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Review Of 2011 Part 1

Review Of 2011 Part 1
 

Posted Tuesday 3rd January 2012

2011 started with a trip to Pittodrie on January 1st. David Goodwillie saved the day after a poor United showing with a 95th minute strike to make it 1-1 and salvage a point.

That week, ArabTRUST's then Chairman Stephen Simpson, along with Board members Mike Barile and Christopher Bennison, would visit Hampden Park for a meeting with SPL Chief Executive Neil Doncaster. ArabTRUST made it clear that an overwhelming number of its members were not in favour of the proposed 10 team SPL motion.

The following Saturday saw Ross County pay a visit to Tannadice in the Scottish Cup. The game ended 0-0 and was only noteworthy due to it being possibly the most boring 90 minutes anybody could remember seeing! It was a cold, miserable afternoon and certainly not one conducive to silky football.

Three days later, United cruised to a 2-0 home win over Motherwell with goals coming from Russell and a late, cool finish from Goodwillie.

After no less than 7 postponements due to the appalling weather of late 2010, the first game of the year to be called off was the Hearts visit to Tannadice.

A rain lashed Tuesday night in Dingwall saw United taken to penalties in the Scottish Cup replay. The heroics of Steve Banks saw United go through 4-3. The Englishman was awarded Man of the Match after a fine performance overall.

Rugby Park was next. The outstanding Connor Sammon put Killie ahead on 41 minutes but Kenneth salvaged a point with an astonishing 35 yard thunderbolt giving Cammy Bell no chance whatsoever. Sean Dillon's fine form was growing ever more noteworthy.

Away to St.Mirren, United could only muster a point. Seven minutes before the break, the home side went ahead. It was looking like it wouldn’t be United's day with Goodwillie twice hitting the crossbar but on 88 minutes, David Robertson bagged a late header to finish honours even.

January was rounded off with a sensational victory over Hibs at Tannadice. Daly got us off to a flying start with Conway clear on goal to slot it home for 2-0. Conway would also assist super-sub Russell on 81 minutes for 3-0 to bag all the points.

Sean Dillon was voted ArabTRUST Player of the Month for January 2011

On Friday 3rd February, the ArabTRUST sponsored Dundee United Hall of Fame would see Kenny Cameron, John Holt, Duncan Hutchison, Frank Kopel, Erik Pedersen and Lennart Wing inducted.

Yet another late cancelation saw a Wednesday away trip to Inverness postponed.

The following Saturday was a wonderful lunch-time visit to New Douglas Park. Daly and Dixon put United 2-0 up but Antoine-Curier responded to the Shed End's jeers by scoring right after the re-start. On the hour mark, Prince Buaben volleyed it in to send the large Arab contingent into a frenzy for 3-1.

The following game saw United brought back down to Earth losing 3-1 to Glasgow Celtic at Tannadice. Goodwillie was the scorer for us that day but in fairness, 3-1 was probably about right. Despite the result, it was an entertaining game for the neutral and there was plenty to be optimistic about for the rest of the season.

The winter farce continued when another game was postponed the following Wednesday against Hamilton at Tannadice in the league.

The 20th of February was just not United's day. A late Zaliukas header at Tynecastle made it 2-1 to the home team despite Barry Douglas giving us the early lead. The outstanding Kello secured all of the points for Hearts when Goodwillie failed to convert a late penalty. The closing stages were frantic and we deserved to take at least a point but it just wasn't to be. United would rue this result come May.

Three days later and we were away again, this time at McDiarmid. On a freezing cold night, a dull 0-0 draw was served up despite a gutsy showing from both sides.

The month was rounded off with another point, this time away at New Douglas Park again. Antoine-Curier had put Hamilton ahead with a 33rd minute soft penalty but substitute Andis Shala was on target on 83 minutes to save the embarrassment of a near loss to bottom (and too often bogey team) Accies.

Sean Dillon again took ArabTRUST's Player of the Month award.

The re-arranged game at the Caladonian Stadium went ahead this time with United taking all 3 points with a cool, professional showing. Goodwillie provided both assists to give Buaben and David Robertson the scoring plaudits. A good March in the SPL was underway.

ArabTRUST's Race Night to raise funds for the United Youth System took place at Club 83, Dundee that week.

Aberdeen were next to visit Tannadice. A fantastic playing surface saw United get a 3-1 win over the Dons with Douglas, Conway and Swanson all finding the net. One incident of note during this game was an ominous overhead strike on goal from Goodwillie - but the acrobatic thunderbolt just smacked off the post.

