Dundee chief John Nelms told fans a ‘yes’ vote was the best possible deal for the club after supporters questioned his U-turn in the SPFL voting saga.
He responded to an email today from the Dundee Supporters Association (DSA) – which comprises 34 clubs and over 1,000 members – after they demanded answers over the Dens Park side’s stance on the controversial proposal that handed titles to rivals Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers.
The Dark Blues have been at the centre of the storm that engulfed Scottish football since last Friday’s requested deadline where their ‘no’ vote failed to arrive with the SPFL and subsequently saw the club holding the decisive call for five days.
The club issued a statement at lunchtime on Wednesday outlining their side in the furore but fell short of declaring their intention to later change to a ‘yes’ vote which sparked outcry from a number of Dark Blues fans when it emerged.
The vote also brought forward league reconstruction talks – a stipulation Nelms had made clear would be in exchange for a ‘yes’ to minimise the financial harm inflicted on some clubs by the original resolution.
The reaction to this week’s events has been mixed across the Dundee fan group – some positive and many refraining from casting judgement – but amongst that there has also been real anger.
Some supporters are dismayed while others feel dismayed by the change of decision from Nelms, prompting the request for answers from the DSA.
The concern from many is the move did little for the club’s interests while, at the same time, gifted the Championship title to their fiercest rivals.
The email sent by the DSA committee – which The Courier has seen – said: “We are sure everyone felt a sense of relief yesterday with the casting of the Dundee FC vote in regards to the SPFL resolution of April 8 but are disappointed that the club has not yet offered a statement to clarify the Dundee FC position or explain the change of mind in the voting process from a ‘No’ to a ‘Yes’.
“We would urge you therefore to make one as soon as possible to put an end to the conjecture which still continues.
“Supporters of Dundee Football Club have been patient over the last few days while trusting that the club would make the correct decision in not just our interests and but the interests of Scottish football as a whole and would welcome a public statement of clarity.
“The statement issued by the club yesterday was thought to be vague in some quarters and we feel did not clarify or explain our voting position and so we would like to request that the club do this as soon as is practically possible.”
Nelms – who has been at Dens Park since 2013 – moved quickly to try to assuage fears from the fans and responded with a statement.
He said: “By way of further explanation of our statement from April 15, Dundee FC submitted its vote to the SPFL and issued its statement simultaneously.
“There was no changing of our vote at any time that day as has been reported in some channels.
“If what we achieved in our pause was presented by the SPFL in the first instance we would have voted in favour of the proposal on 10 April 2020.
“We have achieved the best deal possible out of a situation that was going to be bad for us in any iteration that was being proposed.
“Let us be clear, no matter what the proposal looked like, the majority of the clubs in the Premiership and the Championship are proponents of promotion/relegation.
“Any solution that did not include this would not have enough support to be passed. Therefore, the SPFL chose to include it to expedite the conclusion, but without considering the ramifications to all clubs.
“Most importantly for Dundee FC, we spoke to other member clubs regarding their appetite for reconstruction, as the SPFL’s briefing notes did not give us much of a chance.
“This is the only aspect of any proposal that helps Dundee FC in any way.
“As stated yesterday, reconstruction could help ensure the future of Scottish football as a sustainable and profitable one.
“After speaking to numerous clubs we believe that the appetite for reconstruction is there and the intention is to establish an immediate and focused working group to take on this task.
“We stated that the SPFL will have to accept and support the will of the members. As you saw in the SPFL statement last night, they already have started this process.
“In conclusion, from a very poor situation we have gotten the best result for Dundee FC and for Scottish football as a whole.
“Of 42 teams, 34 have voted yes in a democratic ballot and for most, the important thing is the monies can be distributed and they can work on survival plans for their clubs.
“It is time now to return our focus on staying safe and planning for the future of Dundee FC.”