Season Winds Down To An Underwhelming Finish For Dundee
So that is another season done and dusted for Dundee. It was a campaign of what and ifs but ultimately, this 2017-18 season was vastly underwhelming.
With a rumoured top-six budget at the Neil McCann’s disposal, the team vastly underachieved, never once going higher than eighth in the Premiership league table. Constant tinkering to the starting eleven players and formation and a slow style of play that consisted of passing it around the back with no idea how to penetrate the opposition, hindered our progression up the table.
The loss of Jack Hendry and Scott Allan were also major factors, especially with the latter who was starting to pick up form with a run of games in the middle of the park after seemingly falling somewhat out of favour and shaking off his injury woes.
Then we have our problems in the striker department. We played all season without a recognised hitman up front, instead of only having personnel whose games to goals ratio just don’t make the grade that a top flight attacker should have. I lost count of the chances we spurned which could have either killed off games or put us into the lead.
With a distinct lack of ‘Plan B’ around the team, the exclusion of players such as Paul McGowan or Glenn Kamara would leave the fans feeling that the next ninety minutes would be a struggle.
It was not all doom and gloom.
We improved on our league position and points tally. That in itself should be seen as a positive even if some don’t.
We also played some nice football. Yes, we eventually lost the plot with all this possession football but when we did get the ball on the ground and go at it, we looked a good team.
McCann also brought in some great singings. Like any manager, he will have signed some that haven’t worked out well at all but he played a blinder with the acquiring Jack Hendry, Scott Allan, Glenn Kamara and in the January transfer window, Steven Caulker.
Allan was already a player with a reputation for both his fantastic ability but also for wasting the vast part of his career but I don’t think we expected to see him play in a Dundee top. Hendry was a bit of an unknown but we all quickly realised what a find he was and what a player he would be for the Dee.
Kamara also falls into the same category. We knew nothing of him and he had hardly played in any competitive games but he has been the signing of the season for Dundee. Caulker was also a player with a big reputation and even though he seems to have taken a while to get into his stride at Dens, his performances near the end of the season show just how lucky we are to have him here.
We have already received around £1.5million for Hendry and we will no doubt get around the same for Kamara and Caulker if some transfer rumours are too be believed.
Paul McGowan had in my opinion his best ever season in a Dark Blue shirt and the re-emergence of Craig Wighton after his injury which kept him out for nine-months was another bright point.
McCann has also been giving youth a chance. Kerr Waddell may have slipped out the team near the end of the season but he will be a big player in defence for us. Another few names such as Jack Lambert, Cedwyn Scott and Matt Henvey were giving a run out and look promising but a few loan spells may be in order next term to toughen them up. Nonetheless, it’s refreshing to see youth being given a chance.
In summary, we could do better. Safety wasn’t achieved until the second last game of the season and that’s just not good enough for this club. On the other hand, it was Neil McCann’s maiden season as a football manager and truthfully, despite him saying otherwise, that was not a bad return from him considering his lack of experience in the dugout.
We must kick on from this and learn from our mistakes which is of course easier said than done.
Jon Aurtenetxe, Julen Etxabeguren, Kostadin Gadzhalov, Kevin Holt, Nicky Low, Jeremy Malherbe, Jordan Piggott have all been released at the end of their contracts and I’m positive that there will be plenty others to follow, especially some of the higher earners. This could very well be the 67th overhaul of the Dundee team I’ve seen and I’m only 33!
Season tickets are already up with the fans backing the team so the gaffer will need to hit the ground running with signings that will not only excite the fans but see them flock to the ticket office to book their seat.
We will see a busy summer at Dens Park and hopefully it’s one that see’s us add plenty of quality for a top-six assault.
Well that’s me for another season folks. I thank you all for reading my ramblings for another year and the positive feedback I have received from the Palace fans. Also a big thanks to Jay and the team for letting me be part of TEB for yet another season.
MON THE DEE!!!