Although our investment saga looks set to roll into the month of July, it’s good to see substantial progress is being made in the changing rooms as more and more of our team signs up for another year at Dens. Yesterday saw not one, two, three or even four but five midfielders sign new contracts with the Club. As well as securing the services of Kevin McBride, Iain Davidson and (one of my favourite players) Ryan Conroy, Dundee offered new deals to two youth players, Jamie Reid and James Thomson, demonstrating further progress in what’s not been a particularly fruitful youth system at Dens. Another Dens Park product, Kyle Benedictus, put pen to paper earlier this week, along with the mercurial talent of Nicky Riley.
I’m heartened to see my season ticket money being put towards maintaining a squad more than capable of coming straight back up to the SPL. While it’s disappointing that we couldn’t keep Harkins, Baird and Easton, we quickly identified replacements, and the return of Gavin Rae in a player/coach capacity will surely reap dividends both on and off the park.
We seem to be carefully and gradually building a team rather than assembling a set of individuals as a quick-fire solution to relegation. Retaining the core of our SPL team while releasing the dozen or so players who offered little last season, while investing in both youth and experience, has been a very astute move on Bomber’s part and is a refreshing change to the chopping and changing that has taken place over the last few years.
The one area for concern, following the departure of both Rab Douglas and Steve Simonsen, is between the sticks, with youngster Alex Baird our only registered goalkeeper. As Douglas and Simonsen were both high earners, and a number of other high earners such as Mark Kerr and Davide Grassi have been released, we can hopefully find a solid, dependable goalkeeper to slot in to what is already a very strong squad. If we can keep a hold of Carl Finnigan as well as the newly-signed Peter MacDonald up front, then I’d be very confident as we head into the new season of being the team to beat.
It’s probably too early to make a full assessment of our chances and make predictions for 2013/14, as there’s still quite a few teams wheeling and dealing in the transfer market. However, with another month to go until the Beautiful Game returns, it’s looking sunny on Tayside.