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

Dundee United's youth academy has been awarded "Elite" status in the Club Academy Scotland structure.

Dundee United chairman Mark Ogren pictured at Tannadice

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.

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"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."