Dundee United Summer 2018

I’ve started then deleted several different types of posts (many written whilst highly emotional) but I have decided that I should let go of my anger and disappointment to focus on the here and now.

We are all very, very angry at the way our league campaign ended and most United supporters are also still very confused as to how Csaba Laszlo remains in charge after failing to gain promotion. The Hungarian has a genuine vote of confidence by Mike Martin and he will be given the freedom of Tannadice when it comes to a summer overhaul that has already started with the termination of nearly 20 playing contracts. We have also seen staffing changes in recent weeks and if rumours are to be believed the changes in coaching, youth and recruitment are not yet over. Remember, Mike Martin stated when he first became Chairman to judge him on his actions…

The purpose of this blog post is similar to one I did in January. I will hopefully update things every few days and add detail when there is concrete and confirmed news regarding signings or any other changes at the club. Brace yourselves, it could be an incredibly busy summer with the addition of at least a dozen new players and changes in backroom staff, the boardroom and, if there is a god, the pies at Tannadice (unfortunately I made up that last bit). I will not be updating this page with rumours or paper talk, the summer is full of ‘names on a dartboard’ type journalism and this is only made worse with a number of social media accounts claiming to be “in the know”. Until something officially happens there is no point in reporting on it.

So with all of that in mind…

Current 1st Team Squad

Stewart Murdoch (contracted until 2019)

Tam Scobbie (contracted until 2019)

Lewis Toshney (contracted until 2019)

Paul McMullan (contracted until 2019)

Billy King (contracted until 2019)

Sam Stanton (contracted until 2020)

William Edjenguele (contracted until 2019)

Jamie Robson (contract extended until 2020)

Scott Allardice (new contract lasting until 2019)

James Keatings (contracted until 2019)

Deniz Mehmet (contract extension into next season)

Fraser Fyvie (new contract lasting until 2020)

Matty Smith (contracted until 2020)

Josh Donaldson (new contract until 2020)

Nicky Clark (signed until 2020)

Callum Booth (signed until 2020)

Sam Wardrop (signed until 2020)

Fraser Aird (signed until 2020)

Craig Curran (signed until 2021)

Frederic Frans (signed until 2020)

Benjamin Siegrist (signed until 2020)

Matej Rakovan (signed until 2020)

Christoph Rabitsch (signed until 2020)

Adam Barton (signed until 2020)

Paul Watson (signed until 2020)

Yannick Loemba (signed until 2020)

Pavol Safranko (loan until 2019)

Rachid Bouhenna (signed until 2020)

Released/Transferred Players

Willo Flood, Bilel Mohsni, Mark Durnan, Cammy Ballantyne, Jordie Briels, Paul Quinn, Grant Gillespie, Emil Lyng, Thomas Mikkelsen, Harry Lewis, Anthony Ralston, Craig Slater, Brandon Mason, Scott McDonald, Brett Long, Graham Taylor, Dom McMeekin and Logan Martin, Idris Kadded, James Keatings.

Staffing Changes

Goalkeeping Coach Stuart Garden has left the club. He joined in 2015 as part of Mixu Paatelainen’s backroom squad. Craig Easton arrives as Reserve Team manager and Scott Robertson has joined him but will take responsibility of the U18s side. German coach Werner Burger joins the coaching staff. Former Livingston and Hearts goalkeeper Neil Alexander arrives as a Goalkeeping Coach. Fitness coach Csaba Gabris joins the club.

Due to health concerns Werner Burger has had to leave the club and return to Germany.

Other Club News

United’s new 2018/19 Home and Away Kits – 



New Signings/Contract Extensions

17th May – Fraser Fyvie signs a new two-year deal at the club. 

18th May – Declan Glass and Logan Chalmers sign contract extensions that run until 2020.

21st May – Deniz Mehmet signs a contract extension that runs into next season.

22nd May – Jamie Robson signs a new two-year deal and Scott Fraser leaves the club.

23rd May – Striker Nicky Clark joins the club from Dunfermline. He has signed a two year contract.

28th May – Matty Smith signs contract extension until 2020.

30th May – Former Partick Thistle left-back Callum Booth signs on a two-year deal.

31st May – Right-back Sam Wardrop arrives on a two year contract from Celtic.

1st June – Striker Craig Curran signs from Ross County on a three-year deal and is joined by Fraser Aird who pens a two-year contract after leaving Dunfermline. An announcement is also made regarding the club’s scouting team with the addition of Dave Bowman as Head Scout for Scotland and the confirmation that Paul Sturrock is now the club’s Chief Scout. Finally Craig Easton returns to Tannadice as Reserve Team manager.

