Dundee United F.C.

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Dundee United F.C.
Full name Dundee United
Football Club
Nickname(s) The Terrors
The Tangerines
The Arabs
Founded 1909 (as Dundee Hibernian)
1923 (as Dundee United)
Ground Tannadice Park, Dundee
Capacity 14,209
Chairman Scotland Eddie Thompson
Manager Scotland Craig Levein
League Scottish Premier League
2005-06 Scottish Premier League, 9th
Team colours Team colours Team colours
Team colours
Team colours
Home colours
Team colours Team colours Team colours
Team colours
Team colours
Away colours

Dundee United Football Club is a Scottish football club located in Dundee. Officially, United are nicknamed The Terrors and the supporters known as The Arabs, though the latter term has been applied equally to the club in recent times by the sporting media. The Tangerines is another term used to describe the club.

United currently play in the Scottish Premier League and following the departure of Craig Brewster on October 29, 2006, Craig Levein has been appointed as the new manager. Eddie Thompson, chairman since September 2002, is the majority shareholder of Dundee United, whilst the supporters - under the guise of ArabTRUST - own the second majority. In 2005-06, Tannadice attracted an average attendance of 8,197, the sixth-highest average in the SPL.

In European competition, United are Scotland's third best-represented team, competing 22 seasons in Europe, in a total of 104 European matches (five more than Aberdeen). During the club's many European competition runs in the late 20th century, English-based media sometimes incorrectly called the team Dundee - the name of their city rivals. This still occasionally happens today.



Inspired by the examples of Hibernian in Edinburgh and Celtic in Glasgow, the Irish 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 their inaugural game on 18 August 1909 against Hibernian, with the match ending in a 1-1 draw. The club was saved from going out of business in October 1923 by a group of Dundee businessmen. They 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 protested by city rivals Dundee.

For many years, the club languished in the lower reaches of the Scottish league, competing in the top division 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 through finishing second in the Second Division. Some notable players from this period included 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 would stay with few exceptions for the next 35 years. The sixties were highlighted by the playing skills of the some notable imports from Scandinavia: Orjan Persson, Finn Seemann, Lennart Wing, Finn Døssing and Mogens Berg. These players also helped give United their first taste of the European scene, where they sensationally eliminated Barcelona in 1966, who were the then-holders of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup (now known as the UEFA Cup).

Jim McLean

Jim McLean, who was a coach at city rivals Dundee F.C. at the time, took over from Jerry Kerr in 1971 and the most successful era in the club's history began. Up until this point, United was the smaller and less successful of the two Dundee-based football clubs. However, this would change as McLean (and for a time, with assistant manager Walter Smith) 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 1978 then again in 1979, before guiding the side to several major honours; the first by winning the Scottish League Cup in 1979-80, with the trophy being retained the following season. McLean's use of youth was seen as key in the club's success for the next two decades.

Dundee United's best season came in 1982-83 when they won the Scottish Premier Division title for the first time in the club's history, with what was then a record number of points and record number of goals scored. By then, United had already established a reputation in Europe with impressive 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 A.S. Roma. After winning the first leg 2-0, United lost 3-0 away, although the Italian side were later fined for attempting to bribe the referee.

The pinnacle of their 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 earlier 1966 feat of again eliminating FC Barcelona then managed by Terry Venables and featuring British players Gary Lineker, Mark Hughes and Steve Archibald, with victories home and away. United are the only British side to achieve this in any European competition, with a record of four wins from four games.

Although they failed to beat IFK Göteborg 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 fans on a memorable night at Tannadice Park.

During those years, Dundee United and Aberdeen broke the traditional dominance of the Old Firm in Scottish football, and the two clubs became known as the New Firm. As Dundee F.C. were not always in the top flight at that time, the New Firm derby had 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. However, after nearly 22 years at the helm he relinquished the position in the June 1993, whilst remaining Chairman of the Club.

After McLean

Filling his shoes was the first continental to be appointed manager of a Scottish club - Ivan Golac. He inherited a healthy legacy with some of Scotland's finest young talent, though his first action was to sell Duncan Ferguson to Rangers for a fee of £4 million, breaking the record transfer fee involving two British clubs. According to one source, United had already turned down £3million bids from Bayern Munich, Leeds United and Chelsea before accepting Rangers' record bid.

