • Comment number 33.

    Is it now possible for my post, #5/9/feb,to be published ?
    There was nothing offensive,slanderous or libellous included and I fail to see the problem.
    Willing to discuss if that helps.

  • Comment number 34.

    If any Dundee fan is celebrating after the latest episode, they need to take a long hard look at themselves. Relief that we still have a club to support should be as good as it gets, with a heavy dose of gratitude to those creditors that lost out.

    Equally, I think that anyone trying to gloat or judge the Dundee fans at this time are being very hypocritical. There are not many clubs in scottish football that can survive without a benefactor, it just so happened that ours didn't really care about the club and walked away at a crucial time. There are not many clubs in Scottish football that could survive this kind of episode without slumping into administration, or worse.

    No Dundee fan would ever have condoned what happened, and bizarrely, had we bought our way into the SPL, this would have all been glossed over - would that have actually been any better? Had the club folded, many more jobs would have been lost and no money would have been raised. But administration allowed the creditors to get at least something back, and allows the club to continue to provide potential business in the future.

    As for the fans rep; can anyone tell me what the qualities required are for being a fans rep on the board? I'm not sure that there are too many similar positions at other clubs, and I'm also sure that Dundee's didn't go through an interview process to get the job. As I remember he was given it more as a reward for helping consolidate the fans' fundraising efforts after the first administration. It turns out that he wasn't qualified for it, and didn't help. If you want to use that as a tool to blame the entire support, that's your lookout.

    Finally, don't listen to every single gloating muppet on the chatboards (or you are just as naive as they are). Every club has it's brainless minority. Ignore them and carry on.

  • Comment number 35.

    31 morbhoy.....what comments would you like ?

    This debate potentially spans everything from the morality of the current law surrounding the passions and gullibilty of football fans.....right through to the shoddy behaviour of apparently well qualified people running clubs (badly) and the lack of sytems of control and scrutiny by both by HMRC and the football authorities.

    As to Jeanfield Swifts question about a Dundee ground share/merger.
    Ground share makes obvious sense but there are no funds to pay for it........merger came close once, but the fans will not buy the concept

  • Comment number 36.

    I think we should not allow ourselves to get carried away with the notion that Scottish football will somehow emerge from the ugly little grub it has become into a pretty butterfly.

    Firstly, it is not an ugly little grub. Sure there are parts of it that you wouldn´t want crawling inside your trousers. But for the most part, it still is what it has always been, a semi community endeavour straddling the line between commercialism and amateurism. With the majority of those involved being good honest people providing fantastic entertainment and diversion to hundreds of thousands of other people.

    I think what happened to Dundee was terrible. I also think what is happening at a number of other Scottish and English clubs is terrible. We must remember that living beyond your means is the error here. Not getting caught out when the support for it disappears.

    Imagine the scenario. Vladimir Putin decides to throw Roman Abramovich in prison; an entirely plausible turn of events. His bank accounts are frozen and he never sets foot in the UK, let alone West London, again. How long would it be before Chelsea went into administration?

    Now, look at all the clubs in Scotland, how many are living beyond their means. If you want to be consistent and fair, then criticise them as much as you do Dundee. If you have the stomach for it, then fight to drive out irresponsible business practices from Scottish football.

    There may be one or two clubs going into administration because they simply have not received income due to postponements. Should they suffer the same opprobrium as Dundee or indeed the 25 point penalty. Of course they shouldn´t.

    But should Rangers or Hearts or even Dundee United be praised, or even just accepted, for having had the good fortune not to have fallen off the precipice? Well, I would say No

    There is no green (or blue) meadow waiting for Scottish football if only we can let fans run the show. Women, ethnic minorities, the disabled and people from the Outer Hebrides are all under-represented in both players and administrators. But that is not really the problem, is it?

  • Comment number 37.


    I've no doubt that administration (and the threat of) is harrowing for some fans. The club I support, Celtic, was faced with just such a situation some years ago but the lessons were (thankfully and touch wood) largly taken on board and the lid has by and large been kept on the 'biscuit tin, despite the very public demands of some fans and media for greater spending and wages on players.

    This is not the Nurnberg Trials but I tend to take a very general view that people invariably get the leaders they deserve: irrespective of whether this arises from apathy, a lack of suitable skills/ abilities/ confidence, too much trust in the 'professional' status of others, blah, blah, etc. And the Dens Park Ghost Train has seen some truely mind boggling characters appear and disappear over the years: Angus Cook, Rod Dixon, the Marr's, Giovanni de Stephano to name a few. It strikes me that given the known associations and activities of some of these individuals, that fans of DFC would take MORE care than many others about who owned their club. Given that you were in administration before, 'fans' advertising for a 'sugar daddy' and then allowing one in without adequate controls in place must now seem very reckless. In hindsight it clearly was and here you are again.

    It is all very well saying that the fans never knew but since you abdicated that responsibility (which many others do not have the luxury of anyway) with the invite to Mr Melville, you never put yourselves in any position to know the state of the financial gamble that was about to be undertaken at your club. And it was a gamble that IMO did not have to be taken because you would in all probablity have got to the SPL anyway by dint of greater resources and fan base. You mention not wanting to go into the conduct of the fans representative but that really is exactly what you should be doing and whoever he was representing it certainly wasn't the people who put him there. And it is this issue alone that should really make you shudder and make transparency at Dundee an absolute necessity this time round.

    And so you say that the fans were perhaps gullible (again), naive (again)and overexcited (again) but not financially responsible. The way I've set out my argument above however, would suggest otherwise. You had put up good money to save your club after the Marr's and yet you proactively handed over the reins to someone who then ran a coach and horses over the books with a fans representative sitting there on the board. I think collectively, you the fans, share some responsibility for the current financial situation at DFC by dint of the fact that you (I mean 'aligned' fans groups and not you personally because that would just be ridiculous) allowed it all to happen when you had the means to do otherwise.

    And again here you are having put up good money to save your club. You effectively own it and it will be yours to manage again. But next time don't advertise for investment and keep control within the fan base.

    I'm not being overly harsh or partisan saying this. If my own club were to find themselves in the same situation tomorrow as they did all those years ago I would take exactly the same line of argument.