8th June – Scott Robertson returns to Tannadice as U18s coach.

14th June – German coach Werner Burger joins the backroom staff.

15th June – Defender Frederic Frans joins on a two year deal.

18th June – Swiss Goalkeeper Benjamin Siegrist has signed a two year deal. Soon after this was announced we also welcomed goalkeeper Matej Rakovan to the club.

19th June – Neil Alexander arrives as a coach and the club announce the signing of midfielder Cristophe Rabitsch.

14th July – Much of what has happened this week has already been covered in two separate blog posts but to sum it up Stephen Thompson has sold his shares and is no longer involved with Dundee United. We also signed Adam Barton on a two-year deal.

16th July – Lewis Toshney leaves the club until January as he joins Arbroath on loan. 

20th July – Central defender Paul Watson joins on a two0year deal after leaving Falkirk in May. 

25th July – Belgian winger Yannick Loemba signs a two-year deal at Tannadice after leaving his previous club in Turkey.

10th August – The club sign target-man Pavel Safranko from AaB on a one-year loan deal.

31st August – James Keatings leaves the club to join Hamilton for an undisclosed fee. Algerian defender Rachid Bouhenna joins on a two-year contract.

Opinions and Ramblings

This last bit will probably be chopped, changed and edited as the summer moves on but what I don’t want it to be is a look back at the problems we had last season. We all know the issues facing the club and we all know how badly the team performed after the January transfer window so this is more of a look forward. As a Dundee United fan I am still very aware of the major problems at Tannadice but as a football fan I am, maybe naively, still very excited every summer when a large number of players leave and a new squad are assembled. There will be rumours every day linking us with players of a decent calibre and we probably will still have the largest budget in the Championship next year but on paper the division will be tougher so the club MUST get recruitment right. The manager, who many of us expected to leave, will be under intense scrutiny and will not be given any flexibility once the new season begins.

17th May – The first positive piece of news arrived in the shape of Fraser Fyvie extending his stay at Tannadice. Anyone who watched United between October and December of last year will know that Fyvie was pretty much our best player and we can look to his injury as the beginning of our season falling apart. There will undoubtedly be question marks over his fitness and injury proneness but if Fyvie can stay fit the prospect of him playing alongside Sam Stanton for a full season is certainly one that should fill fans with hope. He is easily one of the best players in the division.

21st May – With no real news other than an obscene amount of speculation it has been all quiet at Tannadice these last few days. It is disappointing not to have seen more activity by now but we do need to be patient as transfer negotiations can take time. The one piece of contract news announced today was the extension of Deniz Mehmet’s deal. The goalkeeper only really broke into the team during the last few games and if it wasn’t for a freak injury he would have finished the season as the club’s first choice goalkeeper. I’m pleased he has been given a longer deal but we definitely still need more competition in the goalkeeping department.

22nd May – This afternoon the club announced that Jamie Robson had signed a new contract. As little as 6 months ago there was talk in media about Robson leaving this summer to go and join one of a number of sides in England who had apparently been scouting the young fullback. After an ill-advised moment of madness over the festive period things started to change for Robson and his form suffered. Fans started to question his commitment and many were vocal about the club’s handling of his Snapchat incident. Many fans, myself included, struggle to see what the future holds for a player who still has a great deal to learn but Csaba Laszlo obviously thinks he can be an important part of the squad. The club still need more cover in the fullback area so you wouldn’t think that he has been signed to be number one choice and hopefully we bring in some experience at the back so that we are not reliant on Robson.

It has also been announced that Scott Fraser has left the club. This move was always on the cards and although there is no indication of where he might end up he will get a club very quickly. Probably one of the most frustrating players we’ve had in a number of years Fraser is incredibly talented but does need to work on being a bit more physical and tactically aware. He probably needs a fresh start.

23rd May –Dunfermline striker Nicky Clark has joined United. I am pretty pleased with this deal. We have managed to secure an experienced striker who averages 10-15 goals a season and he is someone who knows the division very well. With James Keatings returning to fitness it is a good base to start from in terms of the forward area. We probably still need a target man and hopefully the club are working hard to make this happen.

28th May – No real developments coming out of Tannadice but a contract extension has been given to Matty Smith. He has shown flashes of real promise but has also never really nailed down a spot in Laszlo’s starting lineup. A decent piece of business.

