Dundee United manager Robbie Neilson has revealed how people have been rallying around the club to help cope with the coronavirus shutdown.
Neilson – who has been exempted from the furlough scheme that has enveloped players and other members of staff – stressed the need for everyone to work together to get through the pandemic crisis that has the world in its grip.
The Terrors boss confirmed that he has been informed by sporting director Tony Asghar that cash has come into the club from benefactors looking to help.
He said: “We know, financially, at the moment it is difficult for everyone – for all clubs.
“We’re no different and if the fans can do so then it’s important they back us as much and they can.
“They have been great.”
He added: “There have been a couple of things happening in the background.
“I have been speaking to Tony and people have been investing in the club and benefactors putting money in because it’s so important.
“This period we are in is unprecedented and we just don’t know what’s going to happen.
“It’s important that this work that everyone has put in together – the fans, owner [Mark Ogren], players and staff – keeps going.
“We do that by helping each other and [ensuring] the ship is going in the same direction.”
In an interview with United’s media team, Neilson also hailed the “strong leadership” shown by the club’s US-based owner Mark Ogren during the coronavirus crisis.
He said: “The chairman has been great since the day he came in.
“In situations like this, with the unknowns, it’s so important that you have strong leadership from above – and we’ve certainly got that from the chairman.
“He has invested heavily in this football club and the objective is still, as it has always been, to get this team into the Premiership.
“That hasn’t changed at all, even with this current situation. That’s the sole focus for us.
“Ultimately we have to make sure everyone’s safe. We’re focusing on that at the moment.
“But once the football starts again it will be business as usual for us.”
Neilson has plenty of homework to keep him busy at home during the pandemic after signing up for a sports Master’s degree last year.
“As a manager, switching off from the job has always been the hardest part of it for me,” he admitted.
“Even when we are sitting watching a movie I can find myself flicking back to what we are going to be doing at the club the next day.
“At times, you can even feel a little bit guilty if you do switch off because you can see it as time wasted when you should be working on this or that.
“So I am trying things that take me out of the bubble. I started a Master’s degree in September and it’s been great.
“I left school at 16 so it’s been a long time since I have been in a classroom.
“You do get homework so I have some assignments to work on.”
United are 14 points clear of Inverness Caley Thistle – who have a game in hand – at the top of the Championship with eight fixtures remaining.
The fate of the 2019/20 campaign is still up in the air as the SPFL and SFA weigh up their options.
But Neilson, appointed to the Tannadice hot seat in October 2018, believes football will be “gung-ho” when it returns.
He is expecting matches to come flying at the Tangerines whenever the ball comes out again.
The former Hearts and MK Dons boss said: “When football does restart, it will be gung-ho.
“Games will be played Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday-Tuesday, or even Saturday-Monday-Thursday.
“So we have to be ready to kick on. It might be a great opportunity for everybody and I am looking forward to getting the players back in.
“I don’t know but we could get a two-week window to do a quick pre-season and then it will be straight into games.
“It’s going to be exciting because the matches will be coming thick and fast.”