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About arab_joe

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    Abu Dhabi, UAE
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    Dundee Utd

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  1. I'm perhaps guilty of judging Harkes' touch relative to Butcher, Powers and Pawlett - in my eyes he is far better on the ball that any of them (even though Pawlett started this season very strongly). I'd argue he is closest to Scott Robertson. But Robertson had a great eye for goal, and that is the one thing that Harkes desperately needs to work on - with the exception of that goal in the 6-2 derby (which took a very helpful deflection), he just doesn't hit the target anywhere near as ferociously or frequently as possible. I'd say that would be a great success in our first season back - especially given the fact that we haven't really signed anyone (that may change shortly)...
  2. Undoubtedly. But the partnership of Webster/Kenneth was brilliant; a proper brains and brawn combination. At least when he does get sent off, which is coming, we are going to be forced to try someone else for 3 games... Perhaps an unpopular view, but I think Ian Harkes is a really good SPFL player. His touch is excellent and he has the pace to go box-to-box; the only real weakness is his shooting, which needs a lot of work. If he had a really solid defensive centre-mid next to him, a la Butcher last term, I think he could be the creative midfileder that a lot of Arabs are seeking.
  3. Both desperately need games - Declan Glass has been completely/oddly overlooked by both Neilson and Mellon since returning from Cove (why didn't they want him back?); and Keiran Freeman is coming up for 21 and, as far as I can see, has played a grand total of 3 professional games. Hopefully next summer they come back ready to compete for starting berths. True. Here's hoping Cove smash that league, leaving Ian McCall and Falkirk in League One another year... Their Chairman was on the BBC numerous times, and spoke very well on the subject so I suspect you're right - even though they were no doubt far more unfairly treated than Hearts. That being said, I'm not going to wish well any club that has Ian McCall at the helm. Garry Kenneth and Andy Webster, circa 2009. Clark found some great positions yesterday - with a bit of composure could have had a hat-trick... A bit puzzling why Appere getting such little game-time. Butcher is, in my eyes, the biggest disappointment of the season so far - he has been way off the pace. Should have been sent off in the first half vs. St Mirren for a ludicrous tackle (which was no prettier than the one Tait was sent off for half an hour later) and had to be taken off yesterday because he was one foul away from a red. Centre-half or the subs bench, for me.
  4. You're right, that was a bit harsh - and I'm sure that he understands a lot of what is being said even if he does not interview perfectly. His English is certainly better than my Spanish etc. I hope he gets a run of games - I love watching him run at defenders. I noticed that yesterday - he is basically celebrating before he lands back down on the ground.
  5. I reluctantly agree. By my calculations, he has only played under 100 league games since he left us 5 years ago. Also, we do not have a good record with players coming back at the end of their career (has there ever been a successful one?). Off the top of my head, I think that the reputations of Craig Brewster, Morgaro Gomis, Willo Flood, David Goodwillie and the aforementioned Mark Wilson have been slightly dampened by their second spells... let's just keep Ciftci as the enigmatic, mythical creature that scored that goal at Ibrox! Well we had to make room for £6,000 a week Derek McInnes... He scored twice yesterday - I would imagine that if he does indeed enter "free agency" in November there might be quite a few suitors in the MLS... Sporle looked excellent yesterday, I thought - playing with real confidence and his goal was really well taken. My only concern is that he was interviewed for DUTV after the game and still seems to speak almost no English - surely this is going to hold him back? Agree that Chalmers was solid yesterday and, to be fair to him, around that 60th minute he almost lost a foot to Tait's tackle/assault (I look forward to Sportsound dissecting it for the next week or so like they did with Edwards last week...). I liked his corner for the first goal, too - it seemed to catch the defence unaware as it was not your average in-swinger. I just watched back the highlights and it doesn't look any better today - there is barely even a challenge from the striker. Surely worth trying Butcher in there with Powers or Glass coming into the midfield?
