Of the two American football club owners in Dundee one is currently getting more bang for his buck than the other.
Mark Ogren at Dundee United and Tim Keyes at Dundee have invested heavily, but it’s the Tangerines who are currently giving the superior return, certainly in the emotional sense if not the financial.
Ogren has owned United since December 2018 while Keyes has been in control at Dens for eight years.
Ogren rightly lavished praise on his manager Tam Courts this week.
Courts, in his short spell in charge, has quickly and assiduously crafted a team which is playing fluently and achieving excellent results.
Wins against Rangers and Dundee and a draw at Celtic are direct evidence of major progress after the miserable Micky Mellon period, which most United fans have tried to erase from their memory banks.
From that dour, pragmatic approach to football, United have been reconfigured into a team with panache and purpose, allied to style and guile.
Courts is moulding a side which the former boss was always quick to remind everyone was made up of championship players into an outfit which is not only comfortably Premiership class, but gaining in confidence and capability with every tackle and pass.
Courts has transformed Mellon’s ugly duckling into a swan, playing football which is both graceful and robust.
Youth and experience are combining effectively to produce impressive performances which, if they can be maintained, point towards a top six finish.
From 16-year-old Kerr Smith to 35-year-old Charlie Mulgrew, Courts is prepared to be his own man and back his judgement, and his judgement so far is backing him.
There’s a real sense of purpose taking root at Tannadice, where love is certainly in the air among supporters savouring the sweet smell of success wafting around the place.
Just across the street, Tim Keyes has been a dutiful steward at Dens.
He’s seldom heard from, leaving the daily running of the club to John Nelms, but he’s deserving of a better return for the solid backing he’s provided at Dens park.
An impressive assembled playing cast has so far struggled to live up to its billing.
With midfield maestro Charlie Adam out injured, Leigh Griffiths yet to recapture the form which once made him the most prolific striker in Scotland and some fine outfield play stubbornly not yielding a solitary win so far, it feels like Dundee are the football equivalent of an actor forgetting to call it the Scottish play and blurting out the name ‘Macbeth’ instead, bringing all the attendant bad luck which the Dark Blues have suffered so far.
Keyes has been a quiet custodian at Dens and while I’m told that the wage budget is not as big as some might think, he has supported the club well since taking ownership and never complained about the cost of running the show.
Neither he nor his manager has caught a break so far, despite some decent performances this season.
However, football is a fickle affair, turning on small margins and debatable refereeing calls.
Keyes may yet realise his American dream if Dundee’s luck ever turns.