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NEW PODCAST! #209: When you’re going through hell, keep going

Gary, Grant and Danny are back to dissect the “performance” against Hearts, debate how much time McIntyre will need to sort out the squad, and touch on the now-defunct debate on whether to Dodds or not to Dodds.

If you have any questions, suggestions for future features or discussion points, get in touch with the show on Twitter @provieroadpod or e-mail the show: provieroadpodcast@gmail.com .

Derry Rhumba!

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DERRY GOT SOUL: No More Heroes

Billy Dodds went some way to filling a Tommy Coyne-sized hole in my life before he too left us, ensuring I was au fait with heartbreak at a young age. This would prepare me well for the jiltings that would follow from then until my wife decided I was at least tolerable a decade and a half later.

Dodds was sold to St Johnstone not long after my 14th birthday and, to deploy a metaphor relevant to the time, it was worse than being asked to hand out textbooks just after the appearance of an uninvited classroom bricker. But the pain then was nothing compared to the cat-kicking anger of him signing for United four years later.

Sunday 22 November 1998 may henceforth have been known as James Grady Day, but in the run-up to the match all anyone was talking about was that Dodds would be facing Dundee for the first time since signing for United. In the end, things could hardly have gone better, with the pantomime villain having a perfectly good goal chalked off early before Grady’s wonder strike earned him a place in Derry folklore.

‘Dodds had nothing to do with an imminent financial implosion forcing his departure from Dens any more than he had with Alex Miller’s desire to throw him and three-quarters of a million quid at United in order to get his hands on subbie keeper Robbie Winters’, say our heads. ‘Fucking booooooo! Get that right fucking up ya, ya fucking wee prick’, say our hearts.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gfIgA-PYyQ

Down in the Sewer

Despite their sense of betrayal, most Dundee supporters welcomed Billy Dodds back from the Dark Side as Anakin Skywalker rather than Darth Vader when Gordon Chisholm wanted him as his assistant. This, as we all know, did not end well.

What is undeniable is that both were shafted as promises made to entice them to leave secure jobs were quickly unravelled. Admin II: Admin Harder is a blight on our club to this day and the management team had every right to feel bitter about their treatment. But their subsequent decision to vote against the CVA that would take the club out of administration, a decision that increased the chances of a rebranding as The Dundee, saw sympathy for the pair amongst the fanbase instantly evaporate.

Those close to Chisholm and Dodds are adamant that they had no desire to bring about liquidation. They say the decision was based on their frustration not just at their sacking but at what they saw as a lower settlement being offered to creditors than was necessary. Calum Melville’s largesse being counted as loans and future rent owed to John Bennett being included in the total debt figure, therefore increasing the sum owed to a friendly creditor, rankled as well. Chisholm and Dodds, they insist, were lashing out at administrator Bryan Jackson and certain individuals on the board rather than the club or its fans, and would not have opposed the CVA if they didn’t believe the vote was already a formality.

Whether or not the result was actually ever in doubt has become a moot point in amongst the mythology of the time. Right up until the results were announced, Jackson was warning the vote was on a knife-edge and certainly few fans or employees were anything other than sick with nerves on the morning of the plebiscite.

Relief at the CVA passing quickly turned to anger when the administrator – in a breach of protocol – announced the names of the creditors in the No camp. It was a time of siege mentality when you were part of the problem if you weren’t part of the solution.

Whatever Chisholm and Dodds’ motivation actually was and regardless of the anger they felt at the ballot suddenly not becoming secret, the narrative was set. To fans, they had voted to kill the club and to staff, many of whom are still at the club, they had tried to vote them onto the dole.

Grudges are passed down the generations in football so this week’s events are staggering in so many ways. Perception is often more important than reality. Justifiably or not, Billy Dodds is toxic amongst the Dundee support. It is astonishing that he could have thought being linked with the assistant manager post once again would have met with anything other than widespread animosity. It is worrying that Dundee’s powers-that-be could have been so ignorant to the level of bad feeling this would generate at a time when we need everyone connected with the club pulling together under new manager Jim McIntyre.

