Dundee FC Supporters' Society now offer tours of Dens Park Stadium to any interested individual or group, FREE OF CHARGE.
Anyone wishing to take a tour, and it is highly recommended, should contact Dave Forbes via email or phone (07767 214520).
Read on to get an idea of what you'll see and experience behind the scenes at the home of the city's oldest professional football club...
On a crisp February morning, a group of youngsters can be seen outside the entrance to the home of the Dees. This is not a Saturday, it’s not even a weekend, but still they are there. Monday saw the Dundee FC Supporters Society – in conjunction with Dundee Football Club – conducting what hopefully will be the first of many a tour around Dens Park.
Representing Castlepark School, Dundee were Scott Hunter, Owen Blythe, Reace Stewart and Conor Nelson, along with teachers Robin Patterson, Louise McMillan and Garry Middleton; Dundee FC Supporters’ Society Director Dave Forbes was the man charged with taking the tour.
With the tours hopefully being available to the general public soon, Society Director Dave Forbes was keen to have a run through, and the kids and teachers from Castlepark were happy to oblige as a test audience. Throw in one very excited volunteer tagging along to document the trip, and the tour soon got under way.
First stop on the tour was a trip to the changing rooms, although the team were using the home one to prepare or training, the away changing room and refs’ room were visited, before a trip down the tunnel, giving the youngsters the feel of what it would be like to run out on a matchday. Dave, in an attempt to guarantee the kids would be on their best behaviour, was quick to point out the one place in Dens that no-one wants to visit, and this was the first new thing I learned myself, Dens has a holding cell underneath the spot previously occupied by the clock.
Suitably calmed after this revelation, the group made its way back inside, next stop being the Legends’ Lounge, via a corridor lined with photographs of Dees, and while this volunteer was quite happy to feel young by explaining he had never seen the likes of Billy Steel or Doug Cowie wear the Dark Blue, this youthful feeling evaporated when the other members of the tour pointed out they had never seen Claudio Caniggia, Jim Duffy, and in some cases Barry Smith play.
From the Legends Lounge the tour headed back outside, up some stairs, and the group were shown into the Directors’ Box. On a sunny day like this, the view is quite spectacular, what it looks like on matchdays must be something to see.
And so the tour continued, leaving the Directors Box and heading back inside for a quick look around the Captains Lounge, and on through the rest of the hospitality suites, before once again heading pitch side for the walk along the park and into the Bobby Cox Stand, where the group had plenty of photo opportunities, under the championship flag was popular, but not as popular as the game of finding a name amongst the bricks.
From the Bobby Cox, the tour took a twist, as we left the stadium to visit the club shop. Normally this would be an opportunity for visitors to purchase mementoes of the day they visited the most important football location in the world, but as these visitors were unaware of the visit beforehand, a few souvenirs were provided courtesy of Dundee FC Supporters Society to thank them for taking the time to come along and help out with the trial.
The plan at this point was to end the tour in the Boardroom, unfortunately on this occasion, it was in use, although Dave Forbes was quick to point out that this was due to the short notice, and any tours would definitely include a brief stay in there, and as anyone who has had the fortune to visit it will tell you, this is a room that is certainly worth visiting.
After the tour, Dave and Castlepark teacher Garry Middleton had time for a few words, both seemed happy with how the day went. Garry wanted to point out that although not all the kids were Dundee Fans, they all seemed to have a great time, "Castlepark is obviously a school which deals with kids who for whatever reason, don’t respond well in a normal school environment, and sometimes it’s hard getting them to concentrate, but today at Dens, they all seemed to be paying attention.
"Dave Forbes was fantastic, he dealt with the kids really well, and kept them entertained as he informed. Some of the questions he was asked maybe came a bit from left field, the first one was how many times has Dundee beaten United, and that was followed by how many people have been in that cell, so I would think this visit may not be the norm, but Dave handled it all superbly. With only one Dundee Fan among the pupils, it was a possibility the others might get bored, but Dave kept the tour moving, and engaged with the kids, and all in all, the trip was a great success as far as Castlepark is concerned."
Dave added, "I think the kids of Castlepark were very well behaved, and a very attentive audience. This was our first real go at this tour, and the pupils were enthusiastic and great fun as well. All in all, the day went really well, and I would like to thank everyone at Castlepark for coming down here today and letting me talk about Dundee for them. It was great to get a tour done, a lot of planning has gone into this, and a lot of people have helped in that planning. I was obviously the lucky one that got to take the first tour, and can honestly say I probably enjoyed myself as much as the kids did."
Any individual or group wishing to take a tour of the stadium, and it is highly recommended, should contact Dave Forbes via email or phone (07767 214520).