Dundee United sporting director Tony Asghar says “impressive” Thomas Courts was the outstanding candidate for the head coach job at Tannadice.
Criticism has been levelled at Asghar and the United board since the departure of former boss Micky Mellon two weeks ago for the time it’s taken them to appoint a replacement.
Some supporters were sceptical of former Tangerines academy coach Courts’ credentials and expressed concern over the interview process, with the club first looking internally for their new man.
However, Asghar insists, after seeing the way the players bought into his methods when temporarily in charge of the first team last season, the 39-year-old former Kelty Hearts gaffer was the clear choice.
‘Outstanding’ Courts the man for Asghar
The Terrors chief said: “I think after Micky left, we looked at who was about the football club and Tam, over the last 18 months, has always been impressive in the way he goes about his business.
“Not only within the academy, but also doing a lot of opposition analyst work.
“He’s got a very high network, which nobody understands outwith the club.
“When he took over the game at Livingston (last year when United’s first-team coaching staff went into Covid isolation), all the players and staff bought into his methodology.
“Really, after speaking to a number of other candidates, Tam was the outstanding one for ourselves and the board.”
‘It scares people in Scottish football because it’s not a traditional way but for us we have to stick to our plan’
Although it’s perhaps a new and unusual model in this country, Asghar believes their model of promoting not only players but staff from within is the way forward.
He points to prominent examples abroad of the path United are going down despite it perhaps scaring some in Scottish football with a more traditional attitude.
For Asghar, Courts’ appointment is the first step of a long-term strategy being backed financially and emotionally by Tangerines’ owner Mark Ogren.
He added: “There’s no secret we look at how other innovative clubs are working and how they’re being successful, not just on the pitch but also off the pitch.
“The owner, certainly, when he invested in this club, wanted to see how he could best make money and you see clubs like FC Midtjylland who have made huge investments and made a big profit.
“They utilise recruitment, they utilise analysis and they do a lot of work with African players.
“Obviously it’s slightly different for us.
“We look at clubs like AZ Alkmaar and how they’re doing well.
“We want to be different and I know sometimes it scares people in Scottish football because it’s not a traditional way but, for us, we have to stick to our plan because the owner has come in and invested.
“We tweak it or we adapt it but we don’t change it dramatically.”