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Giant of the game recognised by United

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Jim Spence | 19:14 UK time, Wednesday, 7 September 2011

In renaming their Fair Play stand "The Jim McLean" stand, Dundee United have paid due recognition to one of the great Scottish football men.

The name change was announced as "Wee Jum", as he came to be known by the Scottish football community, was honoured by a gala dinner in Dundee's Caird Hall last Friday night.

McLean is a giant of the Scottish football scene.

McLean has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Law from the University of Dundee

Not only did he take a small Scottish club and indelibly stamp their name throughout Europe as a force to be feared, he also proved that home-bred Scottish players could compete and indeed surpass, the technical and physical abilities of the best in Europe.

When he took over as manager at Tannadice in 1971, United were the city's second side in terms of wealth and support.

By the time he stood down as manager in 1993 that situation had long since been reversed.

Under his guidance United won one league title and two league cups, as well as reaching the Uefa Cup final and the European Cup semi final.

It was an astonishing transition for a club which, in his first few years of management, were sometimes outdrawn at the gates by the Dundee Rockets ice hockey team. (Mind you, the Rockets v Fife Flyers could attract 4,000 fans, albeit crammed right up to the barriers three-deep, in those pre-health and safety days.)

In the early days he even staged pie-eating contests at Tannadice to bring the crowds in but soon it was a scintillating brand of football that brought the fans thronging.

McLean's policy of rearing talented young players proved hugely successful and the likes of Andy Gray, David Narey, Maurice Malpas and Graeme Payne were the forerunners of a highly productive youth system which would later bring through Raymond Stewart, Duncan Ferguson, Billy McKinlay, Christian Dailly and many others who went on to achieve great success in the game.

It also saw United quickly come to be regarded as a club which parents would happily send their kids to, in the firm belief that Tannadice was a place where youthful talent would flourish and play, if the requisite ability was shown.

And McLean was prepared to splash the cash when it mattered.

His capture in 1979 of the magnificently productive Eamonn Bannon for £165,000 from Chelsea along with Willie Pettigrew for £100,000 from Motherwell, significant sums in those days, was great business, with both players helping the club to their two successive League Cup wins.

McLean also served as number two to the late great Jock Stein with Scotland: what a tactical feast it would have been to be a fly on the wall as those two talked football.

But it is his contribution at United which is the real measure of the man.

Starting life as Dundee Hibernian, for the city's 40,000 strong Irish community, United's survival had often been precarious throughout the years of financial uncertainty.

McLean took the club to heights which the founding fathers could not have imagined in their wildest dreams.

He had his faults and his later period as chairman was not without major controversy, but this blog is not about those.

It is about recalling the major talent that he was in purely football terms.

From his non stop work ethic, his tactical nous, his eye for a player and his insistence on players giving their absolute best at all times, he deserves the recognition the club have bestowed on him.

The "Fair Play" stand won its name after Dundee United fans gave a rousing reception to the victorious Gothenburg team which won the Uefa Cup final against United at Tannadice in 1987.

So Impressed were Uefa with the Dundee public's sporting integrity that they made a cash award to United, who put it to good use in building what became known as the "Fair Play" stand.

Now it is renamed again as the "Jim McLean" stand.

Fair Play to "Wee Jum" he deserves the recognition.


  • Comment number 1.

    Nice blog Jim.

    As a lifelong United fan, now 58, I started supporting United shortly after their promotion to the (then) first division.

    What has followed has in many ways surpassed my wildest dreams as a youngster, and that in most part is due to Jim McLean.

    Prior to our last Cup Final (victory) I met a young United fan from near Glasgow (Jamais) who told me he supported United. When I asked him why, he told me it was when United started having European success he decided to support United instead of one of the Old Firm.

    The delay in this overdue recognition is disappointing, but maybe understandable given the rift that came with Eddie Thomson's bid for control. Hopefully bygones are now exactly that and we can move forward together as a club recognising the immense strides we made under the sometimes understimated Jerry Kerr, Jim McLean and the late but very great Eddie Thomson.

    Credit should go to the current directors, including Steven Thomson for moving this forward. Could the next 50 years bring anything more exciting?

  • Comment number 2.