  • Comment number 38.

    18 Vic. The emotions of the fans through the pain of the admin process is definitely not irrelevant. On the contrary, it is of particular importance for the simple reason that the fans (DFCSS) now own a majority of the club's shares. It is the people who have felt the greatest pain and who have worked hardest to rescue the club who are now in charge. This can only be a good thing toward ensuring there is no repeat of the past.

    #19 Rob04. It is encouraging to see you remain obsessed with the fortunes of the Dark Blues. I feel that there is a true Dee struggling to get out from within you but that you camouflage it well. In regard to your thoughts on the emotions of the creditors, Doddsy giddy? Steady! Hid he been giddy wi' the Dees reddies he'd a been a diddy Doddsy..... mibbe.

    #21 barab83. I stand corrected. For some reason I got Saint John of Bennett mixed up with my postie (who is a jambo). I dinna think my mail would have continued to arrive timeously if he ever found out that I had nominated a stand at Dens to be named after him. Thanks for that.

    #22 STub. You try so hard. The sainted Bennett holds a security on Dens which states that the only purpose for which Dens may be used is for football. Tesco, schmesco.

    #26 ruffifan. Don't let them know that you are disturbed. This is not a good thing to announce now that we own the club. In any event you'll just encourage them. rob04 is so far gone on his moral high horse he's like the Rev I.M. Jolly on speed.

    Regards to all

    Rab Cluvell

  • Comment number 39.


    Perhaps when your emotional bruising has started to heal you could try and address the issues with an argument that looks like one!


  • Comment number 40.

    #35 Jim Spence

    Having posted the blog and started the debate I don't think it unreasonable to expect further comment from you as the debate expands and different points/suggestions are made.

    The points you make for example;
    SCRUTINY: I think you'll find that HMRC have tightened their procedures considerably since the LEEDS fiasco and action is now taken at an early stage which is why there are now frequent court cases involving football clubs.
    I still think it is an utter disgrace that HMRC lost their status as preferential creditors as they represent the taxpayer (US) after all and should be the first to recover any money due as well as in a position to prevent any backdoor deals.

    The football authorities seem to make their rules up as they go along, heavy punishments for some clubs, rap on the knuckles for others.

    DIRECTORS' BEHAVIOUR: In my opinion directors' should be responsible for their actions and running a club in the manner of Dundee (twice) should automatically disqualify them from being able to participate in football again.

    FANS' : I find it incredible that Dundee fans have twice raised large sums of money to keep their club alive yet have been let down on both occasions. Now it appears that they're prepared to do so again.
    If the money raised on either of the previous occasions had been followed by close supervision of what it was being used for things may not have reached the current level.

    That's my opinion on the points you raised,why don't you let us have yours Jim ?

    As for ground sharing, it's the only sensible outcome,has anyone asked the fans ?

  • Comment number 41.

    Post 38

    Can only be used for football? Someone should check the trade description act.

    A 5-a-side complex then! That might be what it eventually becomes anyway, Cash up-front for any renovation work! You won't be able to afford it.

    But why are you asking someone else not to let people know they are disturbed whem you clearly are?

  • Comment number 42.

    Jim, I hope I haven't stirred up a hornets nest with my comments on Your Call this evening. Both you and I were both at school with Bob Brannan, and he was a decent bloke (apart from being a Dundee supporter). Now you've got Dundee fans wanting him taken to account when he's ploughed almost 1/4 million pounds into the club. Thats gratitude for you!

  • Comment number 43.

    I have to wonder why Dundee aren't relegated to 3rd division like Livingston were.

  • Comment number 44.

    From the information available, Livingston were not relegated "because they went into administration". They were asked to provide a bond, or financial security, underwriting the costs of fulfilling their league commitments for the season. Had they been able to do so, they would certainly not have been relegated although they may have suffered a points deduction - we don't know what that would have been because apparently the SFL never got around to discussing it.

    Also their second administration happened in the close season which made it possible to relegate them without messing up a season for everyone in the league.

    It seems vaguely logical that the SFL acted in this way, i.e. they had little choice and could not afford the risk that a whole league season could be lost had Livi gone into liquidation in the middle of it.

    What is less logical is that they chose, as with Dundee, to claim that they were upholding the integrity of the league. Now read this:

    "Integrity is a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness of one's actions. Integrity can be regarded as the opposite of hypocrisy,[1] in that it regards internal consistency as a virtue, and suggests that parties holding apparently conflicting values should account for the discrepancy or alter their beliefs."

    So why were Dundee not asked to provide a bond? - which they almost certainly would not have been able to do. Why didn't Livingston get a 25 point deduction? Why was the threat imposed by the SFL to further punish Dundee at the end of March if they had not exited administration (an attempt by the SFL to strike some logical balance between the Livingston and Dundee punishments) struck down by the SFA on appeal. One assumes the SFA is similarly interested in integrity.

    I have no argument with the clubs being punished for living beyond their means. I don't believe that that punishment should be held back until they actually enter administration. I don't hold anything against the administrators of Scottish football. I am reasonably sure they are good men trying to do the best job they can. I don't mind that they take an overtly pragmatic approach to punishments considering all the facts and circumstances of each case.

    I do mind that they dress up their decision making in some ludicrous integrity fancy dress. I do mind that they, in their public comments, seek to stoke up the fires of resentment in the hearts of fans of other clubs in an effort to demonise the wrongdoers and deflect attention away from their actions. (remember, I have no real issue with their actions, just with their cowardice in not explicitly defending them in public debate).

    I do mind that no club in the SFL can have any idea of what punishment might befall them should they enter administration. I do mind that the people who will make any decision are the competitor clubs of the club to be punished. I do mind that any punishment meted out is not linked to the benefit gained from the breach of rules (this concept has been a fundamental pillar of Scots Law for hundreds of years. Google "unjust enrichment" and "restitution") - Please, any lawyers reading this help me out if I have got this wrong!

