BBC BLOGS - Jim Spence
« Previous | Main | Next »

Good fans can have a voice

Post categories:

BBC Sport blog editor | 18:21 UK time, Friday, 19 February 2010

This is a story about how good football fans can have a voice and influence things.

A few weeks ago I broke the story that Derek Robertson had resigned from the Dundee United board.

Derek performed media duties for the club and was, by common agreement, very helpful and good at his job.

He left for various reasons, but among them was his deep hurt at some very personal and bitter criticism from a minority of fans.

The good news is that he is back at Tannadice and has resumed his duties, albeit he will not rejoin the board.

Big numbers of United fans rallied to the cause of a fellow Arab who had done only his best for the club, putting in countless hours in what was supposed to be a part time semi-retired job.

United fans flooded him with messages of support on websites, on Facebook and in person.

The silent majority were stung into action to come to the aid of one of their own.

They recognised the work Derek had done for the love of the club, the personal replies where some might have sent simply a cursory standard letter, and the constant availability of a man who had stood on the Tannadice terraces as a nipper long before United were a force in the land.

The loudmouths and the ignorant have been sent packing and a moral victory has been won by passionate and thoughtful fans who recognised the injustice meted out to one of their own.

It was United fans this time, but all over the country the majority of football fans are the same. Slow to rise, but stirred into action when they see injustice.

At every club in the land there are Derek Robertsons.

They love their clubs with a passion and will always go the extra mile.

Those kind of fans have restored Derek Robertson's faith, and mine too.


  • Comment number 1.

    Whist I applaude the success of the silent majority in this case the reality is that the angry, impatient fans are usually the ones who are the most vocal. Also being a public figure comes with a price. You cannot please everybody all of the time and you will always have some supporters questioning your motives and decisions.

    You need to have a thick skin when you are in the public eye. Some people, and this is no criticism of anyone, are just not cut out to take that criticism. It does, however, go with the territory. In an ideal world it wouldn't happen. Unfortunately thats not reality. Just like in politics many good people just choose not to run for public office rather than face all the muck that goes with it.

  • Comment number 2.

    I rate Robertson highly, but remember he said very quickly that the "very personal and bitter criticism" was not a consideration for him leaving.

    In my opinion it had not been the same for him since good friend Eddie Thompson sadly passed away.

    I am confident DR will be back on the board soon....

  • Comment number 3.

    Jim, thanks for this blog, I was surprised when I heard that Derek was resigning and was not really aware of the background.
    I think there are many people like Derek around Scottish Clubs, who work very hard just for the love of their club. Unfortunately they are not always appreciated by people who call themselves supporters. Saddely this is not a reflection on football but more on our society.
    I hope that Derek will rejoin the board as Dundee United, like all clubs need people like him. The real supports of the football club will always recognise one of their own, thus the reaction of the United fans to Derek's decision.

  • Comment number 4.

    I'm not sure what this article is meant to prove...if supporters at my club (Leeds United) didn't question and harry the spokespeople for the Bates secret owners we would be in an even worse mess. Are you saying opinion and passion are not allowed....?

  • Comment number 5.


    I don't think that's what is meant. opinion and passion about your club are essential if you're a fan, but there are many who complain about everything and are not prepared, like derek Robertson, to put themselves up for office and try and do something constructive. Good criticism will drive change and hopefully improve your club.

  • Comment number 6.

    Jim, maybe you could do a story on United's finacial difficulties. Might be interesting to use a club in a downward spiral such as Dundee United and contrast them to a club on the up such as Dundee. There's only one team in Dundee, always was, always will be.

  • Comment number 7.


    What I think Jim is getting at is that there are ways of going about things if you are unhappy with what your club is doing. So I say well done to the LU fans for getting involved and influencing decisions at their club, but I also say shame on ASberdeen fans for resorting to abuse that they deliver to MM and the team.

    If people wish to complain and do it properly then if they are honest with themselves, they will probably find out more about what DR was actually doing. They would feel happier about their club and less inclined to be so judgmental. they should try visiting and see if it gets them thinking that maybe the reason the a lot of clubs are struggling, is down to themselves and not just someone who is an easy target.

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.

    My above comment was removed because it broke the "House Rules"! Didn't realise this site was censored so heavily. Not allowed freedom of speech here? Tell you what, please delete my account and stuff ths where the sun don't shine.


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.