Dundee United have turned to four celebrity supporters to help spread the club’s good name after a difficult chapter in their history.
The Championship side have announced that “national icons” television presenter Lorraine Kelly, singer Ricky Ross, former Scotland rugby scrum-half Andy Nicol and BBC Scotland’s political editor Brian Taylor have agreed to take up the role of honorary club patron.
It is a position designed to help the club recover following a dismal few years in which they were relegated from the top flight and then failed on two occasions to gain promotion from the Championship.
Dundee United have recently been taken over by Mike Martin, who bought out owner and majority shareholder Stephen Thompson. The Thompson family had been directly involved in Dundee United since Stephen’s father, Eddie, took over the club in September 2002.
Martin said he was delighted that four such high-profile supporters of the club had agreed to lend their time and expertise to launch a new era at Tannadice.
He said he hoped they would be able to use their talents to promote the “very good name of Dundee United throughout the world” in a variety of ways. The initiative, Martin said, had been a few months in the making and those contacted were very keen to take up the role.
“Some of it is still to be defined,” he said. “Next we will sit down and talk to each of them about the plans for the future and how we develop things. We are in the process of much change and upheaval on and off the park, hopefully all positive. This is just another example of starting to affect change at the club.”
Earlier, in a statement posted on the Dundee United website, he said: “We are delighted that Lorraine, Andy, Ricky and Brian have each agreed to become our inaugural honorary club patron. Their passion for the club is well-known, and in their patron capacity they will help raise the profile of the club as well as personally contributing to a variety of current and planned initiatives here at Tannadice.”
Kelly, who presents a new Saturday night prime-time show Wedding Day Winners on BBC 1, relocated to Berkshire from Broughty Ferry earlier this year but in a newspaper article recently promised to return to watch Dundee United whenever she can.
Ross, who made his name fronting the band Deacon Blue and also presents an alternative country music show on Radio Scotland, is a regular attender at games and started supporting United when growing up in Dundee, as did fellow Dundonians Nicol and Taylor.