Dundee managing director John Nelms claims he had no choice but to sack boss Jim McIntyre after watching his relationship with the Dens Park support turn “toxic”.
McIntyre claims he deserved the chance to lead the Dark Blues back to the Ladbrokes Premiership after being axed on Sunday.
The former Ross County manager lost his job after a run of 10 straight defeats saw his side relegated.
He inherited a team already sitting bottom of the league when he replaced Neil McCann in October but despite making major changes during the winter break could not save the Taysiders from the drop.
But while Nelms has sympathy for his departed boss, he admits the situation with the Dens faithful was beyond repair.
He said: “There has been a toxic environment with the fans and the club.
“When you get in a rut like this it’s not a good place to be.
“I think it’s fair to say the fans would not have accepted us giving Jim more time.
“We have backed our managers as an ownership group. We did 33 transactions in January allowing Jim to rebuild – but that is not the best time to rebuild a team.
“To be fair to Jim, I understand his argument. You should have at least two windows so it’s truly your squad.
“But in this case it was just too far gone after 10 losses in a row. The fans truly turned on Jim and even if he came out of the gates next year flying, I think he’d have been under the gun constantly.
“We want our manager to work without fear and I’m not sure we’d have gotten that if we’d have stayed with Jim.”
Nelms and the club’s Texas-based owner Tim Keyes have now started the process of whittling down the 150 applications they have already received.
A shortlist approaching 30 names has already been drawn up as they look to appoint a boss capable of leading the club to promotion at the first time of asking.
Former Rangers, Liverpool and Stoke midfielder Charlie Adam has been linked with taking the job as a player-manager, as has current Dee striker Kenny Miller.
But while Nelms would be interested in speaking to Adam, he does not believe it is possible to juggle managing the club with playing duties.
Nelms, who has previously admitted the club would only consider applications from bosses with 300 games under their belts, said: “I’m not sure we would look at a player-manager role. I think the job here at Dundee involves too much to be a player and a manager, so I would mark that out.
“Charlie’s name hasn’t been brought up at all so far but if Charlie was interested we’d certainly be interested in talking to him. I still see Charlie as a player and if he ever wanted to come and play for us we’d definitely have that conversation.
“Right now, Kenny Miller is top with the bookies to become the next manager but he hasn’t even knocked on my door.
“I’m not sure Kenny has any inclination of putting his name forward. I don’t know. If he does we’ll certainly talk.
“Within our current criteria, if we did bring a younger manager on then we’d desperately want to make sure he has somebody next to him that has a lot of experience, so that might offset the requirement for 300 games.”
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