They have been in the wilderness for a while but Dundee United academy director Andy Goldie believes a youth revolution can help take the club back to the top.
Goldie is celebrating a year heading up the Terrors youth set-up which has seen the club achieve Elite status in the Scottish FA’s Project Brave strategy and multiple players break into the first-team.
The Tangerines have a proud history of giving home grown talent a chance and, under the stewardship of American owner Mark Ogren, former Hamilton and Rangers coach Goldie believes, following a five-year plan, they can hit the heights of producing European and international players once more.
“It was great for me to hear the vision of the owner. It was one of the things I’d spoken to (sporting director) Tony Asghar about when I first was contacted about the job,” he said.
“We had to understand that, yes, we’d get some short-terms gains and results but long-term is where we’ll be judged.
“We’ve got a five-year plan in place and we should start seeing more 16 and 17-year-olds coming through, academy graduates in the first team and, ultimately, we want to sell these kids on.
“It’s about re-investing that back into the club and the academy to create better players.
“It’s also about giving kids in Dundee the opportunity to achieve their dreams.
“There’s no reason why we can’t have players who achieve international or European success, we’ve had it in the past, it’s just about getting them to believe it again and putting the support in.”
The 34-year-old, who has put his own crack team in place, took the time to praise head of player pathway and loans Brian Grant for the job he did previously, running an under-resourced academy.
He added: “There’s no escaping it, the academy was completely underfunded before I came in.
“If it wasn’t for the work Brian had done previously, then it would have been so much harder.
“He gave us a foundation to build upon. He was out taking sessions, acting as the academy director, washing kit and driving the mini-bus.
“I’m in a very fortunate position now where I’ve got guys that can do specific roles with certain objectives to achieve.
“We can focus on our roles rather than doing multiple different things.”
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The likes of Louis Appere, Declan Glass, Logan Chalmers and Chris Mochrie have all become first-team fixtures under United boss Robbie Neilson this season and Goldie has been delighted with the impact they’ve made.
“All of those boys have had some sort of adversity in their careers at some point.
“Louis had to go out on loan (to Broughty Athletic). He openly said he wasn’t sure but he took it and made the most of the chance.
“He’s come back and he’s now a regular starter for us. Last weekend a lot of people were saying ‘we missed Louis’ and that’s fantastic for a boy that was playing junior football this time last year.
“Deco has done the same. He wanted to play and break into the first team in pre-season but he was sent out on loan.
“He went to Cove Rangers and didn’t make any excuses but now he’s back and the fans are calling for him to start every game.”
Scott Banks followed a different path and sealed a move to Premier League Crystal Palace in the January transfer window.
Goldie admits it was a wrench to lose him but hopes he can make a success of things down south.
“Of course we’re disappointed to lose him because, selfishly, we want every academy player to go into the first team and make an impact.
“That shows the academy is, obviously, working but there’s no hard feelings there whatsoever.
“We wish Scott all the very best and we hope he goes down there and makes a success of it at Crystal Palace.
“You never know, we could have another academy graduate playing in the Premier League within a few years.”