Dundee have a lot to be happy about so where is the feel-good factor?

Tim Keyes

At a glance, these should be happy days if you’re a Dundee fan. Yes, work does need doing to secure the club’s continued Premiership status at the end of the season.

There is enough talent, however, in the squad to believe that can be done so a fourth campaign in a row in the top flight is confirmed.

If that’s the case, the Dark Blues can again consider themselves regular members of Scottish football’s elite and not the yo-yo club they’ve too often been since the mid-1970s.

And looking at the bigger picture there’s more reason for optimism. The board are forging ahead with plans for a new 15,000-seater home next to Campderdown Park.

That’s just another indication of what appears to be millionaire American owner Tim Keyes’ long-term commitment to a project he first became involved in back in 2013.

While, however, there is little doubt Keyes continues to have the backing of most fans, speak to them and it’s hard to detect too much of a feel-good factor right now.

That’s despite the club being seemingly in as a stable a position as it’s been for the past couple of decades and begs the obvious question — why the long faces?

Providing an answer isn’t easy but if there is one in part it’s historical. Grand as the plans for “Nou Campie” are, the Dundee fans have heard it all before.

As far back as the early 1990s another millionaire owner from across the pond, Canadian Ron Dixon, revealed plans for a total rebuild of Dens Park. In the end the only change was an ill-fated dog track.

Other plans have been announced only to end up in the waste paper bin and there is no question the result is a support that’s now understandably sceptical about news of such schemes.

Past flights of fantasy are not the fault of the present owners but the reality is they can expect few plaudits until the team is at the new arena.

On the playing side there’s also a sense of frustration over performances during the past season-and-a-bit. Last term was a struggle to avoid relegation and hopes this year under new manager Neil McCann would see a challenge for a top six have also evaporated.

While that’s been disappointing, in a sense Dundee under Keyes have been victims of their own successes.

By their admission, when Paul Hartley guided the team back to the top flight four years ago promotion had come a yearly earlier than expected. It meant the club was not quite geared up for the Premiership return but it didn’t stop them securing a top-six finish in the first season back. That’s meant the recent struggles have been disappointing.

Taking a step back, frustrations over that are probably harsh. Welcome as the high finish two years ago was, the reality was always that the first few seasons in the top tier would be a struggle.

While the plan has to be to set sights higher in the future, right now finishing anywhere above the relegation places represents success for Dundee.

The challenge for the owners is getting fans to buy into that and stick with their team. As the latest financial statement shows, that’s not proving easy.

Results for the year to the end of May 2017 show a loss of £354,000 and further losses for this year and beyond are anticipated. A better TV deal in the future would help but more worrying was the admission an increase in the home support is needed to put Dundee in a break-even position.

The club reckon they have a hard core following of around 3500 but need it to jump to 4500. Given the mood of fans right now, that’s not going to be easy.