Hamilton were our next victims. Flavio Paixao got the visitors ahead on 26 minutes but Goodwillie pulled one back for us just before half time. Goodie was again in the thick of it when he assisted Daly two minutes into injury time to make it 2-1 to the Shed.

The following Saturday would see one of the seasons most sensational games with one of the most astonishing goals ever witnessed on our famous soil.

United's Scottish Cup defence against Motherwell took a blow just 50 seconds in when John Sutton headed from a corner into the back of the net.

As the first half was drawing to a close, nobody could have predicted what was about to happen next. Actually, cancel that. Such was Goodwillie's form that the next goal was entirely predictable. Scoring goals for fun had been his season so far. Troubles off the park meant that the Scotland star was putting everything into his football. Taunts from the away fans only galvanized the SPL's hottest property and the spectacular goal had been coming.

Football fans the world over watched with mouths open in February when Manchester United's Wayne Rooney struck an overhead kick into the net against Manchester City at Old Trafford. People marvelled over it and YouTube plays of the wonder strike were in the millions.

But Goodie's one was better.

Keith Watson's cross was met with a truly sensational overhead shot whilst Goodwillie was being man-marked. He caught it sweet giving keeper Darren Randolph no chance. His boot connected flush, the technique exquisite, the power unstoppable.

Gone was the bleach blond lad with the pop star attitude. David Goodwillie had completed a transition in the eyes of many.

The second half saw Daly come on as a sub. He came close with his first touch of the ball after his header went just over from a Douglas corner. But against the run of play, Motherwell went 2-1 up courtesy of Sutton.

But the lads showed the never-say-die sprit that had characterised the season and made it 2-2 a minute later. Swanson chased down a ball into the channel and crossed to the far post where the unmarked Daly slotted past Randolph.

A fantastic 90 minutes of drama ended honours even. United would face St Johnstone or Brechin in the Semi Final provided that they could win the replay at Fir.

That week, ArabTRUST's Mike Barile resigned from his position as ArabTRUST Associate Director. United would release a statement via dundeeunitedfc.co.uk to assure fans that relations between the two parties were still as strong as ever.

United would next play for the third time in six days. It was a Wednesday night under the lights and the evening RullsellMania was born. The Terrors fourth league win on the trot was secured as Johnny Russell scored two fantastic goals with an 82nd minute header and a 90th minute beauty to take all the marbles.

The intense schedule continued with another home fixture at Tannadice, this time we entertained ITC. Having thrashed us 4-0 fair and square at the start of the season, United did not need another poor showing at this stage. But we needn’t have worried. Swanaldinho scored the only goal of the game from a Scott Robertson assist to get the win on 43 minutes.

United would round off what was, up until then, a superb month with the Scottish Cup replay at Fir. 5 SPL wins and a draw in the Cup was well deserved, but the good times would end abruptly on Wednesday 30th March.

Over 4,000 Arabs made the journey to Motherwell sensing victory. We were the Cup holders and nobody was going to stop us making it to Hampden again. But Stuart McCall's men hadn't read the script.

The Shed end was silenced on 8 minutes when Jamie Murphy scored first, Chris Humphrey would get the second. United were just not at the races, but only 2-0 down, the away fans gave the lads thunderous vocal support when they came out for the second half. It would be okay, they will have pulled themselves together in the dressing room and we could do it. It wasn't to be and Francis Jeffers would see to that on 63 minutes. The Istanbul come back didn't materialise. It was a blessing that we hadn't conceded more, actually.

What is considered by some to be the worst United performance in recent memory came to an end on what has to be one of the most depressing and bitterly disappointing nights in our Club's fine history. The United family ended March hurting.

David Goodwillie would take the ArabTRUST Player of the Month shield. The presentation photo was a memorable one with Johnny Russell presenting his friend Goodie with the award, both modelling the latest ArabTRUST merchandise - RussellMania t-shirts!

April would get underway in style. A deflated United went to Ibrox and dusted themselves off from the misery of the Scottish Cup exit.

Jelavic put Rangers ahead on 19 minutes but David Robertson pulled one back just before half time. The assist came from Danny Swanson, 'Treble Buster's' technique was absolute quality. Had it been Lionel Messi, the goal would have been replayed over and over on TV Sports channels with pundits marvelling over the timing.

