James McPake insists any notion of ‘big-budget Dundee’ last season was far from the truth.
The Dark Blues were stuck with the label throughout their time in the Championship after attracting big-name stars like Charlie Adam and Graham Dorrans.
However, Dee manager McPake says it wasn’t for money that players like those two chose to come to Dens Park.
Dorrans and McPake were team-mates together at Livingston before the midfielder moved down south to star in the English Premier League with Norwich and West Brom.
He now plays in Australia for Western Sydney Wanderers.
While Adam was a lifelong supporter of Dundee and also had family reasons to return to the city of his birth.
McPake, meanwhile, also revealed possible deals like an attempt to sign former Dundee United star Nadir Ciftci fell through due to financial demands.
“Everybody went on about us having a massive budget but we didn’t,” McPake said.
“It doesn’t annoy me. I think it is because people see us signing players like Graham Dorrans and Charlie Adam.
“You are also linked with players like Nadir Ciftci. But people might ask why we didn’t sign him, well the money was too much.
“So have we lost out on players? Absolutely.
“Graham coming here was down to the fact that he was coming out of Rangers and he had been injured. There was also a friendship there.
“People like Charlie Adam are not here to make money – Charlie has made all the money in the world.
“He is here to live a lifelong dream and he has lived it, well part of it.
“He will live it next season in the Premiership, playing in Dundee derbies and other games.
“We pay enough but certainly nowhere near what everybody goes on about. It didn’t annoy me because internally we all knew – John (Nelms), Tim (Keyes) and the staff.
“We want to build a sustainable football club that can compete in the Premiership.”
Finance no guarantee of success
And in the Championship especially, McPake says a bigger budget does not guarantee success.
Over the past decade, huge clubs like Rangers and Hibs have struggled to get out of the second tier.
Dundee themselves have taken two years while neighbours Dundee United spent four out of the Premiership.
And the Dens boss says it takes more than a bit of money to get back to the top flight.
He added: “Certainly there was no extra pressure from (the owners) here. They never said you have this big a budget so you should be going and beating Arbroath.
“That’s not the case as budgets don’t win you football games – Hearts failed to win up there.
“The Championship is a tough, tough league. You have big expectations at this club and there were times this season where we didn’t live up to those expectations.
“But when it really mattered, the players did.
“We will sit down and reflect once the dust settles.
“I thought it had settled the other day but the phone has been non-stop and rightly so because we are preparing to take on a very tough league.
“It is as strong a Premiership as it has been in a while in my opinion.
“But winning promotion is a great boost for the club and the city.”
The Dark Blues, meanwhile, announced their first pre-season friendly ahead of the new campaign.
Though they face Forfar Athletic in the Premier Sports Cup in July, the two clubs will have the chance to size each other up at Station Park on June 26.
That will see former Dundee favourite Gary Irvine take on James McPake ahead of the 36-year-old’s debut season as a manager at the League Two club.