Golden (Bomber) Brown

As my mate texted me this morning, boyhood heroes are falling all over the place. Dodds voting against the CVA has been dragged out into the public once again followed Neil McCann being sacked with one of the worst records of any Dundee manager. My pal now expects Tommy Coyne and Keith Wright to be outed as kingpins in a human trafficking ring and George Shaw to stand for election as a Tory.

In recent years, Sir Barry Smith and Bomber were other legends to have their relationship with the club strained by taking on the manager’s job. Even Grady joined the likes of Redford, Ferguson, Wilkie and co in the tainted corner, though he swiftly earned redemption by saying how much he hated life at Tannadice and what a mistake it was to go there.

Heroes might be an inevitable side-effect of being a football fan, but we could probably do with remembering that they may well prove to have feet of clay. However, football people – players, managers, pundits, directors and others – could do with putting their fan’s hat on from time to time to consider why a particular decision might be so unpalatable for the people who pay their wages.

HULLTOON HERALD: Supporters Association launches tinfoil hat range

tinhatbrandedDundee FC Supporters Association have launched a range of branded tinfoil hats to mark the one-week anniversary of them writing to the Scottish FA alleging a top-level conspiracy involving referee Steven McLean.

The DSA, who believe McLean awarded Kilmarnock a controversial penalty at Dens Park because his dad once shared a Panini sticker with Killie boss Steve Clarke’s brother, will reinvest all proceeds from the range trying to uncover further evidence of plots against the Dark Blues.

In the context of Scottish football, tinfoil hates are commonly associated with the paranoia displayed by both sides of the Old Firm but the DSA now hope their approach will turn Dundee into the third force of persecution delusions.

“We need to find the truth that the mainstream media aren’t interested in,” said a DSA spokesman. “We want to investigate claims that Bobby Madden’s dad was in the Shimmy and that Willie Collum once downloaded Love Is In The Air. Want to know how high this goes? We believe SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell is actually Freddy van der Hoorn with a mask and fake weegie accent.

“The SFA clearly knows more than SFA about 9/11 and chemtrails may well be genetically targeted at Dundee supporters. We’re big anti-vaxxers. The MMR jab is designed to render Dees infertile. Buy our tinfoil hats and protect yourself from mind control while helping our quest for justice.”

tinfoil

The DSA spokesman confirmed that their letter to the SFA was written in green ink but refused to comment on speculation that they had embarked upon their campaign to divert attention from the failings of Neil McCann and the club’s board calling it “an outlandish conspiracy theory”.

NEW PODCAST! #208: Dives and dear tickets

Join Gary, Grant and Danny as they go over the Kilmarnock game and agree that focusing on the winning penalty doesn’t tell half the story. The trio also wearily discuss McCann’s future *again* before moaning about ticket prices breaching the £30 barrier.

 

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HULLTOON HERALD: Queen ”envies McCann’s job security”

Hereditary monarch Queen Elizabeth II believes Neil McCann’s position is even more secure than her own job for life, it has emerged.

The Queen, known by some as Elizabeth Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and Elizabeth Mountbatten-Windsor, spoke of her jealousy after Dundee slumped to yet another home defeat at the weekend, leaving the Dark Blues are rooted to the foot of the Scottish Premiership. Twelve of the forty two SPFL clubs have changed manager so far this season but, despite Dundee having the worst record of any side in the country, recording their worst ever start to a season and having been humbled by lower league opposition in the League Cup, McCann remains in post.

“One remembers one’s grandfather marvelling about Dundee’s woeful start to the 1928/29 season,” said the 92-year-old embodiment of the class-based glass ceiling. “It stood out because he only ever really mentioned Rangers’ results. But McCann started this season even worse, keeps falling out with everyone and persists with a style that is as boring as it is ineffective. Ayr and Dunfermline pumped them in the cup FFS. And every week he’s still there spinning his tombola and insisting on 3000 passes that go nowhere. Teflon. He must have incriminating photos of John Nelms or something.

