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Dundee United F.C.

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Dundee United
Dundee United FC logo.svg
Full name Dundee United Football Club
Nickname(s) The Terrors, Arabs (Supporters)
Founded 24 May 1909 as Dundee Hibernian
Ground Tannadice Park, Dundee
(capacity: 14,209)
Chairman Stephen Thompson
Manager Jackie McNamara
League Scottish Premier League
2011–12 Scottish Premier League, 4th
Home colours
Away colours

Current season

Dundee United Football Club is a Scottish professional football club located in the city of Dundee. Formed in 1909, originally as Dundee Hibernian, the club changed to the present name in 1923. United are nicknamed The Terrors or The Tangerines and the supporters are known as The Arabs.

The club has played in tangerine kits since the 1960s and have played at the present ground, Tannadice Park, since their foundation in 1909. United were founder members of the Scottish Premier League (SPL) in 1998 and have been ever-present in the competition since then.

Domestically, the club has won the Scottish Premier Division on one occasion, the Scottish Cup twice and the Scottish League Cup twice. United appeared in European competition for the first time in the 1966–67 season, going on to appear in Europe in 14 successive seasons from 1976. They reached the European Cup semi-finals in 1984 and the UEFA Cup final in 1987, but lost on both occasions. Uniquely, the club has a 100% record against Barcelona in competitive European ties.


Beginning (1909–1971)

Inspired by the example of Hibernian in Edinburgh the Irish Catholic community in Dundee formed a new football club in 1909, following the demise of Dundee Harp. Originally called Dundee Hibernian, the club took over Clepington Park (renamed Tannadice Park) from Dundee Wanderers and played its inaugural game on the 18 August, 1909 against Edinburgh Hibernian, a match which ended in a 1–1 draw. The following year, the club was voted into the Scottish Football League. The club was saved from going out of business in October 1923 by a group of Dundee businessmen who then decided to change the club's name to Dundee United in order to attract a wider appeal; the name Dundee City was considered but was objected to by long standing city rivals Dundee F.C..

United won promotion to the First Division for the first time in 1924–25 when they won the Second Division title, although they were relegated back down within two seasons. Despite another title win (and immediate relegation), for many years, the club languished in the lower reaches of the Scottish league, competing in the top division for only four seasons, until the appointment of Jerry Kerr as manager in 1959. Kerr ended the club's 28-year absence from the First Division in his first season in charge, winning promotion by finishing second in the Second Division. Some notable players from this period include forwards Dennis Gillespie and Jim Irvine, and defenders Doug Smith and Ron Yeats (who went on to captain Liverpool in the 1960s).

In the following season, United finished in the top half of the league (one place above city rivals Dundee), where the club stayed with few exceptions for the next 35 years. A strengthened playing squad during the 1960s, which included imports from Scandinavia such as Örjan Persson, Finn Seemann, Lennart Wing, Finn Døssing and Mogens Berg, gave United their first taste of European football. On 25 August 1966 Dundee United eliminated Barcelona, then holders of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup (now known as the Europa League), beating them 2–1 in Spain, the first Scottish club to win in that country.

Jim McLean era

Jim McLean, who was a coach at rival Dundee at the time, took over from Jerry Kerr in 1971 and the most successful era in the club's history began. Until then, United was the smaller and less successful of the two Dundee-based football clubs, but McLean took United to their first ever Scottish Cup final in 1973–74. They achieved a record high of third place in the Scottish Premier Division in 1977–78 then again in 1978–79, before guiding the side to several major honours; the first by winning the Scottish League Cup in 1979–80, retaining the trophy in the following season. McLean's use of youth was seen as key in the club's success for the next two decades.

Dundee United won the Scottish Premier Division title for the first time in the club's history in the 1982–83 season, with what was then a record number of points and record number of goals scored. By then, United had already established a strong reputation in Europe with wins over sides like AS Monaco, Borussia Mönchengladbach, PSV Eindhoven, Anderlecht and Werder Bremen. In the resulting European Cup, United reached the semi-final stage in their first run, only to be narrowly eliminated by AS Roma. After winning the first leg 2–0, United lost 3–0 away, although the Italian side was later fined for attempting to bribe the referee. In 1986, a year's suspension was imposed by UEFA on the Italians alongside a four-year ban for president Dino Viola, due to the bribery attempt.

