Dundee United may be battling to win promotion back to the top of Scottish football, but off the field they are also in the putative stages of a war.
Only warning shots have been fired so far and there have been no injuries but when the real ammunition is fired, as it will be, reputations and positions of power are likely to be the casualties.
Battle is looming and the various fans groups and forces ranged against the Tannadice chairman Stephen Thompson and his board have been holding meetings with each other.
The early skirmishes have begun with the recent formation of a pressure group “Fans United”, and the newly registered “Dundee Utd Supporters Foundation”, which will shortly publish its constitution and aims and objectives.
As a journalist I covered the gargantuan battle between “United for Change” and Jim McLean, and attended some of the meetings between Eddie Thompson and fans who backed him in his quest to become the United owner and chairman.
Those United rebels had taken inspiration from Fergus McCann’s war with the old Celtic board which had led the famous old Glasgow club to the brink of disaster.
That bruising battle resulted in an iconic moment, when McCann’s ally, Brian Dempsey, appeared outside Parkhead to a throng of jubilant supporters to announce: “The battle is over, the rebels have won.”
The United fans then, as they have done recently with their Hearts foundation counterparts, met the ‘Celts for Change’ organisers who had plotted the overthrow of the old Celtic Park hierarchy.
The individuals behind this current united foundation campaign are bright, well organised and resourceful.
They have tapped into a mood of general disaffection which has now gone beyond a previously noisy handful of fans and reached into the wider support base.
If Tannadice isn’t to be engulfed in a vicious civil war then wise counsel, honest communication, mutual respect, and compromise, will all be required: that’s if anyone is prepared to listen to each other anymore.
I’m not hopeful that any of that will be forthcoming.
The root of most fans unhappiness is usually found in the form of the team and the results on the field.
As a rule if those are reasonably good then a relative equilibrium can be maintained between the majority of fans who just want the team to prosper, and those who are more politically active for change in the boardroom.
The omens at United don’t currently point in a positive direction though. The current financial woes of the club and the team’s league position leave Stephen Thompson and the board open to their critics.
He has been seeking fresh investment for some time and if he can announce that soon he may yet quell this impending storm.
If the team can turn around recent dire form, that will assist the board in their attempts to engage with fans, and their battle to prove that the future is not as doom laden as some supporters fear.
The coming weeks and months seem set to be fractious and fraught with unrest.
Casualties at the moment are nil, but they’ll assuredly come.