Goodbye Hartley, Welcome McCann
Well, this week has been eventful for us Dundee fans.
Firstly, we suffered a record seventh consecutive defeat at the hands of fellow strugglers Hamilton at Dens which was a shocking performance from the team overall. There was no fight nor did it look like there was any desire from the players except for a chosen few.
Secondly, we slipped down to eleventh in the table. The dreaded play-off spot. This team were having thoughts and aspirations of finishing in the top six only back in March. It’s been the all mightiest of arse collapses from the team to be in the position they are in now.
Lastly, Paul Hartley was giving his marching orders on Monday to bring to an end his reign at Dundee which lasted three years, two months and twelve days.
I wasn’t surprised by the decision. In fact, I felt that it maybe should have come after the 7-0 demolition we bent over and took at home from Aberdeen a few weeks ago. I was willing to live in hope that he could turn it around with the games remaining but Saturday put an end to that for me.
The team looked disjointed. No one looked like they knew what the hell they were doing. Hateley was playing right wing back (even I never knew where he was supposed to be) and Cammy Kerr was shunted over to play on the left again.
The body language along with the lack of effort, especially in the second half, from some players suggested to me that he had lost the dressing room.
In all honesty, it was a sad end to Hartley’s Dundee managerial career that started with a win at home to Hamilton and then finished with defeat at home to Hamilton.
Paul helped us over the finishing line to win the Championship in 2014 then in our first season, managed the team to a very unlikely top six finish. The following season, we missed out on finishing in the top six on the last day of the season despite having possibly three players (Scott Bain, Greg Stewart, Kane Hemmings) who were the best or close to for their position in the country.
It was a massive disappointment to finish seventh that year and this was merely papered over by the Doon Derby where we relegated our neighbours on our own patch.
This season has been a disaster. We flirted with the prospect of being safe this year with a top half finish but ultimately, we bottled it. I lost count of the chances we had to create gaps with the bottom clubs only to blow them. We then went on a record breaking six consecutive defeats only to go on and match that record and then beat it. All in the space of six months or so.
So, with Hartley’s desk cleared, it was time to find an interim manager for the reminder of the season. Names such as Alex Neil, Jim Duffy, Alan Stubbs and even Fabrizio Ravanelli were banded about but our fate would be placed in the hand of Sky Sports Pundit and former Dundee hero, Neil McCann.
It’s up there with some of the strangest appointments out there. It caught me off guard and I’ll hold my hands up and declare I was underwhelmed. You then remember that he knows Dundee from his two spells with us. He has seen the team play plenty of times this season and will know the players. There is no doubting that he will have been watching us in the past while wondering why this player was being played there, why we weren’t using a certain formation so the players could play to their strengths etc etc.
It’s a massive gamble to bring him in for the final five games of the season for his first managerial job but then again, no matter who we brought in, it would have been a massive gamble considering the timescale.
We need someone to come in and motivate the players. We need someone to come in with a passion for the club and to boot them right up the arse! We need someone to come in to play a simple formation that the players can all adjust to and feel comfortable with.
Is McCann the man to do this?
Well, we will find that out soon but one certainty is, he will have my full backing. He has just under two weeks to get in, make his mark on this team and get them back to picking up points. It’s not the most ideal situation to be in but it’s happening now and everyone from the fans to the players have to back each another.
This starts next weekend at Motherwell, the scene of our best performance this season.
More than ever, let’s get behind the team and MON THE DEE!