The message from Dundee United’s new owners to Arabs is a clear one – we won’t always do exactly what you want but we will always listen to you.
Since American Mark Ogren and his son, Scott, bought a controlling interest at the end of last year, there’s been a concerted effort to involve supporters in as many areas of the decision- making process at Tannadice as possible.
Obviously, that cannot extend to manager Robbie Neilson’s plans for his team, nor investment in the playing squad.
But, when they can, those now in charge at the Tangerines will seek feedback from their support.
Managing director Mal Brannigan has been at the sharp end of that and, while it’s not always proved easy, he’s delighted with how the relationship with the support has developed.
“I think it helps when a new ownership comes in and there’s an expectation there when fans know things will change, whether that’s ticket pricing or investment in the ground, or in access to areas of communication with the fans,” he said.
“It’s also good that Mark and Scott come from a retail background, from an American sports background where communication is really important and the product that’s given to the supporter needs to be enhanced.
“And I have found the supporter base has been really open, definitely communicative in a positive way and in a challenging way as well.
“We are not going to get it all right but, if we communicate with the supporters groups we have and then we take on everyone’s view, the biggest thing is that we have listened.
“Whatever the decision we come to thereafter, at least we’ve listened and tried to take on board what the supporters have asked us to do.”
Dialogue, so far, has included matters such as the decision to give the home support three sides of the ground for the coming derby against Dundee, the new ticketing system that’s been introduced and even seeking thoughts on how projects like the refurbishment of sponsors’ lounges should be carried out.
“We’ve been refurbishing the Centenary Lounge and, what we did in there was, with the long-standing customers, we sat down with them before we started doing any work.
“We had an idea what we’d like to do but we shared it with them first to see if there was any real objection and if there was, why?
“It was even coming down to the number of covers in the room and the décor.
“We brought the customer with us and said ‘give us some input before we start to knock down some walls or take away the doors’.”
As Brannigan revealed yesterday, this summer £250,000 has been spent on improvements to Tannadice.
That was done both because it was necessary and United are determined to give their fans the best-possible matchday experience.
Brannigan is well aware, however, that such spending had to go hand in hand with cash being made available for manager Robbie Neilson to continue to strengthen his squad.
“I deal specifically with the supporter and business side but the amount of the investment they’ve put into the team under Robbie and (sporting director) Tony Asghar, and backing their ideas, is what we need to do to get this football club out of this division, up to the Premiership in good time and with a solid base.
“The two have to go hand in hand and the fact myself and Tony both came in at the same time was positive from my perspective.”