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13/3/2019 9:51 pm  #51

Re: Tony Asghar Q+A

 Q4) In our recent history we seem to have a track record of signing players with long term medical issues that either never achieve the heights expected or are out injured for long periods of their contract costing the club money. Are there plans to improve the medical testing pre-signing players and the treatment of players so they are able to return on schedule. - Lancashire Arab

It is no secret that the Club was running previously with financial challenges and the medical department which we have at the Club is of a very high standard and experienced in dealing with top level athletes.

The issues you speak about; I have not had in my time here and I am working with the Head of Medical and Sport Science to provide more equipment and resources to prevent this  type of issue before it happens.

An example of the unpredictable: We have had a serious injury to young Sam Wardrop during a reserve game and he has had an operation- that is something we cannot stop as training and playing injuries are part of the game.

This January we carried out adequate medicals on the players we signed but like every thing we do at United we will always strive to improve on our procedures.

Freddy and Rashid both got injured against Falkirk and the medical team were excellent in their work from leaving the field to the docs assessing injuries and then Marcin and his team treating them. I have been in and about clubs with physio rooms full of players and we certainly don’t have that here - Touch wood!!


13/3/2019 9:53 pm  #52

Re: Tony Asghar Q+A

 Q5) Our whole Club has been built on bringing through youth players to the First team yet with our drop down to the Championship there has been few players who have been able to make the step up to the first team. What are the short, medium- and long-term plans to bring our youth structure back up to the levels we have been used to? - Lancashire Arab

I think I have answered this previously it is an integral part of our long-term strategy and everyone at the Club is behind it.

I have worked within clubs on a consultancy basis who look only window to window to make changes, sometimes because the fans and the media influence the owners, or the head coach influences the owners to sign players but this won’t happen here.

Robbie and I have a long-term viewpoint by developing our own players through Andy Goldie and the Academy and all the coaching staff will have an input. Gordon Forrest has vast experience not only in first team football and the MLS but also in Academy development. Brian Grant has been at the Club a long time and when we spoke I said to him he had been part of the staff that developed Gauld, Souttar, Russell, Fraser etc. I told him we need someone with that bit of “stardust” because he knows how to deal with these young players around the first team.

Project Brave elite status is something we are trying to achieve but Andy Goldie and his coaching team will be working on that as it is the new owners wishes to get this done.

We have tremendous support from the Dundee United Youth Board with whom I have met on a number of occasions and they will play a huge part. 
We have players in the Academy and development squad on loan and the reports are very good and we have a number of players in the Scotland youth Squads and one called into the Poland Youth squad so the future is good but there is no point to an academy if we are not getting them into the first team.

Motherwell in particular have a number of academy graduates in their first team and this has not stopped success on the pitch.
We will also look at the recruitment of players in the UK or abroad who are young and we feel we can develop or can enhance our team.

In answer to your question, we are fully committed to youth development

     Thread Starter

13/3/2019 9:57 pm  #53

Re: Tony Asghar Q+A

 Q7) As we are now on our 5th permanent manager in the last 3.5 years, is it your opinion that Robbie deserves time to get things right no matter what happens this season? - LarsErikKjell

Lars, the success of any club is cultivated by stability and we are building a long-term coaching staff and strategy.

     Thread Starter

13/3/2019 9:57 pm  #54

Re: Tony Asghar Q+A

Q8) Any plans to adopt a Porto policy at United ie sign good players from The UK and abroad cheap and sell on at profit ? - Zarab82

Zarab, we will invest in players that fit our criteria of our recruitment model and academy graduates, however not to the detriment of long-term stability.

     Thread Starter

13/3/2019 9:58 pm  #55

Re: Tony Asghar Q+A

 Q9) In relation to the youth does Tony or one of the staff have an interest in visiting other clubs successful in their own league at bringing through homegrown talent and competing with the bigger clubs (of their country) to see how they run the club, recruit and organise their academyAccording to the media Athletic Bilbao would be very welcoming to visitors and a decent club to pay a visit to if so. - Zarab82 

Zarab, good question. Part of our strategy is to carry out visits to clubs for research and look for ways to improve or ways of working. This is not limited to football but includes other sports and I have been lucky to have visited a large number of organisations in various counties in the last 20 plus years. We will be announcing some plans soon and we already have plans for Spanish, French and South American visits once we have ended this season.

