Taking heart from the success of similar fan initiatives, the 1893 Foundation is already putting thousands of pounds a month into Dundee Football Club and it’s only been going 10 days.
With the club in need of a helping hand to see them through the coronavirus shutdown and the lack of income it has brought, Dees have stepped up once more.
After launching on the club website on July 21, the scheme has already secured 350 members – including manager James McPake – putting £5,000 into the club every month.
The idea was proposed to the Dark Blues by supporter Ross Day after seeing the success of similar schemes at Hearts and Aberdeen.
Ross told Courier Sport: “It was an idea that has been floating around for a while after seeing the kind of success the Hearts Foundation have had with raising money for the club. Aberdeen, too, have their AberDNA setup and we wondered why Dundee didn’t have a similar thing.
“It was a no-brainer when you think about it.
“I put the proposal together initially going through DFCSS but then I took it to the club and they really liked the idea.”
The levels of monthly subscription vary from £10, £20, £40 and £100 with all money going directly to the club.
In return, members get rewards including pin badges, scarves, t-shirts, signed Dundee tops and hospitality.
Ross, though, is keen for the idea to evolve as the Foundation grows and is looking for input from more fans.
“I think the idea will change and grow over time,” he says.
“In the current situation, it was a case of getting it out right away rather than having the perfect product because we all know the appetite is there to help the club.
“The feedback so far has been very positive and that’s not always the case with these things! A lot of people are saying it’s exactly what the club has needed for a while.
“It’s a way to keep money coming into the club and it might go on to pay for two players a year if it all develops and builds.”
He added: “There are lots of different fan groups and factions and I wanted to launch the Foundation with the Supporters’ Society, the DSA, the Historical Trust and everybody involved.
“We want to get fans on board and involved. Things are tough right now and I think back to the Deefiant season with the togetherness in the stands. We could do with more of that.”
Ross has been helped out by fellow supporter Scott Roberts, with both taking on the role of foundation ambassadors as well as by staff at Dens Park.
Previously he was pivotal in setting up DeeTV and is happy to be working with the club again with the hope the foundation can bring the club and fans closer.
Ross said: “I think being associated with the club gives it that legitimacy for fans and has helped a lot.
“Tommy Young and Jonny McInally at the club have been very helpful in giving advice on the infrastructure and how it will all work.
“It’s difficult with the current situation but we’re talking about doing a proper launch for it because we are concerned it has only been on social media really so far and that only reaches a certain audience. Unfortunately, we can’t be going to games at Dens to convince people to join.
“Overall, I think I’d like to see better communication between the club and fans. I think this is a way we could achieve that. It’s something that’s been missing for some time. There will also be a steady income stream for club as well but, hopefully, we can improve the communication because, to me, that is the key to success.
“It’s important that people get value for money and that it’s worth signing up for. At the moment it’s very much – you get to this level of donation, you get this reward. I know a lot of people might not be interested in getting a pin badge or whatever but the plan is for the Foundation to change over time.”
Happy MonDees member Scott deserves huge credit for his own fundraising efforts for the club after setting up a GoFundMe in order to ‘Support the Dee’ and have next season’s shirt adorned with a ‘Thank You to the NHS’ badge on the sleeve.
To date, this has raised £13,750 for the club with a percentage being donated to Roxburghe House.
He said: “I had been looking online at all the efforts done by fans of other clubs like Raith Rovers, Dunfermline, Partick Thistle and Hearts was a big one. It was all great work done and it didn’t appear like much was happening to put money into Dundee at the time.
“I didn’t know much about GoFundMe and one of my mates suggested I just start it up.
“It was around the time when we were all clapping on Thursday nights for the NHS workers and I thought of all the fantastic efforts those workers do. My father has had a bit of ill health and I’ve had a couple of knee operations myself so I always see the work done by doctors and nurses as fantastic.
“It was a way to give them a wee thank you but also to help Dundee and to donate money to Roxburgh House, which most people in Dundee have had relatives go to unfortunately.
“The football club will decide how much ends up going there because we didn’t know how much we would raise at the start. There wasn’t a target, I hoped we’d get to about £10,000.
“But I spoke to guys at the club and they said no matter the amount raised, the thank you message would be going on the shirts.
“We got past £6,000 quickly and I we’re over £13,000 now.”
He added: “There’s also been other stuff off the back of it too which has been great. Scott McRuvie from the Whitehall Theatre and a bunch of fans are running 1893 miles (raising its target of £1,500) which is fantastic and there’s been the shirt sale the club did and the raffle which have all raised money.
“I’m really surprised with how much was raised but I know Dundee fans love the club. People have been great, I seen some guys put in £600, others £300 which is amazing for anybody to give. And there’s also people on the breadline who might only be able to afford a fiver but that’s just as important and shows their love for the club. It’s been brilliant.”