    Grew up with Utd being the better half of Dundee in football and he put a club on the map. Great manager and he developed some amount of talent. A man who liked players to have long-term contracts. Always tried to play attacking football. Felt gutted for him when Utd were allegedly 'cheated' by Roma and it should have been Utd in the Euro final that year. They deserved a shot and who knows.

    Superb against Barca in the Nou Camp.

    Not shy to use force when necessary on TV.

  • Comment number 3.

    I am not a United fan, but he deserves all the plaudits he gets, maybe stayed at United to long.

  • Comment number 4.

    Dundee Utd failed to fill its stadium on a regular basis when it was in its McLean-led pomp. I'm old enough to remember the dismay at the Tannadice attendances, and the back-page headlines they made.

    Something those who whine incessantly about the game nowadays should remember, including those who see the removal of the Old Firm as a cure-all.

  • Comment number 5.

    Jasper Jerald 'Jerry' Kerr (1 June 1912 - 8 November 1999) was a Scottish football player and manager, best known as manager of Dundee United from 1959 to 1971. He is credited with taking the club from relative obscurity to being mainstays in what is now the Scottish Premier League...

    ...In 1959 United manager Andy McCall – their fifth in less than five years – had just resigned after leading the part-time club to third bottom place in Division Two and there was little expectation that fortunes would improve significantly. Dundee United advertised for a new manager; Jerry Kerr was the man given the apparently thankless task of reviving the club in April that year...

    ...Success in the '60sKerr first policy upon joining United was his insistence that his players be full-time. A gamble that could have cost the club dearly. He also insisted that there had to be a properly constituted reserve side and an end to the previous policy of buying in over-the-hill First Division players. In the summer of 1960 the gamble paid off, after beating his former club Berwick Rangers at Tannadice, Kerr's United had secured second place in Division Two and promotion to Scotland's top flight. The records show that Kerr had more than doubled attendances at Tannadice in his first season in charge.

    They doubled again the following season as United retained their place, and with players like Ron Yeats and the striking partnership Dennis Gillespie (who Kerr had brought with him from Alloa) and Jim Irvine scoring 21 and 23 goals respectively not only did United finish a highly creditable ninth, but they topped their city rivals by a point.

    Kerr was also imaginative and inspired with some of his signings. With Hal Stewart of Morton, he was the first to see the possibility of tapping Scandinavia for cultured players at an affordable price.[1] And by 1964, Lennart Wing, Finn Døssing, Mogens Berg and Örjan Persson were Tannadice stalwarts.[1]

    Off the field, Kerr was just as remarkable. He had been greatly taken by the success of Warwickshire County Cricket Club in raising money for the rebuilding of Edgbaston through the medium of a football pool. The English county made hundreds of thousands of pounds from this idea and a conversation with their secretary, Les Deakin led Kerr to set up Taypools, which, for about a decade, brought money cascading into the club. Using his great capacity for lateral thinking and an ability to adapt and even improve the ideas of others he helped secure the finance of the growing club. As well as raising money to invest

  • Comment number 6.

    in the squad Kerr's Taypools helped rebuild some of Tannadice, building the new West ("The Shed") and North stands and the opening of, what was at the time the state-of-the-art, Main Stand which was later, fittingly, renamed The Jerry Kerr Stand.

    Kerr is also credited with another landmark moment in the club's history, as he led United into their first ever European tie in 1966. This produced an astonishing 4-1 aggregate victory over FC Barcelona in the Fairs Cup, which included a 2–1 win at the Nou Camp.[1]

    By 1971, Kerr (then aged 59) had taken Dundee United as far as he reasonably could. In November of that year he assumed the post of general manager, the job which he had transformed into one of the most sought-after in Scottish football going to Jim McLean who would build upon Kerr's successful base over the following seasons. It seems Kerr was never comfortable with his new duties and he left the club, with the minimum of publicity, at the end of season 1972-73 with a legacy hard to exaggerate. He is remembered for taking a small club, third from the bottom in Scottish League Football to a secure place in the top division, consistently finishing above clubs with larger reputations at the time like Hibernian, Hearts and Aberdeen

  • Comment number 7.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 8.

    #4 you are talking out of yer dump hole!!

