New managing director Mal Brannigan believes Dundee United are a club with “massive potential” – but he knows that securing promotion is the key to tapping into that.
“I watched my first game last Saturday,” said Brannigan. “And I watched it sat over on the far side (in the George Fox stand) rather than the directors’ box.
“For me, it was the amount of empty seats that said this football club has been of a size. It has got a capacity that it can hit at times.
“But it’s only really going to start to hit that once it goes one division above.
“So there’s an enormous potential here for growth that we can hit.”
Brannigan admitted that there is an argument that getting out of the Championship could be a tougher task than thriving in the league above.
“From an English and an Irish perspective you look at Scottish football and see how it has started to become competitive again,” he said.
“In the Championship it’s actually ultra-competitive to try and get out of it.
“So is it a harder job to get out of this division than to try and be successful in the one above? Maybe.
“But in general I think Scottish football is becoming a better product for spectators and in terms of competition, and I think the next challenge for Scottish football is going to be Europe.”
Brannigan may not have Scottish football experience but working at clubs such as Sheffield United and, most recently Dundalk, will prepare him for his strategic position at Tannadice.
“My role is as managing director, so ultimately I’m responsible for running the football club, as its ultimate decision-maker,” he said.
“We’ve got Tony Asghar who has come in alongside me as sporting director. He will look after the football side of the environment.
“I’ll look after the business side and make sure the two of us are working in tandem so this football club can grow as far as it can.”
Brannigan believes that the off-field management structure put in place by the new owners fits perfectly for a club the size of United.
He said: “Mark and Scott (Ogren) had been talking to the previous owners for a while about coming in.
“They had discussions about what the new management structure was going to be underneath the ownership.
“They looked at how football clubs are changing slightly in that there’s now a managing director or a chief exec, and a sporting director or a director of football, or whatever.
“You can see that if you want to do this successfully, you need those two types of roles to run it.
“This is a big football club. It’s not as if there are two-and-a-half-thousand people turning up and there are only 3,000 seats in the place so you can’t grow it an awful lot.
“You need to have all those experiences across the exec team so you can figure out how to grow it as much as possible.
“So they were introduced to me, we had discussions and it all happened relatively quickly because I was in Dundalk until late last year, but when this came along I thought it would be an exciting new challenge.”