    Finally, I do mind that the SFL, the SFA, The Scottish Parliament and the press have permitted this circus to continue for years. It may well be one of these situations where you know you should ask someone what you should do (and in this case it is the Court of Arbitration in Sport which was set up to deal with exactly this. See but are afraid of the answer, so you don't. However, most of us understand the folly of that approach to life sooner or later.

    Please Jim, as a member of one of these institutions, take a stand. Use your influence to get these issues discussed more widely. And do it before the SFL denies the good people of Stirling, Falkirk, or Dumfries a professional football team because it wanted to "uphold the integrity of the league". I have written elsewhere that the SFL have painted themselves up a cul de sac on this issue. They have. And they really do need help to get themselves out......

  • Comment number 45.


    They were entirely different well-documented circumstances.


    So, let me get this right: You expect Dundee fans to be thanking Mr Brannan? Why? He was mates with you and Jim Spence, or that he has lost £¼ million to Dundee. Melville has lost around £1 Million, and I am sure was a good friend of ‘someone’ at school; should we extend the same courtesy to him that we are obviously denying Mr Brannan?

    Not a chance.

    I don’t think I would be alone in expecting some clarification regarding the incidents and decisions that lead to administration, again. Mr Brannan was a member of the board, therefore implicated in this. Until we get some answers, I cannot see this changing.


    No fan would have believed after the first time it could have happened again; call it ignorance, or down right bad luck, it has happened. There is a lot of discussion throughout the Dundee fans on how we go forward, but we are unanimous is need for full transparency and accountability.


    ‘Harrowing’ for ‘some fans’… It is hard to take any of your following points seriously when you start off with such a dismissive introduction. However, I shall, concisely:

    Generalisation and hindsight are clearly the two most powerful and convenient tenets for an argument, and whoever takes over as the fans rep must be a transparent servant to the fans.

    I concur.

    Oh and the next time I sit down and pen the advertisement for the ‘Sugar Daddy’, I shall remember to refrain, and fall back into my comfort zone of apathetic and void-of-skill insecurity. Why? I am implicated and aligned; I put money into the pot.

    #Mr Spence

    One of the most surprising and rewarding aspects of this dire situation is Barry Smiths impromptu promotion to manager. While camaraderie could be a natural occurrence of administration, and given the size of the squad, the team picks itself. It does not account for the desire to win and the football being played. I believe this highlights the managerial ability of Barry. I only hope that whatever the future holds, we can retain and reward his loyalty and service to the club.

  • Comment number 46.

    Like #38 did I'm glad you agree #45.

  • Comment number 47.

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

  • Comment number 48.

    A great deal has been said about none of this being the fans fault. Whilst it is true that the fans had no direct say in how the club was run I have to say that there was a deafening silence from the support when the money was being spent.
    The first time they went into administration there was no penalty. This time they get 25 points deducted when in reality the minimum punishment should have been relegation to the third division.
    Very, very lucky people indeed. Perhaps they can show a little humility now.

  • Comment number 49.


    "I have to say that there was a deafening silence from the support when the money was being spent."

    I think you will find the Dundee fans were doing what any self respecting fan would be doing under the circumstances: rejoycing at the 'investment' and rubbing rival fans noses in it.

  • Comment number 50.

    That's as maybe, however they should dry their eyes and get on with it now. Very, very lucky people indeed.

  • Comment number 51.

    Post 50

    What goes around comes around as they say and you are right: they should dry their eyes and just accept getting their noses rubbed in it.

  • Comment number 52.

    I noticed that Dundee 1st signing since the embargo was lifted is Neil McCann. i wonder if he's playing for free as a favour to his old club.

    Any news on the D's signing any other former players ? A chap passed me on the Kingsway on Sunday who looked just like Ravanelli

  • Comment number 53.

    #50 & 51

    "... they should dry their eyes and get on with it now"
    "... they should dry their eyes and just accept getting their noses rubbed in it."

    Wow! No seriously!

    As double acts go, that is quite fantastic! However you should consider not sharing your punch lines; reading them in such close succession does lessen the impact.

  • Comment number 54.

    Post 53

    I think the impact on you is quite clear!

  • Comment number 55.

    Now that it looks as if the Dee will survive, a misguided charge for a premier return, i now hope given all the bile directed at Dundee by the obviously challenged, that we hear the smashing of all the glass houses so many other scottish clubs reside within, few will have the fight or fans to survive. Who wants or needs them. DEE4LIFE

  • Comment number 56.

    Humility ?
    1)Dundee fans should be proud of what has been achieved in such a short space of time.
    2)There isnt a club in the country that would not have seized the chance of a so called benefactor like Melville if they believed it would benefit them. Hypocrites one and all.

  • Comment number 57.

    But what has happened to all the ever so humble 'humility' spoken of by officials of Dundee Alan only last week?

    How easy the gloating and bile returns.

    Proud of:

    The redundancies of 9 players and 4 non-players?

    The debt you ran up with local businesses, HMRC, Dundee City Council and St John's Ambulance to name a few?

    Offering 6 pence in the pound to your creditors?

    Fans calling for a boycott of away games?

    Complaining against punishment and sanction?

    Being one of a select few clubs in Scottish football who have entered administration?

    Being the only one to go there twice?

    Putting the begging bowl out to fans again?

    Your players talking in the press about themselves as the unofficical Champions of their division.

    Pride comes before a fall as they and as far as I've read it you aren't out of the woods yet!

  • Comment number 58.

    Proud yet again of the way that the fans of our great club have responded.100%
    i also said that it looked like as if we might have turned the corner.
    Debt is part and parcel of Scottish Football and many clubs look likely to follow in our footsteps, few perhaps will survive it. Of course we should have appealed , the punishment was draconian and vindictive. Fully agree with a boycott, just not this season, we have to give the team as much backing as possible so we can beat the drop, next season, with no point deduction is a different proposition, i am not bothered about promotion in future only survival. Believe obviously that if this seriously depleted squad would have the points to win the league(if 25 points had been considered) then any winner are paper tiger champions.
    And morality, integrity - Airdrie Utd/Clydebank, Livi blatantly cheating ie Kachloul etc etc
    As long as the Dee survive i have no thought nor care for any other facet of Scottish Football, it has been a witchhunt of epic proportions.

