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INTERVIEW: Dundee United legend Sean Dillon on getting a buzz out of his DUTV duties, being the butt of host Ally Heather’s jokes and his affinity with the Arabs

Dundee United legend Sean Dillon and his DUTV co-star Ally Heather.
Dundee United legend Sean Dillon and his DUTV co-star Ally Heather.

Although he’s more at home on the pitch, Dundee United legend Sean Dillon admits he can’t get enough of his media duties with DUTV.

Dillo has thrown himself headfirst, quite literally at times, into his role as a pundit with United’s online streaming service this season and is loving every second.

Whether the cameras are rolling or not, Dillon is having a ball calling the Tangerines’ home matches on their return to the Premiership and relishing letting loose and having a laugh with presenter Ally Heather on the pre-match shows.

Dundee United legend and current Montrose player-coach Sean Dillon (left).

On top of that, the 37-year-old defender is combining playing and coaching with League One outfit Montrose with his big interviews – where he sits down with members of United’s first-team squad for some craic.

Media team praised for DUTV production

The charismatic Irishman is a natural but was keen to give credit where it’s due to the rest of the Terrors’ media team.

“I love it and get a buzz out of it,” the former United captain said.

“I just enjoy what I do and try to make the most out of every opportunity that comes my way.

“The coaching I love and working with the kids at Skilz (a football academy Dillon works with), it’s brilliant and a really great set-up.

“The DUTV stuff is brilliant and the lads are excellent. I’ve known Joe Rice and Mark McCreary for a long time so I was always chatting to them over the years and I’m getting to know Ally a wee bit more and Joe Gardner.

“It’s different for me and a bit strange the way it came about.

Chris Mochrie: Dundee United hero Sean Dillon believes ‘special talent’ can shine on loan with Montrose

“I was asked to come in and commentate for the first game of the season against St Johnstone and I was up for that because I’d done a bit of commentating before when I was injured or suspended.

“A couple of hours after the game I got a shout asking if I wanted to do the pre-show.

“I think it was supposed to alternate between different people but I got a few weeks out of it and was expecting it to stop once Montrose got back playing but it didn’t!

“There’s a long way to go before I would expect to be looked upon as polished or anything like that but I’m learning a little bit more about what goes on.

“The interviews have been a bit different as well because that’s kind of my own thing.

“It’s just a great excuse to get to the games, it’s ideal! You get to go and watch the games live and that helps.

“There’s nothing better than being there. It gives you more of an insight into what’s going on and makes your job a little bit easier.

“I hope it continues but I don’t want to start putting myself out there for other stuff!

“As far as the club are concerned, they’ve been brand new with me and so far, so good.”

‘I didn’t mean to fall but he was keen to put it in!’

At the whim of host Heather, Dillon has found himself the butt of many jokes in pre-match recordings.

Between taking a tumble in front of the Shed, having his face superimposed onto a snowman and recording the St Mirren preamble on a seesaw, it’s been some ride so far.

Despite the occasional red face, it’s a role the 2010 Scottish Cup winner is happy to fulfil.

He added: “I’m way past worrying about embarrassing myself at this stage!

“I trust Ally. He’s a bit quirky at times with his ideas but he’s coming from a professional background so I’m easy with that type of stuff.

“If you take yourself too serious then it becomes an issue.

“Ally needs to have that little bit more of a professional side being the presenter but we can bounce off each other.

“I didn’t mean to fall but he was keen to put it in! It’s a bit of craic, if you can’t have a laugh about stuff like that then when can you?

“I think he’s got a couple of things up his sleeve before he’s done with me. God only knows.”

United are Dillon’s club after 10 years in tangerine

For Dillon, entertaining the United support in tough times amid the coronavirus pandemic is what it’s all about, admitting he has a real affinity with the club after 10 years in tangerine.

“I’ll always have a relationship with the club, it’s the club I’ve been at the longest,” he said.

“I always keep an eye out for all the clubs I’ve been at.

“I grew up and I was into Manchester United – they were the team for me but I couldn’t consider myself a massive fan.

“I wore loads of different jerseys; it wasn’t just the one team.

Sean Dillon won the Scottish Cup with Dundee United in 2010.

“Once I moved to England, Villa were the team I wanted to do well and then Longford and Shelbourne when I moved home.

“Living in the area you do become a United fan. You want the club to be successful and I have such an affiliation with them.

“I would consider myself a fan but I’m not a diehard. I couldn’t justify myself saying that because I know what diehard fans do.

“But I know so many people it effects – you get to know them living in the area and how much it means to them so there’s nothing better than having a buzz around the city and the place when things are going well.”

Boss Mellon is top of the table for Big Interviews

Of his big interviews, Dillon ranks his chat with United boss Micky Mellon highly and says he feels fortunate to be in a position to speak with the gaffer and his players on a regular basis.

Captain Mark Reynolds impressed Dillo, too, even if his one-to-one left team-mate Calum Butcher feeling aggrieved.

Dillon continued: “I’m very lucky and I don’t say that lightly because there are professional people who have been around the media for a lifetime and I’m being given the opportunity to have a chat with the lads.

“I never studied media, I haven’t been working in that environment so I know how lucky I am to do it.

“It’s slightly different for myself because I know a number of the boys. I’d like to think they open up to me more footballer to footballer.

“They know it’s club TV and they know they have control, to a certain degree, if they slip up and say something or something comes out slightly the wrong way they don’t have to worry about it.

“They’re probably a little bit more relaxed so that’s probably a bonus for me and an advantage.

“The lads have been brand new.

“I play it down because I’ve just been given the opportunity but I’m a bit more relaxed about it because it’s not my job.

“You’re almost putting a disclaimer out every time like: ‘Listen lads, this is my first one’.

“Micky was the first proper one I had because the Luke Bolton one I had no notes.

“It was supposed to be Butcher but he couldn’t come in and I was told it was going to be Nicky Clark or Ian Harkes and then two minutes before he arrived I was told Bolts is coming in!

“That was tough.

Ally has had Sean up to all sorts.

“Micky was probably the most enjoyable one, so far. I’m actually looking forward to getting his book when it comes out.

“Butch is my mate but Reynolds destroyed him. Butch is not overly happy he went easy on the lads because Reynolds went to town on him the following week.

“Butch will probably want to come on and have his say which I’m happy enough with!”

Dillo will just keep yapping away

As for the future of his media career, Dillon has no great plans.

Anyone who has had the pleasure of speaking to the man will testify, his only goal is to keep yapping away.

He commented: “Ideally, we’d like to get some ex-players that are still playing or some fellas that have finished up now because there’s only so many first-team players you can get through.

“Hopefully there is scope for expanding the experience for me and the fans.

“Ultimately, it’s whatever people want to listen to and what the fans want to hear.

“I’m just here to facilitate the chat and yap away!”

INTERVIEW: DUTV presenter Ally Heather on following Dundee United, his friendship with Sean Dillon, Scots and working on a farm in Georgia