There are a lot of unhappy Dundee fans right now.
In the week where the team makes a triumphant return to the Premiership, that’s the last thing that should be happening.
The club made a promise. A promise to all season-ticket holders they’d be able to see their team take on St Mirren on Saturday.
It was a promise they were unable to keep.
A whole lot of fans won’t have been to a game for 16 months.
Around 700 now won’t be there that could have been.
Currently the season-ticket holders number around 3,000 with 77% now able to attend Saturday’s league opener.
That’s around 2,300.
That is a great thing after months upon months of empty stands. Absolutely brilliant.
But there are 23% left outside.
Now, let’s be honest, not all of them will have been able to attend – work commitments or whatever will be in the way.
But that is a lot of people – more than the club had at the play-off final last year.
And it is a great shame.
Promise came with best intentions
I don’t want to go pointing the finger of blame because I know just how much tireless work the staff at Dens Park do on a weekly basis.
It is an incredible amount of work they do for their club.
And this week will have been as stressful as they come.
The promise the club made came from a good place – getting loyal fans in to see their team.
More importantly giving them what they’ve paid for in shelling out for a season book.
And this, much like many other situations in the past 16 months, is an unprecedented problem to have to solve.
What has been the problem?
The main issue in not being able to get 3,000 fans into a capacity of 4,000 has been the social distancing rules – rules that will likely apply for this game and this game only.
The agreement reached with Dundee City Council was for the two end stands only so opening the other two stands was a non-starter.
Both have serious problems to overcome to allow social distancing in certain places anyway due to their age – the corridors in the main stand and toilet in the South Enclosure being main ones.
Instructions from the governing bodies and council allowed groups of up to 15 fans to sit together, cutting the need for so many empty seats.
And that’s where the issues have arisen. With groups that size, social distancing wouldn’t have been the huge hurdle it’s become.
However, aside from supporters clubs, it’s pretty tricky to find 14 other people to join you in the queue after such short notice from the council.
And smaller groups have required more and more social distancing. A supporter picking up a single ticket needs a one metre distance all around – seats front, back, left and right.
Space ran out and fans who have been unable to queue are left frustrated at the club.
It’s a week that should be all about celebrating the return of Dundee to the Premiership and thousands of fans back in the stands.
However, despite the best intentions and efforts from the club, it has ended up one full of anger, dismay and frustration.