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Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Another Fine Mess

Melville (left) and Brannan (right) with presumably a more viable alternative for director than either of themselves

At the time of writing my club stands on the edge of oblivion due to more boardroom ineptitude and egomania. My club-formed when Queen Victoria was on the throne when two clubs, Our Boys and East End- themselves formed 133 years ago, merged to ensure the city was represented in the new national league set up. My club-which has spent almost a century playing top flight football (over twice as long as Dundee United have been playing in the colours of a small citrus fruit) and is one of only 11 teams to win the top league. A team that despite what must be the most unfortunate cup draw in European Cup history (Champions of Germany, Portugal, Belgium and Italy respectively) managed to come within 180 minutes of being the first Northern European side to win the trophy and in doing so setting up a World Club Cup tie with Pele's Santos. A team that has played in the second highest attended match in European club football history- Barca v Madrid, Inter v Milan or Rangers v Celtic haven't seen a crowd as seen in the 1952 Scottish Cup Final. A team that has supplied players to the national team in 3 different centuries. A club that has survived liquidation in 1898; two World Wars; administration and Alan Kernaghan. A club that despite the last 35 years being the leanest, success starved periods in the club's history and in the face of the rise of our bitter rivals, has still managed to reach the odd cup final and hang on to a loyal fan base. That dark 35 year period has seen one stable, consistent factor however- the amazing ability of each subsequent board of directors to eclipse the incompetence and buffoonery of the previous incumbents.

Bob "lifelong fan" Brannan and Calum "Dundee are my second team" Melville seem to have brought the club to the brink by cheesing off the taxman by not paying a bill that amounts to roughly the same as the transfer fees paid for Harkins and Griffiths or, reputedly, the package given to the current management team. Quite how we've got here is no mystery-the benefactor business model- we are rather reliably told- is not the way to go. However, the nuances of the reason behind the change of heart are not yet known. What is known is that Brannan and Melville are less likely to be seen together than Clark Kent and Superman. What is also known is that despite very public boosts of his wealth and suggestions of half a million pound bids for United's Scott Robertson, Melville is unwilling, or more unlikely, unable to pay off the taxman in full, as they demand and perhaps more significantly unwilling to continue to meet the losses that are in part his own doing. What is also known that the magic 26% "veto" shareholding held by the group formally known as Dee4life means absolutely sweet F.A. when it comes to ensuring transparency and sustainability. What is also, sadly, known is that administration this time around will mean, at best, the end of any promotion bid, this, and many seasons to come or, at worst, the sad, feeble end to a once great club. There are some passionate Dundee fans in positions of authority at Dens Park working their asses off to get the club out of a mess not of their own making- here's hoping that they succeed for the sake of the passionate but tired, weary fans who continue to turn out in larger numbers than some of their SPL counterparts.

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