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‘Dundee United was so much more professional than Newcastle United’

6 years ago

Newcastle United being unprofessionally run isn’t a new phenomenon, comments comparing the club with Dundee United only yesterday, sum this up.

How can a club that consistently generated more cash than most, fail to win trophies season after season, decade after decade?

Former Newcastle striker and current Northern Ireland boss, Michael O’Neill, has given us an insight.

After guiding Northern Ireland to their first major finals in 30 years, O’Neill has been reflecting on his career.

Speaking to BBC Sport, Michael O’Neill has looked back at the period when he made his breakthrough as a player.

Arriving as an 18 year old at Newcastle for £100,000 in October 1987, signed by Willie McFaul, O’Neill was an instant hit.

He was top scorer with 13 goals in only 22 matches and along with Paul Gascoigne, helped Newcastle to finish eighth in the First (top) Division.

The forward stayed for only one more season as the club fell apart and were relegated, moving on to Dundee United for £350,000.

Considering the fact that despite their relative success on the pitch at the time, Dundee United were relative paupers compared to Newcastle, just read what he had to say about how the two clubs compared back then….

The forward originally choosing Newcastle over Dundee United but then making the move two years later.

Michael O’Neill speaking to BBC Sport:

“My dad had to phone Jim McClean (Dundee United Manager) up and tell him I was going to Newcastle and he ate the head off my dad down the phone. I should have reflected on that before I took the plunge.

“It was so much more professional than Newcastle. We had an athletics coach, a strength and conditioning coach, we had a psychologist.

“Jim McLean was always ahead of the game in relation to things like that, but you had to withstand the abuse at times.

“I was different from a lot of the young lads at (Dundee) United, because I’d been signed, at the time it was a record fee they paid for me, and it was almost as if Jim McLean held that against me.”

Those of us who supported the club back in the 70s and 80s had become used to the likes of Supermac (Arsenal), Waddle (Spurs), Beardley (Liverpool) and Gazza (Spurs again), rave on about their new surroundings and how much more professional the set-up was….but when you then hear it about a club with far less resources such as Dundee United, you realise there were key weaknesses that meant the club would always struggle.

Ironic that we are now owned by a multi-billionaire successful businessman who sadly sees us just as a means of helping to make him even more money by promoting for free his core business.


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