Branch History - Chapter 7

Those Days Are Past Now

In the early 90's Jim Gardiner took over as chairman. Jim and his committee have taken the branch through some difficult times as United spent so many years near the bottom of the league fighting relegation. The bus average in recent seasons has been around the 33/34 mark and we have had to embark on a major fund raising initiative to help subsidise the bus cost.

This sure is a big difference from our European exploits but the buses have still to be booked and funds have still to be raised. We have had a few good days out to remind us of the old days though: the 1991 and 1994 and 2005 Scottish Cup Finals, the third place league finish in 1996/7. But the highlights that spring to mind are the occasions when we snatched victory from the jaws of defeat firstly in the second leg of the play off against Partick Thistle when we won promotion, secondly on that great day at Perth when we avoided relegation coming back to win 3-2 after being 2 down at half time and finally the cup semi final against Hibs in 2005 when Jason Scotland somehow managed to prove to a number of ex-Hibees in high places that he was not good enough to play in the SPL when they refused to grant him a work permit.

Since then, of course, Jason has gone on to star for Swansea and and was chosen in the team of the year for League One in England in 2007/8.

The 2005 final against Celtic was also a great day out. We ran 2 buses and stopped off at Cambuslang Rugby Club on the way to Hampden and had a great time. Unfortunately the result spoiled what would have been a perfect day when we lost 1-0 to Celtic. These were memorable occasions but over recent years it seems that we have been better at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Here's To The Future

Nevertheless, as the 2007/8 season comes to an end the branch is still strong with around 65 to 70 members for the past 5 years. It speaks volumes for the loyalty of the United support that even after the poor performances of recent seasons there is still a very strong hard core support in the Edinburgh area.

The arrival of Craig Levein as manager and the improved performance on the park has seen significant improvements in the branch’s fortunes for the 2007/8 season. We have had quite a few “old” members reappearing and our bus average has improved from 33 (last 2 seasons) to 40 (this season). Our membership has grown to 87 and for the first time in a number of seasons we will make a good operating profit and have a good balance to carry forward to next season. For the recent League match against Rangers we actually had a full bus and had to turn away some bookings.

The recent League Cup final against Rangers, when we were so unlucky to lose the cup, reminded the committee of the old days. There was a mad scramble for tickets and bus seats and fortunately as most bookings are now done by email our phones were not as “red hot” as they used to be when we were doing well. We took 2 full buses and once again we stopped off at Cambuslang Rugby Club before the match and apart from the final result everyone had a great day out. The Tangerine March to Hampden was just fantastic.

Our hope is that these improvements can be maintained and that this will encourage the Edinburgh and Lothians' branch to continue to flourish as it approaches its 25th anniversary.