    I remember cold winter European nights that were packed to the rafters, derbies where the queues went up and down Tannadice and Sandeman street, getting squashed and losing my shoes in the Shed when United scored with the atmosphere electric. Just have a look at football archives from the 80's and watch how Tannadice is full of fans and that was with teams like Aberdeen, Hearts, Hibs and especially Dundee. we don't need the West Coast bigots to bring the fans in at Tannadice, in fact nowadays its just as likely home fans will stay away when the Glasgow Sisters visit

  • Comment number 9.

    Is that a superhero cape he has on in that pic? :)

  • Comment number 10.

    Where did you lift that piece from?

  • Comment number 11.

    Jim Spence.

    Nice tribute Jim, although, as pointed out by #5&6, Jerr Kerr was instrumental in bringing in the money by the creation of the pools which, if memory serves me correctly, was bought out by Rangers and later copied by Newcastle.

    You also skipped over the fact that Jim McLean was taken to task over the length of the contracts he induced the young talent to sign and which were later deemed unlawful.

    No doubt McLean did well for Utd, but he also did well for himself in the end when he sold the shares gifted to him and it is sad that his time with the club ended on a sour note although it appears the breach has been healed.

  • Comment number 12.

    It's being renamed the "Jim McLean Fair Play Stand", so that the Fair Play part is still there too. Important to keep that, so good call!

  • Comment number 13.

    to therawbuzzin and morbhoy

    Jerry Kerr's contribution was huge, no doubt about it.

    From The introduction of Taypools which gave United financial security for the first time in their history, to the building of the first cantilever stand in the country, to bringing over the great Scandanavians, Mogens Berg, Finn Dossing, Orjann Persson, Finn Seeman and Lennart Wing (Spence, wipe those tears away ED) Jerry truly revolutionised the club.

    Even the tangerine colours came from his period in charge after United's sojourn to play in the USA as Dallas Tornadoes.

    There is no doubt that United have been fortunate to have had two great men at the helm for the lengthy periods that they were in the managers office.

  • Comment number 14.

    Jerry Kerr took a 2nd division United to a mid table 1st division side.Jim McLean took United from mid table 1st division to a team that challenged the top sides in Europe and were feared in Europe no team wanted to draw United, Jim McLean has earned that recognition and no OF bigot twins will change that

  • Comment number 15.

    My point was not to deny the contribution made by McLean; in my view it is both monumental and undeniable.
    He has earned his plaudits.

    Let's, however, refrain from gilding the lily, especially with another man's gilt; McLean doesn't need it, Kerr doesn't deserve it.

  • Comment number 16.

    #13 Jim

    I had a book on United's history (was printed around mid/late 80s) that had a Utd team pictured on the back in a US style tangerine strip with large sky-blue numbers on them. Always wondered where that one came from.

    Consider the recent brouhaha when Hearts proposed playing a game v Celtic in Oz and then look at how far-thinking Jerry actually was.

    Brand enhancement by ManU et al; old hat in the Jerry Kerr school of football Mr Glazer & co, old hat.

  • Comment number 17.

    Bad decision to rename such the iconically-titled "Fair Play" Stand.

    I would rather that they had renamed the stadium in McLean's honour...

  • Comment number 18.

    No one is denying him any due recognition. He should have taken Utd to a Euro cup final

  • Comment number 19.

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

  • Comment number 20.

    Your hatred is no different than that of those you profess to despise.

  • Comment number 21.


    Aye. Strange comment from 14.

  • Comment number 22.

    The man is a United legend, and one of the greatest managers that Scotland and Britain have ever produced. McLean fully deserves to be spoken about in the same manner as Shankly, Stein, Ramsay, Robson, Ferguson, Clough et al. I think it would be a good idea to put a link to this on the BBC's main football, or even sport site, to make it more accessible to those who do not perhaps visit the Scottish football section but who would be interested in learning about the man's achievements.

  • Comment number 23.

    #13 Jim Spence
    I don't disagree with your comments but I agree with#15 that it wouldn't do to overlook the contribution made by Jerry Kerr.

    The very fact that he was able to introduce financial stability to the club to the extent that Rangers bought Taypools and the man who ran it there moved to Newcastle and introduced the concept to Tyneside proves just how valuable it was.

    Pity there aren't more like him around now.
    I had forgotten about the Scandinavians, "Exotica comes to Tayside".

    #14 Completely unnecessary post as you will note from the subsequent posts.

  • Comment number 24.

    Congratulations Jim McLean

    Well Deseved.

