This will not be a long one and it certainly will not be a happy one. In fact you were close to not getting anything at all.
After a two week break from writing I was looking forward to a long blog post summarising everything from the Alloa game to Shankland’s Scotland performances and from Neilson’s contract extension to Asghar’s interviews outlining the club’s vision for the next few years.
Then, we kicked-off against Queen of the South and it all fell apart.
What I, and over 700 other travelling fans witnessed yesterday was nothing short of a disgrace. I hated it. Sitting in that stand was not enjoyable and by the end it felt like all the good credit built up early on in the season had well and truly vanished. It was a performance that left me not only incredibly frustrated but also very, very angry at having to sit alongside other fans who were all quite clearly, and quite understandably going through the very same emotions. It was a repeat of a story we’ve seen many times before. It was a thoroughly depressing afternoon and one that will take a long time to forget.
Something I have always had a weakness for is the inability to switch off post-match. I sift through all the social media reaction, all the Facebook comments and all the forum posts. It’s not that I go into a deep huff or become difficult to be around, I just consume myself with all the fallout and can’t seem to turn it off. Yesterday’s performance and then fan reaction was as bad as I have seen it in a long time and it is understandable. I struggle to detach when it comes to United and a day like yesterday genuinely ruins my weekend and beyond.
We are currently caught in a potentially damaging disconnect. This disconnect exists between the very public image and positive PR that the club are creating and then the performances and reaction on the pitch. Fans are told, very regularly, about the high standards and high ambition culture at Tannadice and yet time and time again we are let down when it comes to the crunch. Being so public about how professional and how ambitious you are means that you have to back your words up with the action needed. When you fail it leaves a bitter taste. Fans are told that things are changing, there is a vision for the club, we are targeting Europe within a few seasons and that through this plan we must stick with the team.
You then travel hundreds of miles to watch that? I’m sorry, it is not acceptable.
I have mentioned time and time again that I do not have unrealistic ambitions and I totally, totally accept losing is a part of football. This league is unforgiving and we were always going to suffer bumps in the road. What I cannot, and will never accept, is a ‘nothingness’ and a failure to compete. Since being in this division, and yet again this year, we fail to compete in certain fixtures. We simply do not turn up. It happened against Ayr United and it happened against Alloa. We are then told that after two weeks of working hard we would see one hell of a reaction against Queen of the South…
By my reckoning, out of the nine games we have played, we can level that ‘not turning up’ attitude and performance in at least three of them (and possibly four if you include the Arbroath game despite the late comeback). It isn’t a great percentage when you start to dig deeper and we now face three games in a week against Dunfermline, Partick and Inverness.
What I don’t want to do right now is get into a discussion about Neilson’s new contract. I also don’t want to mention where we are in the league table at the moment (as bizarre as it might be). Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty I might want to say but I could talk all day about recruitment, tactics, weaknesses and concerns. As I mentioned earlier though, my all consuming attitude to United would only get worse if I did (and I want to enjoy my Sunday). Maybe when I have a bit of energy back I’ll give it a go, otherwise it will be post-Dunfermline next Saturday and hopefully by then things will look a little rosier.
So, no player ratings, no tactical discussions and no more writing this week. I don’t want to waste anymore energy discussing things that I can avoid for the time being. All I really care about right now is the feeling of total dejection after all the travelling, all the talk, all the supporting and then………an embarrassing and pathetic performance that leaves us all wondering; at the end of this first quarter are we YET AGAIN making a complete mess of this division?
I don’t want to end this on complete deflation, so before you do leave, here is something that make take the edge off –