“Compare that to one’s situation. It’s only 370 years since a British monarch was executed and yet the chances of the servile masses rising up to overthrow us royals are far greater than the Dundee board realising how far McCann is out of his depth. Especially since it’s only a matter of time before one’s subjects realising how ludicrous the notion of someone, a potential belter like that son of mine for example, ruling over an entire nation due to birth-right is. One wishes one had Neil McCann’s ‘problems’.”

Professor Glen Dingies, of the Institute for Futba Studies, said, “The IFS is a serious research organisation and all our public statements are underpinned by rigorously ascertained facts. McCann must have the photos. It’s the only plausible explanation.”

 

Image result for queen miserable

Derry Got Soul: You Keep Me Hanging On

When did you stop punching the air? I was still doing on Tuesday when I remembered what had happened at the weekend. We won! An actual game of football! Two fucking nil!

 

Viewers in the DD postcode tuned in to Sportscene for the first time in weeks. Newspapers were bought so match reports could be savoured. Social media passwords were remembered. Unless I’m very much mistaken the weather has been glorious, dogs have stopped shiteing in the street and seagulls are in retreat.

 

Has being bottom of the league ever felt so good?

 

Football is a game of fine margins and wildly oscillating emotions. If the previous seven games hadn’t been so would-John-Hughes-make-a-difference dismal then beating another below-average side wouldn’t have felt so skip-to-work fantastic. Our luck may have been ridden at times in the second half but we should have been 2-0 up before Hamilton came into the match. Dundee deserved that win and fair fucks to every player in dark blue, those in the dugout and everyone who travelled through to lend their support. Players are hitting full fitness after injuries. Kenny Miller is returning from suspension. The manager’s knitwear is suddenly fitting better again.

 

Yes, yes, one swallow does not a summer make, the law of averages dictates that we had to win at some point and the patient’s condition remains critical, if a little more stable. But, at the same time, if you haven’t spent the past week pushing rationality to the back of your mind as you plot our run to Hampden then you’re doing football wrong.

 

We’ve got at least 24 hours of our unbeaten run to go, lads and lasses. Let’s enjoy it.

 

NEW PODCAST! #207: #McCannInForABit

We won! We won a game of football! Join Gary, Danny and Ryan in disbelief as they go over a victory against Accies, before delving into listeners’ questions about the new stadium, McCann’s future, and whether or not Lewis Spence is a dumpling.

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HULLTOON HERALD: Dundee fans demand appropriately syllabled replacement for Laszlo

Csaba Laszlo’s replacement as Dundee United manager must be someone whose name fits well with a song popular among Dundee fans, according to followers of the Dens Park club.

Laszlo, sacked as United manager after a humiliating 5-1 home defeat to Ross County, had the perfect name for the Derry version of the 1967 Monkees hit Daydream Believer. Now Dundee supporters are demanding that Tannadice chairman Mike Martin considers the syllabic implications when appointing a new manager.

“’Cheer up Csaba Laszlo, oh what can it mean, to a sad arabbastard and a shite football team’,” sang lifelong Dee Duncan McDonald for the last time. “See? It fits perfectly. Mike Martin has to do the right thing here. We want either four syllables or someone with a two-syllable first name and single-syllable surname, like sleepy Jean in the original song.

“John Hughes would be a funny as fuck appointment from a footballing perspective but ‘Joh-nay Hugh-zzz doesn’t scan so well and no one calls him Johnny other than his mum. We had to do it with ‘Craigy’ Brewster and it felt like a pet name. Mc-Na-mar-a worked well. So did Paatelainen and Ray Mc-Kinn-on. We demand more of the same. No one wants to go back to the Paaaaaw-el Stuuuuu-rock days.”

 

Derry Got Soul: It’s a Family Affair

I climbed through a gap intended for a toddler still giddy with the news Dundee were two-up at half-time. I was pursuing my son through a labyrinthine soft play area and, for once, couldn’t care less about the overweight hellbairns screaming in my face as they fired missile after missile in my eye.

Between plastic-covered rollers unsuitable for 37-year-olds on the cusp of overweightness I squeezed before traversing a rope ladder designed to inflict maximum possible damage on shoeless feet. At last we had reached the top of the Big Chute. This was the fourth or fifth time in a row we’d climbed to this peak and I decided to reward myself by checking the score. Unfortunately the signal was as weak as Neil McCann’s long-term employment prospects so back in the pocket went the phone and down the chute we slid.