In Golac's first season, he brought the Scottish Cup to Tannadice Park for the first time in 1994 after six previous failures, thus completing the full set of domestic honours for the club. United beat Rangers 1-0 with Craig Brewster scoring the winner from close range, sparking headlines of 'seventh heaven' in various newspapers.

However, the club's fortunes took a turn for the worse after this, as despite enjoying a relatively average campaign in season 1994-95, a late run of defeats, culminating in a 1-0 defeat at home to Celtic on the last day, saw them relegated to the First Division. Despite being title favourites at the lower level, they eventually finished second. This left them facing a two leg playoff against Partick Thistle for the right to play in the Premier Division in the 1996-97 season. Dundee United won 3-2 on aggregate, thus becoming the only club to be promoted through this short-lived play-off system.

In recent years the club has struggled to maintain such success, much like the previous provincial powers of Scottish football. In 1997-98, United reached the League Cup final, but lost 3-0 to Celtic. United reached their first Scottish Cup final for eleven years in 2004-05, only to be beaten by Celtic again, 1-0.

Colours and badge

The jerseys below are meant to reflect either a change in colour or prominent design. Please see the discussion page for more on this.
Team colours Team colours Team colours
1914 home
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1930s home
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1960s home
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1969/70 home
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1980s home
Team colours Team colours Team colours
1993/94 home

United's playing kit is distinct: tangerine in colour, 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. Previously, the lion (presumably adopted as a symbol of Scottish patriotism) 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.


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 just yards away from Dens Park, home of Dundee F.C.; the two grounds are the closest senior football grounds in the United Kingdom. The club have 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 unplayable, the match was able to go ahead across the road at Dens.

The possibility of both clubs moving to a new, purpose-built shared stadium has been suggested on occasion. The most serious proposal for this was put forward as part of Scotland's bid to joint-host the 2008 European Football 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 forbade SPL teams from groundsharing. Following Scotland's failed bid to host the tournament, the scheme was shelved.


There have been several stories regarding the origins of the 'Arabs' term. The most popular view is that the name was coined during the severe winter of the 1962-63 season. It was so bad that between December and March, Dundee United were able to play only three times.

One of these was a Scottish Cup tie against Albion Rovers, for which the management, in a desperate attempt to get Tannadice playable, hired an industrial tar burner to melt the several inches of covering snow and ice. Not only did this work but removed the grass, too. Several lorry loads of sand were ordered and spread across the barren surface with the regulation playing lines painted on top. United adapted well to this playing surface and won the game 3-0, prompting observers to comment that they had taken to the new surface like Arabs.

Other sources point to earlier usage, with a "1950s sandtrap" used as one such reference.

The fans, however, used the term to describe themselves. The term was then later resurrected during the early 1990s through the pages of the popular Dundee United football fanzine, The Final Hurdle, with supporters soon declaring that they were 'Proud To Be An Arab'. Deacon Blue singer and long-time Dundee United supporter Ricky Ross even wrote a song declaring this fact. By then, even the official club souvenir shops were selling replica keffiyehs in tangerine and black. The term was now firmly connected with Dundee United.

The former Dundee United Supporters Association (DUSA) is now known as the Federation of Dundee United Supporters' Clubs, whilst on 1st February 2003, the Dundee United Supporters Society - ArabTRUST - was officially launched, and after regular share purchase and investment into the Club, ArabTRUST not only hold the largest shareholding in the club behind the Thompson family, but were also granted an Associate Directorship in the Club in early 2004. The official club weekly email newsletter is known as ArabNeWS, and the club website has an ArabFORUM. Various supporters clubs and fan websites have 'Arab' in their names too.

Elsewhere, the football media tend to refer to the club mostly as The Arabs, although the official website confirms this refers to the fans and the club nickname is The Terrors.

