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Page last updated at 14:31 GMT, Thursday, 4 June 2009 15:31 UK

Melville eyes a debt-free Dundee

By Jim Spence

Dundee manager Jocky Scott
Manager Jocky Scott has been given funds for new players

Dundee's newest director has promised that the club will be completely debt free once he buys Dens Park.

Calum Melville has been in discussions to buy the stadium from current owner John Bennett, who is about to rejoin the board at rivals Dundee United.

"Once I get control of the stadium, Dundee will not owe me any money," Melville, who has an estimated fortune of £120m, told BBC Scotland.

"The club won't owe anyone a bean. The debt will be wiped out by me."

Bennett acquired Dens Park when he bought the club debt of £7.5m from its bankers.

But Melville has now been in negotiations for two months with the United fan.

"I am currently closing four other business deals for commercial property, but I have an agreement in principle to buy the stadium," said Melville. "I want to get control of Dens."

This is a truly remarkable outcome for the club, which was on the brink of extinction five years ago

Dundee chairman Bob Brannan

Melville has promised to increase Dundee's player budget, but he sounded a cautionary note in light of Gretna going out of business two seasons ago and present uncertainty over money owed to the Scottish Premier League by cash-strapped broadcaster Setanta.

"Dundee has to be a self-sustaining club," he said. "Look what happened to Gretna when their backer, Brookes Mileson, died.

"A club cannot run just on the basis of a rich backer putting money in. We also have to see what happens with the Setanta deal. That will have implications right throughout the game."

Dens Park and Dundee Football Club are currently controlled by different companies, with Bennett having the option to buy 60% of the shareholding for £1.

However, it is believed that Melville would like to see the club and stadium eventually re-united, with Dundee FC becoming owner again of their own ground.

Dundee chairman Bob Brannan told his club website: "This is a truly remarkable outcome for the club, which was on the brink of extinction five years ago."

Brannan pointed out that, when the deal with the bank was first agreed, Bennett had a strong interest in becoming the club's owner and being chairman and chief executive.

However, following Melville's appointment, Bennett had indicated that he would not be exercising his option to take control.

Meanwhile, Brannan said that the negotiations were not preventing manager Jocky Scott from pursuing new players for next season.

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see also
Melville pledges Dens player fund
25 May 09 |  Dundee
United fan buys Dundee's stadium
24 May 09 |  Dundee
Hart and Higgins sign up at Dens
14 May 09 |  Dundee
Quartet set for Dundee departure
05 May 09 |  Dundee

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