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Mark Ogren reveals Gussie Park rethink as Dundee United owner outlines ‘lifeblood of the club’

Focused: Ogren
Focused: Ogren

Mark Ogren has revealed that Dundee United are considering an ‘alternate plan’ to complete the renovation of Gussie Park after being quoted an unmanageable figure.

The Tangerines have already completed phase one of the project, spending around £300,000 on a 4G synthetic pitch, UEFA-approved floodlights, perimeter fencing and new barriers.

The Dundee United Supporters Foundation contributed £100,000 to those costs.

The club’s youth academy will be based at Gussie Park, while the under-18s and women’s team will utilise the venue — which sits in the shadow of Tannadice — for their fixtures.

Phase One complete: Gussie Park

It is hoped phase two will see the club implement changing room improvements, a physical performance suite, a cafe, office space, performance education suite and a medical studio. Viewing balconies and analysis suites could also be part of the final blueprints.

But Ogren has revealed that the initial estimate for those improvements were prohibitive. As such, United have been forced into a rethink.

Nevertheless, the United owner is adamant the marquee project WILL be completed.

“We’ve got the first phase of Gussie Park done and, it must be said, that was helped significantly by the Dundee United Supporters’ Foundation.

“We had a proposal of the whole area and what we could do next, and got those costs.

“Having got that back, we will need to revise that.

“It came in at a significantly higher level that what we are able to invest. We’ve had to pivot and look at an alternate plan.

“We will still be able to achieve the same thing that we want — but at a more reasonable and efficient manner.

“That will definitely be viable.”

‘You can’t hold players back’

Meanwhile, Ogren has reaffirmed the need for United to profit from young talent in order to create a sustainable business model — a process which the club believes a reborn Gussie Park can aid.

United sold Kerr Smith to Aston Villa in a deal which could rise to £2 million, while a total of 16 academy graduates made senior appearances for the Tangerines the campaign.

Kerr Smith moved to Aston Villa for a fee that could rise to £2 million

We rely on player sales in order to make money,” Ogren said. “The academy is the lifeblood of the club. We have has 16 academy players feature this year.

“That’s a tremendous amount and every time I talk to Andy Goldie [head of academy], he is telling me the ins and outs of what is going on. We’ve got a lot of great young players who are getting game-time.

“You won’t always get [the benefits] right away, but you invest and continue to develop players.

“They play for you — which, frankly, saves you money — and then there will be a time where they need, and want, to move on. It’s a cycle.

You need to be a selling club and can’t hold people back. We want to develop players to play at the highest levels they can.”

Mark Ogren: I can’t fund Dundee United forever but we WILL become self-sufficient

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