Former Dundee United striker Billy Dodds has revealed how he nearly won the manager’s job at Tannadice 15 years ago.
Dodds, who played for United over two spells from 1998-99 and 2003-06, acted as assistant to boss Gordon Chisholm towards the end of his second stint with the Terrors.
Upon Chisholm being sacked, former Scotland and Dundee forward Dodds took the Tangerines on a caretaker basis, winning his only game 2-1 against Falkirk.
Speaking exclusively to the Courier, the 52-year-old recalled the match and how he almost landed the job on a permanent basis.
‘It was like everything I touched turned to gold for about 10 seconds’
“It was great but it’s spooky because it was me and Tony Docherty,” Doddsy said
“Chis made me No 2 but I actually thought he was going to give it to Doc.
“We took that game and I brought Derek McInnes on. He was a sub and hadn’t been playing.
“Del hardly ever scored goal and netted the winner for me. It was like everything I touched turned to gold for about 10 seconds.
“We beat John Hughes’ Falkirk 2-1 but then I left the club because Craig Brewster was coming in.
“There were people at Dundee United who wanted me to be manager, and I nearly was, the same at Ross County, but it just wasn’t to be.”
Management just wasn’t to be for Billy
Doddsy would retire from playing soon after leaving Tannadice at the end of that season and build a career as a No 2 to Chisholm, Jim McIntyre and, most recently, with Neil McCann at Inverness.
The ex-Aberdeen hitman revealed he nearly had opportunities to be his own man on a few occasions but remains happy with the path he’s taken.
“I wanted to do it in the right manner,” he continued, when asked about his coaching journey.
“I knew I could learn and pick up so much from Chis and I did.
“I wanted a shot at management, and I nearly did a couple of times, but it wasn’t to be.
“I’ve just been assistant to Jim and Gordon and Neil ever since.
“I wish I had maybe just taken a job on the back of being a player but I’m still enjoying the game and that’s what it’s all about.
“Playing, coaching and media is the order. I’ve been lucky to dip in and out of all three.”
Chisholm’s faith gave Doddsy his start
Revealing how he first caught the coaching bug, Dodds casts his mind back to United’s 2-1 Scottish Cup semi-final win over Hibs in 2005.
It was in that game that his former Dark Blues’ team-mate Chisholm gave him the chance to show what he was all about on the touchline.
“He was brilliant for me and made me No 2 straightaway,” Dodds added.
“That came about when I wasn’t even a coach, just a substitute for a Scottish Cup semi-final against Hibs. We ended up getting to the final and losing 1-0 to Celtic.
“Big Chis was the interim manager and I’d play with him at Dundee when we won the B&Q Cup and the league – he was the captain.
“I hadn’t spoken to him for years but became assistant manager when Ian McCall got the sack.
“He won himself the job because he’s a brilliant coach and I’ve taken a lot from him as well.
“Going back to that semi-final, we started 4-5-1 and Hibs gave us the biggest doing ever.
“They were up 1-0 and it could’ve been three or four.
“They had about 30,000 fans there because, at that time, they hadn’t won the Scottish Cup for 100 years or something like that.
“Big Chis shouted me: ‘What are you thinking?’
“And I said: ‘I think we should go 4-4-2, there’s 25 minutes to go, let’s get Collin Samuel and Jason Scotland up front.’
“He agreed with me, did it and we won. Big Jim McIntyre scored one and Jason put us 2-1 up right against the run of play.
“The game turned and then I said to him: ‘Go back to 4-5-1 and be defensive to see out the game now’.
“That’s how I got into coaching because I gave Chis my thoughts and he listened. He could’ve gone: ‘Nae chance, you’re not even a coach’.
“He asked me what I thought and, obviously, rated my experience in the game.
“We should’ve never won the game but we found ourselves in the Scottish Cup Final.
“After that he asked me to be a coach for the final and then No 2 at the end of that season.”