Dundee United chairman Mike Martin has come up with a bold and potentially problematic plan to build bridges between players and supporters by insisting that Csaba Laszlo’s first team squad members all live within a 25-mile radius of the city.
In a throwback to the days of Jim McLean, when it was an even stricter five-mile radius, Martin is seeking to create a “collegiate” atmosphere at Tannadice.
He also took the opportunity during an interview on the club website to reiterate his support for Laszlo and confirm that new financial investment is on the way.
Outlining the accommodation rule, Martin explained: “What we are saying to these professionals is that we want them to live in the Dundee area.
“We don’t just want them to be part of the team, but also part of the club and part of the community.
“We have put in place a new rule that says players need to live within a 25-mile radius of Dundee and we believe that will be a major factor in creating the spirit and collegiate nature we want to implement.
“Getting players who want to come to this club and be part of the community is going to be a massive step forward in terms of engagement with the fans.”
Fans are split on whether former Hearts boss Laszlo has done enough to earn a first full season in charge of United after last year’s play-off failure but Martin said: “I have spent a considerable amount of time with Csaba over the last few weeks and months, discussing his vision and plan for football here at Dundee United.
“I think it’s a good vision and one we should buy into and support. I believe he has the strengths and characteristics to implement it.
“Chopping and changing managers has not done us any favours in the past and I think some sort of continuity is good for a club. That was also a factor in my decision to work with Csaba.”
Previous chairman Stephen Thompson remains the majority shareholder at United but Martin is confident that new money will soon be injected into the club.
He added: “Those conversations continue, and continue to go very well.
“Would I like them to be concluded soon? Yes. But, the main thing is I’m very confident they will be concluded.”
On the football front, Martin wants to see an end to the days when United “reward failure.”
He said: “We have put a new wage structure in place which is split between Championship and Premiership, ensuring players coming to the club know what they will be paid in the Championship but also know the earning opportunity once we are back in the top flight.
“Linked to that, we have increased the reward element of total pay. In other words, we are going to reward success – and reward it quite handsomely.
“However, we’re not going to reward failure. We have been very clear to the players still here, and those joining, that we expect success and are happy to pay for that success. We will not continue to pay for mediocrity.”