As the old saying goes, the way to make a small fortune in football is to start off with a big one.
Former Dundee United owner Eddie Thompson decimated the family fortune by listening to his heart rather than his head, and now the man who is putting his family money into Dundee FC is facing similar uncomfortable financial football facts.
Dundee FC owner Tim Keyes is finding like many before him, the reality of running a football club in Scotland is that you need very deep pockets and a willingness to lose money.
There aren’t too many folk like that around though, and that should worry fans of the Dark Blues.
While I support their plans for a new stadium, what happens if they don’t go ahead? For how long can the company which Keyes part owns, FPS, continue to lose money, given that £2 million has now been spent without any return?
The idea of the planned project at Camperdown faces various hurdles.
Apart from the difficulties of gaining planning permission, and the costs of building the ground and any possible associated access road costs, there are some nagging doubts whether the mix of retail and housing required, which it’s hoped will help fund the club in future, isn’t an idea that’s time has come and gone.
Around Dundee there are commercial and retail sites lying empty.
It’s a big gamble to invest heavily in this new project with no guarantee of a return.
I understand Dundee’s desire to leave Dens Park.
The prospect of paying rent on the old stadium until 2034 is an unattractive one, and will eat up money which would surely be better invested in a state-of-the-art facility.
To me the idea of a shared stadium between the two city clubs makes more sense, but no business person is going to risk the wrath of both sets of fans to pursue that pipe dream.
Meantime, across the road at Tannadice, any imminent American investment looks as likely as the return of the woolly mammoth.
Former chairman Stephen Thompson told me just before he sold his shares that the Americans didn’t have the money.
The new board are actively seeking investment and former director John Bennett should be first on their invite list.
Bennett is wealthy, well respected, and has business savvy aplenty. The previous United chairman could have saved himself a couple of years of grief had he taken my advice and stood down to allow Bennett to become chairman.
He didn’t though, and the opportunity to have a man at the helm at the time with serious business nous and good contacts was lost when John left the board.
The current board would be wise to consider a place for Bennett.
The task of revitalising United off the pitch is at least as onerous as rebooting them on the field.
On both sides of the street the two Dundee clubs face big challenges. Fans just want to see decent teams on the pitch, but those in the boardrooms know that requires hard cash, and hard work, around their tables.