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The man’s becoming an embarrassment to DUFC

Updated: Dec 19, 2022

“Other clubs are aware of the loophole but choose to pay us a development fee or make a donation to our youth set-up. Dundee United offered a fee and then never paid it which was disappointing."

I have always had reservations about Stephen Thompson’s ability to successfully run Dundee United. Now I have strong doubts about his integrity.

On 16 May The Courier reported that Queen’s Park have voiced fears that Dundee United will (again) try to exploit a loophole over a development fee for Queen’s player Aidan Connolly if the transfer of Connolly to Tannadice goes ahead.

I have added ‘again’ because Queen’s Park have claimed that when United recruited Barry Douglas from them three years ago they were offered a four-figure development fee before DUFC used a loophole caused by the amateur status of the Hampden club’s playing staff to avoid paying it. Queen’s Park hope that this time they will receive a payment for the five years they have spent nurturing Connolly.

A spokesperson for the Hampden Park club said: “Other clubs are aware of the loophole but choose to pay us a development fee or make a donation to our youth set-up. Dundee United offered a fee and then never paid it which was disappointing. We thought it was very ironic when their chairman was asked about their player Johnny Russell recently and was reported as saying: ‘”We have invested heavily in our youth set-up over the last few years and expect to receive a decent return on this investment when players move on”.

“Hopefully he (Stephen Thompson) feels the same way about our youth development programme this time out.”

On the same day The Scotsman claimed that not only did Dundee United renege on an agreement to offer a four-figure development fee when they recruited full back Douglas but United chairman Stephen Thompson has reportedly “blanked calls from SFL board member Malky Mackay on the subject since”.

Two days after Queen’s fears about United’s intentions went public it emerged that the Spiders had called on the SFA to ban Dundee United from signing any more of their players. In addition to targeting Aidan Connelly, United were linked with two other QP players, Andrew Robertson and Lawrence Shankland.

A Queen’s Park spokesman was quoted as saying: “Barry (Douglas) had been with us for a number of years and there was a lot of interest. United had indicated a compensation payment but it didn’t materialise. We find ourselves in a similar position (over Connolly). Until this matter is resolved we have asked the SFA to suspend any transfer of our players to Dundee United.”

In my opinion it’s all a total disgrace. There is no more honourable club in Scotland than Queen’s Park. Not only did Scotland’s first and oldest association football club pioneer the game in Scotland (including playing in the first-ever football match in Dundee) but they continue to make a great contribution to Scottish football, as confirmed by Dundee United’s interest in several of their players.

Meanwhile Dundee United and Partick Thistle are publicly disputing each other’s version of events over compensation payments attached to Jackie McNamara’s move from Firhill to Tannadice. Given Queen’s Park’s experience at the hands of Stephen Thompson I think I prefer the narrative emanating from Maryhill.

More than ever I’m glad I have cancelled my DUFC season ticket – although I’m still waiting for the return of my monthly payments in advance for the 2013-14 season ticket. Coincidently a few days before the Connolly transfer wrangle was publicised I applied to become a member of Queen’s Park Football Club!

Ludere causa Ludendi is the Queen’s Park motto – to play for the sake of playing. It’s an approach which has never seemed more relevant to me. Sadly it doesn’t provide immunity from the manoeuvrings of Stephen Thompson.

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