The pinnacle of Dundee United's achievements in Europe came later in 1986–87, when United became the first Scottish club to reach the final of the UEFA Cup. Along the way, United repeated their 1966 feat of eliminating Barcelona, this time managed by Terry Venables and featuring British players Gary Lineker, Mark Hughes, and Steve Archibald. United defeated Barcelona home and away; they remain the only British side to date to achieve this in any European competition, with a record of four wins from four games. Although they failed to beat IFK Gothenburg in the two-legged final, there was glory in defeat as FIFA awarded a first-ever Fair Play Award to the club for the sporting behaviour of the United fans on a memorable night at Tannadice Park. This marked the end of Dundee United as a European force.

During those years, Dundee United and Aberdeen broke the traditional dominance of the Old Firm in Scottish football, and the two clubs became known in the press as the New Firm, or sometimes, with the inclusion of Hearts, the Small Firm. As Dundee F.C. were not always in the top flight at that time, the New Firm derby superseded the Dundee derby. Dundee United had come a long way under McLean, progressing from comparative obscurity to become one of Scotland's foremost clubs. In June 1993, after nearly 22 years at the helm, McLean relinquished his position as manager, remaining as club chairman, having combined both roles since 1989.

For his remarkable achievements with Dundee United, Jim McLean was awarded an honorary degree by Dundee University in 2011.

Recent years

After McLean's retirement the club went into a yo-yo existence for the next few years; they won the Scottish Cup in 1994, got relegated in 1995, bounced back in 1996, and then finished in third place in 1997 after a dismal start to that season. Their third place finish was achieved under the management of Jim McLean's younger brother, Tommy McLean, which led to hopes that the club's success could continue under a new member of the family, but their subsequent form did not match up to this achievement, and Tommy left the club 18 months later. This led to a miserable few years under the management of Paul Sturrock, Alex Smith and then Paul Hegarty, during which the club constantly struggled to stay in the Scottish Premier League. Things initially seemed to improve when Eddie Thompson purchased the club and installed Ian McCall as manager, leading to their first top-half finish for seven years in 2004, but their form slumped again the following year, leading to McCall's dismissal and two more fruitless reigns under Gordon Chisholm and former club hero Craig Brewster.

Levein/Houston era

Progress finally began to occur with the arrival of Craig Levein as manager in 2006. The club had largely been without direction since Jim McLean stood down as manager, but Levein began restructuring the club, overhauling its youth system and bringing a new generation of young talent into the first team. The club comfortably avoided relegation in Levein's first season in charge, and then managed two successive fifth place finishes, the first time they had managed successive top-half finishes since the days of Jim McLean. By late 2009 the club were in second place in the table, and looking to have an outside chance of mounting a title challenge.

Levein's achievements had not gone unnoticed however, and in November 2009 he accepted the job of the Scotland national team manager. After an abortive attempt to install Pat Fenlon as manager, the club replaced Levein with his assistant, Peter Houston, and their good form continued with the season ending in a third-place finish, and their second Scottish Cup victory. The following season didn't quite measure up to their success the previous year, but still saw a very respectable fourth place finish. The season later was similar to the season before with a poor start, but good form from rising stars such as Gary Mackay-Steven and Johnny Russell, helped United reach another top six finish for the 5th consecutive season. They also secured a European place by finishing fourth in what was another successful season for the Terrors.

It was announced on the 17th of January 2013, that manager Peter Houston was to leave Dundee United at the end of his contract in May 2013. However on the 28th of January it was announced Houston had left the club by mutual consent. He was replaced two days later by Jackie McNamara.

Colours and badge

United's playing kit consists of orange shirts and black shorts, first used when the team played under the Dallas Tornado moniker in the United Soccer Association competition of 1967, which they were invited to participate in after their first European excursion had created many headlines in the football world. After persuasion by the wife of manager Jerry Kerr, the colour would soon be adopted as the club's own in 1969 to give the club a brighter, more modern image. The new colour was paraded for the first time in a pre-season friendly against Everton in August.