    Its fantastic to see a decent, hard working, and above all honest - HARD BUT HONEST - man get gracious recognition while he can still enjoy it himself.

  • Comment number 25.



  • Comment number 26.

    I seem to remember that Taypools was the only one allowed in Scotland, with the English version being Nottingham Forest. The only way Rangers could start their pools was by buying the rights from United.

    As for Jerry Kerr and the Barcelona game. Barcelona were the favourites at that time to win the trophy. The new favourites after they were knocked out were Juventus. Who did we get for the prize of knocking out the Spaniards? Aye, somebody making the draws didn't like us.

    The tangerine strips werefirst aired in the UK after the Dallas Tornadoes returned at Goodison against Everton. Sadly we lost 3:1 or 4:1, but at least the new strip got an airing. The only way we got into the ground that day was with the help of a bit Liverpool policeman, after the turnstile operators refused to take Scottish money at the gate.

    At the time of Jerry as manager the reserves played at home the same day as the first team were away. With palls from both sides of the Tanadice Street divide, you got go to Dens for the first team, run out quick at the end across the road and see the end of the reserves and get the full time result over the tannoy at Tannadeechy before Bob Wilson or whoever managed to get scores on the BBC.

    Ah! Happy days with both Jerry and Jim.

  • Comment number 27.

    Stupid things you store in your head and hope to find it as the million quid question of who wants to be a millionaire.

    What was the Taypools phone number to order Tannadice tickets?
    0382 23700

    Finally I have found a reason for remembering this. Yeehaa

  • Comment number 28.

    great wee blog , jim mclean, why wasn't he scotland manager?. he definately has the ability to keep all those ego's under control which is part of the national teams problem, i'd as far as to say that most national teams have issue's with this and todays managers struggle to deal with it. jim mclean has a toughness that todays managers lack. it would have been a very interesting appointment.

    wullie pettigrew, i would still pay money to watch him, what a player.

  • Comment number 29.

    wullie pettigrew, i would still pay money to watch him, what a player.
    41 goals in 34 games for EK Thistle before he went to Motherwell. Should have been 42 but for a 'blind' ref in his final game in the Junior semi against Irvine Meadow.

    Fantastic player.

  • Comment number 30.

    Online, I just read what looked like a copy of a fax from an Edinburgh solicitor to someone else, concerning a former chief executive of a Scottish company who is seeking compensation for being removed from his post. It's not hard to find and it has some very interesting contentions. Go on Mr Spence. Blog it. It's actually *news* and given that the solicitor who allegedly wrote it actually exists, a quick call to him (I've got his number, it's on his company website) will confirm whether it's real or a fake - if he deigns to comment. In terms of whether that Scottish company referred to above will be a going concern after November 2011, it's the biggest story in Scottish footbal, surely?

  • Comment number 31.

    Glad Jim McLean never joined them when he had the chance.

    But you are right: a huge and developing story that the company are desperately trying to keep a lid on..

    Apparently they were allegedly annoyed that this firm of solicitors are representing Martin Bain when they have previously represented them..and delayed one that I've heard...

  • Comment number 32.

    @31 I'd imagine that the former chief exec will get his money ... but separately, the tribunal hearing in November with a well known agency of the state will come to a compromise that avoids the major Scottish company concerned going out of business and the chairman/owner of that company will only have to dig "a wee bit" (ie £15m tops) into his pockets to pay the allegedly outstanding liability ... but of course it could all go totally pear shaped and that major Scottish company could cease to exist before Christmas, possibly ... since it would be insolvent (if certain things happened that may not actually happen) ... which would be News with a capital N of the sort that the BBC would surely cover ...

  • Comment number 33.

    I too have read said document, very interesting reading it is too, what a lovely life some people manage to live. If you're a chief exec. can you agree your contract with yourself?

    I would like to believe that there is too much information already in the public domain to allow this case to be settled for much less than is due but I wouldn't be surprised if "pressure is brought to bear" as those concerned seem to be under the impression that they are a "special case" and must be treated as such.

    I am convinced that the ultimate plan is to build on the site and the end could be nigh!!

  • Comment number 34.

    Well said jim.