  • Comment number 59.

    Ps None of the above does not mean i am happy about the losses incurred by creditors.

  • Comment number 60.

    All the bile has come from outside.

  • Comment number 61.

    Alan. Proud of the way the fans have rallied round. Yes you can be, but let's be honest the fans of every club would do the same.
    Dundee cheated the division last year by spending other peoples money. They did this once before as well.
    What should be expected of the Dundee fans in the future is questioning when something financially happens when a club of your size is out spending Aberdeen, or Hibs or Hearts (although they may well get theirs as well).
    Until the next time.

  • Comment number 62.

    Just a quick question about what happens next.

    Correct me if I am wrong but can the SFL still take more action if DFC do not pay off their footballing debts (Billy Dodds for example)?

    and similarly

    Can HMRC take action against the club if they pay the footballing creditors more than the 6p in the £ that others have been offered?

    We already know that Billy Dodds turned down the offer of 6p in the £

  • Comment number 63.

    Do not accept thgat Dundee cheated in any way, bad business practices etc yes cheating no. Dundee accepted the promises of a then widely respected and seemingly successful businessman and acted accordingly, as would most if not all our current detractors. In the future im sure that the board, fans reps and fan organisations etc will scrutinise any future business decisions the club makes. Im proud of :-
    1) Dundee Fc ( over all the highs and lows)
    2) Fans
    3) Current Squad and Managemant
    4) History
    5) History not yet written.
    6) Dundee Fc (as 1)

    And if an investment offer comes along i'd happily see it accepted, as long as it passes strict scrutiny, in order to see DFC hit the heights the club deserves. After the way DFC have been villified i have little or no time for the fate of any other sfl club and except for perhaps Stirling alb, Dunfermline and at a push Falkirk will never, with the exception of cup football(shared gates) put another penny into any club except the Dee. I await with anticipation the reaction of our butchers, bakers and candlestick makers to the next sfl club to hit administration.
    On a lighter note check out sfl hq reaction on you tube.

  • Comment number 64.

    For a short but concise summary of how Dundee got into adminstration twice, and will probably get there again or just go straight bust in the next year or so, read Post 63.

    Strict scrutiny? Yer avin a laugh!

  • Comment number 65.

    Depends if the football creditors rule applies in Scotland as it does in England, seems a grey area. If it does this, as I have repeatedly said is a disgrace and needs to be changed, the taxpayer must come first.

    You support for Dundee comes across but you need to get a grip on reality. It wasn't the fault of other clubs that this happened so why would you seek to boycott them?
    When this happens for the third time let's hope it's three strikes and you're out !!

  • Comment number 66.

    "I think the impact on you is quite clear!"

    If you mean 'clear' as in I am deeply saddened that given the opportunity to speak on a public forum, the best you can offer is rhetoric, sound bites, faux indignation and concern, not to mention plagiarism .

    You talk of bile from Dundee fans, what exactly have you offered to this debate?

    Nothing! Why? May I hazard a guess that you, like so many associated with our game are so wrapped up in petty inter club squabbling that you cannot actually sit back and appreciate that Dundee crossed the same line that so many clubs are teetering over? No, because it doesn't serve your interests.

    #54 & #65

    Do you extend your concern of Dundee FC's financial miss management to other clubs or businesses? You have spent enough time on here complaining about Dundee's settlement to the HMRC, should you not widen your net?

  • Comment number 67.

    Obviously lessons have to be brought on board but any investment has to be welcomed if meets standard required. You are very anti DEE and it is this kind of attitude that leads to:-

    I have a very strong grip on reality you pseudo psychologist you. I am not blaming them for administration but for the vindictive, prohibitive sanctions imposed by the sfl and upheld by the vast majority of sfl clubs and also for the outpourings of glee, bile etc I am not sure why you believe i have a loosened grip on reality as i have never blamed anyone except our previous board and esp melville. I merely do not see why Dundee fans should dip into their pockets for these clubs, any spare away day money would be better spent at dens. Plus with so many of these clubs so clearly enjoying the moral high ground at our plight would it not be a climb down for them to accept our money in the future. Im sure none of them need our (big away) support. Hopefully they wont have to deal with such a moral quandary in the future. More than happy to the few teams i feel did support us in some way, Celtic, Saint J, hearts, Montrose, Stirling Alb, Dunfermline(integrity) and falkirk. Also cup games.

  • Comment number 68.

    again sorry but what part of scrutiny, strict etc did you not understand, lessons learned etc? etc etc.

  • Comment number 69.


    Thought I would do a spot of research on 'paying your dues' in the name of football.

    "Strathclyde Police spent nearly £4.9m policing matches in 2007-2008, but received just £1.6m from clubs." Glasgow Herald, 15 June 2009

    Let us also take into consideration the wider costs involved the Old Firm out with policing; ambulance, NHS, etc. I wonder how much you can add to those costs.

    Please check the stability of your foothold before you taking the moral high ground.

    If you truly are offended by Dundee not paying their way, then bring your own club to task.

  • Comment number 70.

    57 Strange uBoat
    Re officials at Dens talking about humility. I am not an official and clearly have both a mind and opinion of my own.What happened has happened, no amount of humility wii change one iota of that. Nobody connected with Dundee Football Club is in any way happy about the descent into administration but we have a right to celebrate our survival and fight our corner whilst covered in this morass of self righteous crap directed at of any club promised the football world by a successful and wealthy businessman would have been just as avid over signings as we were.Administration is a legal recourse to difficulties in business why dont you campaign for its abolition and throw even more people out of work. Said it b4 very hypocritical.

  • Comment number 71.

    Post 66

    You so didn't sound deeply saddened in your earlier post. Not at all. Perhaps this is just poor and 'faux' (Ruffian 2011) expression on your part.

    Plagarism? Is this blog now peer-reviewed?

    Is there a limit to how many times HMRC can be mentioned? The issue is still live. I think it is in the public interest that they do appeal. You may not like that view but I'm not sure I care.

    And you are an independent observer yourself able to stand back and not engage in any inter-club rivalry stuff. For someone who has defended (above) the Dees fans taunting rival fans about how rich they were as something that fans do, can I suggest that you are not being consistent here.

