Dundee chief says fans’ pressure forced him to sack Jim McIntyre

Dundee chief John Nelms says he has been flooded with applications for the vacant managerial post. Picture: Paul Devlin/SNS
Dundee chief John Nelms says he has been flooded with applications for the vacant managerial post. Picture: Paul Devlin/SNS
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John Nelms, the Dundee managing director, admitted that intense pressure from their supporters forced him to sack manager Jim McIntyre following the club’s costly relegation from the Premiership.

Nelms spoke for the first time since McIntyre’s ill-fated seven-month spell in charge was brought to an end on Sunday as the club face up to the harsh reality of Championship football next season.

The 46-year-old, who left Dens Park along with assistant boss Jimmy Boyle, presided over a club-record tenth consecutive Premiership defeat when his side lost 1-0 at home to Hamilton on 4 May, which sealed their relegation.

On that defining day, McIntyre faced calls for his removal from exasperated fans who were hoping his arrival back in October to succeed Neil McCann at the helm would signal a much-needed upturn in their playing fortunes.

Nelms, who confirmed he has been flooded with applications for the vacant post, watched McIntyre sign no fewer than 11 new players during the January transfer window but was left convinced their loyal followers wouldn’t have been as supportive had the manager carried on in the role next season.

“We didn’t keep Jim because of the path we were on,” said Nelms. “The way everybody feels around here – the entire group – is very, very negative.

“We had the opportunity to make a change and go forward. I’m not sure our support would have got behind him [McIntyre] moving forward.

“Of course, the fans’ feelings was a big part of the decision. You always take that into account. It’s a big deal. We want to entertain them and we want the best for them. We’re gutted when we lose. It’s one of these things where it’s very emotional. We want it to be the best it can be.

“But when you lose ten games on the trot it’s hard to be successful, although we did rebuild in a window that’s probably not the best to rebuild in. It’s hard to be successful when it’s like that but we always back our managers to the hilt.”

Nelms felt the club had given McIntyre their full support and simply couldn’t do so any longer given their demise in recent weeks.

He added: “I would like to give managers more than one transfer window. I would like to give them the best opportunities to succeed.

“But in this case with the amount of losses that we’ve had it was hard. We did think we’d got it right and everyone around us thought we’d got it right – like all the football heads we take advice from – when we appointed Jim.

“But unfortunately with the window he had to build in, and how things went on the park, everything went the wrong way and here we are…

“Now we want to put that behind us and start focusing on the positives and getting ready for next season.”

Dundee are now searching for their fourth manager in three years with possible contenders including former 
Plymouth Argyle manager Derek Adams and Inverness Caledonian Thistle boss John Robertson, as well as John Hughes. Nelms, however, all but ruled out the possibility of Kenny Miller becoming player-manager.

Nelms, who aims to draw up a shortlist next week, is in favour of an experienced appointment in their quest to regain Premiership football at the first attempt. He added: “Scottish football is a unique animal. We do want someone who really knows the Scottish game.

“They have to have an understanding of the player pools out there and what can make us successful.

“If you see the applications we have, they have come from properly far afield. But I think one of the main criteria is that they absolutely have to know the Scottish game.

“Even getting from the Championship to this league is very difficult. We were there before and we barely made it last time. We take that into consideration.

“We are going to collect the information and then next week we will be making phone calls and shrinking our list down as we go.

“I can be almost certain we won’t have a player-manager.”