In a BBC online poll in March 2006, Dundee United fan Zippy was named as Britain's favourite sporting celebrity by a landslide margin. Other famous Arabs include:

  • George Galloway
  • Geoffrey Hayes
  • Billy Kay
  • Lorraine Kelly
  • Liz McColgan
  • Ricky Ross
  • Lord Watson


Current squad

No. Position Player
1 Scotland GK Derek Stillie
2 Norway DF Christian Kalvenes
3 Scotland DF David McCracken
4 Scotland DF Lee Wilkie
5 Scotland DF Lee Mair
6 Scotland DF Alan Archibald
7 Scotland MF Mark Kerr
10 Republic of Ireland FW Noel Hunt
11 Scotland MF Barry Robson (captain)
12 Scotland MF Stuart Duff
14 Scotland MF Steven Robb
15 Scotland MF Craig Conway
No. Position Player
17 Scotland MF Greg Cameron
18 Scotland DF Garry Kenneth
19 Scotland DF Ross Gardiner
20 Trinidad and Tobago FW Collin Samuel
21 Scotland GK Euan McLean
23 Scotland MF William Easton
24 Scotland MF Barry Callaghan (on loan)
25 Scotland MF David Robertson
26 Scotland FW David Goodwillie
27 Scotland MF Gregg Burnett
28 Scotland MF David Proctor
30 Scotland MF Grant Smith

Notable past players

Players are ordered by year of United debut. For a list of former players since 2000, see Dundee United FC former players.
  • 1957 Scotland Ron Yeats
  • 1964 Denmark Finn Døssing
  • 1964 Sweden Örjan Persson
  • 1965 Sweden Lennart Wing
  • 1966 Scotland Walter Smith
  • 1969 Scotland Hamish McAlpine
  • 1973 Scotland Andy Gray
  • 1973 Scotland Dave Narey
  • 1974 Scotland Paul Hegarty
  • 1974 Scotland Paul Sturrock
  • 1976 Scotland Davie Dodds
  • 1979 Scotland Eamonn Bannon
  • 1979 Scotland Ralph Milne
  • 1981 Scotland Richard Gough
  • 1981 Scotland Maurice Malpas
  • 1982 Scotland John Clark
  • 1984 Scotland Billy Thomson
  • 1985 Scotland Kevin Gallacher
  • 1986 Scotland Dave Bowman
  • 1986 Scotland Jim McInally
  • 1986 Scotland Billy McKinlay
  • 1987 Finland Mixu Paatelainen
  • 1988 Scotland Alex Cleland
  • 1988 Scotland Darren Jackson
  • 1988 SFR Yugoslavia Miodrag Krivokapić
  • 1989 Scotland Paddy Connolly
  • 1989 Scotland Ray McKinnon
  • 1989 Northern Ireland Michael O'Neill
  • 1989 Netherlands Freddy van der Hoorn
  • 1990 Scotland Christian Dailly
  • 1990 Scotland Duncan Ferguson
  • 1993 Scotland Craig Brewster
  • 1993 Yugoslavia Gordan Petrić
  • 1994 Scotland Robbie Winters
  • 1995 Scotland Steven Pressley
  • 1996 Sweden Kjell Olofsson
  • 1996 Norway Erik Pedersen
  • 1996 Sweden Lars Zetterlund
  • 1997 Scotland Craig Easton
  • 1997 Iceland Siggi Jónsson
  • 1997 Scotland Steven Thompson
  • 1998 Scotland Billy Dodds
  • 1998 Scotland Jason de Vos
  • 2000 Scotland Paul Gallacher
  • 2000 Scotland Charlie Miller
  • 2002 Scotland Mark Wilson


