In the five years they have owned Dundee, the club has become a part of the family according to owner Tim Keyes – and he sees a new stadium as the ideal way for it to flourish for the foreseeable future.
The Dark Blues’ American owner has been in town over the past couple of weeks to help managing director John Nelms put things in place for their proposed stadium plans – as well as help the club’s running in the short-term with an injection of cash.
An announcement is expected on plans for the 15,000-seat arena at Camperdown Park at the end of this month and it is understood the issue with Transport Scotland over access from the Kingsway has been resolved.
And Keyes says the project is key to the future of the club – but not the be-all-and-end-all for his, and his family’s, commitment.
He said: “Long-term we have plans for the stadium and the training ground, which will put us in an elite group of clubs in Scotland.
“If we get those plans through, it will fuel the club for the next 10 to 20 years.
“It’s going to be far more than just a football stadium, it’s going to be an event arena and provide something the city of Dundee doesn’t have at the moment.
“The stadium project is important but, if for some reason it didn’t happen, it wouldn’t sway our commitment to the club.
“It’s important to elevate the club – and the city – to another level but if we were to continue at Dens for a while it wouldn’t change things.
“My enthusiasm is the same now as when we started this, that’s five years now and you learn as you go along.”
The Keyes family took control of the Dens club through their company Football Partners Scotland five years ago.
In that time, the Dark Blues have been promoted to the top flight and have vastly changed their youth set-up.
And, though Keyes admits they may not get their initial cash investment back, the attachment to Dundee FC has become much more than just financial.
“At the start this was a business investment in something that would be enjoyable as well.
“It’s still enjoyable, although I have a hard time watching the games when I tune in from the States because I’m so invested in it. I get anxious watching our games because I live or die by how the club does.
“If I look back on where the club was five years ago when we came in and compare it to now, we’re light years away from what it was.
“We are up a division in the Premiership and the youth programme is much better.
“We have brought stability to the club, the financial statements are public so everyone can see the level of commitment the family have made.
“That was probably something we didn’t expect to do. Has it cost us more than we thought? I guess so. We put the initial investment in and probably naively thought that was it and off we go.
“But we are happy to support the club and we will continue to do that.
“When we first came in we looked at it more as an investment and in five or 10 years, would we get a return on it?
“But now it has become more like a member of the family we are willing to support, rather than look to get an investment back.
“We would like to, we are business people at the end of the day, but it’s like having kids – you need to invest in them to make them succeed.
“It’s, obviously, not our preference to keep putting money into the club, we would like to see it be profitable or break even.
“The new stadium will be part of that, hopefully that will help it grow.
“While the stadium is being built, it won’t affect the budget here because that’s separate.
“But if it does happen, then the playing budget would go up in the long-term because of the revenue we’d be generating.”