When originally founded as Dundee Hibernian, they had followed the example of other clubs of similar heritage by adopting the traditionally Irish colours of green shirts and white shorts. By the time the club became Dundee United in 1923, the colours had been changed to white shirts and black shorts as they sought to distance themselves from their Irish origins. These colours persisted in various forms up until 1969, sometimes using plain shirts, but also at various times including Celtic-style broad hoops, Queen's Park-style narrow hoops and an Airdrie-style "V" motif.

The present club badge was introduced in 1993, and saw the previous lion rampant design rebranded in a new circular logo incorporating the club colours. To mark the club's centenary in 2009, a special version of the badge with an added "1909 2009 Centenary" logo has been introduced for the duration of the 2009–10 season, along with additional green trim on the badge, probably representing Dundee Hibernian's colours.

Period Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor
1973–76 Bukta none
1976–85 Adidas
1985–87 VG
1987–89 Belhaven
1989–91 Asics
1991–92 Bukta
1992–93 Loki
1993–94 none
1994–96 Pony Rover
1996–98 Telewest
1998–2000 Olympic Sports
2000–03 TFG Sports
2003–06 Morning, Noon and Night
2006–08 Hummel Anglian Windows
2008–09 Carbrini Sportswear
2009–10 Nike
2010–present Calor Gas

Previously, the lion had been represented on a simpler shield design. Although this "classic" version had been used as the club crest on the cover of the matchday programme as early as 1956, it had never appeared on the players' strip prior to 1983. Since 1959, various other designs had been worn on the shirts, incorporating either the lion rampant or the letters DUFC, often on a circular badge.

The club first introduced shirt sponsorship in the 1985–86 season when future chairman Eddie Thompson's VG chain sponsored the club in the first of a two-year deal. A six-year associate with Belhaven then ensued with a sponsorless 1993–94 season. Rover began a two-year deal early in time for the 1994 Scottish Cup final, sponsoring the club until the end of the 1995–96 season. Telewest took over sponsorship from 1996 for six years until Eddie Thompson's Morning, Noon and Night started sponsoring the club in 2002. This association continued until 2006 when Anglian Windows began a two-year deal with an optional third year. At the same time, Ole International became the first shorts sponsors. JD Sports' Carbrini Sportswear brand sponsored the club in the 2008–09 and 2009–10 seasons. United's new shirt sponsor for 2010–11 is Calor Gas.

United have had a number of official kit suppliers, including Adidas, Hummel and, from June 2009, Nike.


Dundee United's home ground throughout their history has been Tannadice Park, located on Tannadice Street in the Clepington area of the city. It is situated a mere 170 yards (160 m) away from Dens Park, home of rivals Dundee; The club has only ever played one home fixture at another venue. This was a League Cup tie against Rangers in March 1947, when despite snow rendering Tannadice Park unplayable, the match was able to go ahead across the road at Dens Park.

Tannadice is currently an all-seater with a capacity of 14,223. The Main Stand, built in 1962, was the first cantilever to be constructed at a Scottish football ground. For long periods of its history, only a small proportion of the ground contained seated accommodation. In the late 1980s the ground had 2,252 seats out of a total capacity of 22,310.

The comparative age and proximity of their stadiums has led to various discussions about the possibility of both Dundee clubs moving to a new, purpose-built shared stadium. The most recent proposal was put forward as part of Scotland's bid to jointly host the UEFA Euro 2008 championship, with several clubs seeking to benefit from a new stadium. With planning permission given to a proposed site at Caird Park, special dispensation was requested to proceed with the proposal, as rules at the time forbade SPL teams from groundsharing. Following Scotland's failed bid to host the tournament, the scheme was shelved, although it was resurrected in June 2008, following doubts about joint-host Ukraine's ability to stage Euro 2012, and the SFA's keenness to act as an alternative host.



