Last March I wrote in this column that battle loomed at Tannadice between some Dundee United fans’ groups and the board.
That civil war has been a skirmish until now, but with the news that Stephen Thompson has left the club, it’s round one to the rebels.
Thompson has departed the board and is set to sell his shares, with Mike Martin, the second biggest shareholder, becoming new chairman.
That won’t stop the fans’ action though, which could well start with a threatened season ticket boycott.
The supporters’ groups see the new chairman as inextricably bound up with the club’s present plight, and they want him and the rest of the board gone.
This could be a fight to the death.
Mike Martin is a banker, not a profession given to caving in to public pressure. Based in Edinburgh, he won’t be subject to the scrutiny which Thompson, who lives in Broughty Ferry, got while going about his daily business.
Therefore he can easily avoid the regular personal and close criticism levelled at the former chairman.
The fans’ groups are split, with ArabTrust, who have an associate director at the club and are shareholders, along with some others, being more amenable to slow-burning change than those who want immediate change of ownership.
I also wrote that those who had created what is now the Dundee United Supporters Foundation, were, ‘bright, well organised, and resourceful’, but when needs must, folk find themselves in unholy alliances.
So it is with them.
In joining forces with some of the more volatile fans, they’ll be like the frog asked to carry the scorpion across the river.
The trick for the Foundation committee, who are much smarter than those they’ve joined forces with, isn’t so much in avoiding being stung, as being paralysed, by the venom seeping from those who want revenge against the current board, more than they want to find a workable solution to the club’s ills.
The late lamented chairman Eddie Thompson spent five million pounds on his Tannadice dream, and his widow Cath regularly helped out financially after his death, only to suffer abuse on social media from hotheads with no sense of decency.
Stephen Thompson’s reign saw the Scottish cup won and debts reduced, but also saw the club plummet into the championship.
His legacy will be seen by his detractors as a litany of failures.
Failure to explain the reasons behind the sale of Gary Mackay-Steven, and Stuart Armstrong, at a time when the team was going strongly.
Failure to change manager after the Scottish cup final loss to St Johnstone.
Failure to explain what some saw as the perilous finances of the club, given the income generated through transfers.
And failure to heed advice he didn’t want to hear.
Just as all political careers end in failure, so too, club chairmen are rarely warmly appreciated when calling time.
The new chairman must now decide, when he meets fans’ representatives next week, whether to appeal to, and appease those, who want war or whether to ignore them and forge ahead with his own road for this troubled club.