BBC BLOGS - Jim Spence

Archives for December 2009

United chairman faces his biggest test

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Jim Spence | 17:42 UK time, Thursday, 31 December 2009

Dundee Utd chairman Stephen Thompson faces the biggest test of his brief chairman's reign so far at Tannadice as he begins the search for a new manager, after caretaker boss Peter Houston ruled himself out of the running for the job vacated by Craig Levein.

Thompson has made a good job of filling the shoes of his late father Eddie, who had his share of managerial disappointments, but now he faces his toughest task to date.

Get it right and he'll be a hero; get it wrong and he'll get it in the neck.

United are thought to have a list of eight candidates which will be whittled down to a shortlist of five names in the coming days.

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Who will replace Levein at Tannadice?

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Jim Spence | 15:22 UK time, Thursday, 24 December 2009

Dundee United fans have had it good in recent times with Craig Levein having restored the club's bruised pride and reputation.

Life moves on, though, and with Levein leaving to take the Scotland job, United must now find the man to take the club forward, building on the substantial progress made in his three years at Tannadice.

The job is hugely attractive: no rebuilding work needed, a talented squad of players who have shown themselves capable of matching the best in the country, and a stable club.

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Non-Old Firm teams don't hate losing enough

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Jim Spence | 09:21 UK time, Friday, 18 December 2009

Rangers' win at Tannadice in midweek proved that although the gap between the Old Firm and the rest of the Scottish Premier League is narrowing, when it comes to sheer mental toughness, the chasing pack have to work harder at mind games.

United are more than capable of matching and beating the Old Firm, as are Hibs and Motherwell on their day.

However, consistency is the killer for teams chasing Scotland's big two, and much of that is down to developing a mental hardness which then must be honed, sharpened and perfected.

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Are refereeing tensions really class war?

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Jim Spence | 11:10 UK time, Friday, 11 December 2009

Referees and managers are currently staring at each other like wild west gunslingers, while red cards in the Scottish game proliferate like bankers' bonuses.

But who'll blink first and will it come to a shoot-out before sanity prevails?

The sports psychologist Tom Lucas offers the theory that a kind of class war is at the root of the current problem.

His suggestion is that referees, in the main, are drawn from the professional classes while the players, by and large, are the hewers of wood and the drawers of water.

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Old order faces youthful challenge

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Jim Spence | 21:31 UK time, Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Craig Levein, Mark McGhee and Jim Gannon signify the changing of the old guard and the coming of the new breed of football manager in Scotland - and it's a welcome development.

All three are articulate, media savvy and thoughtfully opinionated in their musings on the game. They ally their football experience with an understanding of social trends and change, and a readiness to embrace these, whether it be in re-working youth systems, their managerial techniques, or their willingness to challenge a cosy media consensus.

Similarly, a new breed of supporter has been patiently working to ensure that the old order of Scottish football must accept change.

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