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Tannadice devotee Eddie a great loss

Chick Young | 20:04 UK time, Monday, 20 October 2008

If emotion were measured by goals then St Mirren will lose by a barrowload on Saturday.

The Paisley club will find themselves battling the tide in a sea of love directed towards Eddie Thompson. You would imagine that it is a football match that Dundee United just cannot lose.

He was just about the only chairman I can recall whose name was chanted by fans - in adulation that is - and the embracing of his memory will be strengthened by the gesture to allow supporters in for a fiver. Even from beyond the grave, that wee man controls the destiny of the football club he adored.

The former Dundee United chairman is in a better place now, although I doubt whether dear Eddie ever imagined a Valhalla that was removed from Tannadice.

In a world peppered with Russians and Arabs who pick up and lay down football clubs like toys, it may be some time before we see his likes again. He was a throwback to the days of the local butcher, baker or painter and decorater who made a few bob and spent it on his local team.

Eddie invested his profits in United, although that is maybe the wrong word. If owning a yacht is like standing in a shower ripping up tenners then buying a football club is like papering the outside of the main stand with £100 notes.

He wasn't the perfect angel, of course, too frequently pushing the eject button on his managers ridiculously quickly. And I used to wonder at his impatience as he thundered downstairs and into the dressing-room almost before the team at a full-time whistle.eddie_thompson_438x318.jpg

He failed to appreciate the sanctity of the immediate post-match time that manager and players need together. But he learned and, in any case, you could forgive his faults, which were drowned by his commitment, financial, emotional and in time that he gave to the club.

However, there are others who understand his ways.

The vultures were gathering last week over Cappielow, where the word was that the jacket of Davie Irons was on a peg that was now attached just by Sellotape.

A 1-0 victory over Clyde applied the oxygen to his survival chances, but I still question the logic of binning a manager who has been in charge for just 21 matches.

But, in any case, there is the steady hand on the Greenock Morton tiller of Douglas Rae, who has made his fortune from confectionary but who, like Eddie, has invested more than sweeties in his love affair with the local football club.

Rae has threatened to walk away - taking his wallet with him presumably - if supporters responsible for showering his manager and players with verbal abuse don't shut up.

He wasn't defending the standard of his team's play against Ross County - in fact, he was scathing about it - but he acknowledged that football people should be entitled to the laws of decency under which normal people operate.

Like Thompson, Rae is old school. A different generation. Different standards.

Morton deserve better than to be dancing on the quicksand end of the First Division and I suspect that a promotion-chasing team could attract double the current average, in which case a Scottish Premier League place would be within touching distance.

All of which would be interesting news for the aforementioned St Mirren. Another game, another sea of emotion.

I wish them - and dear Eddie's friends and family - all the best on Saturday.


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