My Team & I: Dundee Utd

By Blair Grant


Twitter: @mightjustget

Why Dundee United?

I grew up a Kirriemuir, a small town in Angus and everyone there either supported Dundee United or Rangers, or at least it seemed that way in primary school.  None of my family are particularly bothered about football but those who are support Dundee United, so I suppose I followed suit. I remember being in primary two when my best friend at the time asked who we should support.  Dundee United was the preferred choice and I’ve never looked back.

It’s hard to pinpoint the beginning of my love for the club, one in which certainly never existed after my first game.  I must have been around four or five when I went to Tannadice with my brother, our two friends and their father.  It was a nil-nil draw with St Johnstone.  I have two abiding memories of that day: the man to my left smoked like a chimney, scattering the remnants of what must have been 40 cigarettes onto the concrete terrace and I remember being shocked at the lack of commentary as the match progressed.  The naivety of youth where I had expected everything to mirror that of my pervious footballing experience, which had to that point, solely been one of the TV fan.

I can’t recall my second game watching the side and I don’t even remember my first away game, yet at 25, I’ve been to hundreds of matches. I love them.


Favourite Player?

Craig Brewster, Dave Bowman or Kjell Olofsson, but I think Kjell comes out on top.  He was only with the club for three seasons after being signed by Tommy McLean in the 1996/97 season.  I was at his debut against Hearts where he scored and I was really impressed with him.  Tannadice has long been seen as a bit of a striker’s graveyard but Kjell just banged them in.  He clearly still loves the club as he’s been over to watch the side a few times since leaving – I actually met him and fellow ex-United star, Erik Pedersen, in a pub in Dundee after we won the Cup Final in 2010.  He was our top scorer and was pivotal in the side which finished third in the Scottish Premier League the year we were promoted.

During his last season with the club he formed a partnership with Billy Dodds which is one of the best I’ve seen in my time following the club.  He also had a great habit of scoring against Rangers and he humbled them yet again when he scored the winner for a ten-man United side in a one-nil victory at Ibrox.  These days I’m not really into the old hero worship thing for football players.

Favourite Game?

I have three.

It would be too easy to name our Scottish Cup Final wins so firstly I’m going to say the last Dundee derby in the season Dundee got relegated.  It was played at Dens and United won the game 2-1.  It’s an awful cliché but this game really was a 6-pointer as United went into the game below Dundee in the table.  The club went on a great run after that, overtaking Dundee while they went into free-fall which ended in them getting relegated.  When United scored the second there was people hugging and kissing strangers in the away end and it was just fantastic.  Singing: ‘We’ll meet again…’ to the Dundee fans as they left ground is something that will always raise a smile.

The second game I’m going for is the 4-1 victory against Aberdeen at Tynecastle in the CIS Cup semi-final. Aberdeen scored first but United came right back into it and I left the ground shaking with adrenalin and full of pride.  The original game was actually called off due to a waterlogged pitch and I had travelled down from Dundee with the general football accoutrements: alcohol and a scarf.  This particular scarf had been bought for me by an ex-girlfriend before the Cup Final with Celtic (we lost) and after I heard the game against Aberdeen had been postponed, it went straight in the bin at Waverley Station with my suspicions that it brought nothing but bad luck.

Probably my favourite game ever was the 3-3 draw in the Scottish Cup quarter final game at Ibrox.  Rangers had been given two highly debatable penalties and were leading 3-1 but United brought it back to 3-3.  Rangers fans hardly bothered to turn up but United brought down a fantastic support, one of the nosiest away supports I’ve heard.  It may sound silly but when Kovacevic scored the equaliser I knew we would win the Scottish Cup.  The celebration at the third will live with me forever: bodies everywhere, a massive sway and bleeding shins.

Favourite Kit?

Does anything further need to be said about this away top? I don’t think we’ll ever have a better strip than this.

Worst thing about being a Dundee United?

I’m immensely proud of the football club and there really isn’t anything bad I can think of.  I’m envious of Arabs who got to see the successful side of the 80s as I wasn’t even born when United won the league at Dens in the 1982/83 season.  While my formative years of supporting the cub were spent watching United play Raith Rovers, Kilmarnock and Motherwell, those watching the side a decade or so earlier got to watch United play – and crucially beat – a plethora of European giants including Monaco, Borussia Monchenglabach and Barcelona.

Funniest Moment?

I can’t really think of any funny moments I’ve had or witnessed while following United, but I think that’s down to my personality more than anything else.  When I watch United it’s a nervous experience and certainly not one I can take any humour from! I wrote an article a while ago on things I had overheard at Tannadice and that makes me smile but for a funny moment I’d need to focus on Greenock Morton. A friend of mine is a big fan but he now lives in Brussels and works in the European Parliament.  When he’s back in Scotland I try to go to a Morton game with him and one particular game a few seasons ago at Dens Park sticks out. Now not only do Greenock Morton FC have some of the best looking female supporters in Scotland (I’m serious) but they also have some of the funniest.  They were losing against Dundee when a seagull starting hovering above the pitch and between the home and away stands.  This was met with: ‘Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh’, by the Morton fans, until the seagull landed in the away end which resulted in 400 or so singing: ‘Seagull is a ‘Ton fan, seagull is a ‘Ton fan…’  I liked that.

Favourite Moment?

I was too young to fully appreciate the 1994 Scottish Cup Final win and only later did I release what an achievement it was. I went back to school on the Monday and a friend of mine who knew I supported United had cut out all the pictures from the Courier and put them in a shoebox for me – that meant a lot and still does. There’s so much happiness and great moments that I’ve had following United but I think it all comes down to the Scottish Cup Final win in 2010. I don’t normally enjoy going to Hampden because you’re surrounded by people who don’t regularly go to matches – some of whom probably couldn’t even find Tannadice –  but this game was different.  There was such a mix of supporters there and from the first moment I walked in the ground I knew it was going to be United’s day.  Watching Goodwillie’s chip makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and I’m unashamed to admit that I had a wee tear in my eye at the final whistle.  There aren’t many 20-somethings out with the Old Firm support who can say they’ve seen their team win two Scottish Cups.

One Response to “My Team & I: Dundee Utd”

  1. A very nice read, although not sure I agree on that choice of kit 😉

    I will say I’m proud to also be a 20-something, non Old Firm fan who has seen his side win two Scottish Cups.

    Mon the Jambos next weekend at Tannadice! 😀

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