Dundee United manager Csaba Laszlo hopes his lonely days are gone after introducing the club’s 25-mile rule.
The proposal – the brainchild of the manager – stipulates that new signings should stay within that distance from Tannadice.
Laszlo, who welcomes his reshaped squad back for pre-season training this morning, insisted he came up with the idea without knowing that legendary United boss Jim McLean had a similar scheme in place during the Tangerines’ glory days.
The driving force behind it is a wish to have the team travel back and forth to games together and to cut out long journeys to and from training.
It should also ensure that the Hungarian will not be left sitting by himself on the team bus.
“The idea for the 25-mile radius was mine,” said Laszlo.
“I approached the board about it and was happy that they agreed.
“I know people think it’s copying Jim McLean but I genuinely didn’t know this had happened before.
“I don’t want to be compared to the ideas he had because he had fantastic ideas in the past and made this club great.
“I only wanted to do it because of what I saw. There were things I wasn’t happy about.
“For most away games I was sitting alone on it with the driver and maybe one or two directors.
“We would then go around picking people up from service stations, car parks and the side of the road,” he added.
“Sometimes coming back from the games, win lose or draw, there would just be Willo Flood, myself and the driver.
“I want this club to move around the country like professionals, not like a school bus picking people up on the way.
“We want to build a team spirit but you can’t do that if you just have players meeting each other in the dressing-room and then all going separate ways after training.
“You would have people finish and be looking at their watches because they needed to know what time their lift left to go back to Glasgow.
“I want us to be a team. I want the players to stick together and to do things together.
“I want them to live near each other, to get a feel for what being a player at Dundee United means.”
That’s all fine but Laszlo was asked if the 25-mile stipulation will have – or has already had – a negative impact on recruitment, with players unwilling to uproot their families and thereby choosing to play elsewhere.
He replied: “We have not had one player ask for permission to stay outside the 25 miles.
“It hasn’t been a problem.
“People have said it would be but that is not the experience we have.
“I once had a boss that I went to and told him I had a problem but his response was to say don’t come to him with problems but go to him with solutions.
“I learned a lot from that.
“You have to be creative and innovative to make progress. If you just do the same things always you never move forward.”
Meanwhile, midfielder Fraser Fyvie will be one of those reporting for work today at St Andrews but he won’t be rushed back into action.
Fyvie, whose signing of a new two-year deal kick-started the club’s summer recruitment drive, has not played his injuring his knee in a game against Livingston on December 23.
He has made a good recovery from surgery but Laszlo is determined to be patient with him.
“I hope he is ready soon but if by the end of September he is on the pitch then I will be happy about it,” said the United boss.
“He is already OK and he wants to begin but I want him to take it a little bit easier because we want him for the long term not (just) two weeks.”
Another player who missed much of the season, James Keatings, will be right back into the hard work today after recovering fully from a groin operation.
Laszlo added: “Keatings is OK. Every second day he sends me a message saying ‘I want to be training’.”