Fans Representative Q and A
Over the past 2 weeks, Fans Representative to the Club board Colin Reid has been taking all questions regarding the clubs current situation. Today he posted the official Club replies to fans questions, here they are in full;
It is the considered opinion of the Board that the Club is ahead of target in terms of League position and team set-up. We have had 24 players released from contract in various forms (natural end, loan end, cancellation of contract) and have brought in 20 (contract and loan) since the end of last season. Those of perceived value to the Club are being tied up on longer contracts to protect the Clubs position and to ensure highest and best value is received in the event that they move on. The Club continues to build and foster working relationships both at home and abroad to provide the Club with the best opportunities in terms of players in and out.
The Club has employed an Under 20s Manager with good connections in the game and he is tasked with bringing in and managing potential first team players. He has already secured players with first team potential from Wolves and QPR and he will continue to be supported in his efforts to bolster the under 20’s with good young players as part of the development line of the Club.
The Club has made 2 major changes in this area in recent months. The programme now has a stern focus on serious development of players, and real progress is being made in this regard. Resources are being allocated and focused upon producing future first team players. The Club is currently operating the Academy at 4* status level and are making giant strides towards SFA accreditation despite some obstacles which have been put in our way.
We have recently appointed a replacement Head of Community following the departure of the previous post holder. The new person is very well qualified as he comes from a background of working with the City Council and SFA community football projects. He also has close ties to girls’ football which is a remaining target group for the Club having been overlooked for too long.
Only a few of our Community programmes were disrupted during the transition to a new Head of Community. These were sympathetically managed and all are back up and running now.
The Club has renewed its relationship with the Michelin Club and have been working on this on a continuous basis to facilitate the provision of good quality surfaces for team training and practice matches. This has been done at the same time as a critical review of the facility provision at the University of Dundee playing fields at Riverside. The two facilities are now providing good training surfaces and there are plans to improve these further over the summer. The Club is also actively exploring options and possibilities with regard to the development of its own training facilities and this work is continuing in earnest.
Stadium Buy Back
With regard to the stadium buyback, the Board has taken the decision that our fan groups’ efforts are better focused on supporting fan-focused projects that affect the team, fans, and game day experience of the Club.
The DFC board is currently content with the lease agreement and will deal with the lease as such and may revisit it in the future.
The accounts for the year to May 2014 have just been signed off by the auditors and the board and have been published on the club’s official website. Our Finance Director Ian Crighton and Ailsa in the office have been doing a great job in getting better systems in place. We will see the benefits of this going forward in this financial year.
The club has extended its current contract with Provan Sports for another 3 years. Together we are exploring expansion of the available product during peak sales times and work is proceeding at pace to allow an early 2015-16 kit launch.
The club is further enhancing the ticket office system software to facilitate much easier purchase of season tickets online. In the past this could not be done without reference to the ticket office first for a reference number. This practice will be eradicated by the software upgrades and allow customers to purchase or renew a season ticket online.
Gate prices and season ticket prices are currently being reviewed by the board and it is hoped that a very rare early launch of these packages will be possible this year.
With 3 category A home games remaining prior to the split, the club is exploring some creative opportunities to offer discounts to a very loyal home support for some or all these fixtures.
Stadium and Infrastructure
A lot of money has been spent on the stadium over the last 18 months through much of it will no doubt be unseen. Major investment in the stadium and infrastructure was a priority for the new board when we arrived and much has been done in a very short time to secure the club’s ability to continue to play top flight professional football at Dens Park.
• Major dressing room and wet area refurbishments including major heating plant upgrades.
• Installation of a new irrigation system to ensure that Dens Park retains its reputation of having one of the best and enduring surfaces in the country.
• A major pitch refurbishment last summer to ensure quality and durability for this season
• Under 20’s matches played away from Dens to reduce the usage and wear and tear on the pitch.
• Purchase a new tractor, grass cutting machines, aerating equipment etc. to cater for the increased work load resulting from the maintenance commitments acquired as part of the new arrangement entered into with University and Michelin.
• Increase in ground staff to facilitate the additional work loads.
• A 4 phase refurbishment of the steel works in the roof of the main stand was started last summer and phase 2 will be activated this close season.
• Upgrade to lighting and investment in LRD technology is ongoing within the offices and lounges of the main stand.
• New ladies toilets provided at the south stand, with the help of the DFCSS.
• New laundry equipment in the form of commercial gas dryers and washing machines.
This is a short summary of some of the more significant works/investments. There remains much to do and the board is currently reviewing and prioritising budgets for the close season to include further investment.
The club is grateful for the ongoing support and encouragement received from its loyal commercial customers in terms of stadium advertising, hospitality, sponsorship and commercial partnerships.
Clearly, work needs to continue in this regard and the commercial department are as we speak development their packages and sales strategy for hopefully a second season in the Premiership.
This should involve early contact with our existing customers with regard to their own particular requirements for next season and a strategy for securing new and returning customers will be implemented.
The club is delighted to be providing the opposition for this much anticipated event. It has been clearly evident that large numbers of the dark blue will be travelling to London in May and we look forward to providing ticketing details etc. in the very near future.
Due to the large number of requests for information to the Palace club, they will be opening the away stand for this fixture (3,500)
As always, Colin is on Twitter (@DFCFansRep) and welcomes discussion with supporters, and the Society continue to welcome discussion on our official Facebook page.