GLF 71 : Ricky enjoyed the 4-0 win at Tannadice
Things have certainly picked up for us since the last GLF, an unbeaten run which included an absolutely magnificent win at Tannadice, it's quite amazing just how things can turn around in football with a few good results.The win at Tannadice was all the more impressive when you consider how well United had done against the rest of the SPL, including the big two, this season.And it wasn't just a late, or narrow, win - this was an absolute gubbing of a side rated by many as the best side outside the Old Firm this season.The only thing which disappointed me about it was that I wasn't there!I was in Newcastle and left just before kick-off, and for the first hour or so listening to Radio Five Live you only got the odd update.
They concentrated on the fact Aberdeen were demolishing Celtic, all very well, but when you are desperate for news you don't want to be hearing any of that nonsense.Anyway, I was quite delighted to hear Fitzy had put us ahead, but I almost ran the car off the A69 when they went back to Pittodrie - and dropped the news it was now Dundee United 0 Motherwell 3!!
Now, being Motherwell, and having followed them for all these years, I know only too well that even if you are three up at the break you don't take anything for granted.However, I managed to get Radio Scotland and listen in to the game.
You can imagine my delight when Ports scored the fourth and put the game to bed.I got a few looks from other drivers as I tooted the horn with much glee, then the realisation that I missed what was effectively revenge for that 1-6 game back in 1995 sank in and it took a bit of sheen off it for me.Never mind, though, the fact the club got a magic result and pushed ourselves back into contention for a Top Six place more than made up for it.It was United's first defeat at home since August, and first in 19 games overall.
Add to it they were unbeaten against the Old Firm both home and away this season (in four out of five SPL games) it's the result of the season surely.As I said, you can't just think that, with a few bad results, the season is over.All we needed was a win of any sort, we got it against Inverness, and the performance was enough to restore confidence amongst the players and in the stands too.In fact, that Inverness game was a tad frustrating that we completely dominated yet it looked like a narrow win on paper.
One of the key players in that run has been Chris Porter, but he's off to Derby County and you can't take the top scorer out of a side and carry on as you did.He'll have to be replaced, and there's no-one at the club right now who I think is capable of racking up goals like he has.I'm sure Mark McGhee is aware of that, and will have a replacement on board before the end of the transfer window.We'll not be in danger of a relegation battle this season I don't think, but if we've aspirations of a Top Six finish, and given at least one (possibly two) extra European places being up for grabs, finishing fifth could well be enough to snap one of those up.Other teams will have bad runs to contend with, you'd like to think we've done ours this season already.
If we think we have problems at Fir Park at times, you only have to look around the rest of Scottish Football to see really how lucky we are to have a relatively stable club.One of the oldest clubs in the world, Stranraer, are in serious financial trouble and rumours abound that they could be out of business at the end of the season, if not beforehand.Livingston, the one-time media darlings, are being run seemingly on the same lines as FHW (or Hearts, as they are sometimes known).Wages not being paid, players not having a clue what is going on behind the scenes, and at Luvviesville the players there are contemplating strike action.Long, long way from their heady days of overcoming Hibs and 35,000 fans at Hampden with a well-deserved win, from making European football, and being comfortable in the SPL.They aren't doing particularly badly in the First Division, but they are a world away from the above now and unlikely to ever restore that.
There will be many other clubs in Scotland, and indeed England, in severe financial trouble, and with virtually all of the big TV money going to a very few clubs, it's no wonder this, perhaps the tip of the iceberg, is occurring.I often wonder just what the SPL, and Premiership for that matter, would look like if everyone had the same budget and TV cash at the start of every season.Back to the old days when players chose a club not because they were going to be given the most cash in wages, but simply how they believed they'd fit in.The likes of Celtic and Rangers with budgets of just £1million or so to pay wages and sign folk.Man United having to cope with the same money to spend as Stoke City.You have to laugh at the way the Old Firm moan about the cash being distributed amongst clubs here and how they can't compete with the likes of Man United etc in Europe.Simply greed from them.
They want away from us, but I have often said why should we let them go?During the 80s, both Old Firm sides were struggling badly.The rest of the SPL was good enough then for them, they were quite happy to take the money on offer to keep themselves going.Now they want away - thing for them is, nobody wants them or needs them!Financially, neither are overly wealthy, especially Rangers - self-induced problems with years of over-spending in a vain attempt to win a European competition.
I feel the heart of the club has returned now after what was the most difficult of years last year.It took a long, long time to recover from the devastating events of 29 December 2007, and only now (and in the past few weeks) have I noticed the spark is back in the side.I know we got to third last season but, even in doing that, things weren't quite there.Just seems like now we have.We won't ever forget Uncle Phil, never.
This is the most crucial part of the season now, the lead-up to the split.After what looked like a terrible run would scupper our hopes, we are now just a couple of points off with a good run of games coming up to sort things out.The guys are good enough to do it again, and with an extra European place there, we can get it!
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