  • Ireland Pat Reilly (1909-15)
  • England Herbert Dainty (1915-17)
  • Ireland Pat Reilly (1917-22)
  • Scotland Peter O'Rourke (1922-23)
  • Scotland Jimmy Brownlie (1923-31)
  • Scotland Willie Reid (1931-34)
  • Scotland Jimmy Brownlie (1934-36)
  • Scotland George Greig (1936-38)
  • Scotland Jimmy Brownlie and Northern Ireland Sam Irving (1938-39)
  • Scotland Bobby McKay (1939)
  • Scotland Jimmy Allan (1939-40)*
  • Scotland Arthur Cram (1941-44)
  • Scotland Jimmy Littlejohn (1944)
  • Scotland Charlie McGillivray (1944-45)
  • Scotland Willie MacFadyen (1945-54)
  • England Reggie Smith (1954-57)
  • Scotland Ally Gallacher (1957)
  • Scotland Tommy Gray (1957-58)
  • Scotland Andy McCall (1958-59)
  • Scotland Jerry Kerr (1959-71)
  • Scotland Jim McLean (1971-93)
  • Yugoslavia Ivan Golac (1993-95)
  • Scotland Billy Kirkwood (1995-96)
  • Scotland Tommy McLean (1996-98)
  • Scotland Paul Sturrock (1998-2000)
  • Scotland Alex Smith (2000-02)
  • Scotland Paul Hegarty (2002-03)
  • Scotland Ian McCall (2003-05)
  • Scotland Gordon Chisholm (2005-06)
  • Scotland Craig Brewster (2006)
  • Scotland Craig Levein (2006-present)

*Club closed for 1940/41 season


After their only Premier Division championship win, the team reached the resulting semi-final of the European Cup in 1984. After a marathon season in 1986-87, the team lost in both the Scottish Cup and UEFA Cup finals in the space of a few days. The Arabs won the first-ever FIFA Fair Play Award for their sporting behaviour after this UEFA Cup final defeat.

  • UEFA Cup:
    • Runners-up (1): 1986-87
  • European Cup:
    • Semi-finalists (1): 1983-84
  • Scottish League Premier Division:
    • Winners (1): 1982-83
  • Scottish League Division Two:
    • Winners (2): 1924-25, 1928-29
    • Runners-up (2): 1931-32, 1959-60
  • Scottish League First Division:
    • Runners-up (1): 1995-96
  • Scottish Cup:
    • Winners (1): 1993-94
    • 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 (3): 1981-82, 1984-85, 1997-98
  • Scottish League Challenge Cup:
    • Runners-up (1): 1995-96
  • City of Discovery Cup:
    • Winners (1): 2005

Club records

  • Biggest win: 14-0 v Nithsdale Wanderers, Scottish Cup 1st Round, January 17 1931
  • Biggest league win: 12–1 v East Stirlingshire, Scottish Football League Division Two, April 13 1936
  • Worst defeat: 1-12 v Motherwell, Scottish Football League Division Two, January 23 1954
  • Highest home attendance: 28,000 v CF Barcelona, European Fairs Cup 2nd Round 2nd Leg, November 16 1966
  • Most capped player: Maurice Malpas (55 for Scotland)
  • Most League appearances: Maurice Malpas (617, 1981-2000)
  • Most League goals: Peter McKay (158, 1947-1954)
  • Most League goals in one season: Johnny Coyle (43 in 1955-56)
  • Transfer fee paid: £750,000 for Steven Pressley from Coventry City, July 1995
  • Transfer fee received: £4 million for Duncan Ferguson to Rangers, July 1993
  • Most team goals (league): 108 in Division Two, 1935/36 (average of 3.2 goals per match, also a club record)
  • Most wins in succession: 10 - The last five matches of the 1982-83 season and the first five of the 1983-84 season
  • Most league wins in a season: 24 from 36 games (1928-29 and 1982-83)
  • Youngest player: Ian Mitchell aged 16 years and four months (against Hibernian in Division One in September 1962).
  • Youngest SPL player: Greg Cameron, aged 16 years (against Kilmarnock in the SPL in December 2004).
  • Youngest scorer: David Goodwillie, aged 16 years and 11 months (against Hibernian on 4 March 2006; also the SPL's youngest scorer)
  • Oldest player: Jimmy Brownlie, aged 40 years and eight months (against Hearts at Tynecastle in February 1926, as an emergency goalkeeper)
  • Fastest goal: Finn Dossing, after 14 seconds into the Division One match against Hamilton Academical at Tannadice on October 16, 1965
  • Largest crowd involving Dundee United: in excess of 100,000 against Selangor for the formal opening of the Shah Alam Stadium, Selangor, Malaysia, in July 1994
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