Dundee United manager Micky Mellon believes a deal will be done with players and coaching staff as pay cuts loom large at Tannadice.
Mellon is confident an agreement will be reached after United’s squad members and management team were asked to take wage reductions of up to 20%.
The Tangerines’ boss, who has been preparing his side for Saturday’s home Premiership clash with Ross County with the grim news hanging over him, claimed there is a willingness to help the Tangerines “sail through” these stormy financial seas.
The coronavirus has locked United fans out of their matches and owner Mark Ogren, in an exclusive interview with Courier Sport, warned things could get “messy” while insisting the club would survive the Covid-19 trauma.
Mellon is right in the thick of it all and has himself been asked to take a slice off his salary just months after being appointed.
He looks likely to say yes and the players should follow suit.
Mellon said: “We haven’t even got to the stage of the cut yet.
“We are still in discussions and it’s very early in those.
“However, we all understand that we are in a global pandemic. That is first and foremost what we accept and know.
“We decided as a group with the players that we are going to compartmentalise this, do the football when it was necessary for the football and do this when it was necessary for this. We have had good meetings and, when the time is right, we will come to a place that suits the club.
“It is difficult for everyone in the world at the minute and the staff and the players are all aware of that.
“We as a club, group of players and a coaching staff will do all we can to make sure that Dundee United sails through this the best way it can.
“They are a great group of players who have had great success here and they have a great affinity with the club.
“They, more than anybody, want to make sure they do what they have to do in order to help the club through this,” added Mellon.
“Those players, to a man, understand that we are in a pandemic. They are not silly.
“They understand that if things have to be done then they will be there to help make that happen.
“There will be no resistance to that from them – they are a great group.
“That’s the same for the coaching staff.”
Owner 100% backing club
Mellon revealed he has been kept in the loop by sporting director Tony Asghar, although he has not chatted to owner Ogren.
Asked if the American had contacted him, he replied: “No. We’ve been in constant dialogue with Tony. He has kept us right up to speed in communication.
“I am aware that there is an owner who is 100% backing Dundee United and I know we’re in a global pandemic with no income. I’ve been aware of that since the first day of this.
“When crowds stopped coming into games, I was in the game long enough to understand that with no crowds coming in, and clubs aren’t making any money, that at some stage, if crowds don’t come in, then it’s going to become very difficult.
“United have held off until this time and now we have to have adult conversation with each other to find a way that the club can keep moving forward.
“There are no big dramas as far as I am concerned. There is no real fuss about it here.
“There is some pain that is going to have to be suffered.
“The players, the coaching staff and people working at Tannadice are willing to do that because we understand that we are not on our own. The whole world is suffering this way and having to make changes. It’s just our turn to have to do that.”
No imminent pressure to sell
Despite the “messy” warning from Ogren, Mellon claimed he doesn’t feel under “imminent pressure” to sell star striker Lawrence Shankland or anybody else.
Asked about departures in the next window, he replied: “I don’t think there is a club in the world that doesn’t have to sell players.
“But there is no imminent pressure put on anybody and that still stands.
“Nothing will happen here unless it is for the good of Dundee United.
“That will never change, from the owner all the way down.
“He will make sure every question is answered by that – ‘Does it help make Dundee United better or move us forward?”
Similar situation at Tranmere
These may be extraordinary times, as he put it, but Mellon did deal with something similar when still at Tranmere Rovers.
He said: “We had the same kind of situation early at Tranmere when the season was caught short.
“We went through the various furloughs, the wage deferrals and all the things that were necessary that football people, as well as everybody else, knows have to be made to keep the football club moving forward.”
The United gaffer certainly seems confident his players’ minds will be on the job in hand when they welcome County to Tannadice this weekend.
“We will concentrate on what we are here to do and that is organise and be ready to play games of football.
“We will deal with the other stuff that comes our way as we have to.
“We just have to get on with it the best way we can and accept we are living in these times.
“Football is not exempt to it – we understand that – so we will do what is necessary to keep making sure we progress as a football club.
“We won’t let our focus go or make any excuses about that.
“We will train properly, prepare properly and play games of football properly.”
As for actual football, United look certain to welcome back Adrian Sporle against County after the Argentinian recovered from his groin injury.
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