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Dundee United academy director Andy Goldie: Ambitious Gussie Park plans can inspire next generation of Tannadice talent

Dundee United academy director Andy Goldie is excited about the future of Gussie Park
Dundee United academy director Andy Goldie is excited about the future of Gussie Park

Andy Goldie believes a revamped Gussie Park can inspire the next generation of talented Tannadice kids to make the breakthrough at Dundee United.

United have started the first phase of the ยฃ300,000+ Academy campus project.

When all stages of the overhaul are complete the club’s historic training ground will be turned into a historic state-of-the-art facility.

Work has started to redevelop Dundee United’s Gussie Park

United are rightly proud of their recent record of developing young talent.

An impressive 14 academy graduates have starred for the first team this season.

The club held their academy awards ceremony at the weekend, marking the achievements of all age levels of their youth system.

And the club’s academy director Goldie is convinced United can get to the next level with a facility to match their ambitions.

“Over the last three years, we have undoubtedly had a lot of success in bringing young academy players through,” said Goldie.

“We have broken the youngest player record three times.

“We have had four 16 year olds playing in the first team.

Rory MacLeod became the youngest ever Dundee United player when he made his debut at 16 and six days

“There are more academy graduates in the first team than ever – 14 of which have played this season.

“We have more international youth players than the club has ever had.

Dundee United academy ‘in profit’

“You are starting to see the benefits of that with interest from clubs down south as well.

“The academy business model is now in profit – given the players we have sold. We have sold Kerr Smith, Scott Banks, Jamie Robson and Louis Appere.

“When you look at it then you ask ‘what can we do next?’

“We could rest on our laurels given the success we’ve had so far or we could push the boundaries again.

“It’s in our nature to push the boundaries. We are ambitious but we need a facility to match our ambition.”

Gussie Park’s location in the backdrop of Tannadice is pivotal to the future success of the academy.

United are proud of their illustrious history at a facility that spawned the likes of Ryan Gauld, John Souttar and Johnny Russell.

United owner Mark Ogren has given his financial backing to the project with Dundee United Supporters Foundation also providing ยฃ100,000 towards phase one.

As the project accelerates through all phases, Gussie Park will have new floodlights, a new playing surface and a dedicated spectator area.

Internally, the finalised redevelopment will offer new offices, performance suites, analysis classrooms and a new medical centre.

Dundee United hope to create ‘state-of-the-art’ academy at Gussie Park

And Goldie believes Gussie Park will become a facility the club can feel proud of.

“We are very proud of the rich history we have at Gussie Park,” said Goldie.

“But we can’t rest on that and be happy to be known as the club who were so strong in the 1980s and 1990s.

Ryan Gauld learned his trade with Dundee United academy at Gussie Park

“We can’t live off past successes.

“We want to bring sustainable success back to the club in the long term. To do that, we have to invest in our academy.

“The owner and board have given us tremendous financial backing.

“Dundee United Supporters Foundation have been a fantastic in offering part-funding.

“We looked at various options but have always come back to Gussie Park.

“That’s partly due to location. If you look across the road, then ultimately you can see where you want to be in every training session.

Andy Goldie believes a revamped Gussie Park can take the Dundee United academy to the next level

“We want to maintain and harness that historical attachment between Gussie Park and Tannadice.

“We could be the club that has all the success with a one pitch facility.

“But, ultimately, we are looking for a facility that is fit for the modern era.

“At United we can tell them about the successes we’ve had and the pathways that are there for them.

“But the modern day kid and modern day parents, perception is key.

“We can’t compete with some other clubs in terms of their facilities at the moment but we can with our success stories.

“To have a facility to match that, will make us even stronger and we’ll get that at Gussie.”