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110 years after Dundee Hibs…not so United

Updated: Dec 30, 2020

The new people running Dundee United Football Club will not have taken long to note the acrimony which exists amongst the various supporters bodies.

Denis McGurk sits in front of me at Tannadice. He is very likeable and the most enthusiastic of Dundee United supporters. I was thus very pleased when he asked me to second his nomination to join the Steering Group of the Dundee United Supporters’ Federation.

During our get-together, Denis asked me about the possibility of the Foundation taking over the Dundee Hibernian merchandise, which I owned. I had exactly the same conversation with Denis as I had more recently with Mike Barile of the Arab Trust.

Denis didn’t come back to me which was fair enough. I wasn’t pushing to get rid of the Dundee Hibernian ownership. I just assumed the Foundation decided at the time that a link-up with Dundee Hibernian items wasn’t a good fit or a good early use of their members’ contributions. In recent days, as a certain controversary has arisen about the use of the Dundee Hibernian badge, I have been approached by two different Dundee United supporters groups to see if they could take over the Dundee Hibernian set-up.

I told both gentlemen that I couldn’t break the agreement I’d made with the Trust but if the Trust broke their side of the bargain over the next two years the ownership of Dundee Hibernian would immediately revert to me and in such circumstances I would consider a different arrangement.

In the light of recent events, my preference now would be to let the whole operation be run by the Dundee United Supporters Liaison Group which would expand the reach of the DH items and overcome the toxicity which some supporters feel is attached to certain individuals or fellow United groups.

I now believe that the profits from the sale of Dundee Hibernian items should be held by a Supporters Liaison Group Heritage Fund, to be spent on, for example, the Jim McLean statue, various plaques in the stand concourses etc.

I am a member of both the Trust and the Foundation. I simply rejoined the Trust because I was dealing with them. I have been critical of many things they have done, and resigned more than once (!) but I also recognise the many good things they have done and continue to do.

The new people running Dundee United Football Club will not have taken long to note the acrimony which exists amongst the various supporters bodies and that is not, in my opinion, going to help in the renaissance of United. Last night the Supporters Liaison Group was described to me as a “war zone”. It’s not the best way to operate, is it? Some would say the in-fighting is ironic considering we are all meant to be “United”.

During my working life I occasionally dealt with people I didn’t really respect or particularly like but I always took the view that achieving the task came first. The continuing discord amongst the various supporters’ groups must end, “United Comes First” should be adopted as the motto of the Supporters Liaison Group and the constituent parts of the SLG should start living up to it – for the benefit of the club and the supporters they represent.

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