Branch History - Chapter 2

Edinburgh Branch: The Special Relationship

The Edinburgh Branch was the first big branch outside of Dundee and in recognition of that we had a very special relationship with the powers that be at Tannadice especially the manager, Jim Mclean, who was very appreciative of the fact that we were bringing so many supporters up to Tannadice each week.

Player of the Month Presentations

One of Ken's innovations in the mid 80's which greatly increased the profile of our Branch with the club was our player of the month presentation. In this arrangement one of our committee members and one of our junior members made a presentation to our branch's player of the month and had their picture taken in the dressing room before a home match. This also gave our committee man the chance to have a chat with Jim McLean while the players were out for their pre match warm up. The presentation was then made and the picture was taken just before the players left the dressing room for the start of the match. We always got the feeling that Jim saw the presentation as a way of diffusing the tension in the dressing room just before the match and he always had a light hearted dig at us if we had voted for an Edinburgh player. As Darren Jackson, Davie Bowman and Brian Welsh were all in the team over this period that happened quite a lot.

He disnae speak English

One story from that time that is worth relating is the day the Argentinian Victor Ferrerya made his home debut. When the referee came into to examine the players' boots Jim McLean said "This is our number nine he comes from Argentina and does not speak English and this is our number 10 he disnae speak English either and he comes from Stirling". The ref just smiled. No names required.

But Serbo/Croat Is No Problem

Another amusing story from that time was that Ken Smith learned a few words of Serbo / Croat to use when he was presenting Miodrag with a player of the month award. Ken was a bit taken aback when Mio moved forward and kissed him on both cheeks. Meanwhile Jim McLean said that these were the first words Mio had understood since he arrived.

Get Up The Park Malpas

A final anecdote from this era concerns Brian Beattie who is still a regular traveller on the bus. Brian was branch vice chairman for some time and one day he was in the dressing room before the kick off doing the player of month presentation. Now at that time instead of the 50/50 which we now have on the bus we ran a first goal scorer sweep. This was , of course , before the days of squad numbering so players were all numbered one to eleven. This particular day Brian had drawn Maurice Malpas in the sweep , hardly a prolific scorer. So just before he left the dressing room 5 minutes before kick off Brian shouted across the dressing room “ By the way Mo forget all these tactics you’ve been told just get up the park and score the first goal I’ve got you in the sweep.” Even Jim McLean had a smile on his face.

Then Golac came along

This arrangement continued until Ivan Golac took over when he made it clear that he did not want any outsiders in the dressing room. At that time Paul Sturrock was the assistant and was very supportive but it soon became clear that this arrangement had to stop as Ivan just ignored our committee member and sat and read the papers while the players were out doing their warm up. In fact on the final occasion we had a presentation the story goes that when the players returned to the dressing room after their pre-match warm up our committee man was sitting talking to Paul Sturrock when Ivan stood up and announced "OK everybody who not a player must now leave". Paul said " you'll better get that presentation done blooming quick" and so we did and left asap. and that was the end of our presentations. Some weeks later Jim McLean did ask why we had stopped but when we explained we all felt it was better to let things lie.

By The Way The Match Is Off

Another example of this special relationship was the day an away match at Motherwell was postponed due to ground conditions. This was before the days of the Internet and communications were not as good as they are today and so Jim McLean phoned us to let us know the match was off before our bus left. An article on this appeared in the Hibs match programme and this can be seen in the photo gallery (Special Relationship).

The Federation Is Born

During this time our branch was instrumental in setting up the Federation of Dundee United Supporters Club, see photo gallery (Special relationship), and Jim Gardiner and Richard Robertson produced the first constitution for the Federation. Jim , in fact , became secretary of the Federation for a number of years and played a big role in getting the Board of Dundee United to formally recognise the Federation which resulted in regular meetings between the Board and supporters’ representatives for the first time. This was a big breakthrough although this may be hard to believe with the current close working between the Board , ArabTrust and the Federation which takes place nowadays.

Another major success started by the Edinburgh branch was the push to get as many different branches in Dundee as possible. At that time United buses to away matches were organised by the Dundee United Supporters’ Association. A minute of a committee meeting at that time shows how Edinburgh highlighted that in Edinburgh all the local pubs had branches of Hibs and Hearts supporters and pushed for the same thing to happen in Dundee. The success of this push can be seen from the number of different branches which now exist in Dundee...

The impact that the Edinburgh Branch had on the Federation continued until United for Change came on the scene . The Edinburgh Branch was not a supporter of some of the tactics used by United for Change and although we kept involved we gradually began to take a back seat.

When ArabTrust started one of our members was on the initial committee which got it up and running and the branch as well as quite a few of our members joined as Foundation Members of the Trust.

Nowadays the special relationship has gone and we are just an ordinary branch like all the others although we continue as members of The Federation of Dundee United Supporters’ Clubs and ArabTrust.