    Some clubs may 'teeter' but the evidence to date shows that relatively few have actually fallen.

    Only the daft fall twice and then want to claim it as normal.

    Post 68

    I missed the part where you sounded as if you had learned lessons that didn't end up blaming someone else. Maybe I couldn't hear that over the sound of the trumpets. And maybe if more did pay their tax then less public sector jobs would be shed. Think of it that way from the perspective of non-DFC taxpayers.

    Post 69

    Since you are good at research please tell us when Celtic defaulted on the public purse?

    Prove that Celtic have not paid their bills. You could even take as your comparison Celtic with Dundee.

  • Comment number 72.

    Post 71
    re 68
    I have not blamed anyone except melville and our then board. As for " the sound of trumpets" remark i am not going to throw sarcastic remarks about cos as we all know its the lowest form of wit and i am obviously outgunned by you on that score. The majority of my posts have been celebrating the likely survival of Dundee FC in spite of themselves, answering spiteful, bitter wee posters like yours and explaining my utter disdain for the vast majority of sfl teams and their petty, vindictave actions. For me there truly only is one team on or off the park. All else aside, as an ex civil servant believe me the amount of public service jobs is the problem not the shedding of them.

  • Comment number 73.

    Post 73

    So to summarise your view, its okay for other people to lose their jobs just so long as its not those connected with DFC.

    And you think I'm the spiteful and bitter one!?!

  • Comment number 74.

    Post 73

    I should also have said that at least unlike one other Dee round this blog you offer an honest view, a real voice of the Derriere!

  • Comment number 75.


    Have you digested anything I have posted?

    Again, need I point out I have and will make a big distinction between the fans, the board and the club. While this may not be to your liking, it is core to Dundee’s current situation as is the timeline. To look at it any other way belittles what has happened.

    While it may be convenient for you and your argument, which is increasingly looking like a myopic and lazy attack on Dundee, specifically the fans, I am at least attempting to look at the wider implications.

    Accuse me of false concern, but my points are clearly made.

    So, 'champion of the public purse', again, I ask you who is next on your list of evaders? Within 2 minutes of searching, I have given evidence of a short fall of £2.5 million in Strathclyde Police costs; someone hasn’t paid their dues. Or, how about Vodaphone; £4.8bn tax dodge at the last count. Or is it only football teams’ survival, specifically Dundee that you find offensive?

  • Comment number 76.

    Only one Ar*e here mate, french or otherwise, ive never advocated people losing jobs but merely stated that Civil Service is well over staffed and not at the lowest levels, quangoes, commitees, 2/3 line managers for 5/7 staff. You brought up the issue of public sector jobs, believe the tax not paid by the little people is a mere drop in the ocean. i'm not being spiteful , i believe in responding like for like. Dundee Fc deserve better from the greater scottish footballing public despite all their many faults, our game would be poorer for the loss. Bitter, not even close, ive a pride in DFC that i would not have believed possible even a short while ago. The manager, staff, even new board and especially the fans have made proud to be a DEE despite all our travails.

  • Comment number 77.

    Ruffifan & Alan (now there’s a double act) I love you guys. I really I do.
    You’re just the type of guys I’d love to see in charge of Dundee Football Club especially if the fans run the club.
    Because when the club goes down the pan AGAIN, you’re press releases would be first class. Plus reading the two of you trying blaming one another on Jim’s Blog would be fascinating. Wait a minute….you guys aren’t actually Di Stefano in disguise are you!!

    What you fail to accept is that most football fans ALL OVER SCOTLAND do have sympathy for ANY club going into administration – even United fans.
    The reason you’re getting bile from ALL OVER SCOTLAND is because:-

    1) the overdose of HUBRIS
    AND - (and this is the clincher)


  • Comment number 78.

    Im assumuning that in your attempt at a quick summation you were referring to Third LANARK, muppet.
    There has been no arrogance emanating from DFC, club or supporters merely relief at the probable saving of the club, pride in the response to our predicament and the siege mentality that it has provoked, anger at the harshness of the penalties( i crime, i penalty). Personally i dont think such a small squad can continue to amass the amount of points that would, even if the 25 were restored, lead to 1st place, but its a bright spot in dark days.
    As to being second time round , first was a genuine attempt to bring a real buzz to Scottish football which was misguided but neither criminal or intentional. 2nd time no real excuse for the individual perps, Melville who was portrayed in the media, prior to any DFC involvement, as a pillar of scottish business was welcomed with open arms.(Aberdeen supporter, yes we should have been wary.) Knight obviously failed the fans he was supposed to represent.
    But you should all realise as supposed football fans that very few fans have any say or control over our clubs which hopefully can now be rectified in our case. So its the future which we are looking to, with pride plenty of passion and pride. In my case with what i see as the double standards of fans of so many debt ridden clubs and the attacks on a club whose fans are trying to fix things deserve nowt from DUNDEE FC, particularly we they bring nothing to the table, away fan wise.
    ps Lets face it Thompson jr is not his old man and he'll soon get fed up pumping money into his fathers cash cow and what then.Pride b4 a fall.

  • Comment number 79.

    Post 75

    Its all indigestible hubris.

    No not conclusive figures at all. Wouldn't get you a cub reporters position at the school paper never mind the Courier.

    Where is the evidence on Celtic defaulting on the public purse?

    Now when will you admit there is no evidence?

    I can give you a start with DFC figures: offering HMRC £22k of £365k.

    Nothing to do with the fans? Are you still banging on about that?

    You are in denial.

  • Comment number 80.

    Post #79

    For Gods sake don't use the word Hubris - we'll be accused of being a double act!

    Then Flanigan, sorry Ruffifan & Alan ( Di Stefano ) will dig up Arkan!

  • Comment number 81.

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

  • Comment number 82.

    Here are some interesting comments folks before we close this debate,from an article in sports city dated 16 Feb 2011.

    In England the Football League chairman Greg Clarke has warned that clubs are heading towards the “precipice” because of excessive debt levels.

    His comments came at a Parliamentary inquiry into football governance on Tuesday (February 15.

