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  1. I am a deeply concerned Dundee United fan, I realise i'm not alone here and hope that by getting some of my feelings down I can begin to heal and hope that it can encourage fellow Arabs to do the same and we can get back on track. Football is so important to us, it has the power to make us happy or deeply depressed almost on a weekly basis, make or break our weekends. In many ways it defines us, it forms a vital part of our identity. For all of these reasons we need to voice our opinions and get things off our chests, I get that and understand the emotions, but throughout the Steven Thompson era, we have all gone wildly off piste and now that Thompson has relinquished control we must now come together, get behind the team and get back to being United again! Some of my frustrations in the current plight have been brought to light by recent comments made by former player, Coll Donaldson. Coll was signed by Jackie MacNamara when we were in the Premiership as a young player with potential to break into the first team. This never really materialised, his opportunities were few and far between and sadly when he did get some game time, he looked nervous and made mistakes. This isn't uncommon for young players and I feel strongly that young players should be given some slack when breaking into the first team, all of us are human and we all make mistakes, we don't all work in such a public arena but we all must have opportunities and we learn from our mistakes. United fans have not been very patient with players in recent times and this has contributed to our demise. I am sure this has had a negative effect, I hear it in the stands every time I make it to a game and it saddens me. In Coll's case, he came off the bench in a game when we were going for a clean sheet record, he made a bad mistake with his first touch and it cost us a goal. Shocker really and fans are understandably upset and annoyed at the mistake – but we must show support and solidarity, because without it we are totally lost! Footballers performances are not solely down to ability, performances are effected by morale, confidence, form, talent, relationships with managers, fans, players etc.. Many factors contribute to player and team performances and things got so bad for Coll at Tannadice because of some mistakes and subsequent fan pressure that the Manager couldn't pick the player for fear of him making another mistake and that is a real problem. Sadly this is not a problem that has only effected one player, I fully believe that many player performances have been effected in recent times. Paul McMullan for example, he is an exciting player when on form, the kind of player that United fans really take to, a winger that takes players on and creates chances, similar to great United players of the past from Eamon Bannon to Paddy Connolly or Robbie Winters to Craig Conway. We've a great history of exciting wingers and it something that were proud of. McMullan was the type of player we were crying out for last season and many fans were excited to see him in Tangerine, he started the season well and then a story broke about him playing 5 a-sides with his friends. It affected his form and some fans turned on him, I was at Tony Macaroni Arena for an away game to Livingston and we were very poor that day losing 2-0, we seemed to have no idea how they were going to play and couldn't cope with their direct and physical style – i'll come back to this. But McMullan was struggling to get into the game and on the wing in front of the United fans, he was taking abuse from 1 United fan in particular, citing the 5 a-sides story. I could visably see the disgust and surprise in his face and it was alarming. His form obviously suffered as a result and it's only been in recent weeks we've seen him return to confidence. Negativity is at the root of the problem at Tannadice and it is endemic. Ever since Steven Thompson decided to sell Stuart Armstrong + Gary Mackay-Steven late on transfer deadline day and seemingly throw money at Robbie Muirhead (£150k and he was later released for free whilst under contract), things at Tannadice have not been right. Toxic was the word Donaldson used and I tend to agree, Thompson has made a series of regrettable decisions: aforementioned transfers, McNamara's bizarre contract, extended Australian holiday when club was in need of leadership, I could go on, those are the most memorable. Sadly this toxicity has spread and I fully believe that former manager Ray McKinnon suffered as a result. Ray is United through and through and i'm in no doubt that he was trying his damnedest to get us back up and despite us having an unbalanced squad he was very unlucky not to get us up at the firstly attempt. Painful though it is, let's not forget the referee admitted he got it wrong immediately after the first leg of the Playoff against Hamilton. Refreshing to hear a referee being so honest after a match – it does little to appease us now. We should have had a penalty and 10 minutes to go and get a second goal with 11 vs 11 – let's not forget that Simon Murray was sent off for diving also! It does little to appease us as Arabs, but spare a thought for Ray McKinnon – he would've been a hero if he had got us up at the first attempt amid clear unrest at the club. Instead he's without a job and I firmly believe that he is very unfortunate not only because the referee got a major, match defining decision so incredibly wrong, but also because his reign suffered in the face of the negatively that defined the Thompson Jnr era. The positivity that carried United to promotion via the Playoffs back in the 90's was clearly missing during McKinnon's reign, I appreciate that the team has to get the fans excited but when times are tough it is our job to try to lift the team, sadly this hasn't happened very often in recent times. Having been to the St Mirren and Livingston away defeats this season and in both games we were well off the pace, I mentioned above the Livingston style of play seemed to catch the team by surprise – it was no surprise to me! On the basis of these performances you can see why Ray was sacked, we appeared to be tactically naïve and underprepared, which is indefensible. In the end there weren't many United fans who would argue when McKinnon was sacked. However, I do not believe that under McKinnons' charge we would have been humbled 6-1 by lowly Falkirk, or gone 10 games with only 1 win! The Laszlo reign has been absolutey dire so far, but I think he will get to the end of the season, whether we agree with that or not (it is certainly hard to), we must try to be positive and get behind the team as there is still a chance we could win promotion. I was lucky enough to have made it to the Falkirk Away Playoff game last season and the fans were brilliant that day. Falkirk were the better team in that game and were 1-0 up from early on, but on that day we got behind the team and kept singing, the stand was packed and we got noisier and noisier until we equalised and we raised the roof! From that moment onwards there was only one winner and we scored late on to win and not one United fan left for around 10 / 15 mins as we stayed to sing and celebrate as for the first time that season we believed that we could get promoted again. It was magical and it shows the power fans can have, we must be positive and even when we're getting beaten, we must believe that our positivity / our singing can lift the team to success. As a self employed, Glasgow based fan, I don't get to as many games as i'd like, usually between 5-10 games a season. I used to go more often when I was younger and perhaps my favourite season supporting United was when we were in the second tier back in the 90's. I got to lots of games that season, probably 25 or so and got to lots of new grounds: Dumbarton, Dunfermline, Morton, Clydebank, Dundee (my first derby!). It was exciting! We were the biggest team in the league and it was a very competitive league, Morton had a great side, Dunfermline were strong, even Dundee were alright! Last day of the season we were away to Morton and we could've won the league with a win and if Airdrie (with Paddy Connolly in the team) got something from Dunfermline. We ended up drawing 2-2 and came up via the Playoffs in really dramatic fashion against Partick Thistle. It was an amazing season and we had a brilliant team: Billy McKinlay, Jim Bett, Craig Brewster Gary McSweegan, Andy McLaren, Robbie Winters, Owen Coyle, and Steven Pressley just some of the stars In that squad. The team was a joy to watch and despite us being in the second tier, Tannadice was generally filled with positivity and the team played with confidence and the fans were in great voice every week. I have very fond memories of that season, sadly there is very little comparison to our current trip to tier two of Scottish Football.
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