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The Club » Dundee United A - Z ( P )

Dundee United A - Z ( P )


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Mixu PAATELAINEN (born 1967)
Mixu Paatelainen (picture courtesy of DC Thomson & Co Ltd.)
Signed from the Finnish League club Valkeakosken Haka for £100,000 in 1987, he was the first of the wave of foreign imports brought in by Jim McLean. He was also the most successful, making an immediate impact. Later that season he won a place in the 1988 Scottish Cup final team, as well as winning the first of many caps for Finland.
Although never the club’s top scorer, he did have a habit of getting important goals and he revelled in the big occasion. Throughout his five years at Tannadice he became a firm favourite with Arabs who enjoyed his all-action style and never-say-die spirit.
He was transferred to Aberdeen for £400,000 in 1992, and two years later moved south to Bolton Wanderers, with whom he played in the Premiership. In 1997 he joined Wolverhampton Wanderers. He subsequently returned to Scotland, playing with Hibernian and St Johnstone.
 
PARTICK THISTLE FC
The first meeting between the clubs was a Scottish Cup tie at Firhill Park in 1925, which Thistle won decisively, 5–1. The following season United did rather better in the first of four which the clubs spent together in Division One between 1925 and 1932, but, with the exception of the Scottish Cup, the clubs did not come into contact again until United returned to Division One in 1960.
From that point, United met Thistle every season in Division One until 1970, when the Glasgow club lost the top division place they had held continuously since 1902. They returned after only one season, but in the 22 years’ existence of the Premier Division, Thistle have been members in only twelve.
The clubs’ most memorable encounter came in the tension-filled play-offs at the end of season 1995/96, when United required a last-minute equaliser, then an extra-time winner, to secure promotion.
It’s a fact: When United met Partick Thistle at Firhill in a Premier Division match in February 1993 it produced one of the most bizarre incidents in the history of Scottish football. With United leading 1–0, striker Paddy Connolly shot for goal; the ball beat the Thistle goalkeeper and hit the stanchion inside the goal before rebounding into the six-yard box. As Connolly, his team-mates and United fans began to celebrate, a Partick Thistle defender picked up the ball and threw it to his goalkeeper, who then kicked it downfield for the match to be re-started. The only person in the ground who did not see the ball enter the goal was referee Les Mottram, who waved play on! Despite vehement protests from United players, the match continued, with Mottram refusing demands to consult his linesman. Even if he had missed the ‘goal’, he ought to have awarded a penalty after the defender picked up the ball; he claimed to have missed that, too! Luckily, Mottram’s mistake did not affect the outcome of the match, which United eventually won 4–0, but the incident frequently returned to haunt him for the remainder of his career.
The playing record against Partick Thistle in major competitions is:

Scottish League (total):
 
P 78
 
W 36
 
D 23
 
L 19
 
F 126
 
A 96
 
Premier Division:
 
P 40
 
W 22
 
D 14
 
L 4
 
F 70
 
A 36
 

Scottish Cup: the clubs were drawn together in 1925, 1927, 1930, 1948, 1950, 1960 and 1981.
Record:
 
P 8
 
W 1
 
D 1
 
L 6
 
F 8
 
A 28
 

League Cup: the clubs were drawn together in 1975, 1977, 1981, 1987, 1988, 1989 and 1990.
Record:
 
P 10
 
W 7
 
D 1
 
L 2
 
F 17
 
A 8
 

Summer Cup: the clubs met in the quarter-final of the 1965 competition, United advancing on a 3–0 aggregate score
Notable transfers from: Billy Hainey (1966), Ian Gibson (1980) Scott Patterson (2003) Alan Archibald (2003)
 
Graeme PAYNE (born 1956)
Graeme Payne (picture courtesy of DC Thomson & Co Ltd.)
One of the first graduates from the Jim McLean academy of excellence and, like many of those, Dundee-born. He broke into the first team in 1973 at the age of 17 and made an immediate impact, his lack of bulk more than compensated for by his skill.
A member of United’s first Scottish Cup final team in 1974 at the age of 18 years and two months, he is the youngest United player to appear in a final. Graeme was also in both League Cup-winning squads and was voted SPFA Young Player of the Year in 1978. Capped three times at U-21 level, he ought to have won more representative honours in a career which many Arabs felt was left disappointingly unfulfilled. He was unable to command a regular first-team place from 1981 and eventually left the club for a loan spell with Greenock Morton, later transferring in March 1984 to Arbroath, for whom his elder brother Kenny had earlier played.
 