Dundee United's first trophy came in 1925, when they won the 1924–25 Division Two championship. After two seasons in the top tier, they were relegated, but they won the Division Two title for a second time in 1928–29. Immediate relegation followed and the club finished runners-up in 1931–32. Another runners-up spot was claimed in 1959–60, in manager Jerry Kerr's first season, and from then club remained in the top division for the next thirty-five years. Under Jim McLean's management, the club won the Premier Division title for the only time, in 1982–83, resulting in European Cup football the following season. The title win was United's last league success, although they finished runners-up in the First Division in 1995–96, after nearly avoiding relegation the previous season, and in third place in their first season back in the Premier Division. Since the SPL's conception in 1998, United have finished in the top half six times, in 2003–04, 2007–08, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11, and 2011–12


The club had to wait several decades before their first realistic chance at cup silverware, when they began the first of a six-game losing streak of Scottish Cup Final appearances in 1974, losing 3–0 to Celtic. Towards the end of the 1970s, things began to change, with three successive appearances in the League Cup Final. United won their first major trophy with a 3–0 replay victory over Aberdeen in the 1979–80 Scottish League Cup Final. The club reached both cup finals in the following season; while they retained the League Cup by winning 3–0 against rivals Dundee, United lost out again in the Scottish Cup with a replay defeat to Rangers. United reached a third consecutive League Cup Final in 1981–82, but failed to make it a hat-trick of wins as they lost 2–1 to Rangers.

United then suffered the agony of reaching three out of four Scottish Cup finals in the mid-1980s, only to lose them all by a single goal. First came a 2–1 defeat to Celtic in 1984–85, compounded by a 1–0 League Cup final loss to Rangers in the same season; then a 1–0 defeat in extra time to St. Mirren in 1986–87; and finally, a last-minute 2–1 loss against Celtic the following year, despite being a goal ahead. A three-year gap ensued before the 1990–91 Scottish Cup final, which pitted Jim McLean against his brother Tommy, at Motherwell. The final was won 4–3 by 'Well, with United again losing in extra time. The sixth Cup Final loss was also the club's fifth final appearance in eleven years.

These defeats in cup finals at Hampden Park led to the Scottish football media claiming that United suffered from a Hampden hoodoo, as they had failed to win ten cup finals played at the ground between 1974 and 1991. When the club reached the 1994 Scottish Cup Final, manager Ivan Golac dismissed talk of the hoodoo, even though opponents Rangers were strong favourites to complete a domestic treble in the 1993–94 season. Fortunately for United, they finally reversed the trend and clinched the Scottish Cup when Craig Brewster's goal gave them a 1–0 win. Eleven years passed until the next Scottish Cup final appearance, when United lost 1–0 to Celtic. Sandwiched in the middle of these appearances was a defeat on penalties to Stenhousemuir in the Scottish Challenge Cup (when United failed to concede in the whole competition) and a 3–0 defeat to Celtic in the 1997–98 Scottish League Cup Final. In May 2005 Celtic were United's opponents in the Scottish cup final, and a close fought game, ended 1–0 to Celtic. In July 2005, United won the inaugural City of Discovery Cup, a pre-season tournament held in Dundee.

Six of United's eight Scottish Cup finals have been against Celtic or Rangers and of the club's last five losses, all have been by a single goal. United twice reached both Scottish & League cup finals in the same season (1980–81 and 1984–85), winning just one of the four. United most recently lost the 2008 CIS league cup final on penalties to Rangers after the match had finished 2–2 after extra time in controversial circumstances.

Dundee United won their second Scottish Cup, under the guidance of Peter Houston in the 2009–10 season, defeating First Division side Ross County 3–0 at Hampden Park with David Goodwillie scoring the first and then Craig Conway scoring the second and third goals. This was the 3rd time United have won a Scottish league Cup or Scottish F.A Cup final by 3 goals to nil, previously defeating Aberdeen and rivals Dundee F.C. 3–0, both at Dens Park.


The club's first experience of Europe came in 1966–67 when, helped by a clutch of Scandinavian players, United defeated Fairs Cup holders F.C. Barcelona both home and away. Although Juventus proved too strong in the next round with a 3–1 aggregate victory, United made headlines and were asked to compete as Dallas Tornado in the United Soccer Association league in North America during the summer of 1967. After their only Premier Division championship win, the team reached the resulting semi-final of the European Cup in 1984, losing 3–2 on aggregate to Roma. In 1987, the club went one better, reaching the final of the UEFA Cup. Despite the 2–1 aggregate loss to IFK Gothenburg, the Arabs won the first-ever FIFA Fair Play Award for their sporting behaviour after the final defeat.