    Clarke was also questioned by MPs over the ‘football creditors’ rule, where clubs that become insolvent prioritise paying off debts to other clubs and players before tackling money owed to other creditors, including the taxman.

    "I came in to this job thinking the football creditors rule was an outrage," said Clarke before adding that he now believes it to be the "least worst" option. "The alternative could well see Football League clubs going out of business."

    I think the key feature of the debate here has been that no real football fan wants to see another team going out of busines.

    But in the nature of football "SOME" fans will shout from the rooftops whenever they appear to be in a more advantageous position financially or playing wise than other clubs.

    That lack of humility is guaranteed to see sympathy from rival fans at a low ebb when, as in Dundee's case things go badly wrong.

    Tighter regulation and accountability over those who run clubs needs to be introduced, although in Dundee's case it has to be said that two of the men involved in overseeing the descent into administration were on the face of it businesmen of noted repute. But then so were the bankers and regulators who allowed the current financial crisis to happen.

    morbhoy at 40. I agree with what you say regarding disqualifying directors and fans at Dens this time must scrutinise every last penny to ensure the money raised goes where it is intended.

    One final thought on this issue. Dundee FC have now been culpable twice and have soured the name of the club among many in their community.Their intelligent and decent fans know this and are determined that it will not happen for a third time.

    However, the way our game currently operates there is a likelihood that another club could suffer the same fate.

    That's why there is little room for smug self satisfaction from fans of some other clubs.

    Dundee's fate could very easily be replicated in the current lax climate of football governnce.

  • Comment number 83.

    Post 80

    Oh no I'll be accused of plagarism again! If Ruffian only actually knew what it meant!

    Post 76

    And now you are an expert on human resource management. After calling for a public sector job cull you try to outline where that could be achieved. Now while I appreciate that you have obviously given this some consideration I thought you were now a 'community club'. Haven't you inflicted enough damage already on your local economy and community?

  • Comment number 84.

    #82 Jim Spence,

    I too have read the comments by the Football League Chairman but there is a further comment that you didn't quote,i.e." Under further questioning from MPs on the culture, media and sports select committee, he said, I can't construct an argument that allows me to defend the morality of football creditors. We are looking for a more palatable alternative".

    I accept that it could be damaging to clubs if they weren't to receive the monies due but not any more damaging than that caused to the economy or organisations such as St.Johns Ambulance or small,local businesses.

    The monies due to the taxman are always in respect of PAYE/N.I/VAT and these are monies that do not belong to football clubs and are deliberately withheld in order to pay something or someone else.
    That should be punished severely in every case as it affects every one in the country.

    Clubs must be made to pay transfer fees in full by the end of the season in which they occur. This would stop the ridiculous upward spiral of fees that are unsustainable in almost every case.

    Monies due to local suppliers should be paid in full on a monthly basis or said supplies should be withdrawn. I believe, in the case of St.Johns that would mean games couldn't go ahead without health & safety cover.

    Football must realise that it isn't a world apart and must act in a socially responsible manner complying with the laws of the land. Any club that deliberately defaults on tax payments should be punished and those who authorise such action should also incur severe penalties.

    If action isn't taken there won't be any football to discuss never mind watch.

  • Comment number 85.


    2 Bakers.

  • Comment number 86.

    Until the next guy or girl comes along with a football pipe dream that has turned sour Dundee must take the 'D'unce cap..

    They must wear the Cone of Shame!

  • Comment number 87.

    Post 78 I agree with a lot of what you are saying but I think you like a lot of the Dundee supporters and the media have missed the reason that Dundee went into admin for the second time in seven years.

    Way before Melville the club was heading for this second period of admin under the control of Mr Brannan, who has been portrayed as one of the villains in all this but who was constantly putting his own money into the business in an attempt to keep it going. He deal with the Bank saved Dundee 7 million from the first admin and yet this was still not enough to keep things going and in the football community the word was per Melville the club twice were close to going into admin.

    Brannan then places the advert which Melville responds to and the club were saved. Melville has stated the club were days away from admin at this point but whether he can be believed is anyones guess. lets see what happens at Jocky Scott's case which should be interesting.

    The point I am trying to put across is that Dundee FC will continue to make losses even with a reduced squad in the first division. There is no money at that level and the expectations of the fans will always outstrip the financial capability that any time based at Dens Park can offer. A New facility (and as Jim has stated who would pay for it) is needed to generate the income the business needs to drive it forward.

    Of all the big teams Dundee have been hit the hardest by the reconstruction in 1975 as a top 10 or 12 had made them a team who went up and down regularly. There must have been hope at Dens of a league of 16 or 18 as I believe at that level a side like Dundee could finish in the top 5 when having a good year and as low as 12 when having a bad year but those bad years would not result in relegation and the financial mess that comes with it.

    Good luck to the fans in what they are trying to do but it could be a long and hard road ahead for them and many others in the Scottish game.

  • Comment number 88.

    #87 - Indeed, there is an uphill battle for Dundee FC, and I concur there is a lot of ambiguity surrounding what has actually happened in the board room at Dens Park.

    I have been quite harsh towards Brannan in an earlier post, and in all honesty I do believe he has only ever been and continues to be positive for the club. However, while it may be unjustified; I find it hard to have any time for any of the previous Board members (inc. Brannan).

    On your point of expectations; I would like to think there has been a stark realisation in the fan base of what we can now expect from our club, and how it is actually in our hands. Hopefully through that empowerment we can move forward realistically and sustainably.

    #83 - Of course, I heard the big boys say it; I just hope I used it in the right context...

    #82 - "I think the key feature of the debate here has been that no real football fan wants to see another team going out of busines." - That I am afraid, given the evidence on here, is debatable. However any acknowledgment of the true nature of footballs financial state is a step in the right direction.

    #79 - Sorry, but as I have noted, you are championing the cause of 'value of the tax payer pound'. And on that point, what would be your response to the HMRC turning down an offer of an initial payment of £100,000 and instalments thereafter to make up the short fall, knowing that most likely they would get "£22k of £365k"?