    I,m so glad the club chose the jim mclean tribute dinner to announce the re-naming of the fair play stand.It was an honour to be there on a very emotional evening for all.The shed roared with delight at this overdue but welcome news.A legend of the game jim took united from a 3,000 hard core support to double that.6,000 is still around the hard core support we have.My all time favourite story of wee jum,was when that much travelled arab davie short was the only arab present in iceland at a euro tie in the early 90,s.Davie did not think some of darren jacksons performance was up to scratch and let his feelings be known during the 90 mins.A lift back into town on the team bus was given to davie by one of the clubs party.Wee jum had heard davies comments during the match and did not agree.I think davie,s lugs are still toastin fae the rant wee jum gave him on that bus.I,m so glad i was around to witness our all time best team.10 away euro ties let me see a bit of the world in the process.Thanks for the memories wee jum.

  • Comment number 35.

    First things first, Jim McLean richly deserves all the accolades going - was a great time in top flight football in Scotland when it wasn't a foregone conclusion that one of the Old Firm would win the league and the other half would finish 2nd, 20 points ahead of the 3rd place team. Although United *only* won the title once they had several other challenges - I remember they were in with a shout until the last few games in 1987 when they were also the finalists in the UEFA cup and Scottish Cup and played about 70 games that season and ended up without a trophy to show for their efforts. McLean also deserves credit for the amount of Scottish international players he brought through - Narey. Heggarty, Malpas, Gough, Ian Ferguson, Kevin Gallacher, Paul Sturrock, Duncan Ferguson, Davie Dodds, Eamon Bannon, Jim McInally, Davie Bowman, Christian Dailly... oh to have a few more Jim McLeans in the modern Scottish game working for provincial clubs and giving the Old Firm a run for their money, raising the Scottish co-efficient in Europe and giving young Scottish players a chance and developing their potential.

  • Comment number 36.

    #30... quite happy, no infact would be deliriously happy if Spency left the other BBC 'reporters' to bring us up to date on the continuing financial mayhem at Ibrox. That has been pretty well reported and speculated upon on an almost daily basis on the BBC site for the last few years - unlike, say, the new bid to takeover the majority shareholding at St Mirren... news on this broke on Saturday but still no article on the BBC, and still no news on what has happened with the CIC takeover bid... but hey St Mirren are just a wee diddy team who don't merit any of the kind of slabbering coverage we were treated to on a daily basis when Andrew Ellis / Dave King were supposed to be buying the club and when we got profiles of their business interests, credential as Rangers fans, and speculation on how their bids would affect Walter Smith's / Ally McCoist's transfer budget. Fully expect that when St Mirren are taken over there will be a maximum of 3 articles on Gilmour's reign as chairman (arguably a much better and more important legacy for Scottish football than David Murray's - namely he took over a club on the verge on bankruptcy and has left it in a beter league, with a new ground, new training facility and debt free), article of the new chairman, and a few paragraphs confirming the deal has finally gone through.

  • Comment number 37.

    StM very well run club and playing the right way this season in contrast to bigger teams managed by more seasoned campaigners like Pa Broon. And you are absolutely correct about the legacy of Glimour.

    Regarding the Ibrox story I suppose it fits with the interests of more fans and certainly journalists. I even heard that well known StM fan Chic Young on Radio Scotland earlier weeping about the lack of any access to CWhyte and whether that loyal lapdog Martin Bain will be proved correct in his worries about the survival of Rangers. Gilmour's legacy will certainly be more secure than Sir David's at Ibrox that is for sure. No wonder SDM keeps a low profile these days as he left them in a perilous state: still tucking into some right 'succulent lamb', while whatever happens, Whyte introduces the biggest downsizing exercise at Ibrox in 3 decades. Its rare I suppose to take a club to the brink of administration and then sell it to someone who might still take it into administration only 6 months in. Financial genius.

  • Comment number 38.

    Fair enough Paisley_saint_doug; i brought up the subject because there didn't seem to be much about it on the BBC site, but now there is - and you're right that St Mirren get a lot less coverage ... And I'll stop writing now before i launch off into a speculative analysis of Craig Whyte, his holding company, football club stewardship, HMRC, debts, the financial parameters of Scottish football, the [cont p94]

  • Comment number 39.

