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Mark Ogren ‘taken aback’ by Tam Courts criticism as Dundee United owner insists Tannadice boss is destined for big things

Early pressure: Ogren, left, and Courts
Early pressure: Ogren, left, and Courts

Mark Ogren confesses he was ‘taken aback’ by the severity of the criticism following Dundee United’s decision to appoint Tam Courts as manager.

Tangerines owner Ogren rolled the dice on the advisement of sporting director Tony Asghar last summer, handing the reins to the rookie boss following the departure of Micky Mellon.

Courts’ only previous experience of senior management was in the South of Scotland League with Kelty Hearts — prompting an immediate backlash in some quarters.

However, Ogren is adamant United’s decision was an educated one, based upon the fine work Courts had been doing within the Tannadice youth ranks.

And Courts has gone on to lead the Terrors back into Europe for the first time in a decade.

Ogren spoke at Tannadice on Friday

“There was a lot of negativity around that appointment,” said Ogren. “It wasn’t so much they didn’t like Tam [Courts]. Quite frankly, they didn’t know him.

“We knew him because he was already working with the younger players. We knew what we were getting — and what he could end up being. He has fulfilled that promise.”

Asked if he got a sense of the initial disenchantment from his base in the U.S, Ogren added: “Oh, yes! I am not on social media but I was well aware of it.

“You can have a nice sunny day but you will have someone who finds something to complain about.

“But the extent of the negativity? I was taken aback.

“They weren’t doing it to go after Tam as a person. They were afraid. They were afraid that we didn’t know what we were doing — I get that.”

Bearing the brunt

To this day, there is a portion of the fanbase — particularly prominent on social media — who remain sceptical.

Ogren, however, is delighted to see the way Courts has won over many supporters.

Tony Asghar, left, championed the appointment of Tam Courts

“We had a fan group meeting on Thursday night,” continued Ogren. “Some of the fans put their hands up to say they had been negative about [the appointment] — but congratulations and nice work.

“So, yes, I feel good about that.”

Does it feel like vindication? “Not for me personally,” Ogren answers.

“I am happiest for Tony Asghar and Tam. They got the brunt of it. Ultimately, it was Tony who wanted to bring him in. I supported him.”

Destined to move on

Indeed, Courts’ efforts with United have been enough to see him linked with a switch to the English Championship by Twitter transfer guru Fabrizio Romano.

While in no rush to lose his head coach, Ogren has no doubt Courts is destined for big things.

“Tam is on a longer-term contract but that doesn’t mean there isn’t an opportunity for him to go at some point,” he added.

“In fact, we expect that he will go at some point because he is that good.

“We develop players; develop coaches; develop staff. There always comes a point in time where people have other opportunities.”

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