Dundee United's decline

By The Courier
Last updated : 27 April 2016

January 1, 2015 – It’s a Happy New Year for United fans as they watch their team hammer neighbours Dundee 6-2 at Tannadice in the derby.

January 9 – United inform Celtic that star midfielder Stuart Armstrong is not for sale.

January 12 – The Tangerines are going so well that goalkeeper Rado Cierzniak claims they can clinch not only the title but the treble.

January 16 – Celtic announce the signing of United winger Gary Mackay-Steven on a pre-contract deal but United seem keen to keep him until the summer.

January 23 – There is good news on the transfer front as Australian international Ryan McGowan signs an 18-month deal with the Tannadice club.

January 31 – There is delight at Hampden as Nadir Ciftci scores a late winner to clinch a 2-1 victory over Aberdeen in the League Cup semi-final to secure a final place for United against Celtic.

February 2 – The joy is short-lived, though, as Celtic have a £2 million joint offer for Armstrong and Mackay-Steven accepted by chairman Stephen Thompson in the final hours of the transfer window. The Tangerines sign Robbie Muirhead for £180,000 and bring back Paul Dixon from Huddersfield.

February 3 – Just to rub it in, Armstrong and Mackay-Steven are shown off at Celtic Park wearing the green and white hoops.

February 8 – United go down to Stranraer in the Scottish Cup and win. There is talk of the double departure not affecting the team.

March 8 – They draw at home to Celtic in a dramatic Scottish Cup quarter-final clash, the first of four successive meetings against the Parkhead side.

March 15 – They lose the League Cup final to Ronny Deila’s side at Hampden, with Kris Commons and James Forrest on target for the Glasgow club. United captain Sean Dillon is sent off.

March 18 – The Tangerines then lose 4-0 at Celtic Park in Scottish Cup replay., with McGowan getting his marching orders this time.

March 21 – Mackay-Steven and Armstrong help Celtic to a 3-0 victory over United in the league to make it a miserable four-in-a-row for United.

April 1 – United supporters’ group ArabTRUST release a statement criticising owner Thompson and demanding to know about “missing” transfer money.

April 3 – The board are forced to confirm manager Jackie McNamara is contracted to get a percentage of transfer fees.

April 8 – United lose their fifth game in a row in a 3-1 defeat to Dundee at Dens, their first derby loss in a decade.

May 24 – They beat Dundee 3-0 in final game of the season but that match is overshadowed by Ciftci biting Dundee’s Jim McAlister.

June 23 – Polish defender Jarek Fojut leaves with 12 months remaining on his deal to sign for Pogon Szczecin, United allowing him to go on compassionate grounds.

July 9 – Ciftci joins Mackay-Steven and Armstrong at Celtic Park as he completes a move reportedly worth £1.5 million.

July 24 – United go on a pre-season tour of the Netherlands and subsequently sign midfielder Rodney Sneijder, brother of Dutch superstar Wesley.

Aug 2 – Summer signings Sneijder, Mark Durnan, Coll Donaldson and Darko Bodul all feature in the Premiership curtain-raiser against Aberdeen at Tannadice, which United lose 1-0.

Aug 8 – They win their first match of the season against Motherwell at Fir Park. That turns out to be McNamara’s last victory as United boss.

August 15 – There is an embarrassing 4-0 defeat away to Hamilton.

August 26 – Sneijder leaves after playing just 18 minutes of a two-year deal.

Aug 28 – Striker Billy Mckay signs on a loan deal from Wigan Athletic.

September 1 – Adam Taggart and Aaron Kuhl also arrive on loan.

September 26 – McNamara is sacked after defeat away to St Johnstone. United were 1-0 up against a 10-man Saints side and still lost 2-1. After that result United sit in 11th place, two points ahead of bottom club Partick Thistle.

October 3 – Caretaker coach Dave Bowman brands the team “soft” after a 3-0 loss at Thistle sends them bottom of the table. They are now one point behind Partick, four behind Killie and five behind Motherwell.

October 5 – St Johnstone reject a United approach for manager Tommy Wright, who eventually signs a new deal at McDiarmid Park.

October 11 – Inverness reject an approach for manager John Hughes, who eventually signs new deal at Caley Thistle.

