Dundee’s American owners have reaffirmed their commitment to the club even in the event of demotion from the top flight.
The Dens Park club could be relegated as early as Saturday if they fail to beat Hamilton Accies and St Mirren win or draw at Motherwell.
Pressure is growing on manager Jim McIntyre after nine successive defeats and, while he stressed on Monday he expected to continue as manager next season, yesterday’s statement by the club stopped short of offering him a vote of confidence. Indeed, McIntyre was not once mentioned by name in more than 1,300 words.
The statement did, however, explain the process by which he was chosen as manager – and how Dundee could go about appointing his successor. Only candidates who have managed for more than 300 games and could boast a win percentage record of at least 40 per cent were considered when McIntyre was appointed in October.
This is what managing director John Nelms meant when he referred in a recent match programme to “the data” which proved to the club McIntyre was the “best person to lead Dundee” following Neil McCann’s sacking. The statement confirmed the club had recently changed their philosophy of “bringing on younger, inexperienced managers”.
The switch in outlook has failed to pay any dividend to date, however. McIntrye has been in charge for 29 matches. His side have won only three times in that period, lost 18 league games and been beaten 3-0 by Championship side Queen of the South in the Scottish Cup. They currently trail 11th placed St Mirren by seven points with three games remaining. The statement suggested McIntyre’s position was still to be reviewed with the side’s fate not yet decided.
“As the season is drawing to an end, we do our annual review and decide what changes need to be made in order to have a successful new season on the park,” the statement said, before adding the manager is in charge “of all aspects of the football department”. It continued: “He (the manager) is judged on the players he brings in, the tactics he employs, and the management of the playing and backroom staff. When we choose a manager, we do this in the knowledge that he can do all of those things and more. That being said, there is a diligent and stringent process that is implemented ahead of a manager being named. This is something that we do discreetly behind the scenes.”
Speaking on Monday, McIntyre, when asked if he expected to still be in charge next season, said: “Of course I do”. He added that Nelms was aware of the work he had been doing behind the scenes although he admitted he had not held discussions with anyone about his long-term future.
“From that side of things, when you are making so many signings in January and getting rid of a lot of players, it is because the recruitment side hasn’t worked and the results were there for everybody to see,” said McIntyre, who signed a one-year rolling contract. “So you have to be brave and make a change to try to improve things. Unfortunately for us results haven’t matched some of our performances and we haven’t picked up results. That’s on me.”
The Dundee statement attempted to quell speculation the American owners – Nelms, Tim Keyes and Football Partners Scotland (FPS) – would seek to sell up having been frustrated in their attempts to consolidate Dundee in the top flight and build a new stadium.
The owners re-emphasised their commitment to both the club and stadium project on land earmarked at Camperdown Park, on the city outskirts. They have confirmed that shareholders will shortly receive notice of an upcoming share issue whereby FPS will increase its shareholding to more than 75 per cent.
This enables the American owners to claim group tax relief and offset the trading losses of the club against its other business activities. “FPS stay fully committed to the club, and as much as we desperately want to stay in this division, we are prepared for either division, and financially it would not be a disaster because of our forward planning,” said the statement. “When FPS bought the club (in 2013), we were in a lower division and operated in that environment prior to many of our initiatives being put into place.”
As for the new stadium, the owners are pushing ahead with plans having, they claim, secured the required finance. “The stadium development has recently gotten back on track after a series of meetings with city staff and funders,” said the statement.
“Most of the planning work is complete to have the stadium ready to go forward as financing is secured. This is positive on many fronts, not the least of which is that the maintenance costs continue to rise at Dens, making it unsustainable in the long term. The stadium project will proceed regardless of our league standing and financing is wholly separate from the operations of the club. We hope to share more news on this in the near future.”