    Top SPL story on today's lunch time news was Craig Thomson will referee the OF game this weekend... almost no coverage all weekend of a £2m bid for an SPL team. If Rangers or Celtic were about to be bought over or spend £2m on a player or sell a player for £2m I think we'd be hearing about it. Sad day when you expect the BBC to ignore a proper football story in favour of barrel-scrapping OF tosh (eg who the referee will be of a game taking place in 6 days time... no coverage of who the refs are at the other SPL games 24 hours earlier). BBC has given the long running CIC takeover bid almost no coverage in 12+ months so it is little surprise that a 2nd bidder should receive no coverage either - I think a previous bid for the club went completely unreported by the BBC at all. I don't mind the BBC running OF stories when there is actually some news to report but we had months of headlines of "Still No Sale at Ibrox *Latest*"

  • Comment number 40.

    Jim would you say that between them Kerr and McLean have not only transformed Dundee United but also forced the hand of those on the other side of Tannadice Street and in a small way have forced the madness and despair that the last 30 years have been at Dens Park.
    Dundee United normally seem a stable club where as at Dens the directors box seems to have attracted a fair share of chancers from Angus Cook, to Ron Dixon, the Marrs with their spend, spend, spend policy and then Calum Melville and Harry McLean's non payment of tax era.
    One lesson Dundee United must learn however is if they came from being the small team in Dundee that if the Dens Park team ever sort themselves out and find their own McLean (Not the current CEO) that the fortunes in the city of discovery could change again.
    I was thinking it was strange to name a stand after a great of your club and then normally not have your own fans in that stand but we do that at St Johnstone with the Ormond stand.

  • Comment number 41.

    There is no new info in today's story on Craig Whyte and Rangers - he says there could be challenging times ahead at Ibrox, and laughably blames the financial state of Scottish football rather than the many years of diddling UK taxpayers or 2 decades of spending money Rangers didn't have. The BBC will update and copy and paste and rehash this article for weeks if not months to come adding a new quote here and there at the top of the 'story'.

  • Comment number 42.

    Watching the 'Citeh of the North' has had it comic moments

  • Comment number 43.

    I see all the BBC sports stuff must be collectively wetting themselves with excitement about the impending OF game and focusing on that story (still 5 days away boys) and the latest 'news' about Rangers finances (yep they are as bad as was suggested 3 years ago with almost no new info to add since 3 years ago). 3rd bidder joins the race to buy St Mirren for £2m = no coverage on the BBC. If i could legally withhold my licence fee I would but it appears the small slice of it which goes towards covering SPL football must all be dwindled away almost in its entirety on promoting the Old Firm.

  • Comment number 44.


    Congrats on keeping up the pressure.

    I find it strange that coverage of St.Mirren, a success story having turned the club round and one of probably only two solvent clubs in SPL, appears to be limited to say the least.

    As a Celtic fan I am not clothed in sackcloth and ashes while reading the latest tripe coming out of Ibrox or the media, some of whom but only some appear to have grown some backbone recently but the majority of reporting is not news.
    Even the meeting with Craig Whyte is a non-event, he rehashes the same platitudes and blames everything on the previous regime and former chief executive, so why does reporting this exclude clubs such as yours?

    Football on BBC Scotland is much better than it used to be but is still poor and suffers badly in comparison with others and not just because of resources.
    Your self proclaimed "fan", Chick Young, doesn't seem to be doing much on the takeover yet manages to have "exclusives" about Rangers weekly at least, how can that be ?
    Of course they're not all correct as evidenced by the latest disclosure over the late payment to Rapid Vienna when Chick had already informed us that the transfer fee had been paid in full.

    Keep up the good work and good luck for the rest of the season, except when you play Celtic of course!!

  • Comment number 45.

    #44 thanks for the encouragement. I reckon the BBC sport staff must have more people paid to cover Scottish football than the average SPL squad size and yet coverage of non-OF clubs is appalling. 1. Richard Gordon 2. James Traynor 3. Jim Spence 4. Chick Young 5. Dougie Vipond 6. David Currie 7. Rob McLean 8. Craig Paterson 9. Pat Nevin 10. Billy Dodds 11. Chris McLaughlin 12. Alasdair Lamont 13. Stuart Cosgrove 14. Tam Cowan are some of the names I can think of off the top of my head who are all paid by BBC to report on Scottish football each week but 75% of the website stories concern only 2 teams in the league and even there most of those stories are recycled and spun out.

  • Comment number 46.