    Oh and I concur, It has everything to do with the Dundee fans, it is our club. We are the ones digging deep in our pockets to keep the club alive, again. So, while you continue to make generalisations, Ill continue to 'bang on about it'.

    As for denial; how can you accuse any self respecting Dundee fan of denial; we have just seen our club on the brink of closure?

    #77 - Nope, I have an opinion; get over it.

  • Comment number 89.

    But I'm not accusing any 'self-respecting fan' of being in denial when you so clearly are about your wholly artifical and convenient distinction between directors and fans.

    Ask John Reid and SDM are they fans of their club and the answer will be? Mr Adams at Ross County?

    Your argument is only a device that allows fans like yourself to absolve themselves of any responsibility for what happended.

    Kid yourself on if you like but that is what it is.

    The Marr's - Dundee fans - took you into adminstration the first time.

    Other fans bailed the club out and punted it to Mr Melville. Was Mr Brannan who put his own money into the club not a fan?

    What responsibilities did the fans retain when they handed the club over? After all as fans you had responsibility for the club or is that too much of a generalisation!

    A fan rep was appointed to the board to take care of fan interests.

    What exactly was this fan appointed representative doing? Filing his nails? Serving the tea? In a way it doesn't matter because he was still responsible to the wider fans of the club.

    And now into administration again despite fan representation.

    And the fans don't share any responsibility for the mess again?

    You continue to bang on about it, if it helps ease the psychological pain.


    Try and do a better job this time.

    And don't forget that Dundee is not a tax free zone!

  • Comment number 90.

    ALAN #78

    You know as soon as I logged out, I realised I’d spelt it wrong, and I thought they’ll be all over me. But it was an easy mistake to make, and in 30-40 years time people will be sketchy regarding details about your club as well.
    I also notice that your original post was removed to begin with; you must have been absolutely blazing first time and were probably using words much more colourful than Muppet. Must have been frustrating to have seen it rejected first time.
    But what I said holds true, it is only because it is the second time that you’re getting this reaction. I like derby’s too (I’m even old enough to remember them) but don’t say Dundee going down would be a huge loss to Scottish football, it wouldn’t’. There are only a handful of teams that would apply to, mine NOT included.

    The other and main point is your use of the word “pride”.

    “with pride plenty of passion and pride” … and pride and pride and pride…..

    Too much me thinks.

    And then ended it with “Pride b4 a fall”

    You guys would know. Twice like.

    It also occurred to me that you’re style of writing and point of view reminded me of some “Muppet” who wrote in the Dundee Tele that his team did not deserve the punishment they received, that the team were indispensable to Scottish football, that it was unfair all the criticism directed at them and predicting that other teams would follow. Then, he miserably tried to divert the attention from his own clubs’, fans’ and creditors’ problems by smugly pointing to United’s dwindling support and only getting big crowds at cup finals – glory hunters.

    His name was Alan as well. But he WAS a Muppet.

    Yes United do still get to cup finals, and even win them.

    This guy was the bloke who inspired me go onto Your Call on Saturday – STILL AVAILBLE ON THE WEB SITE and to write on Jim’s Blog. I’d never done that before. So it is him you should thank for my comments.

    Ruffifan #88

    I am friendly with Jim Spence (you couldn’t wish to meet a nicer person). I am not or ever have been “Big Mates” with Bob Brannan. The point I was making was I knew him to be an honest and decent guy who loved Dundee Football Club. I’m sure it must have been a dream come true to be involved with club he supported. What happened was he got out of his depth – like the Marr brothers’ before. He will have been swept away by this publicity seeking millionaire from Aberdeen and the euphoria surrounding the promotion possibilities. Suddenly his voice doesn’t carry much authority and he has less if any control over the direction the club is going in. Money talks. Still things were looking alright up to then weren’t they? Same thing will have happened to the fans representative. All swept along by somebody more in control.

    Bob Brannan shouldn’t be at the top of your hit list. Look North!

    In the end Bob Brannan is some poor sod who was left holding the baby. He is left with the guilt of being one of those responsible for almost losing the club he loves, has lost his good name and sullied his reputation, and has lost a ¼ mill to the club he loves. Plus you guys are all over him.

    Very few of the fans have got that burden to carry.

  • Comment number 91.

    2 Bakers

  • Comment number 92.

    It is all a bit too easy to ding dong about the rights and wrongs and the goods and bads of Dundee. It is even entertaining for some, no doubt. Jim´s piece, though, was about how Scottish football must change. There are some interesting ideas in this debate that could be discussed. See mine at #44 for instance.

    U-boat man, Ruffifan and Ade, use your obvious wit and intelligence to provide possible solutions to the current situation in Scottish Football instead of reacting to the perfectly understandable (if not always justifiable) feelings of indignance offered by Dundee fans. then you really would be doing us all a favour.

  • Comment number 93.

    Ade_Tannadice, You´ll be lucky to find a bakers shop open at that time. Surely you mean "2 the 24 hour BP garage......."

  • Comment number 94.

    #93 Andrew

    Ha ha! No I’m NOT meaning off to the bakers now. I’m trying to stop that, esp at midnight.

    No it is a reference to the “butchers, 2 bakers and candlestick makers” owed monies by the DFC. Wallace the bakers and Rough & Fraser (open 24 hrs)

    Alan #63 mentions “butchers, bakers and candlestick makers” – probably after hearing me say it on Your Call.

    I was just reminding him it was 2 bakers owed money.


    One thing I am glad about is that “Rae of Sunshine” has been very quiet.

    That “balloon” is more culpable than anybody for causing the torrent of outpourings.

    He started me off long before your last letter to the Tele.

  • Comment number 95.

    How can we even remotely attempt to solve Dundee's or Scottish Footballs problems in the present climate? You have to look at the extent of rhetoric in this thread and the media in general. I have just finished listening to your call on I-player; a Dundee Utd fan exalting the games industry in Dundee citing how wonderful that is for the city, and how bad Dundee FC are for the city and should be liquidated.

    Not only is it a depressingly short sighted attitude; it is a complete fairy tale!