October 14 – A suntanned and smiling Mixu Paatelainen is appointed United’s new manager.

October 18 – United lose Paatelainen’s first match at home to Hearts.

October 25 – Paatelainen criticises his squad following a 5-0 defeat to Celtic, calling the display “Rubbish with a capital R.”

October 31 – A Mckay penalty gives Paatelainen his first win against Ross County at Tannadice, watched by Japanese goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima.

November 4 – McNamara is appointed manager of English League Two strugglers York City on the same day as United are hammered 3-0 by Hibs at Easter Road in the League Cup quarter-final.

November 17 – Summer signing Bodul is told he can leave.

November 20 – Gavin Gunning rejoins United on a free transfer.

November 23 – Former Borussia Dortmund and West Ham man Guy Demel signs.

November 27 – Former Liverpool striker Florent Sinama-Pongolle joins until the end of the season.

November 28 – Hamilton win 2-1 at Tannadice to condemn United to five successive defeats. They now find themselves seven points adrift.

December 29 – Kawashima finally signs after a two-month wait to get a work permit, having passed and English language.

January 2 2016 – Kawashima makes debut against Dundee but is at fault for Kane Hemmings’ equaliser as Paul Hartley’s men come back to win 2-1 after Blair Spittal had given United the lead. Demel is sent off.

January 6 – Chairman Thompson criticises McNamara’s transfer dealings last summer.

January 8 – Paatelainen makes his fifth signing, adding Finland international Riku Riski, who makes his debut in Scottish Cup win over Airdrie 24 hours later.

January 16 – Kilmarnock go 14 points clear of bottom place with a win over Inverness, hours after United lose 4-1 to Celtic.

January 23 – United finally show some fight as they beat Killie 5-1 at Tannadice.

February 6 – The Tangerines sign ex-Inverness striker Edward Ofere on a short-term deal.

February 16 – It’s back to being bad again as United lose 3-0 at home to Motherwell and now sit 13 points behind with 14 matches to play. Paatelainen refuses to concede that it’s game over.

February 17 –Thompson releases statement apologising for “certain decisions” but also hits out at the players, challenging them to “redeem their own professional reputations” after a “abysmal performance” against Well.

February 27 – The players appear to have taken note as they record an eye-catching 3-0 win up at Ross Countu to add to an earlier 2-1 home success against Hearts.

March 5 – United look to be on the up as they go back to Dingwall for the Scottish cup quarter-final and battle back with 10 men to win 3-2 thanks to a last-minute Mckay goal.

March 20 – The wind comes out of their sails as they go down 2-1 away to Motherwell.

March 20 – Paatelainen finds himself in trouble with the SFA for reacting to verbal abuse from Dundee fans as Mckay scores late again to secure a 2-2draw against the Dark Blues.

April 2 – There is genuine belief that United can save themselves as they record a backs-to-the-wall 1-0 win away to St Johnstone.

April5 – It’s back to fearing the worst as they lose their game in hand at Partick Thistle despite being well on top for a large period of the game.

April 9 – The gloom and doom descends after a terrible performance sees them lose 2-0 at home to Inverness. Defender Gavin Gunning picks the ball up during open play.

April 12 – Gunning is told by United that he is free to leave.

April 16 – The Tangerines blow their chance of reaching the Scottish Cup final as they lose a penalty shootout to Hibs after the semi-final finished goalless after extra-time.

April 17 – Justine Mitchell, the sister of chairman Stephen Thompson and holder of a third of the club’s shares, resigns as a director.

April 18 – A day on from Mitchell’s decision, it is clear that the other directors remain puzzled as to why she chose to step down from the board.

April 21 – Paatelainen gets a two-match suspended ban for his behaviour at the derby.

April 23 – McNamara’s York side fall out of the English Football League as they are relegated by a 3-0 defeat to Accrington Stanley.

April 24 – United are all but down as a dreadful display at home to Hamilton sees them lose 3-1 and fail to close the eight-point gap on Killie, who had lost at Inverness earlier that day. There are question marks over Paatelainen’s future as the prospect of being officially relegated by Dundee on May 2 looms large.

April 26 – It is understood chairman Thompson will listen to offers for his majority shareholding in the club.

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