United for Kids

Dundee United have received national and international acclaim for their "United for Kids" (or UfK) scheme, which began in 2005 following a suggestion from an exiled supporter. The club accepts charitable donations from fans, sponsors and other donors and matches all donations before using the funds to supply free season tickets to under-privileged and disadvantaged children from Dundee and the surrounding area. These kids, who can be accompanied by their carer’s free-of-charge, would otherwise be unable to attend football matches. Since the scheme began, several hundred children and their carers have received free season tickets. Dundee Council's social work department have stated that the scheme has brought joy to the lives of many orphans, abused and battered children and others from disadvantaged backgrounds. All donations to UfK are now handled by Dundee United's "United for All" official charity – a secure link to make donations can be found on the club's website.



  • Scottish League Premier Division:
    • Winners (1): 1982–83
  • Scottish League Division Two:
    • Winners (2): 1924–25, 1928–29


  • Scottish Cup:
    • Winners (2): 1993–94, 2009–10
    • Runners-up (7): 1973–74, 1980–81, 1984–85, 1986–87, 1987–88, 1990–91, 2004–05
  • Scottish League Cup:
    • Winners (2): 1979–80, 1980–81
    • Runners-up (4): 1981–82, 1984–85, 1997–98, 2007–08


  • UEFA Cup:
    • Runners-up (1): 1986–87


  • Scottish Challenge Cup:
    • Runners-up (1): 1995–96
  • Forfarshire Cup:
    • Winners (21): 1910–11, 1914–15, 1919–20, 1928–29, 1929–30, 1947–48, 1950–51, 1953–54, 1960–61, 1962–63, 1964–65, 1968–69, 1971–72, 1974–75, 1975–76, 1976–77, 1979–80, 1984–85, 1986–87, 1987–88, 2004–05

Current squad

First-team squad

As of 27 February 2013: Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Poland GK Radosław Cierzniak
2 Republic of Ireland DF Seán Dillon
3 Scotland DF Barry Douglas
4 Scotland DF Brian McLean
5 Republic of Ireland DF Gavin Gunning
6 Republic of Ireland MF Willo Flood
7 Scotland FW Johnny Russell
8 Scotland MF John Rankin
9 Republic of Ireland FW Jon Daly ( club captain)
10 Republic of Ireland MF Richie Ryan
11 Scotland MF Gary Mackay-Steven
12 Scotland DF Keith Watson
No. Position Player
14 Scotland MF Mark Millar
15 Scotland FW Michael Gardyne
16 Scotland MF Stuart Armstrong
17 Sweden DF Marcus Törnstrand
18 Scotland FW Ryan Dow
19 England FW Rory Boulding
27 Scotland FW Robert Thomson
29 Republic of Ireland DF Paddy Barrett
38 Scotland MF Ryan Gauld
40 Scotland MF Darren Petrie
44 Scotland DF John Souttar

Out on loan

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
23 Scotland FW Dale Hilson (on loan to Forfar Athletic)
24 Scotland DF Ross Smith (on loan to Peterhead)
25 Scotland GK Marc McCallum (on loan to Berwick Rangers)
28 Scotland MF Willie Robertson (on loan to Forfar Athletic)

Noted players

International players

This is a list of former and current players who have played at full international level while with the club. They are ordered by nationality and year of United debut below.

