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LEE WILKIE: Of course Dundee fans are unhappy after relegation – but Nelms and Strachan can change vibe with exciting head coach pick

Gordon Strachan alongside Dundee chief John Nelms
Gordon Strachan and Dundee chief John Nelms are looking for the club's new head coach.

Dundee fans being unhappy is nothing new.

And it’s hardly surprising.

If Dees were sitting here today chuffed with how things went last season, it wouldn’t say much for them as supporters!

Their team have just been relegated – of course they’re angry.

I doubt even John Nelms would have been caught out by the fan survey that suggested a big majority aren’t happy with how the club is being run.

Dundee managing director John Nelms

Fans have been raising similar concerns for months.

I also doubt he’ll be too shocked by the survey’s suggestion that a large number have no plans to buy a season ticket for next season’s tilt at the Championship.

Some sort of drop-off is inevitable when a club goes down a division.

But that’s not to say that Dundee’s chief executive can safely ignore this latest round of fan feedback.

In fact, he REALLY needs to pay attention to it.

Fans are asking for engagement – and I think John owes them that much at the very least.

I reckon regular communication would go quite a long way towards bringing fair-minded supporters back onside.

Dundee director of football Gordon Strachan.

But even before that could be arranged, Nelms, along with Gordon Strachan, have it in their power to considerably boost the mood amongst fans.

The pair have speaking to candidates for the vacant head coach role at Dens Park.

If they can conclude that process in the coming day or two, then make a quick, exciting announcement, supporters could get a big lift from it.

“Exciting” is the key word, however.

With Strachan taking the reins as director of football, the club is putting a brand new strategy in place.

It looks to me that, given Strachan’s vast experience in the game, there’s a great opportunity for Dundee to bring in a young, hungry coach to work beneath him – and inspire players and fans alike

Up-and-coming appointment

Appointing a young coach is no guarantee of success, but neither is appointing an experienced one, as Dundee fans are only too aware of.

The age profile of managers and head coaches is definitely falling.

And given Strachan’s presence, it feels to me like another senior figure is unlikely to be the right fit.

A young, up-and-coming appointment this week could capture the imagination of Dundee fans.

It would give the majority, who just want to enjoy watching their football team, something positive to focus on between now and the start of next season.

Will it solve the problem of Dundee fans being unhappy with how their club is being run? Not completely.

Will it convince people to buy season tickets? Not everybody.

But it will bring some people round. From there, bringing more back onside is simply a case of the club being willing to communicate.

That should not be too much to ask.


Ryan Gauld is a fans’ favourite at Vancouver

I’m not a jealous person by nature.

But I’ll admit felt a wee twinge when I saw how much Ryan Gauld is earning at Vancouver Whitecaps.

I don’t imagine Ryan’s too chuffed that the MLS players’ association publishes a list of members’ salaries every year, but I suspect the money makes up for it.

According to the list, Gauld is now earning £1.7 million a year.

That boils down to £33,000 a week.

It’s enough to make an old pro like me wish my career had started 15 years later!

Ryan’s a supremely talented player. If he weren’t he wouldn’t be on that level of wage.

It’s a similar story with another ex-Dundee United man now plying his trade in MLS – Johnny Russell.

Johnny, according to the same list that gave Ryan’s earnings away, is on £1.6 million a year at Sporting Kansas City.

Fair play to him too.

The game has changed around the world since I was playing, with North America now a serious destination for players who want to make good money.

It could be argued that players – like Ryan and Johnny – who go there jeopardise their international chances.

That’s possibly true. Although coverage is increasing all the time, it’s still out of the way and it’s possible that when it comes to Steve Clarke picking Scotland squads, it’s a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’.

In Ryan’s case in particular, I think that’s a shame.

There’s no doubt in my mind he could do a job for Scotland.

And however much he earns in the states, I’m sure a call-up would be far more valuable to him on a personal level.


Charlie Adam bids farewell to Dundee fans after his last match at Dens Park against Hibs.

Dundee fans will always be grateful to Charlie Adam for the two years he gave them at Dens Park.

I know that Charlie will always be grateful to them for the way they treated him too.

As a lifelong fan of the club, he was given a hero’s welcome on his return to his home city – and it never let up.

After two seasons, Dundee and Charlie have parted company and you could see what it meant to him as he saluted supporters after his final game at Dens.

At 36, Charlie’s now at a point in his career where he feels it’s time to start thinking about the future – and that is management.

Obviously, he will now start that journey elsewhere.

But it wouldn’t shock me to see Charlie return to Dens one day as manager.

And if it happens, you can bet he’ll get another hero’s welcome.

Dundee FC in 2021/22: How ‘crazy’ relegation season left hometown hero heartbroken and drove dismayed fans to brink

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