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EXCLUSIVE: Dundee United Supporters’ Foundation £100,000 investment proposal revealed as ‘short-term liquidity’ and ‘academy vision’ emerge as key factors

DUSF members are voting on six-figure United investment
DUSF members are voting on six-figure United investment

Not even a coronavirus crisis can dilute Dundee United’s vision of building their future on a rock of youth development that will reap long-term financial and football rewards.

Making sure that brutal short-term cash-flow imperatives don’t chip away at that base before the club emerges the other side of the shutdown will be the tricky bit, though.

The Tangerines have to try and find a way to keep their head above water during a crippling global pandemic while at the same time pushing forward with their ambitious academy plans.

But their plea for a six-figure sum of fans’ money lays bare the potential incompatibility of the two forces.

It’s not as simple as the Dundee United Supporters’ Foundation handing over £100,000 that will be ring-fenced for Andy Goldie and his academy.

The harsh truth is that no such guarantee can be given.

The club, and the DUSF steering group which has been in discussions with them, haven’t tried to hide from that fact.

In the 11-point document the Foundation have put to their members, they say the investment will help to ensure “the club’s short-term liquidity”.

And in the United board of directors’ introductory statement, the need for assistance towards running costs was put out in the open.

The youth-focused ambition is clear but there are no certainties in Scottish football at the moment.

The proposal that has been agreed after talks reopened between club and Foundation recently is for the latter to provide funds for the “redevelopment of our academy facility at Gussie Park,” United explained.

United owner Mark Ogren urged DUSF members to vote in favour of investment
United owner Mark Ogren at the weekend urged DUSF members to vote in favour of investment

“However, the proposal, if passed, will assist towards the running costs of the club at a vital time when we are unable to generate match-day revenue given the current circumstances that all of us find ourselves in.

“The contribution of £100,000, and potentially future funds as DUSF grows with the help and support of the club, will ensure that the redevelopment is achieved much sooner and to a higher quality than otherwise would have been the case.

“The redevelopment of Gussie Park is crucially important in ensuring that we produce a regular flow of young players of the quality required of a Premiership team.

“This season has seen the breakthrough into the first team of a number of exceptional academy graduates, including Louis Appere, Declan Glass and Chris Mochrie.

“As a club, we firmly believe that the proposed investment from DUSF will help the club ensure that this trend continues.”

There are contributions from sporting director Tony Asghar and academy chief Goldie.

Asghar said: “The long-term strategy of Dundee United is built upon the identification and development of our own players to play in our first team and with the major investment that has been put into the club from the chairman this cannot be understated.

“However, this vision and objective can be considerably enhanced with the partnership from our support base and by forming this coalition between the club and the Dundee United Supporters’ Foundation.

“With this agreement the Foundation are underpinning your belief in the club’s vision, as well as your generous donation forming a large part of the legacy for our academy at Tannadice.”

Sporting director Tony Asghar has outlined his vision for Tangerines
Sporting director Tony Asghar has outlined his vision for Tangerines

Goldie added: “Our academy forms the cornerstone of Dundee United’s footballing pathway which started with major achievements such as Elite status in accordance to Club Academy Scotland, the formation of our own performance school (our academy at Baldragon), numerous players now within the Scottish national team squads and most importantly players within our first team.

“To be able to develop a high–performance facility at Gussie Park in partnership with our own support is something to be proud of, as the players who will train and play there will not only understand that this was built by the club, but in a partnership with the Dundee United Supporters’ Foundation, and this will inspire them to know they are believed in.”

The steering group’s 11-point document also sets out the agreed timeline that will kick in should fans say ‘yes’ to the proposal.

Funding of £100,000 would be transferred to United within two to three days of “a positive ballot result”, with 100 shares gifted to the Foundation.

Should the Tangerines fail to meet point No2 – a commitment to investing in the Academy Campus project at Gussie Park within a year of the new season getting underway – the fan group will increase its shareholding tenfold.

Improving DUSF liaison, through the nomination of a senior club representative, is also in the football manifesto.

For members, as the Tuesday midnight deadline approaches, it’s decision time.

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