ArabTRUST Life Members

Alistair ‘Breeks’ Brodie

Alistair ‘Breeks’ Brodie

Alistair ‘Breeks’ Brodie was the first ever ArabTRUST Life Member. "Breeks" stood down from the ArabTRUST Board in February 2010 after 8 years of service running the merchandise fund raising operation.

Breeks was given the Life Membership honour in recognition of his outstanding and immeasurable contribution to ArabTRUST.

Breeks was a Foundation Member and had raised a massive amount of money during his time in charge of the ‘Tangerine Trading Posts’ in the George Fox and Eddie Thompson stands, with his wife Stella always by his side.

His hard work was also recognised by Dundee United at the 2010 Hall of Fame dinner. Having raised over £75,000 for ArabTRUST and in recognition of this contribution, Breeks was presented with a bottle of Centenary Whisky by then United Chairman Stephen Thompson and received an invitation to be match day guests of the Club before chants of 'speech' meant that Breeks had little choice but to take to the stage to say a few words.

For a man who was unprepared, he immediately broke into a passionate and articulate address about the importance of ArabTRUST and was keen to impress just how much ArabTRUST do for United.

He was in fine form and delivered the best speech of the evening. He re-joined his wife Stella back at the ArabTRUST table to a deserved applause becoming of a man who has given an immeasurable amount of his time, effort, passion and skill to ArabTRUST.

Breeks is the owner of Groucho's, the three-time winning Independent City Centre Retailer of the Year award.

He now devotes his time and energy to Groucho's, his second-hand record shop and ticket agency which is a Dundonian institution. ArabTRUST still holds a special place in his heart, as Groucho's still sells ArabTRUST merchandise and event tickets.

Born in 1953 and brought up in Edinburgh, as a young lad he spent alternate Saturdays at Easter Road or Tynecastle until he was old enough to go and see his team – Rangers.

Around his late teens/early twenties he found the sectarianism that surrounded supporting his team wasn’t to his liking so he made a decision to quit as a supporter and became more involved with music, moving to Dundee by accident in 1976 and opening Groucho's.

He got friendly with one of his regular customers, Bowie fanatic John Reilly, and started supporting his mate’s team. Always working on a Saturday, he was only able to go to midweek games so has great memories of United v Roma and none of United v Morton.

When he was invited to join ArabTRUST, he saw there were opportunities to raise funds via merchandising and all the years as a shopkeeper would pay off as the range of goods increased as did the profits going back into ArabTRUST.

Derek Robertson

Derek representing ArabTRUST at a Scottish Parliament Committee debate on the  Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Bill  in September September 2011.

Derek Robertson is the second life member of ArabTRUST. A central figure in the formation of ArabTRUST, Derek has been also heavily involved in the national structuring and coordinating of football trusts through the Supporters Direct organisation. He is as passionate about his club as he is about its supporter base and we cannot thank him enough for the time and effort he has spent opening doors at the Club for ArabTRUST. Derek has played a pivotal role in both, ArabTRUST securing shares in the Club for its members and the appointment of an Associate Director position around the boardroom table at Tannadice.

In addition to being an ArabTRUST foundation member, he also is an ArabTRUST former chairman, and this life membership award is given in recognition of the outstanding vision he had for a Dundee United supporters’ trust and the immeasurable part he played in realising and maintaining its development over the last decade and more.

Born in the Lochee district of Dundee in 1952, Derek is a lifelong United fan and after a career in banking took up the position as director at the Club in 2002. All through his years on the board he ensured that ArabTRUST and the Club maintained a mutually beneficial relationship. Derek also ensured that many of the financial investments made by ArabTRUST to help resource the Club’s Youth Development Programme were matched with Club shares. This, over time, allowed ArabTRUST to become Dundee United’s third largest shareholder. Derek retired from the Club in the summer of 2015 and still attends games with his wife, Sheila, on a regular basis.

Derek pictured with his family and the 2010 Scottish Cup - who could ever forget his sprint along the trackside at the final whistle!

Below past and present board members from ArabTRUST give their own personal salutes to Derek, our second life member.

In 2002, I was approached by Derek Robertson and Neil Glen to discuss the possibility of the establishment of a Dundee United Supporters Society with the key objective of supporters becoming part owners of Dundee United. Of course this objective would not have been achievable without the influence and support of the then Chairman Eddie Thompson. However, the person who made the creation of ArabTRUST and the transfer of shares to the fans possible was Derek Robertson. His vision, drive and total commitment to the advancement of Dundee United was totally inspiring and ensured that those first trustees of ArabTRUST worked diligently and collaboratively to deliver ArabTRUST which is now over 12 years old. Derek was unstinting in his commitment to the Club and also to their fans, and he is by far and away the most outstanding Dundee United fan ever.

David Dorward

Derek’s contribution to ArabTRUST simply can’t be underestimated as he has been a pivotal figure in our development from day one. Because Derek took on a role with ArabTRUST while serving as a director of Dundee United he was in the ideal position to use his considerable diplomatic skills to ensure that ArabTRUST was seen to be working hand in hand with the Club rather than interfering.

Good relations between the two parties have always been important and this was shown when he persuaded the Chairman to allow us to utilise two unused units at Tannadice to open the Tangerine Trading Posts and give us a much needed income stream through merchandise sales and a good point of contact for supporters. Without Derek’s influence I doubt that this could have happened.

