Mike Martin says United's US owner has no plan to merge Dundee teams

Former Dundee United chairman Mike Martin has insisted American Mark Ogren's takeover of the club will not lead '¨to a merger with city rivals Dundee.

Dundee United chairman Mike Martin announced he is stepping down from his role. Picture: Picture: Paul Devlin/SNS
Dundee United chairman Mike Martin announced he is stepping down from his role. Picture: Picture: Paul Devlin/SNS

Martin departed Tannadice yesterday after just over a year in the hot seat to pave the way for Ogren’s arrival in a takeover believed to be worth in the region of £1 million.

Ogren, who has acquired a controlling stake in the Tayside Championship club, has a business background in oil and is intent on taking United back to the top tier of Scottish Football.

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Ogren’s arrival has sparked strong suggestions within the City of Discovery of a possible merger with city foes Dundee, who are owned by US businessman Tim Keyes and run on a day-to-day basis by chief executive John Nelms.

But Martin, a lifelong Tangerines fan, has assured supporters their new chairman, who will lead the club into a new era alongside son Scott, has no intention of a merger.

Martin, who confirmed local businessmen Jimmy Fyfe and David Dorward will remain on the board, said: “We absolutely discussed the merger thing but it was for about ten seconds.

“We sought assurances and we’re happy with that. As far as we’re aware, it’s not on Mark’s agenda. Any other opportunities between the two Dundee clubs is for Mark to talk about but not this one.

“What was important for us was to get the right owner in place, someone with good and proper aspirations for the club. He very quickly got to grips with this club and its rich history and potential for the future.

“We have a very passionate and loyal fanbase and Mark very much reassured us on all those fronts. I believe he fully understands the position the club holds in the Dundee community. I feel good about his motives. There will continue to be local involvement with both Jimmy Fyffe and David Dorward, who are already on the board. They will provide that on-the-ground connection with Dundee.”

Martin lasted only just over a year as United chairman but he is convinced his successor has all the necessary credentials to take the club back to where if feels it belongs.

He added: “We announced some time ago that we were looking to put in place a better long-term structure in terms of finances and an underpinning structure to help the club move forward.

“To that end, we spoke to a number of people and one of those was Mark. It became apparent very quickly that his style and approach, as well as his vision for the club, were much aligned to what we were looking for.

“When I took on the chairmanship of the club and the shareholding with Jimmy Fyffe, we always treated it as a stepping stone to a better future for the club.

“This gives us a better infrastructure to deeper pools of reserves for the club. That really was behind the whole transaction. I’m very happy for Dundee United. Everyone associated with the club should be very happy about this. From a personal point of view, it’s been an absolute privilege to be chairman of the club.

“I’m a lifelong fan. To have been in the boardroom and then in the chairman’s seat has really been a dream come true for me.

“So naturally now that has come to an end for me, there’s a bittersweet element. I have done my best for the club. For the time which I’ve been chairman, I believe the club has moved forward.

“I’ve not managed to get us back to the Premiership yet, but hopefully the new owner can help us complete the task.”

Martin was in no rush to depart Tannadice, but felt the time was right for new ownership. He said: “I was very happy to stay on longer but 
I think what was more 
important was to do the right thing for the club, and the new buyer decided that he wanted to put in place a management structure.

“In the end, I was very happy to agree to that. This is a 
massive day in the history of Dundee United.

“As a result of this deal, we have the structure to propel the club back to where we want to be.”