Gordon Strachan believes a successful football club can play a major part in the ongoing rejuvenation of Dundee as a city.
The 62-year-old describes himself as still being “obsessed” by football and, in particular, the development of young players that will be the main focus of his role as Dundee’s new technical director.
Throughout his career as a top player and manager, however, he’s always been aware there was a wider world out there with a lot going on.
That’s especially been the case with Dundee, the city in which his senior career started 45 years ago and where he met his wife Lesley.
And, from his own experience, he knows if he can help bring success to Dens Park, it will add to the positive vibe the area has been enjoying in recent times.
“Dundee’s regenerating here, the V&A, computer programming and things like that,” said the former Scotland boss.
“I also believe a football club has a lot to do with the success of the community and the local economy.
“I’ve seen it at Aberdeen, I saw it at Leeds where the town’s grown, the economy’s grown when the football club has done well. It goes hand in hand with that.”
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Down the years, family ties mean he’s been a regular visitor to the city and his new job means he will be spending plenty time in the area over the next few years.
For him, the fact he’ll be back involved in football on a working basis means that will not be a problem.
“I love it. I love being in football company. I love being with players and the football world. I’m still young enough to go onto the field and do the practices and whatever,” he added.
“I’ve not really got a timescale (for how regularly he’s been seen at Dens) but most of my time will be taken up with the academy, families and players.
“If I can help any other way that’s fantastic as well.”
While his appointment is the realisation of a long-held ambition to work on developing young talent, something he’s focused on since leaving the Scotland job in 2017, Strachan admits the fact it’s brought him back to Dundee is largely a coincidence.
“I’ve never planned my life and if you told me two years ago I’d be technical director at Dundee, I would’ve gone ‘no’,” he added.
“Because I love the game so much and it’s an avenue back in, not that I had to force myself, it’s only because I love the game so much.
“I really want to do it, see what we can achieve. That’s the thing about me, I love the game more than anything else.
“I’d love in four or five years time, six years time I can sit back and go I helped that guy, I helped that player.”
Known for honesty and frankness, what Strachan is not returning with is a guarantee of success but, if the ideas he puts in place do not come off, it won’t be for the want of trying. And, after lengthy discussions with Dens managing director John Nelms over the past few months, he is ultra-confident that, in terms of backing he’ll get, he’s come to the right place.
“It might fail but the fact is I’m going to have a right good bash at it.
“And I know I am going to be backed up to the hilt here.
“I spoke to John and he said ‘yep we can do that, we can do that, that might be hard but we’ll try to do that’. The reaction of the coaches has also been good and that was important.”
Strachan will be on hand to give first-team boss James McPake any help but has stressed that will only be on an ask-and-it-will-be-given basis, though the manager has stressed he will be tapping into his knowledge.