Long suffering Dundee United fan Michael Alexander reflects on watching the club get relegated for a second time.
If there’s been any consolation for Dundee United’s long suffering support in recent months, then it’s that relegation was more a matter of when rather than if.
Most fellow Utd fans I know had prepared themselves for the drop months ago – the result of watching sub-standard performances week in week out as frustration, anger then blind hope gradually gave way to resignation and despair.
Yet the reality of watching their side go to down to arch rivals Dundee at Dens Park on Monday night was an emotional roller coaster too far for many Utd fans – particularly those tear-stained youngsters who have only ever known the Tangerines as a top tier side.
For more seasoned Arabs – myself included – the drop, of course, brings back painful memories of watching Utd’s relegation to the then First Division 21 years ago.
With relegation that year coming just a year after the ecstacy of watching Ivan Golac steer the club to victory in the Scottish Cup for the first time, it was a major upset when the Tangerines went down – even after the warning signs of a 5-0 drubbing by Hibs at Easter Road on the opening day of the season!
Yet as Celtic fans rubbed it in with a chorus of ‘We’ll meet again, don’t know where don’t know when’ during the last day of the season at Tannadice in May 1995, most Utd fans felt confident the club would bounce back to the Premier League in one season – something that was achieved. If only just.
Loyal Utd fans will undoubtedly return to Tannadice next season as the reality of life in the Championship bites.
The chances of a quick return to the Premiership this time, however, currently feels far less certain.