Dundee United’s outgoing chairman Mike Martin has moved to dispel rumours that the club having a new American owner might one day lead to a groundshare or merger with city rivals Dundee, saying he and Mark Ogren discussed the issue “literally for about 10 seconds”.
Businessman Ogren was today confirmed as the Tangerines’ new majority owner, buying an 85.61% stake previously owned by Martin and James Fyffe.
With Dundee also being owned by Americans, rumours have grown among fans in the city that the two clubs might be heading for a closer future.
Briefing the media on the takeover today, Martin was asked if Ogren had given any hint of his intentions.
Martin responded: “We absolutely discussed the merger thing but literally for about 10 seconds.
“As far as we’re aware it’s not on Mark’s agenda.
“Any other synergistic opportunities between the two Dundee clubs is something for Mark to talk about.”
Martin said he “feels good” about Ogren’s motives, and stressed the board will maintain local involvement from Fyffe and David Dorward.
‘The start of a bright new future’
Martin added: “I’m very happy for Dundee United. I think this is a really good day for Dundee United.
“This is the the start of a bright new future for the club and something that everyone associated with the club should be very happy about.”
Martin said he and others had worked hard to ensure Dundee United’s future is being put in safe hands.
He continued: “What was important to us was to get the right owner in place — somebody we felt had good and proper aspirations for the club, that had very quickly got to grips with the rich history of the club, its potential, its very loyal and passionate fanbase. Mark reassured us on all those fronts.”
Martin added: “I believe he fully understands the position this club represents in the Dundee community and the broader Scottish community and he’s determined to cement its position.
“So he fully understands what it means to own a football club in Scotland and to own Dundee United.
“I feel good about his motives and I think he’ll build a passion for this club that will benefit everybody.”
Martin, who only took over as chairman in March, said moving on after nine months is “bittersweet”.
He said: “From a personal point of view it’s been an absolute privilege to be chairman.
“I’m a lifelong fan and to have been in the boardroom and the chairman’s seat was a dream come true.
“Naturally, now that’s coming to an end there’s a bittersweet element for me. I’m a little bit sad to be moving on.”
Asked if he’d liked to have stayed on, Martin said: “I was very happy to stay on longer but what’s more important was to do the right thing for the club.
“The new buyer decided he wanted to put in place a management structure that didn’t include me and I was very happy to agree to that.”