Dundee United toast academy progress but losses and wages are cause for concern

Dundee United chairman Mark Ogren pictured at Tannadice
Dundee United chairman Mark Ogren pictured at Tannadice
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Dundee United's youth academy has been awarded "Elite" status in the Club Academy Scotland structure.

However, the background to the Academy's progress is the more sombre news of a £3.7 million loss over the past 12 months.

Chairman Mark Ogren, who took control of the Tannadice club in December 2018, said he was "thrilled" with the achievement, adding: "One of the keystones of our future, when Scott and I took over the Club, was to ensure the Dundee United Academy became one of the finest in the country.

"It has taken a lot of hard work by the staff and a bit of investment, but we have reached a significant goal in our plans with today's news."

The annual report for shareholders at the club's AGM showed a deficit of £3,759,220 compared to just £218,993 the previous year - although this figure was offset by nearly £1.5 million in sell-on fees for players.

Wages - including pensions and social security contributions - came in at £4,159,060 which worked out at 133 per cent of the club's annual turnover of £3,124,236.

A 39 per cent increase in wages - £1.13 million - contributed to the enlarged figure. A board statement said the "significant loss" highlighted the financial input of Ogren since his arrival.

The statement continued: "[It also] includes the costs associated with undertaking the restructuring that was required, including a complete overhaul of the first-team playing squad and coaching staff, and restructuring the academy."

Ogren took a controlling share in the club nearly 12 months ago but the club failed to achieve its aim of returning to the Scottish Premiership. United directors have said that the Minnesota-based owner will continue his financial backing in the club's bid for promotion.

The statement added: "The performance of the team in recent years has led to the company making significant financial losses, which have required substantial investment to maintain the company as a going concern.

"The principal risk to the business is therefore the possibility of the team remaining in the Championship for a prolonged period of time.

"The new owners are committed to providing the required funding to the club to maintain it as a going concern in the Championship, and also to provide the platform to enhance the team's prospects of promotion to the Premiership."