30th May – We signed a left-back! Former Partick Thistle defender Callum Booth has joined on a two-year deal. I actually watched the playoffs thinking he looked decent and when he was listed as one of the players to be released by Partick I thought he might add depth to the squad and would make a decent enough signing. He enjoys getting forward and will add a great deal of creativity down the left flank. Booth is an experienced player having played over 200 first team games and should become a consistent and reliable presence in the United backline. Overall I’m pleased with this one and pleased we have made a left-back a priority signing.

31st May – After securing a left-sided defender yesterday it is great to hear that today we have signed a right-back from Celtic. In Sam Wardrop United have managed to secure the services of a young, highly thought of player with a great deal of potential. Wardrop, who had an impressive loan spell with Dumbarton last season, enjoys getting forward and is defensively very sound. A former captain of the Celtic youth setup he will provide great balance on the right hand side and it is a signing we should be really pleased with.

1st June – The busiest day of the summer so far. Two new signings, new roles for Dave Bowman and Paul Sturrock plus the return of Craig Easton as he becomes Reserve Team manager. I must say that this has been an enjoyable couple of weeks so far and it is great to be getting so much news and how regular the developments have been. I think it is probably the case that some of the signings were made a number of days ago and it is PR by the club to announce them separately to give fans a constant stream of news but we are busy and that is a positive. I am pretty pleased with both Aird and Curran as I think they can both add a lot of energy in the attacking areas but both have suffered from big dips in form during their careers. The squad still needs reinforcements in the defence and we still need a new goalkeeper but with two weeks before the start of pre-season it is looking likely that we will have much of our business done before the players return.

14th June –A quiet couple of weeks at Tannadice. The return of Scott Robertson to United as U18 coach was the only real piece of news up until this evening when it was announced that long-term friend and colleague of Csaba Laszlo, Werner Burger, has joined the coaching staff at the club. The German had been heavily linked with a move to United and things were made official today. Not entirely sure what kind of impact this might have but it does look like we have a very strong set of coaches at the club (and we may still add a goalkeeping specialist to this). The general consensus is that we may add two or three to the squad this weekend so watch this space…

15th June – Thankfully the rebuild continues and we can now boast an experienced central defender who should become a key player for United. I am delighted with the capture of Frédéric Frans and I was always impressed with him whilst he was at Partick. His previous (and childhood) club Lierse have been recently liquidated so Frans arrives as a free agent. This is a really important signing for the club and if we can secure at least one more central defender with a decent pedigree then we have the makings of a very solid defence. Frans is an experienced captain and is the type of leader we need.

18th June – We’ve added two goalkeepers to the squad! I would be lying if I said I knew anything about Benjamin Siegrist but he has had a pretty varied career and at 26 he is at a good age. It looks like he has spent much of his careers a backup and was only number one choice at his previous club Vaduz. In terms of Matej Rakovan he is a bit more experienced and is someone we had been linked with previously. He has also signed a two year deal and you would imagine he will start the season as first choice.

19th June – A surprising addition to the coaching staff in the shape of Neil Alexander. I thought he was excellent for Livingston last season and assumed that he would like a final season in the top flight before retiring. He has decided to join United and I personally think it could be a great addition for the club. He is a winner, young in terms of coaching and will bring a real enthusiasm to the coaching staff. On the player front we have signed Austrian Cristophe Rabistch. Like a few of our other new signings we don’t really know much about Rabitsch other than he is a combative, defensive midfielder and at 22 he is a good age.

14th July – Seems like ages since we’ve signed someone but today Adam Barton makes it to Tannadice on a two-year deal. He was previously with Partick and can play in midfield or as a central defender. Mixed reports from the Patrick fans suggest there is a player there but he hasn’t shown it often enough. Here’s hoping…

25th July – Two new signings to update you on. Defender Paul Watson has signed after leaving Falkirk. The club used a bizarre video to announce the signing, featuring this blog strangely, and it drew the club some media attention as a result. It is fair to say that Falkirk fans are pretty mixed on Watson so the signing is a bit underwhelming on paper. As for Yannick Loemba well nobody really knows much about the Belgian winger. He has  a YouTube compilation but so does every other footballer. His record is patchy and it is possibly a risk giving him a two-year contract. Time will tell.

10th August – On paper United have added the last piece of the puzzle to this year’s squad. We have been crying out for a physical presence upfront and now Csaba Laszlo has secured the signing of Pavol Šafranko to fill that role. Having previously worked with Šafranko the United manager has said that he is incredibly good in the air and a very hardworking striker. It sounds promising but we have been here before with other signings. You would expect this to be the last piece of business for the club and it almost certainly signals the end of James Keatings as a United player.