Dundee United – June (and May) Review

Introduction

Yes, I know this is well over a week late, but I don’t know why you’d be surprised, I am the idiot who released a season review just before the new season is due to start.

But regardless, a lot happened over this month, from signing a player who pulled pints at the louden tavern to Shabba chucking McKinnon straight onto melting train tracks, so let’s get into it.

Signings, Extensions, and departures – The Fraser Fyvie, The Jamie Robson, and the Willo Flood

Now, what better way to start off a review of June than to talk about May. Only a few days after getting kept in the Championship by a team with Lee Miller up front, United reacted responsibly to such an event and kicked half the team out. It was arguably a bit of an overreaction, considering that we could’ve probably found a use for Grant Gillespie and Jordie Briels (and Emil Lyng, even as an example for Craig Easton to use as how not to do things), but the most important thing is that Paul Quinn will never play for Dundee United again, and in the end, that’s all that matters.

Oh, and Scott McDonald left, and somehow over the month and a half since being a footnote in the departure of the goalkeeping coach, there’s not been a single Sportsound interview about how everyone is a dickhead apart from him. Perhaps this is a sign that Scott McDonald isn’t as bad as everyone thinks he is?

Nah.

And then the news came out of the players who were out of contract that had agreed new deals, which were Fraser Fyvie (Crowd Cheers), Deniz Mehmet (Crowd Cheers) and Jamie Robson (Crowd starts chucking glass bottles at stage). Of course, after being informed that Fyvie would be out till September and that Deniz would be out till further notice, the crowd soon broke out into a riot.

Scott Fraser also left, to the delight of dads and dismay of sons everywhere. It’s a shame that he’s gone, but I’m sure he’s going to move on to bigger thin- okay he’s signed for Burton Albion, so not bigger things, but definitely more financially lucrative things.

Oh! And Matty Smith has signed on for another two years. To celebrate this, they had him hold up a piece of green card, because Joe Rice googled “Chroma Key tutorial” once and wanted to show off.

I’m interested to see what happens to Smith, he definitely has talent but, like many young strikers with first team potential (for example Marcus Rashford) he’s being forced out on the wing, likely due to a lack of confidence because of his inexperience playing upfront, but because he doesn’t get a chance to play upfront, he can’t get that experience. You know where that cycle ends up? Arbroath that’s where, crying into your pint alongside Leighton Mcintosh wondering where it’s all gone wrong.

But never mind who’s staying and who’s going, let’s get to the good bit, the new signings. Well the good bit for now, it won’t be when we’re Fifth in November and Laurie Ellis is trying to do his best not to do a Graeme Murty impression.

First up Nicky Clark, stage 1 of 3 in our efforts to mentally destroy Allan Johnston. I have… concerns about Clark. While he does have a good goalscoring record, half of his 14 league goals last season came in a spell of three games. Also, 6 of the 14 came against part time teams, which is gonna be great when we come up against Alloa, but literally no one else. The one good thing I will say is while at Dunfermline he would have the likes of James Craigen, Kallum Higginbotham, Declan McManus, and Fraser Aird helping Clark get goals, at United he’ll be assisted by players like Billy King, Paul McMullan, James Keatings and Fraser Aird, who I think are all better players than those listed beforehand. Hopefully with a better team around him, he’ll able to shine more.

Then came Callum Booth, and a day after Sam Wardrop. Two actual full backs, in a shocking moment of common sense for this club in recent years. The one I’m most excited about is Wardrop, as it seems that most Dumbarton fans list him as being the best of a bad bunch, and considering the shite United have had to deal with at Right Back since Watson left (apart from that spell with Frank van der Struijk before he vanished into the same phantom zone that Toshney thankfully got lost soon after), I’m pretty confident that even if he’s a 5/10, United fans will think he’s the second coming of Andy Robertson. While with Wardrop I’m confidently optimistic, with Booth I’m more cautiously optimistic, mainly due to the lukewarm reaction many Thistle fans had to him leaving, aswell as the fact that Booth was part of a team that went down with less of a whimper and more a rather embarrassed fart, but I’m sure the stepdown will help, as well as the new environment, and not being Jamie Robson means the fanbase will be nice towards him at least for the first few months.

Craig Curran described himself in his arabzone interview as an “aggressive player” which is certainly one way to call yourself a cunt, which personally I am not complaining about, because if one thing that we have missed in the last few years is a proper dickhead, not just sufferers of Wee man syndrome (looking at you Willo). I think that even if doesn’t that many goals, he’ll become a fan favourite just because of how much other teams will end up hating the guy.

Then came Fraser Aird, the second part in operation mentally destroy Allan Johnston (the final part? Mark Durnan, I honestly think that this is just a good signing, bringing in more depth to wings so we can now rotate players in and out when they inevitably start hitting some poor form, as well as weakening a potential domestic rival.

And now, probably the best signing so far, Frederic Frans. This is a fantastic signing, and therefore my negative ass has got nothing to say about him. Hopefully Sturrock, Bowman, and a properly medicated Shabba can find a decent partner to go alongside of him, though I wouldn’t mind seeing how Allardice develops under his guidance.

