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The Club » Dundee United A - Z ( I )

Dundee United A - Z ( I )

An end-of-season tour in 1966 represented United’s first contact with Iceland. It was the club’s inaugural venture into Europe (though they had visited southern Africa in 1963) and the match against Fram Reykjavik was the first European club side ever faced by Dundee United. That and the following two matches were won before the party continued the tour in Denmark.
In 1975 United returned to the island on Uefa Cup duty, beating IBK Keflavik 2–0 in the first leg, followed by a 4–0 win at Tannadice.
A further 15 years were to elapse before any further contact, the Uefa Cup first-round draw of 1990 sending United to meet Hafnafjordar. The first leg ended with Jim McLean’s men 3–1 to the good, but was notable for the ‘crowd’ of only 263, the lowest ever to watch a European tie involving Dundee United. The return did not provide one of Tannadice’s more memorable European nights, a lack in concentration allowing the Icelanders to take most of the credit from a 2–2 draw.
Two Icelandic players have played for Dundee United. Siggi Jonsson joined the club in 1997 and made over 50 appearances. Arnar Gunnlaugsson, a player for whom Leicester City had previously paid some £2.5m for, joined the club in August 2002 but was freed the following January after making only a handful of appearances.
Dennis Gillespie became the first Dundee United player to receive representative honours when he was selected to play for the Scottish League against the League of Ireland in 1961. The following season left half Stewart Fraser was selected and, despite his position, scored a hat-trick against the same opponents in an 11–2 landslide.
The only other United players capped at Scottish League level were Jackie Copland, Paul Hegarty, Jim Henry, Dave Narey and Andy Rolland.
This invitation tournament was played during May 1969, with clubs from various countries adopting the identities of US cities in an attempt to stimulate interest in ‘soccer’ in that country.
As in 1967 with the NASL, United played as Dallas Tornado, though on this occasion their group involved only four other clubs: Aston Villa (Atlanta), Kilmarnock (St Louis), West Ham United (Baltimore) and Wolverhampton Wanderers (Kansas City). United did not fare particularly well, winning two, drawing two and losing four of the matches.
Club matches against international teams are officially discouraged by the SFA, but providing they take place abroad a blind eye is usually turned. United have met the following on their travels: Mexico XI, 1970; South Korea, 1971; Burma, 1979; Japan B, 1979.
The only international side United have met at Tannadice was the Australian Olympic team, for a pre-season match in 1994.
The club was formed as an amalgamation of Highland League clubs Caledonian and Thistle in preparation for entry to the Scottish League in 1994. Dundee Hibs had met Caledonian in the Scottish Qualifying Cup in 1912 and 1913, while United met Thistle in a friendly in 1935 and Caledonian in the Scottish Cup in 1952.
The only meeting with ICT to date has been in the Scottish Cup in 1998. It was a close affair, with United requiring a late equaliser to take the tie to a replay at Inverness where United scored the only goal in extra time to record a 3-2 victory.
Notable transfer from : Barry Robson (2003)

It’s a fact: ICT have played a “home” match at Tannadice, using the ground for a Scottish cup tie against Rangers in 1996.
See also Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland
Ireland has a special place in the history of the club, given that it grew from roots within Dundee’s substantial Irish immigrant community, and its offspring, in the early years of last century. Indeed, a letter sent by secretary/manager Pat Reilly in May 1909 to all Scottish League clubs seeking support for the new club’s application to join the League, included specific reference to the large population of Irish extraction in Dundee at the time. However, the club was never sectarian in nature, either in terms of its committee or players, and had no intention of excluding those from outside that community. Neither was the club intended as a vehicle for Irish nationalism. The Dundee Irish did however retain a keen sense of their identity, though culture, and in particular sport, was seen by the founders of Dundee Hibs as an adequate means of expressing it.
The Irish association became less important over time and when in November 1922 it was announced that the club’s name and image were to be radically altered, there is no evidence of any protests, nor indeed of any attempts by supporters or the wider Irish community to resist the new regime or its plan.
Despite their origins, Dundee Hibernian never met Irish opposition, home or away, although it should be stressed that such exchanges were extremely rare in those days. Until drawn against Bohemians of Dublin in the Uefa Cup of 1985, Dundee United had never visited Ireland. and the same competition has taken them to Northern Ireland on two further occasions.
United first met Irish opposition when Portadown from Northern Ireland visited Tannadice for a friendly in October 1958.
United’s first encounter with a League of Ireland club came in the USA. They beat Shamrock Rovers 5–1 in a North American Soccer League match in Boston in June 1967.
Jim was signed to the club on 10 August 1959 from Whitburn Rovers and made his first team debut was on 19 August 1959 against East Fife at Bayview. He was a member of the 1960 side that won promotion to the First Division. Jim was transferred to Middlesborough on 27 May 1964 for a reported fee of £25,000 and later joined Hearts. After he retired from the playing side, he went on to coach a number of junior clubs. While he was a United player Jim featured in one hundred and twenty-six first team games and scored sixty-three goals. His son, Alan, joined United from Liverpool for £100,000 in 1987, but made only seven League appearances.
Sam IRVING ( 1893 - 1969)
Irving was a cultured wing half who played at the top level in all four corners of the UK. He was a Scottish Cup finalist with Dundee FC in 1925 and went one better with Cardiff City, being a member of their FA Cup-winning team in 1927. He later played for Chelsea and won a total of 18 caps for Northern Ireland, ten of them while at Dens Park.
He returned to live in the city when his playing career was over and set himself up in business, obviously with some success, because he was one of a group of businessmen which bought out George Greig at Tannadice in 1938. This led to him becoming a director and, for one season, joint director/manager of Dundee United with Jimmy Brownlie. The two stood down when Bobby McKay was appointed manager in July 1939, but remained as directors until the club went into hibernation in 1940.
United’s defeat of holders Barcelona in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup of 1966/67 had as its reward a confrontation with Italian giants Juventus in the next round. This was the first time Italian opposition had been faced and it was disappointing when the first leg in Turin’s Stadio Communale ended in a 3–0 defeat. Although the deficit could not be retrieved in the return at Tannadice in March 1967, a 1–0 win (the goal scored by Finn Dossing) conferred considerable respectability on a club which had emerged from part-time football in Division Two a mere seven years earlier.
The club’s European exploits had the effect of bringing it to the notice of football people around the world, and one tangible benefit was the invitation to compete that summer in the North American Soccer League. That included a meeting in Chicago with the Italian League side Cagliari, which resulted in a 1–0 win.
Two years later, the invitation was repeated and United returned to the USA. Following the tournament, United played some friendly matches, one of which saw them renew acquaintance with Juventus. In Jersey City, United achieved the satisfaction of recording a second 1–0 win over the Italian club.
Another end-of-season jaunt to far-off places provided an opportunity of testing Jim McLean’s emerging young team against one of Serie A’s best sides. Along with United, Fiorentina were invited to participate in the Japan Cup tournament in 1979 and the clubs met in the semi-final. With extra-time having failed to alter the 1–1 scoreline, penalties were called for and it was United’s players whose nerve held as they advanced to the final.
A semi-final was also the setting for the most recent meeting with a Serie A club. Champions AS Roma were intent on reaching the 1984 European Cup final, not least because it was to be played at their own Olympic Stadium. A 2–0 triumph by United rocked them and their desperation to overturn it was all too obvious in the gamesmanship which met Jim McLean and his players, plus United supporters, in Rome for the return. Although on the day the Italians were good value for the 3–0 result they craved, the club was later fined for attempting to bribe the match referee.



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