Dundee FC Q&A with Barry Smith and Scott Gardiner - Part 11

The night continued, with a question regarding the uptake of the offer on student flexi tickets,

and was the time spent at the two universities a worthwhile exercise?

Scot once again answered. 'This is something that will be revisited in the future, it was one of those things that maybe slipped through the cracks a bit, it wasn't really followed up, but

obviously there was a lot going on at the time, and some things will be missed, but we see this

as possibly one of the planks of our new way forward. On that as well, I was at a bash in

Edinburgh with St Andrews University on Friday night, where they were raising a lot of

money, and prior to that I had a meeting with them. They have St Andrews television, and

they are going to be coming over here, obviously a lot of students at St Andrews come into

Dundee as well, and we have agreed by email today that they are going to be coming to

Dundee, filming a day in the life of Dundee Football Club on a matchday, and putting it out

to all the students, and we will be going to them with some offers as well to try and

encourage them.

'We have a few different ideas on that, but there is no reason why we can't be at the forefront, it is cheaper to come here than it is to go across the road obviously, and students

being students, they are not all in the bank of mum and dad, so we are going to make it very

attractive for students to come to Dundee FC, and John (Brown) is going to be working

harder on that than other things. Good question, we tried it, but didn't follow through, but we

will follow it through now. Scott Glenday would also like to say something on that.'

Scott added 'I know also that the supporters clubs association are trying to set up a student's supporters club, and just to say, that as a board, and as a Supporters Society, we promise to

give young Billy Douglas any support he requires to get that up and running. So as a football

club, we have got somebody within the Supporters Clubs Association looking at setting

something up, and we have given a commitment and are open to ideas or suggestions or

offers for what he needs from us to support that effort.'

Has there been any developments regarding the ownership of Dens Park?

Again, the CEO took this one. 'The straightforward answer to that is no. I think, let's be honest here, we have a situation where we have a deal, we have a lease, we are paying a set

fee over the next nineteen years. If we were to go to our landlord and say we want to buy the

stadium back, you would all be howling from the rooftops, saying put that money into making

the business safe. Right now, I think the priority is securing the business, raising the funds so

that we can make it safe, and be competing on the park.

'It would cost us several hundreds of thousand pounds to buy the stadium back, obviously, in the future, and the nearer future the better, we want to own our stadium again. I have

actually met, and had a very good meeting with our landlord, and we talked honestly and

openly about it, and I said to him, if I had that money in the bank I wouldn't be giving it to

yourself right now, and he understood that. So we have a good relationship with him, we

have a very good relationship with him, and it is not going to happen in the near future

unless circumstances change, we must protect the business first. The lease of the stadium is

there, it is solid and it is safe, so we shouldn't be concerning ourselves too much with that

just at the moment.'

Is there any way to, for example with a 19 pound charge at the gate, say well it is 20 pounds, but you get a fifty-fifty draw ticket as well? Obviously this would prevent queues as well, as

no one is waiting for change.

'It is something we are actively looking at, and this leads me on to something. The 50-50 draw, you buy a ticket, there are obviously age restrictions on that but we are currently

looking at that. We have another scenario, so it is on the table, it is being worked through, so

instead of saying, yes we are putting the prices up by a pound, because we have no intention

of putting prices up if we don't have to, instead of putting the prices up by a pound,

everybody coming into the ground pays a pound, including away fans, and then everyone is

making a contribution to the club. It is one of the ideas.

'Similarly with the lottery the tickets as well, it is something we have to look at, and it is being looked into at the moment. If I was to explain to you, and I was going to touch on this

when Steve was talking about the youth set up, the lottery, Dundee Lotto, we are currently in

the process of revamping that, and exploring new sales ideas with the lottery. One of the

main reasons for that, everyone knows here, all of the money that one spends, if you do spend

a pound a week at the Dee lotto, it goes entirely, its ring fenced for youth development. We

have 1800 members at the moment; it has dipped a little bit, but 1800 members paying a

pound a week. That contributes between £75,000 and £100,000 a year to this football club,

nett.1800 members with just a pound a week, and that produces that amount. If we could do

something with that, and we will be doing something with that, and I would ask you all to

help us in that, if we double that, we bring in another £100,000 into the pot. And everyone

has the chance to win.'

'So we are revamping it right now, I have been having weekly meetings with Graham Thomson and Alison McQueen, who does a just outrageously good job, because she is a one

woman band, and she is effectively contributing that amount of money to our youth side. We

would hope, and as I said at the beginning of the evening, when I say it is so hard, it is such a

long process, and so difficult to get someone to contribute or to invest £100,000 into this


'Just imagine if we had at each home game, if the same amount that turn up entered the lotto, it would give us 300 grand right off the bat, and it's a pound a week. I am not going to say

it's only a pound, because every pound is precious to people in these current days, but they

do have a chance to win, and the money goes nett into this club, so I hope when we do

relaunch, and when you do see the new look of it, you will all do your best, with work

colleagues, family and everyone else to support that, because it is straight into the club. So to

your point, we are looking at that on both fronts, at the match and outside of a match day.'

Is there any way we can make football more affordable by approaching companies, and making them the company Dundee fans go to for a service, in return for a discount? This

could effectively reduce the price of a season ticket if those offers were taken up.

'We are well down the road with that, we are wide open to ideas from everyone, everyone has ideas, and no-one here is a specialist on everything. We are doing well on that, we are

working right now on the process where if someone invests in one of our schemes, or buys a

particular product or ticket, then they will physically receive something which is worth

pounds and pence to them. They will actually get a voucher for a meal, or a bottle of wine, or

a ticket for a night out at the theatre or cinema. We are actively and every day talking to

companies putting it all together, so we can give something very tangible back to the fans.

'As I say, we are not going to come to you and say throw it in a bucket, we are going to say look how amazing this is, if you give us this money, this is what you are going to get, and

hopefully that would make it affordable, and I have said it before to some of you that I have

met, in a recession, people are much more likely to do a deal with you. When things are good,

things tend to just bob along and they won't actually speak to you, but in recessions, they all

have inventory, they all have things that they want to deal on, and we are currently doing our

best to take advantage of that, with partnerships so that we can physically offer the fans

something for their money. So keep the ideas coming.'

A few years ago, Dundee put an event on in the Caird Hall, is that something we could look at repeating? This could be used as a platform for new initiatives, season ticket sales new

strips, things like that, in conjunction with bands and entertainment.

Scott Glenday replied. 'Well this is a football club, and we set off this season with full intentions of kicking off with a pre season meeting of some sort, a mid season review and an

end of season wrap up event where we have people at an open event. Today is probably the

mid season one, although we did have the Society AGM in December. I think it is still early

days for the Society, and early days for this Board, but I think this is something we can look

at and expand upon given time and space to make preparations, and I think that it is worthy

of consideration as partly a social event as well.

'I think we have a fantastic turn out tonight for this meeting, at short notice, I think meetings have become a way of life for Dundee supporters, going along and getting questions and

answers. I think with a bit more time and space, a bit more preparation we can build on this,

get a bit more notice, and get them in the diary in there. Mark asked me to mention at the

meeting of the board last night, he asked me to mention that this was something that the

Society had been pushing for, in terms of providing fans with transparency and

accountability. If you remember, the Board in Feb 2009 voted to stop having AGMs, and the

whole point of the exercise was not to become less accountable, but to make it easier and less

formal. But I think with a bit more time, as I say, this football club is more transparent and

accountable than most if not any I can think of, none come to mind, and with a bit more

preparation we can have three slots in the diary in any given year, and make them proper

events, and I think your concept is a great idea.'