    Fair point on the daily presentation of news articles on the BBC site but to be fair I think the themes of Jim Spence's blog's tend to stay away from the OF as much as possible. And when you have topical news like last season on the 'honest mistakes' campaign ran by Celtic for example, it can be mystifying to say the least. In fact if it wasn't for posters dragging in OF issues as part of blogs then your average alien looking at Jim's headline topics would not realise that Scottish football is largely dominated by the OF.

    I've even seen Jim do a blog on the Scottish Juniors.

    And at least half of the names you mention above aren't to my knowledge OF fans. I am counting Chic Young in this group of course!

  • Comment number 47.

    No problem, more power to your elbow.

    When Celtic played Braga away I queried why the game wasn't broadcast on BBC Scotland and was informed that cost was the main reason, budgetary constraints meant that they couldn't afford to cover the match.
    However they somehow managed to have two correspondents report from Braga on news programmes, and when I asked how the BBC could afford that and where the reports actually from Braga the silence was deafening, response was there none!!

    Money for the BBC comes from all licence holders and I believe their charter obliges them to represent all. At times it does seem like jobs for the boys and the audience is just a nuisance.

    #46 I do agree that Jim Spence appears to be willing to attend any level of football match and the criticism doesn't apply to his blogs.
    Mrs. Spence must be a saint !!

  • Comment number 48.

    47 morbhoy

    I have to admit to hitting the record button for the recent Scotland v Czech Euro qualifier in favour of Lochee Harp v Coupar Angus juniors.

    Admittedly there was a family interest in the game, but I do like to watch as wide a variety of football as possible.

    There is a lot of entertainment to be had in the lower divisions of the SFL, the Juniors, The East Of Scotland and the Highland leagues.

  • Comment number 49.

    #48 Jim Spence

    Good for you Jim, I meant what I said, I'm impressed with your dedication to watching any available football.
    Keep up the good work.

  • Comment number 50.

    Thet should have named it 'The Greetin Faced Wee Miseryguts' Stand :-)

  • Comment number 51.

    #50 You must be Mrs.McLean :-)

  • Comment number 52.

    As a young reporter with Radio Tay in Dundee during the glory days of the 80s it was my task every Friday to make the short trip up the road to Tannadice and record the pre-match thoughts of the master tactician and motivator I knew as Mr McLean (never, EVER, Jim).

    I approached these meetings with a mixture of fear, fascination and, to be frank, very few questions. It became clear from very early on that Mr McLean was always going to give the answers he wanted , no matter what the questions were .

    Now don't get me wrong our Friday afternoon get togethers were often genial affairs , especially if training had gone well and I didn't ask any stupid questions. In fact not asking any questions was often the best option. But sometimes ,how can I put this , Mr McLean was a little bit grumpy.

    One particular Friday afternoon I arrived to be told the manager was busy and I was to wait in the boardroom . Ok I thought . So I sat soaking up the history and practising the questions I wasn't going to ask.

    At one point I thought I heard someone at the door but after an hour I was still waiting. It was like being on the subs bench and never getting the nod . Eventually I took a tactical decision to go on the attack and find Mr McLean .

    I tried the boardroom door but it was locked . I gave it a good rattle but like the Narey/Hegarty defensive partnership it stood firm and there was no way through it.

    I mumbled " Hello " through the keyhole but that got me nowhere and I soon resorted to a full blooded yell "Help I am locked in the boardroom !" . Eventually someone from the office let me out and told me , surprise surprise, the manager had gone home.

    Now I am not saying that this was connected to an incident the previous week or that Mr McLean was one to bear a grudge but .............during a Friday night phone- in on Radio Tay myself and co- presenter Scott Davie had asked fans to call us with their views on the big talking point of the day - who should be in goal for United. Was it the talisman and hero Hamish McAlpine or new blood in the youthful shape of Billy Thomson ? . I think we were taking a vote on it as well.

    Scott was answering the phones when he went very pale . He looked over in horror and pointed at the angry red light flashing in front of us. "It's Jim McLean " he whispered " he wants to go on air " . And so he did and in inimitable Mr McLean fashion told us and everyone listening that only one person would be choosing who played in goal for United and that person was him. Loud and clear .Then he hung up .

    So now as a United fan in his  50s I have finally plucked up the courage to ask -" Jim, was it you that locked me in the boardroom ? "

    Ross McWilliam

    Ps Thank you Mr McLean for some great footballing memories too numerous to mention but my personal favourite? The 5-0 thrashing of Borussia Moenchengladbach , simply the classiest , most exciting display of attacking football I have ever had the pleasure and privilege to witness.