PENALTIES
Joe Hannan scored the club’s first-ever penalty. It came at Tannadice in Dundee Hibs’s first competitive match, a Northern League encounter with Dundee Wanderers on 21 August 1909.
Dundee United’s first penalty was scored by Eddie Gilfeather in a Division Two fixture against St Johnstone at Muirton Park on 22 December 1923.
The greatest number of penalties scored by Dundee Hibs/United in a League season is eleven in Division Two, 1927/28. In the Premier Division the greatest number is seven, in 1981/82.
Prior to 1993/94, United had never gone through a League season without scoring at least one, yet they scored none at all over the next three seasons. In fact, between 13 February 1993 and 14 December 1996, United did not score a penalty in a League match.
Penalty shoot-outs are a relatively recent means of settling a cup-tie which remains level after extra-time. They make for great TV entertainment, providing your team is not involved! The live action is rarely enjoyed by the fans of the participating teams, but there is arguably no fairer way of deciding a winner. United’s first experience of a penalty shoot-out came in the Texaco Cup against Leicester City at Tannadice in September 1972; the English club won. Since then there have been nine further instances, four of which have been won and five lost.
 
Orjan PERSSON (born 1942)
Orjan Persson (picture courtesy of DC Thomson & Co Ltd.)
Has the distinction (shared with fellow countryman Lennart Wing) of being the first Dundee United player to win a full international cap. He also has the singular distinction of being the first overseas player to join the club, when brought from Orgryte by manager Jerry Kerr in November 1964. There being no professional football in Sweden at that time, Kerr did not have to pay a fee for him.
Six feet tall, Persson was a fast and penetrative left winger who scored more than his fair share from that position. He was immensely popular with Arabs, who were disappointed when he was transferred to Rangers (in exchange for winger Davie Wilson and wing half Wilson Wood) in 1967. He won 9 Sweden caps while with United.
 
Gordan PETRIC (born 1969)
Became the club’s record signing when bought by Ivan Golac from Partizan Belgrade for £650,000 in November 1993. Golac had been his manager at Partizan, where Petric was a member of the team which won the Yugoslav League championship once and the Yugoslav Cup twice. He also played several times for his country at U-21 level (scoring against Scotland in 1989) and had one full international cap. Petric was unable to add to that total while at Tannadice, as Yugoslavia were suspended from membership of Uefa at the time because of the civil war in Bosnia.
The central defender was an immediate success at Tannadice, his height and bulk enabling him to command the penalty area but he also demonstrated remarkable skill on the ground.
He was an influential figure in the club’s run to the 1994 Scottish Cup final, where a near flawless performance saw him win the man of the match award. He was less effective the following season as United headed for relegation and, following the departure of Ivan Golac, he was subsequently transferred to Rangers for £1.5m in August 1995.
 
Willie PETTIGREW (born 1953)
Signed from Motherwell in August 1979 for £100,000, his goals helped secure the League Cup, the club’s first-ever trophy, just three months later, earning him cult status among Arabs. He won a string of representative honours, being capped for his country at schoolboy, youth, U-23, League and full international level. Strangely, he failed to add to that total while at Tannadice, though he did gain a second League Cup winners’ medal in 1980 and was a member of the 1981 Scottish Cup final team.
He scored his most famous goals in cup-ties, netting twice in the 1979 League Cup final replay and getting all four against Dundee in a Scottish Cup third round tie at Tannadice in 1980.
His stay at Tannadice was, however, brief. He departed for Hearts in a joint deal with Derek Addison (reported to be worth £150,000) in September 1981, and later played for Greenock Morton and Hamilton Academical. He retains a connection with United by assisting with youth coaching and scouting duties.
 