     Thread Starter

13/3/2019 10:00 pm  #56

Re: Tony Asghar Q+A

 Q10) In terms of growth of the club any plans to market United in the US it’s self? selling merchandise and setting up on demand streaming services for new fans abroad to broaden the clubs appeal? -Zarab82

Of course, with US owners and introducing Ian Harkes and Gordon Forrest we would look to the US market in terms of performance related visits and recruitment. The other things are carried out by the MD and his team and his plans for this, however other clubs are now seeing tie ups with US franchises.

     Thread Starter

13/3/2019 10:01 pm  #57

Re: Tony Asghar Q+A

 Q12) Is the 'tie-up' with Boca Juniors just sensationalised paper talk from The Scotsman interview?

Or is there any substance to it?

If so, is it a case of (hypothetically) taking their best youngsters to Scotland...or what? - Tek

It is important for DUFC to explore new partnerships to enhance our working practices and increase the global football world. It would be unfair to discuss this right now but we will address this in the not too distant future

     Thread Starter

13/3/2019 10:03 pm  #58

Re: Tony Asghar Q+A

 Q13) You said previously (Scotsman interview with Alan Pattulo) that you had sat as a fan in the Eddie Thompson Stand last season and had felt the supporters frustration, even when we were winning.

So question.

Does performance, come into your assessment of how Utd are playing, and not just results (I hope so) ?

Because, quite honestly, I feel we are very poor to watch. Slow, ponderous, over-passing the ball when on the offensive and surrendering possession easily at other times when the play is narrow. - Tek

Hi Tek, Performance is my role but results in the short term are the name of the game. As I said previously, we need to fulfil the short-term aim of promotion.
What I will say is that my point was that supporters were just frustrated at everything about the Club at that time. We have one of the best coaches in Scotland who I believe will - in the future - manage at the highest level.

The Championship is different because you never know what you are getting from your opponent’s, even with the benefit of analysis. Every game is a battle because the stakes are high, so sometimes these games are more ‘substance over style’.

     Thread Starter

13/3/2019 10:06 pm  #59

Re: Tony Asghar Q+A

 Q14) How long do you see the new owners owning the club? Is there some sort of plan in place for this or is it just going to be when the time seems right to maximise profit? - TheShed

A question I can’t answer for them, but they have stated several times that it is a long term project and they want to achieve success. They have invested a lot already and they love the Club and Dundee area.

     Thread Starter

13/3/2019 10:06 pm  #60

Re: Tony Asghar Q+A

 Q15) Longer term, are things like safe standing, redeveloping the Shed in some way on the agenda? – TheShed

This area isn’t under my remit, sorry. Mal Brannigan as MD oversees the non-playing areas of the Club.

     Thread Starter

13/3/2019 10:08 pm  #61

Re: Tony Asghar Q+A

 Q16) How do you intend to fix the clearly broken scouting system at the club, in particular getting the best youngsters into our academy again? -TheShed

Hi Shed, I answered this about academy. With regard to recruitment, we have been working on the new structure and will announce personnel soon.

We also have a global scouting network already in place and will look to appoint a new Head of Talent ID for the academy very soon.

Recruitment and Talent ID is a key requisite and we have also had input from a number of statistical analytic companies and invested in a number of global video platforms.

We will announce more soon.

     Thread Starter

13/3/2019 10:09 pm  #62

Re: Tony Asghar Q+A

 Q18) Mr Asghar, you were at games last season watching United. From that I'm thinking you have had an involvement in the club for longer than the point when you took up of your position as sporting director.

Given there has been a change in team manager during this season, did you have any input to that transaction? 

Hi Pat. No, the appointment of Robbie was by the previous board and to be honest that had a positive bearing on our business and performance plan moving forward.

Robbie is exactly the type of head coach that the owners and I would have identified as a prime candidate if the post had been vacant. To get someone of his quality in the Championship was great work by the last board.

Another question: does Derek Bond have a blind butler, or does he dress in the dark? - PatReilly

Ha ha, no comment.

     Thread Starter

13/3/2019 10:10 pm  #63

Re: Tony Asghar Q+A

Q19) Tony, how does a club like Utd keep hold of good young players in an age where Scottish clubs often lose younger players at age 16-17 to lower-medium sized English Premiership clubs.? - lifesanocean

It’s difficult because parents, agents and the players can all have their heads turned at heading to England.

It also is not helped by the FIFA transfer regulations on the compensation issue which usually does not provide for the amount of investment the Club has provided in training and development.

I have a lot of experience in this field and can give a lot of case studies to players and parents where this has not been good for the development of the player due to a lot of factors.