Then United signed two 6’5 dark haired goalkeepers with dark hair and tanned skin in an effort to confuse my dad. Again, I really don’t know what to say about these two because they’re both such unknown quantities. Siegrist does look like the better option, due to him having a more promising collection of previous employers and is fluent in English, but that’s only guesswork because really all we can do with these two is hope for the best. Hopefully one of them will come to the forefront, but It is frustrating we’re stuck in this position when a player of the quality of Tomas Cerny was available on a free transfer.

And finally Christoph Rabitsch, soon known as Rabbit, because if there is one thing we learned from Edgenguele, it’s that if United fans might struggle to pronounce a player’s name then they won’t even fucking bother (which is also why our goalkeepers will soon be referred to as Benny and Matty). Rabitsch appears to be the replacement for Flood/Briels/Gillespie so, y’know, no pressure then.

And that concludes the signings from this month (and a bit). so far it looks like we’re building up a pretty good squad. Two new full backs, a new defensive midfielder, a dickhead, two of Dunfermline’s best players, the best looking centre back to play for United since Richard Gough, and two new goalkeepers to give abuse to, so far it seems like the squad is shaping up. I will say that we could probably do with another centre back or two, another winger, and maybe a striker over 6’0, and then our squad will be ready to look good in the Betfred cup before losing our first four league games.

Coaches and Scouts

Mike Martin wasn’t kidding when he said he was doing a root and branch review of the backroom staff wasn’t he?

It says a lot of the state of the club during the Thompson that following this review his conclusion was to tear out the roots and plant new seeds. Bowman’s “appointment” (I.e. demotion) to the role of scout kicked things off, then swiftly coming in was his replacement Craig Easton, as well as Scott Robertson coming to take over the under 18s. considering that Dave Bowman’s tenure as development manager was about as good as his disciplinary record, it’s for the best that he’s moved to a different role, and he should consider himself lucky that he’s a club legend or he would’ve booted directly onto Tannadice Street alongside Stuart Garden. As for the new guys, Easton comes in a good pedigree and a lot of respect from Raith Rovers, and Robertson will hopefully use his experience to pass on the younger kids for their future career in the Lowland League. Regardless of the whether or not it works out with Csaba, Easton and Robertson appear to be here for the long term which is exactly what’s needed after the departure of Campbell that, ignoring how deserved it may or may not have been, has definitely led to stagnation among the youth team. Also, we won’t really find out if Easton and Robertson are doing their jobs well until a few years when the players reach the age that they’re expected to be in the first team.

Speaking of the first team, Werner Burger was appointed as first team coach, and not assistant manager as many thought he would, since Laurie Ellis decided to stay at the club, and not go to Morton to work under McKinnon again, this surprised some people, but let’s be honest, I’m pretty sure working with Ray twice will make you never wanna work under him ever again. Werner certainly appears to be well spoken and hopefully the previous experience working with dealing with putting up with Shabba. Hopefully he, with the help of Ellis, can keep Laszlo properly medicated so that we get Dundee United in December 2017 instead off Dundee United in February 2018.

Finally, Neil Alexander. I still don’t understand how we managed to pull this off. I’m guessing bitterness is fantastic motivation. Still, regardless of motivation, this could be a fantastic appointment. Neil will be coaching all the keepers from the first team to the under 18s, and even if his coaching is half as good as his actual goalkeeping ability, I think we’ll be fine.

Conclusion

To conclude, the best way to sum up the last month and a half would be: change. Changes in the squad, changes in coaching, changes to who Dave Bowman will spend his days shouting at. Change is absolutely what is needed following the Greek tragedy of the final 6 months of last season. We’ve strengthened in most of the areas that needed to, completely rehauled the coaching and scouting system, and the club’s social media team has made efforts to get in more touch with the fans (the effort hasn’t led to much quality however, but at least it’s the thought that counts). There are still some things that need to be done, Thompson’s shares still need to be sold, we still have to sign some new players, some new scouts still need to be appointed etc. but we still made progress in the month.

 

And I look forward to seeing how this how all comes crashing down.

 

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The Men of Leith vs The Bavarian Juggernaut

*This is a transcript from BBC Sportsound recorded and broadcast on the 15th of June 2056. Narrated by BBC Journalist Will Murray*

Will Murray: Hello and welcome to another Episode of this BBC Scotland series where we take a look at great European nights in Scottish Football, as the 5 clubs in Europe prepare for this season’s European campaign. Last time out, we went back 33 years to Celtic’s 5-1 Europa League Semi-Final win over Shakhtar Donetsk. Tonight, we will travel back to the 2047/2048 season, when Hibernian faced Bayern Munich at Beckenbauer Park in the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final. All those Interviewed either played for or coached Hibernian at the time. We are also delighted to announce that Former FC Bayern and German National Team centre back and Captain Yannis Hoffmann has been interviewed for this program. Unfortunately, Manager James Hawkins was unavailable to comment to his commitments managing the Scotland Squad alongside his club duties.

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