  • Comment number 53.

    Jim McLean a giant of Scottish Football?
    He is bitter and twisted treating players with contempt should the mood take him. I am not a Dundee utd fan so they will know more than me but I remember in the 80s he froze various players out and put them in the reserves because of minor details. I spoke with ex players and they weren't unanimous in their praise for him. His younger brother acted in the same fashion and he is out the industry as well.
    Some decent European results and a league title for Utd was a great achievement but hardly a giant of the game.

  • Comment number 54.


    I assume you are a relative of the Beebs John Barnes.

    Death of David Francey ages me. I grew up with him on the wireless. Oh dear, Oh Dear, OH DEAR.


  • Comment number 55.

    Interesting article about Dundee. 20 years ago Scottish teams were feared in Europe ... not now though they are minnows

    .....Starting life as Dundee Hibernian, for the city's 40,000 strong Irish community......

    Did not realise that Scottish football teams had so many originating Catholic teams in the league Celtic and Hibs (wear green so there is a clue)

    Does every city have a religious origin to the teams ?

  • Comment number 56.

    Jim, Like you I think that Jim McLean enabled Dundee United to punch well above their weight domestically and continentally for a decade or so.

    However, there is a difference between McLean, the coach, and McLean, the person. I can recall visiting Tannadice on many an occasion and hearing foul-mouthed put-downs being aimed by McLean at the younger players. It did nothing for their professional or personal development.

    I must also say that the way he conducted himself during the Eddie Thomson buy-over was petty and childish.

    Yes, let's celebrate what he did for the city of Dundee and United in particular but let's also remember his bullish, bullying ways. I'm also at a loss to know why a man who assaults BBC press men is deserving of an honorary Law doctorate; ironical or what?!

  • Comment number 57.

    Celtic outpassed and outclassed by a very average Atletico side tonight. It seems Celtic have now gone something like 300 European away games without a win.

    1967 is beginning to sound as tired as 1966. Do Scottish football a turn Celtic and give up your place to Sion - spare us anymore embarrassment...please!

  • Comment number 58.

    #57 ...... yawn 1967 was the last time a Scottish team won the European Cup ...

    Compare like with like ????

    Since 1967 there has been 11 English winners .... idiot

    England have won the World Cup in 1966 ..... Scotland have never won it (and last time they qualified was in 1998)

  • Comment number 59.

    Ehm he was comparing like with like..nice try'll be fine in the N(nursery)10 class this year for sure...


  • Comment number 60.

    At least Celtic kept the score to 2 goals !

    Celtic are 57th on merit ... simples!

  • Comment number 61.

    #59 & #57 Typical blogs from a sad Scots ...... always reference to England .... so predictable !

  • Comment number 62.

    Up too late? Hope mummy got you a wee drinkie to calm down..

  • Comment number 63.


    My irony-meter just blew up.

  • Comment number 64.

    I'm afraid that once again your bias has come to the fore.
    If you really think that your post is an accurate reflection of the match then you need to adjust your viewing position.

    The reference to 1967 was made by the commentator who was merely recounting a fact.Just because you don't like the fact that Celtic were the first British and will probably be the only Scottish club to win the major European trophy doesn't mean you can change history.

    If you don't like Celtic,don't watch them, simples!!

  • Comment number 65.

    Nice to see you're learning something by posting on this blog.

    You are however completely wrong to equate teams formed by Irish immigrants with any kind of religious bias by way of who plays for or supports them.
    It does not automatically follow that only Catholics play or support Celtic, Dundee Utd or Hibs.

  • Comment number 66.

    Dundee Hibs were of Irish origin not religious origin I'm a Dundee United supporter and my father was a Dundee supporter, like many family's in Dundee who have both sets of supporters ,but there are places in Scotland were your religion dictates what team you support .Dundee hibs joined with another team to become Dundee United as Dundee fc objected to the original name of Dundee City .Jim Mclean was a great manager but it wasn't all roses for him United almost got relegated the 1st year of the premier league drawing 1-1 in the last game against Rangers and his brother missed a penalty for Rangers [ Tommy ] Dundee went down so it could have been so different for United and JM


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