Iain PHILLIP (born 1951)
After winning U-18 schoolboy caps, Iain joined Dundee FC but was transferred to Crystal Palace for £72,500 in 1972. He returned to Dens Park barely 12 months later and was a member of Dundee’s League Cup-winning team that year.
Transferred to United for £25,000 in November 1978, he was a first-team regular up until the start of the championship season and was a member of all four cup final teams between 1979 and 1981. Although he did not play in the 1979 replay he received a medal as he had played in the first game, thus having the unique distinction of having won winners’ medals in the competition with both city clubs.
He moved to Raith Rovers in 1983, where he finished his playing career.
 
POLAND
Although none of the many Polish servicemen stationed in Scotland during World War Two appear to have guested with United, the club did act as host for a challenge match against the Polish Army in December 1941. It attracted a large crowd, which saw an entertaining contest won 3–0 by United.
The only other contact the club has had with Poland took the form of a Uefa Cup tie against Slask Wroclaw in season 1980/81. United returned from the Polish coalfields with a creditable goalless draw, then ran riot in the return at Tannadice. The 7–2 scoreline was, until 1997, the biggest margin of victory achieved by the club in Europe.
 
PORTUGAL
Perhaps surprisingly, United have been drawn against Portuguese opposition only once in Europe. That occurred in the second round of the Uefa Cup of 1975/76 when FC Porto were their opponents. This was a tie United ought to have won, but they shot themselves in the foot by giving away two goals in the first leg at Tannadice, despite dominating the match. They acquitted themselves rather better in the return, but a 1–1 draw allowed Porto to advance on a 3–2 aggregate.
The first transfer between United and a Portuguese club involved the Brazilian Sergio Gomes from Amora in January 1995. Striker Joaquim Ferraz signed in July 1999 but returned to Portugal after just one season to join Maritimo.
 
PREMIER DIVISION
Established in 1975, United were one of only four clubs to have enjoyed unbroken membership over the first 20 years, the others being Aberdeen, Celtic and Rangers. Sadly, the record was lost at the end of that season, though membership was immediately regained in 1996.
 
PROMOTION
Although Division Two had been in existence for 15 years when Dundee Hibs were elected to it in 1909, there was still no automatic promotion for the champions, far less the runners-up, to Division One. At the time, the only means of gaining access to the top division was through election at the League AGM and this happened only rarely, the major clubs jealously guarding their status.
Indeed, that élitism caused the wartime suspension of Division Two to be extended well beyond the return of peace in 1918. This caused the excluded clubs, among them Dundee Hibs, to establish the breakaway Central League as a protest. The tactic proved successful because when Division Two was reinstated in 1921 it was with the proviso that, for the first time, there would be automatic promotion and relegation between the two divisions.
Dundee United first gained promotion to Division One in 1925 as champions and survived for two seasons. A further two in the lower division saw them promoted again in 1929 (again as champions), but this time they went straight back down. Jimmy Brownlie’s team stepped up for the third time (as runners-up) in 1930, only to suffer the inevitable fate of relegation a year later. It was to be 28 years before United fans again celebrated promotion, but it was worth waiting for because the team which regained the long-coveted place in Division One in 1960 was – at last – able to establish the club at the top level.
After 36 seasons, United were unexpectedly faced with having to win back a place in the top division at the outset of season 1995/96. Under the managership of Billy Kirkwood, they made heavy weather of it, even spurning a golden opportunity to take the championship on the penultimate Saturday of the season. Faced with the task of beating closest rivals Dunfermline at Tannadice, United lost 0–1 and had to undergo the heart-stopping drama of a play-off before securing the Premier Division place so vital to the club and everyone connected with it.

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