Canada Canada
  • 1998 Jason de Vos
  • 2004 Lars Hirschfeld
Finland Finland
  • 1987 Mixu Paatelainen
Ghana Ghana
  • 2007 Prince Buaben
Iceland Iceland
  • 1997 Siggi Jónsson
Israel Israel
  • 1999 Jan Talesnikov
Latvia Latvia
  • 2010 Pāvels Mihadjuks
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland
  • 1989 Michael O'Neill
  • 1998 Iain Jenkins
  • 1998 Darren Patterson
  • 2000 Danny Griffin
  • 2008 Warren Feeney
Scotland Scotland
  • 1973 Dave Narey
  • 1974 Paul Hegarty
  • 1974 Paul Sturrock
  • 1976 Davie Dodds
  • 1979 Eamonn Bannon
  • 1981 Richard Gough
  • 1981 Maurice Malpas
  • 1985 Kevin Gallacher
  • 1986 Dave Bowman
  • 1986 Jim McInally
  • 1986 Billy McKinlay
  • 1990 Duncan Ferguson
  • 1997 Steven Thompson
  • 1998 Billy Dodds
  • 2000 Paul Gallacher
  • 2000 Charlie Miller
  • 2003 Barry Robson
  • 2005 Garry Kenneth
  • 2005 Lee Miller
  • 2005 David Goodwillie
  • 2006 Craig Conway
  • 2008 Scott Robertson
  • 2009 Andy Webster
Senegal Senegal
  • 2007 Morgaro Gomis
Slovakia Slovakia
  • 2010 Dušan Perniš
Sweden Sweden
  • 1964 Örjan Persson
  • 1965 Lennart Wing
Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago
  • 1993 Jerren Nixon
  • 2003 Collin Samuel
  • 2003 Jason Scotland
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Yugoslavia
  • 1988 Miodrag Krivokapić

Hall of Fame

The club launched its official Hall of Fame in 2008, with seven inaugural members. A further six players were inducted in January 2009, seven more in January 2010 and six in February 2011.


  • Scotland Jimmy Briggs
  • Denmark Finn Døssing
  • Scotland Dennis Gillespie
  • Scotland Paul Hegarty
  • Scotland Maurice Malpas
  • Scotland David Narey
  • Scotland Doug Smith


  • Scotland Eamonn Bannon
  • Scotland Johnny Coyle
  • Scotland Hamish McAlpine
  • Scotland Peter McKay
  • Scotland Ralph Milne
  • Scotland Andy Rolland


  • Scotland Dave Bowman
  • Scotland John Clark
  • Scotland Davie Dodds
  • Scotland Stewart Fraser
  • Scotland Billy Hainey
  • Scotland Ian Mitchell
  • Scotland Paul Sturrock


  • Scotland Kenny Cameron
  • Scotland John Holt
  • Scotland Duncan Hutchison
  • Scotland Frank Kopel
  • Norway Erik Pedersen
  • Sweden Lennart Wing


List of prominent and recent managers, with respective records, as of 17 March 2013. Only competitive matches are counted.

From To Name P W D L F A Win % Unbeaten %
1959 1971 Scotland Kerr, Jerry Jerry Kerr 566 247 123 196 1059 942 43.6 65.3
1971 1993 Scotland McLean, Jim Jim McLean 1094 527 266 301 1722 1128 48.2 72.4
1993 1995 Serbia Golac, Ivan Ivan Golac 72 25 22 25 114 113 34.7 65.2
1995 1996 Scotland Kirkwood, Billy Billy Kirkwood 56 25 13 18 108 66 44.6 67.8
1996 1998 Scotland McLean, Tommy Tommy McLean 93 36 27 30 134 107 38.7 67.7
1998 2000 Scotland Sturrock, Paul Paul Sturrock 85 27 19 39 97 119 31.8 54.1
2000 2002 Scotland Smith, Alex Alex Smith 99 31 23 45 107 146 31.3 54.5
2002 2003 Scotland Hegarty, Paul Paul Hegarty 18 4 5 9 20 33 22.2 50.0
2003 2005 Scotland McCall, Ian Ian McCall 92 28 24 40 116 149 30.4 56.5
2005 2006 Scotland Chisholm, Gordon Gordon Chisholm 36 10 10 16 40 54 27.8 55.5
2006 2006 Scotland Brewster, Craig Craig Brewster 30 3 11 16 28 59 10.0 46.6
2006 2009 Scotland Levein, Craig Craig Levein 136 55 40 41 185 160 40.4 69.8
2009 2013 Scotland Houston, Peter Peter Houston 150 63 44 43 232 205 42.0 71.3
2013 Present Scotland McNamara, Jackie Jackie McNamara 9 4 4 1 14 11 44.4 88.8
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