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CALUM WOODGER: A quick glance at the not-so-distant past could provide inspiration for our city clubs

CALUM WOODGER: A quick glance at the not-so-distant past could provide inspiration for our city clubs
This week marks 10th anniversary of Dundee United's Scottish Cup triumph

They say if you want to move forward, don’t look back but a quick glance at the not-so-distant past could provide inspiration for our city clubs.

This week marks six years since Dundee’s 2014 Championship title win, with Friday coming the 10th anniversary of Dundee United’s second-ever Scottish Cup success.

Both triumphs predate my time in the city as a football writer but it just goes to show it’s not always been doom and gloom around these parts!

Paul Hartley’s Dee side and Peter Houston’s 2010 vintage show the winning-potential both James McPake and Robbie Neilson will be aspiring to achieve at each end of Tannadice Street.

It may not be the glorious 60s for the Dark Blues or the halcyon days of the 80s for United anymore but there are signs both are getting back on track.

For United, four years of toiling in the Championship is now over as the good times threaten to return and, despite relegation last year, Dundee will move into the new campaign with optimism things will be different in the future.

Robbie has already got a little taste for it with the league title but ambitious targets for next term are not beyond their reach.

It will be a slow build-up to making the top six, getting the club back in Europe and, potentially, challenging for silverware but the club are now better-placed to do just that.

The culmination of Houstie hoisting the cup aloft at Hampden a decade ago wasn’t achieved overnight.

There were years of work from Houston, as No 2, and Craig Levein to get their hands on silverware.

Not only that, top-four spots were achieved three seasons on the spin, meaning European football was back at Tannadice on a consistent basis for the first time since the 1990s.

Their legacy with the supporters remains for Levein and Houston, and, make no mistake, Robbie will want his own piece of Arab admiration.

For Dundee, next season they could be the top dogs in the Championship once more, depending on whether Hearts do in fact drop down.

The 2014 side’s instant bounce-back from relegation should give hope to a Dark Blues side starting to look over the PTSD of the 2018/19 campaign.

McIntyre’s misfits are gone and McPake’s ways are starting to bear fruit.

Our clubs can’t afford to linger on the past but, while we take a pause for breath, it is quite OK to dream.


Following the breakdown of league reconstruction talks the next step seems to be inevitable.

The SPFL will now, surely, move to enact the mandate given to it by the lower leagues’ vote to end the season and call the Premiership, too.

From a public health standpoint, amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis, I don’t think many would disagree with that logic.

However, the caveat of the failed league talks will mean it rankles with many.

And rightly so.

That the league couldn’t come up with a solution to save Hearts from relegation, promote the likes of Inverness and Falkirk, or leave any club worse off for that matter, is hugely disappointing and feels wholly unfair.

It will likely, as always, have come down to money and self-interest.

The former is important, clubs need to have financial security in these uncertain times.

But pressing ahead with the same 12-10-10-10 structure for next season at least is not for the greater good of the game.

One step forward, two back.


I don’t know about anyone else but I’m getting sick of the sideshow that is Rangers’ SPFL ‘dossier’.

Of course, it suits the Ibrox power-brokers to create an us-against-them narrative but it is the last thing the rest of the league needs amid the coronavirus crisis.

Whether SPFL bullying is proven or not, self-interest must be set aside for a far more pressing matter.

We must face up to the fact clubs are fighting for their lives.


It was a pleasure to have Ronny Costello and Paul McNicoll from The Dode Fox Podcast on Twa Teams, One Street this week to review Dundee United’s season. An essential listen for Arabs on Apple and Spotify!

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This article originally appeared on the Evening Telegraph website. For more information, read about our new combined website.