 Where we as a Club need to be is to provide a clear pathway from Academy to first team and give partners and players comfort that we have the best facilities , coaching staff and opportunity for the players to develop and if they attain a certain level we can’t give them then we can make sure they leave to the correct club for this career path.

 To do this we need to achieve Project Brave elite status as soon as possible to allow our players to play at the highest level and also show them that we can make them better players instead of playing U23 games in England. This is a challenge but one we feel we can achieve.

     Thread Starter

13/3/2019 10:12 pm  #64

Re: Tony Asghar Q+A

Q20) When the club signed Ian Harkes it seemed likely that he wasn't a player on Robbies radar previously. If you know of a player that you think would be a good fit for the club how much input does Robbie get into that process? - Redford Must Score

 Our recruitment model is clear that the head coach will have final say on all players coming into and out the Club - no exceptions.

Coming into the Club during a transfer window is time critical and with Ian he was identified by our global network and presented to Robbie and the coaching staff.

Video evidence, statistical analysis, financial costs are some of the criteria we work to. Some players Robbie has worked with before and our recruitment meetings clearly identified these players as the types we needed to enhance our squad.

We will continue to create a player DNA for each position and our recruitment team will identify players who fit our criteria and we weekly (sometimes twice a week) go through the targets and then send our talent ID team to watch them.

This week we have had scouts cover games in England, Slovakia, Czech and Malta (watching our youth players playing for Scotland).

     Thread Starter

13/3/2019 10:12 pm  #65

Re: Tony Asghar Q+A

Q21) Are you looking at why the players aged 8 to 11 are in the main choosing Dundee FC to sign pro youth? - B Bombscare

This is all part of Andy Goldie, our new Head of Youth Academy’s remit and his plan is to attract the best talent to United by improving all aspects of the Youth Academy

     Thread Starter

13/3/2019 10:13 pm  #66

Re: Tony Asghar Q+A

Q23) Can you and Mal please try a Nichols peh then come to deal to bring them back and get the current facilities away to fuck, once you've tried the Nichols peh you'll know what the fuss is aboot 

Cheers - Dyce arab

Mal will try the pie. I have eaten too many as you can see

     Thread Starter

13/3/2019 10:14 pm  #67

Re: Tony Asghar Q+A

Q24) Can you explain the current process with regards to signing a player at the club these days, the chain of command etc?

And does it differ from the way things were done before? - MockChop

Hi, I don’t know how it was done before but our talent ID department identifies the players which fit the criteria and we discuss the results with recruitment meetings.

Robbie then lists the ones he wants, sometimes 2/3 per position  and we present them to the board and then I will go and negotiate with the club or agent.

The added advantage is we have experienced MD in Mal Brannigan and Head of Football Ops Priti Trividi so we have great people to take a deal from start to finish as contracts are very complex.

     Thread Starter

13/3/2019 10:14 pm  #68

Re: Tony Asghar Q+A

Q25) How can we start to win big games again would the management team consider 2 up front with added psychologist sessions pre match? - DU Peligro

This is a question for Robbie but rest assured we are continually looking at ways to improve all areas of the Club

     Thread Starter

13/3/2019 10:15 pm  #69

Re: Tony Asghar Q+A

Q26) Tony,

I am concerned (with the current squad) that if we were to get promoted this season that we would be in danger of dropping back down from the Premiership next season.

I am sure (as usual) there will be players leaving Tannadice in the Summer and more coming in the other way.

Have we a list of players for both outcomes i.e. Championship and Premiership football?

If so, if we are playing Premiership football in August, just how many players do you envisage being signed in the Summer transfer window?

Will there be an effort to sign some players with pace? Because I feel this is a quality in our play we really lack (and have done for some time). - Tek

It would be foolish not to have two scenarios for next season and this is within my remit. We are already working on recruitment and players and in every football club there is change each close season.

We have a number of players out of contract, loan players and players on loan that we need to look at for next season.

To give any update just now would be nonsensical but rest assured we are already working on next season already.

     Thread Starter

13/3/2019 10:17 pm  #70

Re: Tony Asghar Q+A

Q27) Would you consider bringing in sports/football psychologists and/or motivational professionals?

Our predicament is maybe rare but not absolutely unique.

Highest pressure matches are lost more than won and especially those that have been hyped up most and live on TV as pointed out recently with some fkn horrific stats.

I'm a believer in the law of averages to an extent but wonder what can/should be done to help change things for the better.

