sport

Thompson: We control our destiny

Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson declared his club in a strong position after a group of fans paid off their bank debt of more than 3m.

United will have to pay the private individuals back but the deal has seen the Bank of Scotland release a security over the club's assets and it could cut their interest fees.

United have almost halved their debt in recent years but have still been paying annual bank interest fees of more than 200,000.

The most important change to fans is that Thompson declared they would be in a much stronger position in the transfer market.

The debt was cut largely because of the sale of David Goodwillie and Johnny Russell, and Thompson will not be forced to accept low fees for the likes of Ryan Gauld and John Souttar.

Thompson told STV: "It is a big deal for the club. It puts us in a strong position when it comes to keeping players in transfer windows. We won't need to sell at any price and I just think we are in control of our own destiny now.

"It is only with the help of these private investors that we've been able to do this. Obviously my family over the years have kind of stabilised the club and put a lot of money in.

"To be able to do this, their support has been fantastic. It just makes the finances completely different as a club."

"Yes we have to repay the investors and it is all agreed and all confidential. But it is very different dealing with a Dundee United fan in many respects, although it's all legally agreed. than it is dealing with the banks these days.

"That's not a criticism of the bank, that's just the way banks are now. It means we will be harder to deal with in the transfer window.

"The board has always had the final say but in the past there was always some pressure when it came to cash because most of the transfer fees went to the bank in debt reduction. So we're in a different position now.

In an earlier statement, Thompson explained the financial restructuring deal.

"In recent years we have worked closely with the bank to reduce our term loan debt by almost half, from a peak of 6million to just over 3million today, whilst at the same time continuing to trade and operate the business as normal in a highly competitive and difficult market," he said.

"At times this has been challenging, but we have risen to this challenge and are now in a position whereby we feel able to operate the business without any further reliance on bank lending.

"Importantly, this restructuring will also allow us to utilise the club's assets to a greater extent for the benefit of the local community and we will be providing details of our plans for this over the coming weeks."

Meanwhile, defender Gavin Gunning could return from a knee injury for Sunday's William Hill Scottish Cup tie against St Mirren but Mark Wilson is a doubt for the same reason.