For a man who has recently become the subject of so much interest in Scottish football, John Nelms is largely unknown to most Scottish football fans.
He came to Dundee alongside his pal Tim Keys – Keys is the son of James H Keys the owner of the massive industrial Johnson Controls company.
Neither are native Texans but met when Keys’ son joined a football club coached by Nelms. The club was a pay-for-play franchised offshoot of the Houston Dynamos MLS team. At the time Nelms was living in rented accommodation in Austin. Once Keys started to look for a soccer club to invest in Nelms would rise alongside him.
After being courted by St Mirren, Keys decided to settle on Dundee FC and along with a couple of other investors new shares and funds were issued and in all, by various means, somewhere between £650,000 and £850,000 were invested by new funds and buying existing shares.
Since then Mr Nelms has flourished as managing director of Dundee FC – so much so that he now lives with his family in an 8,000 square feet mansion formerly owned by the DC Thomson publishing family.
He’s also taken on a directorship of a brewing company – which coincidentally he came into contact with through a beer festival which is hosted at Dens Park every year.
His profile also rose as he became more active within the corridors of power in Scottish football – almost immediately, in 2015, there was the curious episode where the SPFL suddenly considered the idea of Celtic playing a league game in America to showcase the SPFL and Dundee were keen to assist. This would of course require some tinkering with regulations so that teams not playing the same in the same venues would not suffer a sporting disadvantage.
In season 2016-17 Dundee were awarded a Dundee v Celtic match for 19th March – the weekend of St Patrick’s Day.
In the last season Dundee were in Premiership (2018-19) some may consider it very curious and wonderfully coincidental that the SPFL’s super duper Canadian fixture computer again generated a Dundee v Celtic match for St Patrick’s Day weekend – March 16th. How lucky was that?
And this would, or course, be really lovely for John. This is not his first spell in Scotland. His father was a contractor working for the US Navy at the Faslane submarine yards for three years during formative years. Years in which John became a Celtic fan and still proudly shows close friends a picture of himself in their colours.
All in all, a wonderful series of coincidences don’t you think?