New Dundee United head coach Thomas Courts has promised supporters he’ll be his own man in the Tannadice dugout.
Courts was unveiled as United boss on Wednesday, succeeding Micky Mellon in the hot seat.
The 39-year-old, who has been promoted from head of tactical performance to the manager’s office, is comfortable with the Tangerines’ sporting director/head coach model.
Working with sporting director Tony Asghar, the former Kelty Hearts gaffer insists he is aiming to “drive the club to the next level”.
Some supporters have called Courts’ autonomy and authority as boss into question and, although he understands their point of view, he has moved to assure Arabs he’ll be in control.
Final decision will always be for benefit of club
“I think I can understand from the fans’ perspective,” the Terrors’ boss said.
“The sporting director model is not something that most people understand.
“Whereas, with my background, I understand how the model actually works and how I can use it as a support network.
“Equally, we are going to have disagreements and falling outs, differing opinions, because, ultimately, we both want the best for Dundee United Football Club.
“The key thing for me coming into this role is I’m not here, and neither did I want the process to be quick, to give off the impression that I’m beholding to be here.
“I feel really grateful to be here. I understand the level of responsibility and expectation but I’ve got quite a clear idea on what I think needs to be worked on, improved and provided for.
“Both in terms of the players and the fans.”
Head coach must have the final say ‘at all times’
Former United U/18s coach Courts also moved to ensure supporters he’ll be on top of recruitment – a remit that was a large part of his previous role.
He added: “Part of my job doing the opposition analysis previously would naturally involve me in recruitment meetings.
“I would be making recommendations from the games that I had seen in terms of who might be of interest to the club.
“We are actually a very fluid club here in terms of how communication flows.
“So I have a very good understanding of the signing targets, the profiles and what’s required.”
As to who’ll have the final say on transfers and other big first-team decisions, Courts is unequivocal in his assertion.
“That has to be the head coach at all times,” he continued.
“Tony and I have spoken about that and there is no disagreement over that.
“Also by the same token, the club makes a heavy investment in different areas from recruitment to data, scouting, etc.
“So it is very much a consensus approach but ultimately the head coach has to have the final decision.”
‘I think it’s a brave and courageous move’
Despite criticism from some fans online, Courts has hailed the United board for showing faith in him.
He does, however, admit to some surprise at landing his first professional first-team manager’s role with the Tangerines.
Despite his five years in charge of then-junior and Lowland League side Kelty, Courts understands the club could’ve gone down a different path.
“I think it’s a brave and courageous move,” he asserted.
“It’s not one that I expected, hence the reason I didn’t apply for the role.
“I didn’t have a frame of reference for this club or other clubs actually making this type of appointment.
“I was pleasantly surprised when the club invited me to have a chat.
“The process probably took a bit longer than everyone expected because I had a lot of questions and requirements in terms of where I see the club going and the support that would be needed.
“I just wanted to make sure that alignment was sought right from the outset.
“I’m really happy that that’s in place.”