the race for spl part 1

17 July 2012 11:11
an important slant

THEY spent seven long years trying to escape from the First Division.But Dundee were only 35 minutes away from blowing their chance of the big time when it came.Dens chief Scot Gardiner has revealed the Dark Blues could have missed out on promotion by not completing an application to join the SPL back in March.With Ross County streets ahead in the title race, it seemed pointless shelling out £5,000 on the application.At the last minute Dundee got crocked ace Graham Bayne to make a desperate dash to Hampden to deliver the document just minutes before the 5pm deadline on March 31.Dundee will now replace Rangers in the top flight and kick off the new season at Kilmarnock on August 4. Gardiner said: “Putting in the application back in March was a difficult decision, and we made it with only 35 minutes to spare.“It had to be in by 5pm and we got it there, with Graham Bayne delivering it to Hampden at 4.25pm.“It was expensive and a lot of work had to go into it.“We were miles behind Ross County in the title race and I spoke to various people at the SPL asking if it was really worth it.“At that point nobody could see Rangers would go into liquidation and this situation would arise.“But if we hadn’t done it I’m not sure we would have been the candidate club.“We took a gamble, put it in anyway and it could turn out to be the best money we have ever spent.” Gardiner has been in budget talks with boss Barry Smith as the possibility of promotion has increased.The pair have drawn up two lists of players and will now activate the Plan B they have been working on.Smith wants at least six new faces to bolster his squad ahead of their SPL return.Gardiner added: “It’s not how we hoped to get into the SPL, we wanted to do that as First Division champions.“But the situation arose and was out of our control. We always felt we had the strongest case on sporting merit because of where we finished last season.“There is an awful lot of work to be done now. Barry Smith and I have been working on a Plan A and a Plan B — now we have to put that second plan in place.“We have had a lot of players waiting and now we have to speak to them.”Many SPL clubs fear Sky will drastically reduce the cash on offer from their TV deal, plunging them into crisis.But Gardiner insists the Dens men can cope with any cuts Sky make.