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Dundee United boss Micky Mellon fears clubs will go bust without return of fans

Micky Mellon File Photo
(Image credit: Steve Welsh)

Dundee United manager Micky Mellon has urged the authorities to find a way of getting fans back in grounds to avoid the “terrifying” prospect of mass club casualties.

The return of spectators was delayed again this week amid the coronavirus pandemic and Mellon is deeply concerned for lower-league clubs whose season is due to start next month.

Mellon said: “It’s quite frightening for football that we don’t have anybody really sitting down and trying to find a way with us to help our football clubs survive.

“That is the bottom line now. If we don’t get fans into games, I don’t see how these clubs can survive. We all know, especially in Scotland, how big a part of their communities these clubs are. If they disappear, it’s terrifying.

“The important thing is someone hopefully sits down with the football clubs and tries to find a way forward, like with other areas and different industries.

“We have to find a way to get some kind of support into the grounds safely, as best we can, because at the minute there just isn’t any talking being done. Which is wrong, because football has so much to give, and if it isn’t there, that isn’t something that is worth thinking about.

“We all know there’s a virus and that’s first and foremost but there’s many other industries that have some kind of way of getting people into their establishments.

“I don’t know why football is any different. All football clubs rely so heavily on fans.

“We have a great owner (Mark Ogren) here, and I’m not just saying that, who probably helps to keep us afloat in times like this. But without fans it’s not realistic to think that can continue. And that’s at all levels of football. I just don’t know how it can carry on.

“I watch the TV and listen to radio and you can hear them all crying out for some guidance and help, but at the minute I just don’t think there is enough appetite to make that happen.”

The former Tranmere boss added: “I’m not aware of the situation at Dundee United, that’s not my job, but throughout Scotland and England, fans are what keep these clubs going. If fans aren’t there, how can it continue?

“It’s not just about the big clubs, it’s about people who are supporting their community clubs, there’s 300 or 500 there on a Saturday, they deserve the opportunity to have a football club. And that’s teetering on a  knife edge.

“All we are saying is just help us find a way, let’s be imaginative, find a way of sustaining ourselves through this pandemic and come out the other side, because at the minute there’s an awful lot of clubs who ain’t going to get through this.”

United’s own short-term finances appear settled as Mellon confirmed he was still hoping to make signings before the October 5 transfer deadline.

“We have a really good owner and director of football (Tony Asghar) and they would have done their sums to make sure there’s a club still here at the end of this pandemic. We wouldn’t over-stretch ourselves,” said Mellon, who confirmed 20-year-old midfielder Declan Glass was close to joining Partick Thistle on loan.

“We are still along with a few bits and we hope to still get them done.”

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