Opinion will be divided over Jackie McNamara’s managerial reign at United.
Those looking to argue in his defence will point to difficulties caused by the departures of top talent, with Johnny Russell, Andy Robertson, Ryan Gauld, Stuart Armstrong, Gary Mackay-Steven and Nadir Ciftci all having left the club in exchange for transfer cash during his tenure.
Ideally, McNamara would have loved all those players to stay but he was always philosophical and never naive in the wake of player sales.
Indeed, the club statement that followed the double sale of Mackay-Steven and Armstrong to Celtic stressed that he “fully supported the board’s actions.”
Whether he did or not, he had to deal with the ramifications.
He was given scope to make replacement signings, with some working out well and others not so well.Jackie’s Magnificent Seven McNamara’s time at Dundee United six shockersSadly for him, there was ample evidence for the prosecution case when results nosedived after the January sale of Mackay-Steven and Armstrong.
The harsh reality is that United managed only six wins – against Stranraer, Hamilton, Aberdeen, Dundee, Motherwell and Dunfermline – between then and Saturday’s loss to St Johnstone.
The worst result of that poor run was the 4-0 hammering at Hamilton in August, although the defeat to 10-man Saints ran it close given the circumstances.
His spell in charge has ended with the Tangerines sitting second-bottom of the league as they prepare to face basement boys Partick Thistle away on Saturday.
Defeat at Firhill will see them swap places with the Jags – the side that he left to join them in early 2013.
It is never nice to see a manager leave a club, especially when they are as personable as McNamara.
He was never abrasive or hostile in his dealings with the media and often spoke about his squad members by using first names or even nicknames, hinting at a close relationship between players and management.
When he took charge of United it was suggested to me (not by him) that McNamara would manage in the English Premiership one day.
It looks a long road back from where he is now to the bright lights of England’s top flight but he will return as a boss somewhere at some stage.
Supporters, many of whom will be relieved that he is no longer in charge at Tannadice, should remember that it wasn’t always this way.
Indeed, his United teams played some of the best football seen at Tannadice since the glory days of the 1980s and that should be acknowledged.