It was back in the Seventies and the Premier League hadn't long been on the go, probably in about its second term. Early in the season we were lying second to Celtic but things didn't look too promising despite this giddy height. A bunch of us supporters were concerned by certain things that were happening, and at times were quite vociferous towards Jim. We used to stand at the half-way line on the terracing which now, of course, is the ultra-respectable George Fox Stand, and barrack Jim when things went wrong.
He had recently brought in Paul Hegarty as a striker, but had started to play him at the back, which didn't go down well with the Boo Boys! Graeme Payne was being used as a very late sub and of course, we all knew he should have been on from the beginning! George Fleming was a "dumpling" who should never even be on the park, never mind the team. And so our thoughts ran.......
One Wednesday evening we were at home to Aberdeen, and we were all pretty apprehensive. That afternoon I composed a letter to Jim, putting on paper our fears and our aspirations. I condemned him for playing Hegarty out of position (Hmmmpphhh! It later turned out that Wee Jim was more knowledgeable than we all gave him credit for!) I suggested he play Payne from the start, and get rid of bloody Fleming! Etc, etc.
On the way to the game that night, my mate and I parked down by the church, and made our way up to the clubbie, which was under the stand at that time. Jim was just getting out of his car with Andy Dickson, so I ran over and gave him this letter, saying it was on behalf of a bunch of supporters. He thanked me, and we went for a pint.
We were playing darts when we heard the phone ringing in the office next door. My mate jokingly remarked it was probably Jim wanting me. Seconds later the steward entered the darts room, and said Jim wanted to see me in his office....
We went down the street, and into the corridor. There he was, the man himself, pacing agitatedly up and down. As soon as he spotted me he snarled: "Where's the rest ae yer fuckin' mates? Get inta mah office!"
He sat us down and proceeded to rant and rave: "Ah know youse fuckin' lot. Youse are the basturts that staun every week shoutin' MacLean must go. Well, Ah'm fuckin' tellin' youse, Ah'm gaun nae fuckin' place, right?"
On and on he went, blustering and raging, and we just sat there and waited for him to run out of steam, which he did eventually, but not before everyone in the place had heard him. When he dried up, I asked if he was feeling better now, and that started another round of abuse, which ended with Jim threatening to bar us from Tannadice! But when he calmed down he went on to agree with many points of my letter! Which made me wonder why he went ballistic in the first place....
He agreed that Fleming was useless, but pleaded that he was short on playing staff. He agreed Graeme Payne deserved a better opportunity, and so on. Then he told us that Hegarty had lost his goal-scoring confidence, and that he was to play at the back from then on.
By this time he had become quite affable, and confided in us that he didn't expect to beat Aberdeen that evening. Well, that was my turn to go mental! I called him for everything, saying that I had never seen such a disgrace before, a manager admitting ti supporters the probabilty of defeat. There was no way would Aberdeen beat us, blah blah!
When I calmed down Jim said that if we won that night, we were to come to the office and he would give us a drink.
Well, when we beat Aberdeen 1 - 0, (FROM A HEGARTY GOAL!) I wanted to go to the office, but my mate said there was no way was he ever going there again! "When Daniel got out of the lions' den" he said "He never went back for his bonnet!"
Taking the point I wrote a wee note and placed under Jim.s windscreen wiper: Well done, Jim. See you Saturday, The drinks are on you!"
On the Saturday I went into the clubbie, ordered a pint and was told my money wasn't needed, Jim had put a fiver over the bar for us!
Many years later, I had the job of relief announcer, and in he came! "Ah fuckin' know, you, don't Ah?" I said: "Yeah, you got me drunk once........."
Happy days, eh?