“Again! Again Daddy!”

“I think it’s time you had a wee drink, pal,” I said, guiding him over to the café area. I pointed my phone at the space between the vending machine and vomit-covered high chair, the closest thing The Fun Factory has to a WiFi hotspot. What the fuck? 2-2 now and Inverness missed a penalty as well? The next 15 minutes passed in a blizzard of frantic score-checking and bad parenting. We held on for a draw that was to prove vital come the end of the season and the wee man was bribed into staying quiet with sweets, crisps and fizzy drinks. Even when I’m not at Dundee games I’m never really not there either. I’m sure you’re the same.

Time for Livin’

I’ve done Dumfries, Stranraer, Dingwall and Inverness and my share of daft midweekers that necessitated half-days off either side of them. I know the road from Glasgow to Greenock depressingly well. There are the only four SPFL grounds I’ve never seen Dundee play at. But all that stopped in November 2014. My life can be divided into two time periods – Before Bairn and Anno Bairn – and I’ve been to a grand total of five games outwith the city’s boundaries in the AB era with even home games having to be sacrificed on occasion.

Away games are no longer marked for on-bus antics, running to the front to celebrate late goals or learning which divisions of Police Scotland are most forgiving of public drinking/urination. The biggest moments of the season are remembered by the family-friendly venue you happened to be at on that day.

The problem is that even when I’ve not physically followed the Mushy Peas, I can’t passively let the game proceed and wait until 5pm or later to discover the outcome of a match I’ve no influence over. The descent from Perfect Family Man begins at 2pm when the results of McCann’s latest tombola turn are known. Then there are the inevitable “THE FUCK???” “Where’s Kamara?” “Fucking Moussa again” and “cunt is a clown” messages to various group chats. Then the game actually kicks off and I’m obsessively check for updates, feeling utterly impotent and shaking with adrenaline even when miles away from the action.

I was jumping up and down by the bear enclosure at Camperdown Wildlife Centre when we went 3-0 up at Dingwall and my demolition of a household wall become more ferocious when Scott Brown scored the winner for Celtic against us. I was on the boat-shaped climbing frames at Campy (far inferior to the 80s pirate ships BTW) when St Johnstone went two-up after 20 minutes and was checking my phone throughout the whole of Ferdinand the Bull when we extracted revenge the following season. Everyone remembers where they were when they heard JFK had been shot. I will always remember being at a play date at Little Pipers when Partick Thistle scored their injury-time winner last year. Trying to maintain a poker face when Dundee are getting scudded and you’re at the birthday party of a child with a Dad known to be an arab is one of the most important skills of Derry parenthood.

If You Want Me to Stay

It’s hardly unknown for punters to stop going to games – at least temporarily – after the birth of children. Time is tight, a stupid amount of organised activities must be negotiated and partners tend to get hacked off at being abandoned for the six hours it takes to watch Dundee get hosed at Fir Park before you return too drunk to help with the bedtime routine. And, as new man/millennial/snowflake/sappy as it may sound, spending your only day off together as a family is frankly more rewarding than watching a goalless war of attrition at Livingston. So giving up away days is a fair exchange for keeping your season ticket, even if your pre- and post-game pub time might now be limited by the vagaries of children’s entertainment.

The best thing about having family isn’t love, joy or the expectation that someone will look after you when you become an incontinent shadow of your former self. No, the best reason to bring children into the world is that it gives you an excuse to miss certain away games, even if a bit of you still ends up travelling through with the lads.

NEW PODCAST! #206: #McCannOut

Gary is joined by Danny and Ryan to pick over the bones of yet another insipid defeat. The trio analyse where we keep going wrong and wonder just what it will take for a change of manager to take place.

if you have any questions, suggestions for future features or discussion points, get in touch with the show on Twitter @provieroadpod or e-mail the show: provieroadpodcast@gmail.com .

Derry Rhumba!

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