Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Dundee fans group in plea to city MSPs as ‘legal action’ mooted in long-running club dispute

Dee4Life is reaching out to the city's Holyrood representatives for assistance in dispute.

Dundee owner Tim Keyes (L) and managing director John Nelms. Image: SNS.
Dundee chiefs Tim Keyes (left) and John Nelms (right). Image: SNS.

A prominent Dundee fans group is seeking help from the city’s MSPs to resolve a long-running “impasse” with the club over supporter representation.

Dee4Life – formerly known as the Dundee FC Supporters’ Society – say they will meet with Joe FitzPatrick MSP and Shona Robison MSP “in the coming weeks” as they aim to end a years’ long dispute over the right to places on the club’s board of directors.

The group describes its right to two seats on the board as “entrenched” in the club’s articles of association, having been signed off by owners Tim Keyes and John Nelms upon their purchase of a majority shareholding in 2013.

Dee4Life have not been granted board representation since the June 2020 resignation from the group of Bob Hynd, who remains a club director.

John Nelms (left) and Tim Keyes (centre) have been in control of Dundee for 10 years. Image: SNS.

Now, after citing failed attempts at “diplomacy” behind closed doors – and with fresh movement reported on the club’s new stadium plan – the group has gone public with concerns, directly accusing the club of blocking their right to representation and raising the prospect of legal action to restore it

In an update to fans, described in response by Dundee FC as containing “many inaccuracies”, Dee4Life chairman Keith Winter said: “When Dee4Life directors pledged to do everything in their power to seek answers about the proposed new stadium development, it was made clear that diplomacy would have to be exhausted before a different course of action would be pursued.

“Over the past year, we have been guided by legal advice and have asked for nothing beyond what FPS [Football Partners Scotland, the company through which Keyes and Nelms own their Dundee shareholding] agreed to when they bought the club 10 years ago.

“We have sought help from intermediaries and offered to go to arbitration to establish a framework for fan representation. We produced a proposal that highlighted the ways we can help the club in return for them fulfilling their legal obligations.

‘Outstanding stadium issues’

“We demonstrated our willingness to work alongside the club and provided financial assistance for projects. Most recently, we requested a Q&A session so that outstanding stadium issues could be addressed.

“We have worked hard to find an amicable solution but, with the club still failing to answer the perfectly reasonable questions put to them, we feel now is the time to appraise you of all that has happened to date.

“In December 2022, we nominated [Dee4Life] director Kenny Valentine to sit as our primary representative on the club board. The response, signed ‘Dundee Football Club Limited’, made clear this was regarded as a hostile act.

“Much of the anger appeared to be linked to the fact that a Dee4Life director had, while acting in a personal capacity, responded to the Camperdown [stadium project] statutory consultation by noting that they opposed the plan as it was presented at that time.

“We immediately sought legal counsel and were advised to resolve the situation privately. Our lawyer wrote to the club noting that the concerns expressed were clearly those of an individual, reminding them that we had acted within our entrenched rights, and offering to meet with company secretary Lindsay Darroch to discuss next steps.

“While it would have made our lives easier to outline every detail with you, we were advised that any public fallout would jeopardise any chance of progress. We ultimately took the view that to go public would be to fail our members by making it less likely that they received the answers they sought.”

In the early months of 2023, Dee4Life hoped progress was imminent, describing the nature of discussions with the club on the board issue as being a case of “when, not if”.

But talks soon stalled again, with the group saying “significant disagreement,” led to “a hardening of the club’s position,” culminating in them “being told that attempts to have a Dee4Life rep appointed would continue to be resisted.”

The stadium plan at Camperdown Park.
An image of Dundee’s proposed stadium plan at Camperdown Park. Image: LJRH Architects

They added: “Over the past year, we have made clear that we sought a reset in relations with the club but the supposed actions of ‘individuals associated with Dee4Life’ were repeatedly cited as reasons for the club’s reluctance to engage.

“For obvious reasons it isn’t in our interests for the full legal advice we received to be in the public domain but, to summarise, the only way to enforce Dee4Life’s entrenched rights would be by raising legal action against the club.

“We don’t have inexhaustible funds but the majority of our reserves are ring-fenced for legal action if it is ever required to fight a very clear threat to Dundee’s existence.

“Our primary focus over the past year has been to fulfil the pledges we made at the last AGM and for fans to receive the information they deserve.

Dundee East MSP and Scotland’s deputy first minister, Shona Robison MSP. Image:  Jane Barlow/PA Wire

“The board rep nomination was a means to an end for us – that end being to get answers to the stadium questions and to ensure this kind of situation does not arise again. With club directors now explicitly saying they will block this move and with John Nelms now apparently unwilling to take part in a Q&A, it is now time to consider next steps.

“We will be meeting with Dundee’s two constituency MSPs over the next few weeks to ask for their assistance in resolving this situation. We will update you on these talks and anticipate laying out the options available to us and recommending a course of action ahead at our AGM in November, at which point members will be able to vote on the direction we take.

“We note today’s media reports about the imminent purchase of Dens Park by FPS and will consider the implications for the club as we obtain more information on the matter.”

Dundee FC hit back

Approached by Courier Sport, Dundee FC hit back at Dee4Life’s statement, commenting: “Dundee Football Club wish to highlight there are many inaccuracies and false statements in the Dee4Life statement released today.

“The club is also in constant dialogue with the largest supporters’ group, Dundee Supporters’ Association (DSA) and the club’s supporter liaison officer (SLO).

“The club’s main focus is on our match tomorrow against Hibernian.”