the tanner ba'

Nobody Likes Dundee United


A few years ago it looked as though Dundee United were co-favorites with Aberdeen F.C. to cause some trouble for the Old Firm when it came to their dominant position in Scottish football.  Between 2006 and 2013 Craig Levein and Peter Houston had the club on the brink of a breakthrough.  Under these two managers the club won or drew about 70% of their matches and won a Scottish Cup (over Ross County, grrrr!), were runners-up twice in the same competition.  The club began to routinely finish in the top half of the Scottish top tier and even getting into European competition on several occasions.

More than any of this however, the club was acquiring talent from other clubs and developing young talent of its own.  Despite the club’s initial denials, Jackie McNamara, who took over from Peter Houston, had a clause in his contract that allowed him to earn a bonus for any player he sold.  Guess what, he sold a lot of the same players the club had acquired/developed.

  • Johnny Russell to Derby County FC: £750,000
  • Ryan Gauld to Sporting CP:  £3,000,000
  • Andy Robertson to Hull City FC:  £2,850,000
  • Gary Mackay-Steven to Celtic FC: £250,000
  • Stuart Armstrong to Celtic FC:  £2,000,000
  • Nadir Çiftçi to Celtic FC:  £1,500,000

That’s £10,350,000 worth of players sold in about two and a half calendar years.

In case you were wondering, during that same period the club’s known expenditures on players (several were acquired for “undisclosed fees”) were £404,000.

So, figuring in those “undisclosed fees,” McNamara made the club somewhere north of £9 to 9.5m.  This has allowed the club to rid itself of almost all of it’s debt off the field, but it has also undone all of the work done by Levein and Houston, which finds Dundee United sitting in 11th place in the Premiership as of this morning.  Not shocking considering that the club’s best player is probably Billy McKay- on loan from Wigan Athletic- and that only one player- Ryan Dow- from the club’s previous crop of youth program players has survived.  In the wake of all of this information going public the club has said that putting the clause in McNamara’s contract was a, “mistake.”


Which brings us to the larger point…

Having sacked Jackie McNamara a few days go despite the fact that he was, if not responsible, certainly “complicit” in making the club so much money, Dundee United are in search of a new manager- and nobody appears to want the job!  In just the last few days all of the following managers have given the Tannadice club the “not with a barge pole!” treatment:

  • Jim McIntyre (Ross County)- “happy where he is”
  • John Hughes (ICTFC)- “flattered but content”
  • Michael O’Neill (Northern Ireland)- nice try.

Given the success of their initial attempts at wooing a new manager, the club now says that they will not be pursuing managers who are currently employed.  Sounds good, except…

Seriously, click the link for Stuart McCall’s thoughts on the club and the vacancy- scathing stuff.

The club will not be considering candidates without managerial experience.

So, if you have experience as a football manager, want to manage a club which has sold off all of its talented players, and appears to be headed for the relegation playoffs- at best!- feel free to send your CV along to the club:

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