What are your thoughts in this respect? - Arabnophobia

My favourite question. I have run a performance consultancy for the past number of years and my consultants come from a variety of  sports and business background from the highest level. We have utilised their services in a number of clubs in Spain, France, England, Middle East and others.

The key point is that all elite performing teams can learn from external professionals and our football department is no different and we have already started this process.

The question about TV games I have answered before and if we look at specific issues or perceived issues it may only provide a short term solution (a few cracks in your wall can be repaired but will continue to cost you but if we plaster the whole wall with a higher cost it will last longer!) so we need to look at the bigger picture to alleviate the small things.

That said we will make improvements daily if there is opportunity to improve an aspect of the Club.

     Thread Starter

13/3/2019 10:18 pm  #71

Re: Tony Asghar Q+A

 Q28) Where do you see Dundee United in 5 years time?

And is Tony Asghar still part of the furniture at Tannadice in 2024, all being well? - Tek

Our vision includes:

- DUFC a top four club competing for European football on a regular basis and getting to cup semis and finals. 

-Having players in the Scottish international squads at all ages and International players from other countries.

-An Academy who has produced and continues to produce local talent.

-International Academies in USA, China, Australia and India.

-Financially stable Club with Tannadice being a fortress with supporters who believe in the team and the Club leaders. 

-A women’s team playing at elite level.

I would love to be a part of that but if that does not happen for me personally then anyone who comes in will have a Club running as an elite sporting organisation.

     Thread Starter

13/3/2019 10:20 pm  #72

Re: Tony Asghar Q+A

A Message from Tony -

I thank you for all the questions and hope my answers explain the aims and vision we are building towards.

Although it isn’t normal practice  for a Sporting Director to answer questions from a fans forum and not something the Club will necessarily do moving forward, it was important to me to do it this time to help get the message across that all the board and staff at DUFC all have the one vision to be a success and we need the support behind us - especially the players.

They and everyone  else employed by Dundee United wants the best for the Club and your continued support plays a part in that.

     Thread Starter

13/3/2019 10:22 pm  #73

Re: Tony Asghar Q+A

Apologies if your question/s didn't get answered. 

But thank you to Mr Asghar for the questions he did take time to answer (and in great detail).

Thanks to Pat Reilly for organising this on my behalf and his assistance behind the scenes.

     Thread Starter

14/3/2019 12:11 am  #74

Re: Tony Asghar Q+A

Macbonzo wrote:

bowers wrote:

Macbonzo wrote:

Believe it or not, Tony and I got on quite well. He's a nice guy. Stealing my sweets I would have got over, it's destroying my club that bothers me


So you register on here around the time Tony became involved with Utd and you are concerned about him ruining the club... Why do you think that he will destroy Dundee Utd? 

Remembering here that he is a sporting director of the club. Tony has alot to do with the player side of things where as Mal Brannigan is more involved in the business side day to day running of the club overall. Both under the owners who can make the axe fall on either or both at any time if they dont think they are doing what is best for the club.


Fair question.

Tony has completed a course in Masters in Sporting Directorship. Personally, I have looked at the content of the course and the course teaching staff. What struck me was that many of the teaching staff were not published at all. The content of the course: psychology, business, organisational theory, legal seems to me a mismatch of subjects cobbled together designed to appear innovative. The rest of the course seems to be a glorified networking opportunity.

On the organisational side, Tom Peters, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Peter Drucker, Michael Porter have been leaders in this field for the last three decades. They are all American. On the psychology side apart from Professor Steve Peters at Liverpool Uni the leaders in performance psychology are predominantly American.

While I have no doubt that Tony will give it his all, his position is at best experimental and he is applying a lot of theory to a Championship football club. Can you think of any other club in Scotland who have a Sporting Director, General Manager and Someone else (Southern) whose job description I am unclear of?

What do you think of the MSD course content?

I have no interest n the MSD course being honest.
I also would need to look at the other clubs in Scotlands staff lists before answering the last part of your post which i dont really have time to do so if you already have the answer then fire i up.

Just to add as you have mentioned David Southern i believe the club should be looking to pay him off asap.


14/3/2019 12:22 am  #75

Re: Tony Asghar Q+A

Tek wrote:

Apologies if your question/s didn't get answered. 

But thank you to Mr Asghar for the questions he did take time to answer (and in great detail).

Thanks to Pat Reilly for organising this on my behalf and his assistance behind the scenes.

Good effort getting this sorted lads..

Any plans to try and get similar arranged with Mal Brannigan


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