Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson has defended the club’s handling of their managerial search.
It has all worked out well in the end for the Tangerines, with former player Mixu Paatelainen installed as Jackie McNamara’s successor yesterday.
However, along the way they had approaches for St Johnstone’s Tommy Wright and John Hughes of Inverness Caley Thistle rejected by their respective clubs.
United were also linked with Scotland coach Stuart McCall, former West Bromwich Albion boss Alan Irvine and Ross County’s Jim McIntyre to name but a few.
With Paatelainen safely in situ, Thompson gave his side of a saga that had rumbled on since McNamara’s last match against St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park on September 26.
He insisted he was always against a quick appointment because that approach hadn’t always worked well for his late father Eddie, his predecessor as chairman.
Thompson said: “We sat down a couple of weeks ago and looked at the process.
“We had been through a difficult couple of days with Jackie and the (coaching) team leaving.
“You want a couple of days to get the heads clear.
“The thing that gets me is, just because you approach a club to speak to a manager that doesn’t mean you are going to appoint him.
“How on earth do you know they are the right person if you don’t speak to them?
“Ideally, you want to speak to as many candidates as you can.
“Some of them will be in jobs and clubs are entitled to turn us down.
“We just took our time, though.
“I learned a lot from my father’s experience of appointing someone the next day.
“So I did my homework on Mixu.
“People say he failed with Finland but he is the second most successful coach they have had.
“There is a real passion for the game with him. He is very driven and he has learned a lot in his coaching.
“He was also in the top six in his three years with previous clubs in Scotland.
“Mixu has been over the course so a whole number of things came together.
“A lot of things that have happened over the last nine months here but this is a fresh start.
“Let’s hope everyone will get behind Mixu.”
Thompson believes he has found someone with the right personality to shake up what has been a badly under-performing squad of players.
Asked if the team can expect a tough time under the new gaffer, Thompson said: “Very much so.
“He is a hard individual harsh but fair.
“I think if you spoke to someone like (United midfielder) John Rankin – I think he signed John for Hibs – he would tell you that.
“Maybe one or two of the younger boys will find it tough but perhaps it is the best thing that has ever happened to them.”
Paatelainen has been given the official job title of head coach rather than the more traditional moniker of manager but Thompson stressed that little should be read into that.
The chairman added: “We’re the only country in the world that still has managers.
“It goes back to the way clubs used to be run.
“When Jim McLean was here he would do absolutely everything.
“There are three of us here now who run things day to day.
“There’s a head coach, a general manager in David Southern and myself overseeing everything.
“It’s just a modern way of doing things but it’s no real change.”