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Dundee ‘open-letter’ fan group’s latest message to club owners Tim Keyes and John Nelms IN FULL

Dundee owner Tim Keyes (L) and managing director John Nelms at the St Johnstone match.
Dundee owner Tim Keyes (L) and managing director John Nelms at the St Johnstone match.

An “extremely concerned” group of Dundee fans have been engaged in attempting to improve the disconnect between club and supporters.

An initial open letter garnered over 1,300 signatures and then two responses from owners Tim Keyes and John Nelms.

Those responses ended but that hasn’t stopped the group, who include journalist Patrick Barclay and 1893 Foundation founders Ross Day and Scott Roberts, from continuing to push for change.

Here is their latest letter in full. The first part was the message sent out to signatories of the original open letter:

‘Significant change is required’

Dundee fans showed their anger by heading for the exits after just 18 minutes against Livingston earlier this season.
Dundee fans showed their anger by heading for the exits after just 18 minutes against Livingston earlier this season.

“Following the club’s rejection of our initial proposals we wrote a follow up letter several weeks ago making further suggestions and once again requesting a meeting with the board to discuss the situation facing the club.

“We have yet to receive a reply from them.

“We took the decision at the time not to make this public as we didn’t want anything to detract from the team’s efforts to fight relegation.

“As we sadly now know the outcome of the season we now share the following with you.

“Following relegation, we face a difficult time with it being clear that significant change is required across the club’s operations.

Dundee finished bottom of the Premiership.

“We will continue to press for the board to engage with fans and allow them to help inform this change while encouraging everyone to continue to support the team and their efforts to bounce straight back from relegation.

“Regards,
Barry, George, Grant, Mike C, Mike G, Paddy, Paul, Ross, Ryan, Scott”

‘Dear John and Tim’

The latest letter in full:

“Dear John and Tim,

“We write in response to your most recent communication in which you confirmed the club would not be introducing any of the measures which we called for and which were backed by a significant percentage of the Dundee support.

“We are disappointed by this but note John’s recent comments that you are always open to new ideas.

“In that spirit, our group met last week to discuss alternative ways of helping the club while addressing the issues we raised in our open letter and that close on 1,300 fans agreed were problematic.

“These are:

Tim Keyes and John Nelms at the recent Aberdeen away fixture.

SLO

“The club’s next Supporter Liaison Officer should be a full-time employee, as is the case at other clubs and as is recommended by the Scottish FA. The SLO’s full responsibilities (as per SFA guidelines) are so extensive that they cannot be carried out on a part-time basis. This would ensure not just more effective representation of issues but also more opportunities for positive fan engagement. Furthermore, we propose that the vacancy is advertised and that applicants are interviewed and appointed jointly by the club and fans’ groups.

Fanbase

“We propose that the club commits to a review of all aspects of its business, in conjunction with stakeholders and other external figures, to identify areas of both strengths and weaknesses and develop strategies for future development. We believe that fan engagement should be seen as a positive and vital undertaking and that the fanbase has many experts in their respective fields and is somewhat an untapped resource at present.

AGM

“Following extensive discussion with signatories of the open letter and the wider fan base there is such clear support for a shareholder AGM that we ask you to reconsider the decision to rule this out. In John’s recent Courier interview he said you were accountable for your decisions every day. As such, we once again ask that the board be willing to stand in front of shareholders once a year and answer questions they have about the running of the club. We note the comments about you not wanting to return to measures that contributed to unsuccessful spells, but AGMs took place throughout the most successful periods in our history and we are the only club of our size in Scotland not to currently hold one.

Dundee fans stayed away from the Scottish Cup quarter-final against Rangers earlier this season.

‘DSA were clear’

“You suggested that we affiliate with the DSA (Dundee Supporters Association) to receive the information they do.

“Fundamentally we do not believe any Dundee fan should have to start a supporters’ club to find out what is happening at Dens Park or to ask questions & suggest improvements of the club, open fan engagement channels should be a fundamental of the club and a cornerstone of future success.

“At their recent meeting, the DSA were clear that they should not be the sole conduit for communications to and from the board and noted that their constitution would not permit an open group such as ours to affiliate with the organisation.

‘Heartened’

“When we speak to Dundee supporters about their feelings for the club just now the word that comes up time and time again in ‘disconnected’.

“We will continue to press for changes to the representation structure to try and bring the club and its fans back together and hope you will seriously consider these alternative proposals as well as to respond positively to the growing demand for an AGM reintroduction.

“Once again, we ask that you meet with our group to discuss our objectives and proposals.

The South East Section has been a positive introduction this season.

“It has to be noted that we have been heartened by the recent communication drive from the club including creating a discount match package for the final two games, supporting the South East Section creation and encouraging then matching the great work of the supporters’ club to raise funds for tickets for those unable to afford the games.

“We hope to continue to see this positive engagement year-round to prevent fans feeling disconnected.

“While we have previously made communications public, in the spirit of the open letter, we understand the importance of nothing acting as a distraction ahead of Saturday’s vital match with St Johnstone and so will not be updating our signatories until things have hopefully taken a turn for the better on the park.

“In the meantime, we hope that you will give serious consideration to our proposals and are agreeable to meeting up at the soonest opportunity.”

Dundee fan group behind open letter make fresh bid to bring change at Dens Park – but club owners do not reply

 

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