United meant business after the re-start but Naismith put the home side ahead on 52 minutes. But the RussellMania phenomenon continued that Saturday afternoon with a superb header from Johnny that flew into the back of the net to make it 2-2.

What came next was just beautiful!

In the 89th minute, Rangers had a corner that resulted in the ball firing off the United bar. But Craig Conway reacted to win the ball and played it to Morgaro Gomis deep inside the United half. 'Jimmy' then played a delightful ball through to a perfectly isolated Goodwillie inside the Rangers half. He had Conway alongside him for company but Goodie fancied this one himself. The small band of plucky Arabs in attendance held their breath as David slotted past MacGregor to make it 3-2 right in front of us.

Hysterical celebrations ensued, bodies were everywhere and the previous Wednesday night had been forgotten for that moment. A sweet, sweet victory and six SPL wins from six.

But the Fir Park curse would remain as United lost 2-1 the following Wednesday night in the SPL. Russell scored on 79 minutes but the points would not be coming back to Tannadice.

ArabTRUST's AGM took place on Saturday 9th April with special guest Neil Doncaster.

Russell would again score on 45 minutes, this time against St.Johnstone in a home game. David Robertson would seal the victory 5 minutes from time in a professional showing from the team. It was Johnny Russell's fifth goal in 5 SPL games.

United Hall of Famer Jimmy Briggs passed away that Saturday aged 74. The former Captain was inducted in to the Class of 2008 in recognition of his 401 appearances. He was a part of the team that famously beat Barcelona in 1966. 'Gunboat' was one of the special guests at ArabTRUST’s Launch event held in the Tangerine Club (now Club 83) on 1st February 2003. He had even donated a pair of his old football socks that were subsequently raffled and won by himself!

Unfortunately, the high jinx of our last visit to Ibrox would not be repeated. We got thumped by Rangers at Tannadice 4-0, two of those goals being penalties. Kovachevic was sent off in his first game back from injury, and despite it being outside the box, Sean Dillon was sent off for bringing Jelavic down which lead to the second spot kick.

The McCurry-esque farce continued with Gomis being sent off for the slightest of touches on the theatrical Diouf. Whilst one can debate all one may like, the penalties would never have been given up at the other end and Willie Collum was not popular with the home fans again.

Galvanized and emboldened by their team's convincing victory and in defiance of pleas from several quarters, including Walter Smith, Rangers fans could be heard singing chants of an obvious sectarian nature. Following complaints by members, ArabTRUST would release a statement via arabtrust.co.uk addressing the chants and to call for an end. It would prove to be a controversial move with the statement making headlines in all major Scottish papers, radio stations and news agencies.

A sensational victory for United would happen at home to Killie. United were 2-0 up at half time courtesy of Severin and Goodwillie. Goodie again found the back of the net on 47 minutes and 120 seconds later from 20 yards, Conway lashed a wicked shot past Bell into the top shelf. Absolute peach.

Killie did score on 70 minutes and 3 minutes from time but they were mere consolation goals. It was a wonderful game with the Tangerines enjoying their football. Great to see.

Johnny Russell picked up the April 2011 Player of the Month gong.

United would lose 4-1 at Parkhead. Sub Johnny Russell did find the net on 91 minutes for a consolation goal but otherwise, it was an afternoon better best forgotten.

Our home form continued and the defeat at the hands of Celtic was comprehensively taken out on a poor Motherwell. Jon Daly showed why he is a striker's striker with his ‘Perfect Hat-trick' - one left foot, one right and one headed. Keith Watson also found the back of the net for the first time and the 3 points would secure 4th place in the SPL.

Despite a superb second half showing, Jelavic and Lafferty would dash United's hopes of a third place finish on the 10th of May, beating us 2-0. It was the last game in charge of Glasgow Rangers at Ibrox for former United player and Premier League winning Assistant Manager Walter Smith.

The last game of the season was at Tannadice against Hearts who'd already secured third place. Goodwillie put us one up on 22 minutes with Daly bagging the second on 71 minutes to finish the SPL campaign with 61 points. Celtic would go on to win the Scottish Cup meaning United would again see Europa competition for the second year running. In his final game in Tangerine, Morgaro Gomis had put in another five star performance. He would be one of several stars that would leave for pastures new…

Jon Daly would win the final ArabTRUST Player of the Month shield of the season.

Click HERE for part 2.

Click HERE for the 2010 review.

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