  6. In my defence, my first season ticket was in 2003-2004 (we had just signed Mark Kerr, Barry Robson and Collin Samuel - I was sure I was buying in just before we won our first league in two decades...), and I'm sure by that stage he had already been moved to right-back. He was a bright light in a very, very dull couple of years at Tannadice. You are right about the contract - it would appear we went as far as to release a statement to justify the sale: https://www.dundeeunitedfc.co.uk/news/1960/MARK-WILSON-JOINS-CELTIC.html Barry Douglas has been one of the best players in the English Championship this past few seasons (my boss is a Wolves fan and still can't believe he was sold to Leeds). We perhaps didn't see the best of him at Tannadice - he never got a proper run at it with the way Paul Dixon was playing - but I do remember us playing Spartak in the Europa League and he kept a 20 million winger in his pocket. West Brom paid (wait for it) £756,000 for him... but to be fair to him, he had flashes of quality when he was at United - but the team around him was in absolute free-fall. We could have had anyone playing in those few seasons, and they would have looked dreadful. Edit: this is factually incorrect, as he was there in the first half of the 2014-2015 when we were flying and left during the dreaded January 2015 transfer market. So his stint with us pre-dated our free-fall. Either way, we didn't see much quality from him. He's only been there for 3 weeks - surely even Nadir Ciftci can't get into a contract dispute that quickly!?
  7. Sending him out on loan to Hibs was an even stranger decision than letting him go. Despite his woeful injury record, we should never have let him go unless we had a solid replacement lined up - and I was never convinced that Ryan McGowan was a right-back (when compared to some of the left-backs at that time, it is amazing our scouts couldn't find anyone to improve on McGowan). I said that at the time and it hasn't looked any more sensible with hindsight. A quick search of the Arab Archive confirms that Mark Wilson had just turned 29 when he re-signed for us - I was sure (and he definitely looked like) he was in his mid-30s and cashing in one last contract! Dillon was brilliant for the first 4 or 5 years after he signed and when Levein did go back to basics and make us hard to beat, he was a huge part of that. But he lost any pace that he had, so was never going to be an effective full-back after that. I'd probably still pick him ahead of Mark Connolly, right enough... Mark Wilson, 2002-2006. In a dreadful team he was absolutely excellent. With all of the other dreadful decisions being made around that time, I had completely forgotten about Paul Dixon/Conor Townsend (who, incidentally, is now playing in the Premiership). A terrible swap.
  8. I don't think I'll ever forget Sean Dillon - a club legend. But I would consider him a centre-back that was pushed out to play right-back. He may well have been signed as a right-back and played there (and even left back...) when Levein insisted on playing four huge defenders, but I don't think I saw Dillon overlap a winger after about 2008.
  9. That's a fair (and, now that I think about it, absolutely scandalous) point - and perhaps explains why I think so highly of Liam Smith. So used to seeing a centre-back or centre-midfielder at right-back that Liam Smith looks incredible. Why did no manager in that period try to bring in a right-back (except for a 35 year old Mark Wilson)!? Very true.
  10. I really hope we get to see Glass play in the next couple of weeks - we desperately need someone to get on the ball in midfield. If he cannot get game time when we are missing a few players and are able to use 5 substitutes per game, he needs to out on loan to a Championship side before the start of their season. You don't rate Liam Smith? I thought he was excellent last season, easily our most consistent defender and our best right-back since Keith Watson - if he had even one decent centre-back alongside him he could be a solid Premiership level player. Yes it is, and yes it will be... If we can get him on a pay-per-play deal then I would be all for it. A quick Wikipedia search tells me that Stokes has barely scored a goal since he left Hibs in January 2018 - barring a spell for Tractor in Azerbaijan - but if he is desperate to leave Livi then he might be cheap and be extremely motivated in at least the four games we have against Livi. I'm sure that Robbie Neilson told Sow he could train with United until he was fully fit, despite the fact that his contract expired in May and would not be renewed. We did a similar thing with a goalkeeper a couple of years ago, if memory serves. Playing in a bounce game is hardly confirmation that he will be signed up and starting at the weekend... Brutal is a huge understatement.