    To use the callers example; the games industry. Three games companies have went under in the last 7 years, the most recent with debts in the region of £50 million (est.), and all to the tune of around 500 redundancies in total. All of the Directors are now either running new ventures, or have flown the coop. All that is left is empty buildings, spent government grants, unpaid bills (inc. tax), and a substantial hole in the public purse left by staff redundancy payments.

    Why did these companies go down and Dundee FC didn't? The fan base. It is down to the fan base that the club survived, twice. It's down to the fan base that jobs were saved, the heritage remains, and history can continue. Yet, the general consensus is we the fans are to blame or we are custodians of the blame and we do not deserve to have a club.
    If we have no club, then we are not fans. Is this what we want?

    It is hard enough to progress when we can't get an agreement that Dundee's troubles are indicative of and not unique in Scottish Football. It is only going to compound our problems if we don't make a distinction that *all* fans are the bread and butter of football and all need to be prized; even the ones who vociferously stick up for the their club through thick and thin.

    The fans by default 'own' their club, now Dundee's actually do. I don't have specific answers to our problems, but I am glad that this is the case. Hopefully when we are out of administration we can put an end to this sorry period in our clubs history and offer a new and sustainable way to run, support and guide our club back to the heights it once sat.

    Again, I can only mirror Mr. Spence's sentiment; If we do, that has to be a good thing for Scottish Football - maybe celebrated as something worthy to come out of this embarrassing situation.

    I thought I made it quite clear in my last post; I was quite harsh regarding Brannan. But I hear you, Melville has a lot to answer for, and I would also like to add Mr. Knight to your list; out of all of them, he truly failed in his responsibilities!

    Ah fans as directors - an excellent example of how I am wrong in my distinction! I do admire your ability to wholly generalize, then use fringe cases as the example! Though I do need to inform you; I am not and never have been a director, therefore a decision maker. I would not want to generalize; but I do believe 99.9% of the Dens Park faithful are the same.

    Oh, and again; what exactly are your thoughts on the HMRC turning down a better offer knowing the outcome of that decision would be much less?

  • Comment number 96.

    Not every fan can input to decision making but some of them do as directors at clubs up and down the country at every single level of the game in Scotland. Scotland doesn't have high or even moderate levels of foreign ownership of its clubs. Its largely the locals, the wealthier fans. And that is why your distinction is wholly artificial. You'll have your own reasons for it being convenient!

    In these circumstances, using your terms, no statistician worth his or her salt would describe John Reid or even Dermot Desmond as residuals and Celtic as a fringe case. You think people like Eddie Thompson pumped money into UTD to make more money? You are kidding.

    No generalisations required.

    And specifically the Dens faithful had control of their club and turned it over with a weak control to Melville. A collective failure of a responsibility to your club by the fans themselves. I'm sure in later stages of mourning you will come to appreciate this better.

    HMRC deals? Sets a dangerous precedent doesn't it?

    Now where is the evidence on Celtic defaulting on their bills? Other clubs do behave differently. Maybe yours will in time.

  • Comment number 97.

    My final point on all this.

    What I will say is that I personally don't blame the Dundee fans for much of the problems. You have had the wrong type of person in control for as far back as I can remember. Gellatly (latterly) Ron Dixon, Angus Cook ( Cheesus ….. Angus Cook) the Marrs – (Di Stef) and now the geezer from Aberdeen.

    If fact I would go as far as to say that Dundee Football Club hasn’t deserved the fans, or the support the fans have given them for the past 30 years.

    What cheeses me off though is that as a United supporter I don’t feel I deserve to have to put up with them either!

    A number of years back when a ground share was mentioned I asked an office worker – a woman of about late 50’s, who I knew was a Dundee supporter - while she was sitting at her desk typing in front of a full office, if she thought it was a good idea. She ranted “Never! I would rather the club just finished and I would have my memories”. The rest of colleagues looked away embarrassed, shaking their heads and intimating that I should take it no further. They knew what she was like. It stunned me, it was pure hatred.

    Even one of my friends who supports them used to PAY to come and watch United in Europe late 70’s – early 80’s hoping to see them get beat. “It only takes one break-away, and that’s you out!” he'd say to me.

    I put up with these sad cases.

    But it was the trumpeting buffoons like “Rae of Sunshine” in the Evening Tele who couldn’t wait to give it large as often as they could that was the final straw with me.
    The hubris, the gloating and hoping that United were on the slide (and that after what their club had already been through) put the tin hat on it.
    More shame the Tele for giving that idiot page space in the first place. I wonder if they regret it.
    Even Alan in his last post pointed out Thomson Jr. wont be around much longer, then you guys have had it.

    I get the impression that you guys don’t mind going down the pan as long as you could bring United down with you.
    And in some respects that might be the best thing for Dundee as a city.
    It’s only a game. Some things are more important. Less bitterness, more peace and harmony. Vishnu.

    Anybody for that?.......................Didn’t think so!

    That was never a penalty Ref !!

  • Comment number 98.


    As you can probably work out I am quite fired up about the whole thing.
    While I don’t blame the Dundee fans for there predicament, I do blame them for their attitude over the years.
    As a young lad nearly forty years ago I started supporting United. Totally naive I was subjected to taunts of “Aluminium” referring to the stand and “Summer Cup”.
    Dundee fans at that time laughed because they were the bigger club. When United became more successful (not necessarily bigger, but more successful) it turned to bile and sneering.
    Now we are both bigger and more successful. But I don’t think about Dundee, only my own club.
    It is only when I read some of the comments of balloons with a chip on their shoulder that it gets my back up.
    Get on with your own club, forget about others. And Good Luck.


    Surcouf. Keep on truckin’.

    Very cathartic. If nothing else.

  • Comment number 99.

    Post 93 (i think)
    I have never written to the tele on any subject, ever, nor do i listen to the radio often, sports or otherwise, my comment about bakers etc was in reference to the amatuer status, actions of our sfl admin. Finally my comment re thompson jr were a reaction to the gloating at our plight and the thin line so many clubs are treading, a sort of but for the grace of god scenario, and not in hope of united folding. Plus i never noticed at any point any of my posts being removed.

  • Comment number 100.

    obviously finally wasn't


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