Whenever a new member came on board, Derek always ensured they got a friendly welcome. He was usually the first to put his hand in his pocket when events, raffles or new merchandise came along (don’t tell Sheila) and he was often the good humoured calming influence if there was an occasional difference of opinions at ArabTRUST board meetings. In short, Derek is one of life’s good guys, a man of great integrity and someone who wholeheartedly gives a great deal of his time to the club he loves and for that we should be thankful. The unwavering support he received from his family during his time with ArabTRUST should also be noted.

He’s got pretty good taste in music as well!

Alistair "Breeks" Brodie

Derek Robertson has fully merited the honour of ArabTRUST Life Membership. He was instrumental in establishing not only ArabTRUST but was also a major pioneer in starting the whole supporters' trust movement in the UK.

Derek was part and parcel of a long nationwide campaign to have the share capital of professional football clubs opened up to ordinary fans. Many challenging political and economic obstacles were overcome on the journey despite personal attacks and serious resistance by some powerful owners.

Derek has always held the strong view that boards and owners of football clubs may come and go, but no matter who the current custodians of a club are, the fans are the only true constant.

Derek firmly believes successful trusts will enable supporters to make a major contribution to the future success of all clubs via a true democratic and transparent process.

We are all indebted to his patient perseverance, determination and superb negotiating skills. Indeed his diplomatic abilities are on a par with Kofi Annan!

Mike Barile 

ArabTRUST Honorary Members

Eddie Thompson

Eddie Thompson

The late Chairman assumed control of Dundee United in September 2002. A well-known United supporter, he had a lengthy association with the Club, amongst other things being responsible for the VG shirt sponsorship in the 80s.

He was also a founding member of the Dundee United Business Club and was a member of the SPL Board. He was founder and Chief Executive of the convenience store chain Morning, Noon & Night before its sale to Scotmid in 2004 and was involved with the Scottish Retail Consortium, CBI Scotland and the British Retail Consortium.

He was awarded the OBE in June 2005, in recognition of his services to the Scottish grocery industry, and his work as Chairman of the Scottish Retail Consortium.

Thanks to Eddie’s generosity he donated 10 shares to enable ArabTRUST to get on the first rung of the shareholding ladder. Eddie passed away on 15th October 2008

Ivan Golac (And his Magic Hat)

Ivan Golac

The appointment of the former Yugoslav international to the manager’s job at Tannadice in July 1993 stunned Scottish football. Of all the Premier Division clubs, Dundee United would have been the last choice of most people to break the mould by introducing the country’s first overseas manager. It was a bold decision by Chairman Jim McLean and his fellow directors and was rewarded with another mould being broken ten months later when Golac brought the Scottish Cup to Tannadice for the first time in 1994.

Golac had had a successful career in his native country as well as a five year spell with Southampton. Managerially, he had earned his spurs with Partizan Belgrade, so he arrived with sound credentials. Unfortunately, Scottish football and, as it turned out those in charge of Dundee United, were not ready to accept quite such a radical departure from the norm. Golac’s unconventional training methods and his devil-may-care comments to the media caused concern. The Cup triumph was almost certainly due to his ability to motivate the players for the big occasion, but he proved unable to repeat the act when it came to the bread-and-butter of the League.

In his first season, United finished only two points clear of relegation, a fact lost amid the euphoria of the Cup win. However, the following season’s form was never convincing and it was clear that he did not command universal support. United’s Premier Division status was under threat and when defeat at Hearts broke their hold on the Scottish Cup, the board acted quickly and Golac left the club by mutual consent.

After less than two years, Ivan Golac was gone, but he will not be easily forgotten. Whatever their opinion of his reign as a whole – and opinions differ greatly – Golac did deliver the Holy Grail which many Arabs had all but given up hope of seeing: tangerine and black ribbons attached to the Scottish Cup.

Jimmy Briggs

Jimmy, once in colour but both times in black & white!

Signed for the Club in June 1955 from St. Mary’s Youth Club, full back Jimmy Briggs was the son of ‘Toddler’ Briggs, a nickname his dad had picked up during his junior playing days.

'Gunboat' made his United first team debut on 14 September 1955 against Forfar Athletic at Tannadice and with his no-nonsense style of play went on to become an important member of the team that established Dundee United as a leading force in Scottish football.

Jimmy spent the majority of his career with United, making nearly 400 appearances for the Terrors and captaining the side when they defeated Barcelona in United's first European campaign in 1966. After fifteen faithful seasons with the Club, he was released in 1970 and went on to play briefly for Montrose before spending three seasons in the Highland League with Keith.

In 2008 Jimmy Briggs was one of the inaugural inductees to the Dundee United Hall of Fame. He passed away on 9 April 2011, aged 74.

Amanda Kopel

Amanda and Frank Kopel

In October 2017 Amanda Kopel accepted an invitation from Arab Trust to become an Honourary Member of The Dundee United Supporters Society, in recognition of the tireless campaigning she had undertaken over the previous five years to ensure the delivery of “Frank’s Law”.

The Scottish Government agreed to the implementation of “Frank’s Law”, which will see free personal care extended to under 65s with degenerative conditions like Dementia, Motor Neurone Disease, Parkinson's, Multiple Sclerosis, Cancer and Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. This change will benefit over 9,000 people in Scotland who, prior to the implementation date, have had to fund the cost of care themselves.

When Amanda heard the news from the Scottish Governement she said: “I was blown away, absolutely over the moon. There are no words in the dictionary that explain how I felt” She quickly regained her composure to say that she would now be campaigning to bring forward the implementation date of April 2019.

At the time of making the Honorary Member award to Amanda, the Arab Trust website described it as "a small thank you from all the members at ArabTRUST". In response, Amanda said she was delighted and honoured to accept but, as was stated in October 2017, the truth is that its the members of Arab Trust who are honoured.