What now for Dundee United?

What now for Dundee United?

By Cammy Anderson

It wasn’t at all surprising when Dundee United announced that they and manager Csaba Laszlo had agreed to mutually part ways on Sunday following an embarrassing 5-1 defeat to title rivals Ross County the day before.

 

For weeks, months even, Laszlo seemed destined for the sack. He had a knack of turning things around when he was on the verge of getting the boot only to find himself in a similar position just weeks later.  Saturday’s result obviously proved to be a step too far for the Hungarian and you only have to look at how Arabs fans celebrated the news to understand just how unpopular he was at Tannadice.

 

The Tangerines had just one win in their last five games across all competitions. That was over basement boys Falkirk, who at the time had yet to register a single point on the board.

 

Laszlo took charge in November 2017 and managed a total of 43 competitive games. The 54-year-old won 18, drew 12 and lost 13 meaning he had a win percentage of  41.86%. In the league, he averaged 1.47 points per game; 0.42 worse off than previous permanent boss Ray McKinnon.

 

As per Laszlo’s own admission in recent weeks, managing Dundee United is “the most difficult job in Scottish football.” Assistant manager Laurie Ellis has been named the interim manager but surely someone with experience of winning the league would be better for arguably the biggest club in Scotland outside the Premiership, no?

 

 

There’s a strong case to say ex-players Robbie Neilson and Jim McIntyre both make for better candidates given they have previously led clubs to the Championship title. Neilson guided Hearts to the title in 2014/15 while McIntyre did the same with Dunfermline in 2010/11.  

 

After being sacked from each of their most recent jobs, both men will be out to prove themselves once again. Not only could a job at Tannadice potentially help them rebuild their reputations, but it could be beneficial to United’s promotion aspirations.

 

Whoever is the lucky, or unlucky,  one to manage the club next must be able to come in and hit the ground running. After all, as Laszlo recently pointed out,  “if something doesn’t go right immediately there is critical noise.”

 

Furthermore, it won’t just be the new man in the managerial hot seat who will be feeling pressure but also the Arabs directors. One thing recent managers haven’t been afforded at Tannadice is the luxury of time.  This perhaps isn’t surprising when you look at the amount of money the board have given managers to build their own teams. With one of the largest budgets in the league, United have failed to mount a serious challenge for the title in either of their two full seasons in the second tier.

 

 

The position has become a bit of a poisoned chalice of late with none of the past three managers, Laszlo included, getting more than two full seasons at the helm. Simply put, anyone putting their name in the hat should approach the gig with caution.

 

Other observations

 

– After six attempts Falkirk finally put points on the board. The Bairns beat Alloa 2-0 at the Falkirk Stadium over the weekend, but the result was still not good enough to take them off bottom spot. However, it remains to be seen whether Ray McKinnon’s men can build on this victory and continue to rack up more points.

 

– Partick Thistle failed to stop their run of poor away. After the 1-0 defeat to Dunfermline Athletic, Alan Archibald’s side now without a single point on the road in the Championship this term. The Pars meanwhile picked up their first victory in league play since the opening day thanks to Aidan Connolly capitalising on a Partick defensive error.

 

– Ayr United bounced back from their League Cup thumping from Rangers in midweek with a 5-1 demolition of Morton at Cappielow. The Honest Men were absolutely ruthless and scored four goals in the final twenty minutes of the match in Greenock.

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