Dundee Derbies are quite unique. The vast majority of the fans can easily have a drink beforehand in the same pub, hurl abuse for 90 minutes at their friends in the opposite stand then meet up after to speak about the match. It’s what makes our Derby a one of a kind.
We spoke to fellow twitter football page, DabChat and ask his views on the current crop at Tannadice and his prediction for Sunday.
So, to start things off, give us a little insight to what made you support Dundee United and your earliest memory of them?
I started following United over 30 years ago, my first memories were sitting on the wall at the Fair Play stand watching Narey, Hegarty, Sturrock, Dodds and the likes. Back then it was easy to get hooked. Both sides of my family supported United so it was never likely to be anyone else.
It’s been a bit of a nightmare few seasons for the Arabs. In the short space of winning the Scottish Cup, playing in Europe for three consecutive seasons and reaching the Scottish and League Cup Finals, you suffered relegation for the first time in 20 years. Where did it go wrong for the club?
Our chairman has been highly criticised over the past two years from our own fans and rightly so. For me though his biggest mistake was showing too much faith in McNamara and giving him too much time to try and turn it round. The amount of players he allowed the then manager to sign was crazy. Most of which were on far too much (money) for their ability levels and still we find them on the wage bill now two years later.
Stephen Thompson should have sacked Jackie McNamara much earlier. The Stevie Campbell situation as well as other goings on at the club had shown things were not right behind the scenes.
Last season seen heartbreak with defeat to Hamilton in the play-off final. Did you think United would bounce back at the first attempt?
I was always confident that we would make the play offs. The hope early in the season was that we would find form going into the crucial games although I was always worried about the depth and balance of the team. Eventually that was to be our downfall.
Andreu was undroppable just in case he produced that bit of magic that would win the game/tie which meant we were trying to shoehorn him into the side wide in a position that was clearly alien to him.
Murray and Mikkelson were scoring goals but with Fraser out injured it was the lack of creativity behind them that was clearly evident. No pace, no width and crucially no promotion.
This summer has seen McKinnon being very active in the transfer market. He came under some criticism from some sections of the Tannadice support with regards to his tactics etc. Now that he has his own players in, are you expecting to see a different team and approach this season?
Yes, Ray has had his critics and to be fair he brought a lot of the criticism on himself. Last season the squad was unbalanced. No wide players and abundance of players who all played in similar positions meaning they either didn't play or they played out of position. However with the addition of King and McMullan and Keatings this season, we have players who have the ability to play wide, have a bit of pace and like to go at defenders. These two will get fans out of their seats for sure.
Last season seen us fail to beat teams who set up with two banks of four players and asked us to break them down. Although we had the best home record in the league it was on the road that we struggled with the lack of creativity in the side. That's where it seems we have a better balance going into this season so a lot of credit has to go to the manger for his dealings pre-season and the work that has gone in to getting these deals done early.
No doubt you will have United tipped to challenge for the title but who will be your main challengers?
Not only do I think we will win the league but I am quiet confident we will win it comfortably. Falkirk will be the biggest challengers again. They have proven they are a good team in this league with limited resources.
ICT and St Mirren will be there abouts and I think Livi could be the surprise package and throw up a few upsets.
What player will Dundee have to be wary of and vice versa for United?
McMullan has been the pick of the players for me this pre-season and has chipped in with a few goals so I'd hope that he has a good game. However we all know that derbies can be tight, scrappy affairs and my hope is that we are strong in that department and I’m hoping Jordi Briels can impose himself on the game with his tough tackling and willingness to drive the team forward. He and San Stanton will need to be on top form for us to show we can compete.
Moussa seems to be the player getting the plaudits for the Dee's and rightly so as he's scored a few now. It will be interesting to see how Durnan and Edge deal with him. My Derry mates have been impressed with the boy Kamara so it will be interesting to see how he gets on.
How do you feel the new format of the League Cup has went?
The new cup set up has been ok. To be fair, most of the team’s play the local wee teams in per season anyway so it's not changed much, just added the competitive edge. The only thing I don't like is some clubs getting a bye for being in Europe. These teams should play their youth teams in the early stages but should be included.
We’ve asked everyone this question but who do you think will be at Hampden for the final and who will lift the trophy?
I really can't see anyone beating Celtic again this season. Brendon Rodgers has taken them to a new level so I'd expect them to make the final and I'll go with Aberdeen as the opponents.
This will be the first time in 60 odd years that both teams meet with Dundee playing in a higher division than our neighbours. It’s a new scenario for both sets of fans but do you think this will impact the game or will we see a good old fashion derby where form and league position goes out the window?
The weeks before, the banter filled texts float back and forward, the conversations about which players are on form and who will make a telling contribution for their side to give them the edge.
Meeting in the boozer pre-match as the butterflies start to churn in the stomach, the walk to the ground and the 'hope your team get pumped' pre-match farewell outside the ground before heading through the turnstile. Hoping you don't have to head back to the pub post-match awaiting the verbal if you don't get the result.
For me, nothing compares. These games are the best games there is and the sooner we are back playing at least 4 a season, the better.
Finally, your last match at Dens is one you no doubt would like to forget but what’s your prediction for Sunday’s game? Will United get revenge and finish the group on top or will Dundee continue their good run of form against the Arabs at Dens?
For this Derby all the pressure is on Dundee, we are the wee team in the diddy league, they are the SPFL side.
This might play as an advantage for us. Not many of our players will have experienced a Derby so it's all new to them. If Flood and McDonald had a few games under their belt and Keatings wasn't injured I'd be fairly confident but it looks like none of them will start. Young Matty Smith looked very good last week but it was against Cowdenbeath.
I would love the win as it would give the team a lot of confidence going into the season. I’m going to go for a draw and United to win on penalties and top the group, a result most Arabs would probably bite your hand off for pre match!
A massive thank you to Dabchat for taking time out to answer our questions.