Stephen Thompson: Dundee United are in good health

By Jim SpenceBBC Sport
Stephen Thompson says an exciting future lies ahead for the club.
Stephen Thompson says an exciting future lies ahead for the club.

Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson is confident the Tannadice side are now finally in control of their future.

The Tangerines have announced their fourth profit in five years, to the tune of £319,000, showing in their latest annual accounts.

The latest good news follows on from a group of fans paying an initial sum to the bank to transfer their debt.

"I feel it's the first time that the board and the club are 100% in control of its own future," said Thompson.

United managed to save more than £500,000 in wage costs and made a £595,000 transfer profit, helped by the sale of striker Johnny Russell to Derby.

Turnover also increased to £5.4m and the wages-to-turnover ratio dropped from 76% to 61%.

"When we sold a player, the vast majority went on debt reduction," Thompson told BBC Scotland. "Practically nothing was for working capital, so it made it difficult on a day-to-day basis.

"At the end of the day, a player could still refuse to go to a club, but we're 100% in control of transfers, it's part and parcel of how we run the club.

"We've spent a lot on our youth development - we've never cut that in the past five years, not a penny off that. Part of that is to sell players and move on."

Jackie McNamara's side are also close to success on the pitch, with a talented group of youngsters pushing for a European spot through the league and looking forward to a Scottish Cup quarter-final tie away to Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

"I would like to think the club financially is in the best state it's been for many, many years," continued Thompson. "Yes, we've got debt, but the club has been in debt for many years anyway. The debt's a different form of debt.

"It's now the actual real debt is £2.1m, which is the loan notes.

"We've got an exciting team on the park and I just want to ask the fans to continue to back the club.

"I know they've been excited by some of the results and the games this season. It's been a bit up and down - you've got to remember some of the boys are only 17/18, I think we all forget that.

"I'm looking forward to an exciting future."

Ryan Gauld and Stuart Armstrong are two stars who have been heavily linked with other clubs and, although the Tannadice men are resigned to losing their star players at some point, they say they won't be rushed into a sale.

"I don't know if we'll sell anybody in the summer," added Thompson. "If the offer's right, we'll see.

"It's got to be right for the club, it's got to be right for the player. We will see what happens in the months ahead."