A former Dundee chief executive has told the club’s American owners it’s good to talk – and listen.
But Harry MacLean has also warned fans whatever gripes they have, this is not the time to be turning their backs on the Dee.
MacLean was at the helm back in 2010 when the club was battling a second period in administration.
He left Dens late in 2011 and has spent time since working abroad but Dundee have always remained close to his heart.
And, like many supporters, he believes for all the good American owner Tim Keyes and his man on the ground in the city, John Nelms, have done, there has been a disconnect with the fans.
Unless something’s done, he fears the disappointment of relegation from the Premiership this season could become a major disaster that holds the club back for years.
However, with a change of mindset on both sides, he feels Dundee could soon be back on track and heading for a top-flight return.
“Everybody knows the Championship is a hard level because of lack of crowds and lack of money. It has to be said the club hasn’t helped itself with relationships with the supporters,” he said.
“Right now it seems there’s nobody speaking directly to the club and nobody at the club speaking directly to the fans.
“For the good of Dundee that has to be put aside. The managing director (Nelms) needs to put it aside, the supporters groups need to put it aside and come together.
“For a club the size of Dundee, a provincial club, I don’t think the owners get how important it is to be part of the community and how important that is for the fans.
“The club has to look at how it engages again with the community and the fans really need to want to get involved with the club again.
“There have been people saying ‘we’re not buying season tickets, we’re not doing this and we’re not doing that’ and that can’t happen.
“Not so long ago they were just happy to see Dundee playing at all, and that’s been forgotten.”
Despite those criticisms, MacLean stresses Keyes and Nelms have been a force for good and struggles to understand that disconnect with the support.
“I have sympathy with Tim Keyes. It’s his money and he’s put a lot into the club. He clearly plans to continue doing that but communication hasn’t been good.
“That’s strange for Americans, who you tend to think are good at that and would be able say this is what we’re doing well, this is what we’ve got to work on and this is where we need help.”
For their part, he believes the support has to show the owners there is a club worth investing in.
He believes season ticket prices are too high and not enough is being done to help those who struggle to afford to go to Dens regularly.
“The fans do have to help and show there is something to fight for. They need to buy season tickets and show the owners there is a support.
“In return they have to know they are being listened to. That doesn’t mean the owners must always do what fans want but they need to talk.
“In my time as chief executive (former owner) Peter Marr was someone I’d sit down and have a cup of tea with. That doesn’t mean we agreed, often we didn’t but it was good to be able to just speak to someone who’d been in control of a club. On the football side there are people out there who are Dundee minded, your Jocky Scotts and Jim Duffys, and have the club in their hearts. Their opinions or advice would be useful information.
“With some fans’ groups, talking would mean putting aside past differences but it would be good for the club.
“And what’s best for the club is what everyone wants.”