Project Brave Q&A

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Published: 13th November 2017

Project Brave – Q&A with Brian Grant, Academy Director

Brian, the Club has been awarded Performance Progressive level in the first stage of ratings for ‘Project Brave’. Are you happy with this?

Yes, we are very happy with this position. Particularly given the current situation of the Club to achieve this level of status is a testament to the hard work of the staff at the Club and the support we have received from the Youth Development Board.

In context what level is Performance Progressive?

Performance Progressive is the highest tier at Performance level. It sits just beneath Elite level and so I feel we are well positioned to continue developing our youth programme to meet our end goal of Elite status. In comparable terms, we have enhanced the overall programme available to our Academy players.

Did you consider going for Elite level at this first stage?

No not at this moment as to achieve Elite status specific criteria are unattainable due to factors out with our immediate control, an example being indoor facilities of a standard that does not exist in Tayside or the surrounding area.

What were the specific requirements to achieve Performance Progressive?

It covers a range of areas such as facilities, staff, coaching, player development methods, player recruitment, sports analysis, football science and medicine and staff qualifications. We have worked hard to improve all these areas and this is why we’re delighted to have been recognised at Performance Progressive level.

What do we need to do to achieve our ultimate objective of Elite status?

While many of the Elite status criteria have been met, we do require further significant investment to realise our ultimate goal of Elite status. This will include the appointment of a number of key full-time staff to work with the current staff and appointments made in the last six months.

How difficult has it been to achieve such a high entry-level position as a Championship club?

There is no doubt that we face challenges not faced by Premiership clubs, given the well-documented wealth gap between the Ladbrokes Premiership and Championship. Additionally, only last month, Premiership clubs received a windfall from UEFA that could in itself pay for the majority of Elite status requirements. Thanks again to the Dundee United Youth Development Board which is supported by donations from supporters we have been able to achieve our immediate goals.

What happens next?

While the deadline to achieve Elite status is 2020 we are keen to meet the top criteria as soon as feasible.

Do we still play the top teams in the country?

Dundee United are still a top team. For example our U17s have won 12 out of 14 games this season and will continue to play against all Elite and Performance Progressive teams each season.

What does this mean for the future development of players at Dundee United?

We have a long tradition of developing top-level players which we are rightly proud of. This will not change. The pathway to first-team football, the European market and international honours remains in place.