Dundee United head coach Thomas Courts intends to widen the net in his search for new players.
Courts, last week promoted from United’s academy head of tactical performance to the first-team manager’s role, is on the hunt for talent to add to his squad.
With the Tangerines returning to pre-season training later this week, ahead of their 2021/22 Premiership campaign, the 39-year-old former Kelty Hearts boss hopes to welcome some new faces to St Andrews.
The Terrors are expected to seal a deal for experienced former Celtic and Scotland star Charlie Mulgrew.
However, Courts is eager to tap into his expansive network as well in order to locate the United stars of tomorrow.
Coming from a recruitment background and having worked with the first team in that field last term, Courts isn’t daunted by the task of building a team in his own image.
Terrors looking to ‘utilise fantastic network’
“As part of my job doing the opposition analysis previously, it was natural that I would be involved in recruitment meetings,” he explained.
“So I would be making recommendations about players I’ve seen and who would be of interest.
“We are a very fluid club in terms of how communication flows, so I have a very good understanding of the signing targets and their profiles.
“I was heavily involved in that with my previous job as well.
“All the way back to when I was managing as a 32-year-old I was developing a network.
“I was speaking to clubs about strategic recruitment and talent acquisition.
“That was in England, Europe, Eastern Europe and Holland. Over the last five or six years I have taken a lot of time to invest in that network, which allows you to make recommendations and introduce people.
“I think that’s the way the whole world operates as well.
“The level I was cultivating a network, this club can take advantage of and helps me look at things with a more global flavour.
“Tony (Asghar) has a fantastic network too, as do others internally, so we are always looking to utilise that.”
Courts had opportunities at West Ham and NAC Breda
Expanding on his landing the gaffer’s job at United, Courts revealed he turned down opportunities elsewhere to join the club’s academy initially in 2019.
The Fifer, who managed Kelty from 2013-18, feels vindicated in his decision to link up with Andy Goldie’s youth set-up at Tannadice after finally getting a role that excites him.
“When I left Kelty there were probably not a lot of live opportunities I thought were enticing,” he said.
“So I went through a process with West Ham for a very senior academy position and NAC Breda were also looking for someone senior within their first-team.
“So those experiences were phenomenal, but it coincided with a moment in time from a personal perspective, with my kids and their schooling, that the Dundee United opportunity presented itself and I felt gave me a breadth of experience I didn’t have.”
Fond memories of Leishman at Livi
For all Courts is seen as a progressive coach, he had very modest playing career at the likes of Livingston, Cowdenbeath, East Fife and Kelty.
Some of his best memories as a player come from his days working under Jim Leishman at Livi.
Courts recalls how the Dunfermline legends unusual methods to connect with his team left a lasting impact on him.
“I remember all the stories, the poems and the songs,” he laughed.
“We are from the same place, Lochgelly in Fife, and it was fantastic because I really felt he looked after me and took me under his wing.
“We wrote a lot of poems together and sung a lot of songs!
“That was a great time for me because Livingston were a very ambitious, progressive club at that time coming through the leagues.
“So you got accustomed to seeing teams win, get promotions and really want to push the boundaries.
“That is something that has stayed with me.”