The US-based owners of Dundee and Dundee United both insist they have no plans to merge the rivals clubs.
Dundee’s Houston-based chief Tim Keyes has released a statement declaring he has never “contemplated” joining forces with the Dark Blues’ next door neighbours.
Fellow American Mark Ogren – who has recently completed his Tannadice takeover – has also sought to allay fears amongst United supporters after telling the club’s TV channel: “It’s not going to happen, not while I own the team. We’re not interested in that.”
Speculation has run wild on Tayside in recent days after plans by Dundee’s majority shareholder Keyes to increase his Dens Park stake above 75 per cent emerged in the wake of Ogren’s deal to buy their City of Discovery foes.
But now Keyes has now hit back at claims made in a document sent to members of the Dundee Football Club Supporters’ Society questioning his motivations.
In a statement he said: “It is disappointing to see that the Society has chosen not to make it clear that at no time has the merging of the Dundee clubs ever been discussed in any of (our) meetings, nor has it ever been contemplated by the owners of the club.”
Keyes, whose FPS group currently hold a 68.2 per cent stake in the club, has been in talks with DFCSS about buying shares from them in order to cross the 75 per cent threshold.
If the fans group agreed to the sale, however, it would remove a veto they hold on plans for “an amalgamation or merger with another club” agreed when FPS group bought the club six years ago.
But Keyes insists his share plan is designed purely to cut help cut Dundee’s tax bill as they continue to draw up blueprints for a new 15-000 seater stadium at Camperdown Park.
His statement added: “It has been brought to the attention of the club that the Supporters Society Consultation document circulated prior to the Society AGM raised questions to the motivation of the club owners wishing to acquire the ‘A’ shares currently held by the Society.
“In January 2017, the Society were briefed on the reason for this acquisition, which was to provide tax relief for the club owners and their development company, Dark Blue Property Holdings. This tax relief would be beneficial as they moved forward with the new stadium project.
“In January 2018, the club owners informed the Supporters Society of their intention to proceed with the acquisition of the 75 per cent-plus shareholding in the club through the share issue. The share issue is a lengthy and costly exercise for the club. The sole motivation of the owners is to offset the losses of the club against any gains made by Dark Blue Property Holdings.
“The acquisition of the ‘A’ shares has potential benefits for both sides, and while the negotiation of the finer details has yet to transpire, one such benefit is that the club could operate in a more commercial manner, which would allow for dividends to be paid. This could also allow for greater investment into the club.
“The owners of the club will continue to take informed and proactive decisions that are best suited for Dundee Football Club.”
Ogren hinted he might be open to closer links between the clubs in future but added: “I’ve never met that group over there (at Dens Park). Is there something at some point we might do with them? I wouldn’t say no – but I don’t expect that.
“People have been talking about ground-sharing but one of the big assets we’ve bought is Tannadice and we expect to stay at Tannadice.”