Owners eye new site

Dundee FC stepping up plans to leave Dens Park

Dens Park, DundeeDundee FC managing director John Nelms has revealed the club is stepping up its plan to move from Dens Park into a new stadium.

Nelms and fellow-American owner Tim Keyes recently bought 29 acres of land in Camperdown Park with a land-use application to be submitted to Dundee City Council shortly.

The cost of renting and maintaining Dens has forced the pair to look at viable stadium alternatives and the Dark Blues chief is excited by what the future has in store.

“We’re aware we’re trying to give a 21st Century entertainment product in a 19th Century building,” he said.

“It’s not new news that Tim and I have bought 29 acres near the ice rink at Camperdown Park.

“We will be putting in a land-use application shortly that we hope really enhances Dundee Football Club – not only its day-to-day inner-workings but the type of event we can put on for Dundee Football Club. We think that’s the future of Dundee Football Club.

“We’re quite excited about it. It is early doors. I’m not going to talk about it until we get to certain levels. We’ve got a lot of hoops to jump through and a lot of politics to get through. But I can tell you we’ve been working on this for the last year – even before we purchased the property.

“The city council has been fantastic. We all see it being a good thing for the city.

“We have been trying to future-proof as much as possible any facility we put on that site and make it exciting and work 24 hours a day, seven days a week and be a jewel for the City of Discovery and Dundee.”

Nelms was speaking after the club reported an operating loss of £530,000 for the last financial year, with £200,000 of that being needed for the upkeep of the current ground.

He indicated that the maintenance bill for Dens Park had risen £50,000 on the previous year and an additional £500,000 would be required in the 2017 accounts because of rent increases.

“The biggest issue we have is the stadium itself,” he added.

“We have put over £200,000 into the ground. That’s not enhancing the ground. That’s just keeping it going.

“These issues are going to get worse and worse as time goes on.

“The other issue is we always budget for top six and we spent money as a top six club. Unfortunately we ended up in eighth position last year.

“We understand those risks and we’re happy with those risks.

“On a positive note – even though it might not sound positive when you say we’ve lost £530,000 – we can say for the first time in a long time staff (mostly admin staff) have received raises and we’re quite proud of that. It’s well-deserved and long-overdue.”

Missing out on a top-six finish in the Scottish Premiership meant £200,000 less income than had been budgeted for. Club wages also increased by £175,000, partly down to the first pay rises to administration and support staff “for a number of years”.

Dundee’s turnover for the year was maintained at around £4 million.

Enrique says adios to Barcelona

Luis Enrique is to quit as Barcelona manager at the end of the season.

The 46-year-old, in his third season in charge, broke the news after guiding his side to a 6-1 win over Sporting Gijon in La Liga.

“It is a difficult, measured and well thought-out decision and I think I have to be loyal to what I think,” he said after the Nou Camp victory.

“I would like to thank the club for the confidence they have shown in me. It’s been three unforgettable years.”

Enrique won the Champions League in his first year as the Catalans captured the treble, while they won the domestic double last term.

A former Spanish international, the midfielder played for Barcelona between 1996 and his retirement from playing in 2004.

He then coached their B team from 2008 to 2011, returning to the club as first-team boss after spells managing Roma and Celta Vigo.

Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu said: “Luis Enrique has brought us great success and he can still bring us more. The players are motivated to do it.

“We accept Luis Enrique’s decision. He has been a great coach. Now is it time to end his spell in the best possible way.”

With Real Madrid only managing a 3-3 draw at home to Las Palmas, Barca’s emphatic victory took them back to the top of the table, one point clear of their arch rivals who have a game in hand.

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