  11. Butcher's performances have been quite worrying - I thought he was good against Hibs but that aside the games have passed him by. I always thought that he would be limited once he got the ball at his feet - but so far he isn't really getting the ball at his feet... Conversely, Siegrist looks absolutely brilliant. If it wasn't for him we could have lost by 10. I'm concerned that he might be snapped up before the window closes, as pretty sure he had English Championship sides looking at him last season. Does anyone know why Declan Glass isn't even getting 15 minutes in the midfield? Injured or just woeful? I'm not worried by the team, either, but am getting slightly concerned by the reactions of some Arabs. Memories are very short - these same players were losing to part-time teams last season. If we finish 10th this season then that is a great achievement, even if we do get a few more 4-0 hidings. Extremely harsh... he only made his professional debut 6 weeks ago. What were you expecting? Agreed on both points.
  12. I'm never comfortable when we make "big" signings - with the exception of Shankland (who was, technically at least, a free signing) I can't off the top of my head remember the last time that a big name worked out well. I'm thinking back to the days when we spent 100k on Collin Samuel, 275k on Lee Miller, 6k a week on Derek McInnes, ex-Champions League winner Sinima Pongolle etc. And don't even get me started on Alex Mathie. Micky Mellon was on the BBC English football podcast the other week, and cited Norwood as one of his biggest success stories at Tranmere - that he had given up on a bumper contract but turned things around and got himself a lucrative move to Ipswich. He obviously didn't expand on what lucrative was, but he implied that it was life-changing. With an already over-inflated salary structure, there is no way that we should be trying to compete with that... Let's agree to disagree, my friend, because... Great idea!
  13. It is. A similar point was made in @stumigoo's blog this week. Mellon has a refreshing habit of promoting the second-choice in a given position, rather than rushing someone back from injury or shoe-horning in someone completely inexperienced in that role, i.e. picking Kieran Freeman instead of roping in a winger, midfielder or centre-half to deputise. Long may it continue. I was one of the few that regularly backed Neilson on here, but I'm in total agreement with this - it is really, really early days but so far Mellon looks to be getting a lot more out of these same players than Neilson ever was. He played dull football and certainly did not over-perform, but he won us the league when other managers were nowhere close to doing that. He won't be inducted in the Hall of Fame any time soon, but he was not "fucking useless". This. Neilson did us a huge favour by leaving, because if he had been sacking after winning the league we would have looked like a laughing stock. I still can't quite believe how well we coped against Turnbull and Campbell last week.
  14. I thought Sporle was excellent yesterday - seems to have the confidence to run at anyone and, unlike other full/wing backs, is happy to cut inside as well as go on the outside. Considering he barely kicked a ball all of last season, he has got up to speed this term very quickly. Lining up without Robson and Smith at full back should have made us very vulnerable - but we handled County extremely well, and Sporle was a big part of that. Yes. Well, joint-top with Luke Bolton at least. In my eyes he was one of our best players against St Johnstone, dominated up against Turnbull and Campbell against Motherwell, and yesterday was as good as anyone (perhaps with the exception of Luke Bolton). He seems a lot more aggressive/energetic than last season and is the only midfielder that consistently goes beyond the strikers (whilst Harkes has also started brightly, he shoots from 30+ yards or passes the ball off - and very rarely has got himself beyond Appere) and is unlucky to only have one goal so far. In my likely unpopular opinion, at this present moment he is highlighting a lot of Butcher's weaknesses, i.e. an inability to get on the ball and play positive passes when games are relatively calm (Butcher played well when forced to scrap it out with Gogic against Hibs, but the other games have largely bypassed him) - Mellon was quite right to bring him off yesterday. As I said on this thread before, last season Pawlett showed some glimpses of absolute quality (in 6-2 and 6-0 home wins, admittedly) but was far too inconsistent and looked really lethargic/tired at times. This season is only 4 games old, granted, but thus far looks a completely different player - fully fit and probably benefiting more than anyone else from an absence of groans from the George Fox...
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