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The Firth of Tay provided a natural deep-water harbour at Dundee. In the 18th century the production of linen made from local flax became an important industry in the area. By 1793 the first steam-driven mills were being built in the town.
In the late 1820s flax became scarce and manufacturers began using jute. The first jute carpeting was produced and demand for this new product increased rapidly. Dundee also began to produce textile machinery for its own needs and for export.
Some of the first railways in Scotland were built in the Dundee area. The Dundee & Newryle was opened in 1831. This was followed by the Dundee & Arbroath (1840) and Dundee & Arbroath (1847) and a line to Aberdeen was added in 1849.
Shipbuilding became important in the 19th century and a special dock was made for the construction of Captain Scott's Discovery. The Firth of Tay was bridged in 1878 but it collapsed in December 1879. William Arrol was given the job of building its replacement.
The population of Dundee was 26,000 in 1801 and reached 63,000 in 1841, 90,000 in 1861 and 140,000 in 1881.
On the northern banks of the Tay is Dundee, a pleasant, large, populous city, and well deserves the title of Bonny Dundee. It is one of the best trading towns in Scotland. A great quantity of corn is sent from here to England and Holland. They also have a good share of the Norway trade. They also send ships to Sweden, and import iron, copper, tar, pitch, etc. from the several trading ports of that kingdom.
Dundee - History
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the world's first ATM, after the first machine made its debut at Barclays' Enfield Town branch in north London in June 1967.
Over many years, one place that's been central to the ongoing development of the ATM globally is Dundee in Scotland. It was here that NCR's first ever ATM was designed and built over 40 years ago, and millions of machines have since been shipped from Dundee and other NCR locations to financial institutions all across the world.
Dundee is a fitting home for some of the most innovative ATM technologies that we now see. Known as the 'City of Discovery' after explorer Robert Scott's famous ship, which is moored there, Dundee has long been a pioneer in scientific and technological advancement, with inventions including radar and keyhole surgery among its many achievements. In more modern times, it's become a hub for digital media such as video games, with bestselling series including Grand Theft Auto and Tomb Raider starting life here. This rich history was acknowledged this year with Dundee becoming the UK’s first UNESCO City of Design, and the city’s credentials will be further enhanced with the V&A Museum of Design Dundee opening in 2018.
NCR maintains a very strong presence in the city, with the opening of our Research and Development Centre of Excellence, the Discovery Centre, in 2001. Today, over 500 people are based in NCR's Dundee centre, with the Discovery Centre being one of the company's key strategic R&D sites.
This ensures Dundee remains at the heart of NCR's ATM development, with experts in roles such as Usability and Cx Design, Hardware and Software Engineering and New Product Innovation among those working to make sure the next generation of ATMs offer more features and usability than ever before.
In addition, our employees cover roles including Solution Management, Solution Marketing, Finance, Demand Planning and Sales working out of our Dundee facilities, so it really is an essential part of every aspect of our operations.
The majority of these employees have a global remit, so the innovations that come out of Dundee can be seen in more than 130 countries around the world where NCR has a presence.
NCR's Dundee base also includes our Executive Briefing Centre, which sees an average of 150 customers visiting the centre every year. These customers come from all around the world in order to see first-hand NCR's latest solutions from both our Software and Hardware portfolios.
Among other innovations, the Executive Briefing Centre offered many existing and potential customers the first chance to take a look at our newly-launched NCR SelfServ 80 Series ATM Family. This is the most advanced ATM technology NCR has ever produced, including large, multi-touch display to give a tablet-like experience and built-in video banking capabilities.
The SelfServ 80 Series is just one result of the decades of knowledge, intelligence and expertise offered by our team in Dundee, who are helping NCR to transform its operations for the digital future. By offering a unique combination of capabilities and solutions that intersect digital channels, physical channels and payments globally, NCR in Dundee is leading the way in bringing the next generation of ATM technology to the world.
Colin Gordon is a Global ATM Marketing Manager based at NCR’s R&D Center in Dundee, Scotland. Colin is responsible for the marketing of NCR’s financial hardware portfolio with a specific focus on activities such as demand generation, sales enablement, market analysis and customer engagements for the ATM business.
Financial Services SelfServ, Marketing Manager
Colin Gordon is a Global ATM Marketing Manager based at NCR’s R&D Center in Dundee, Scotland. Colin is responsible for the marketing of NCR’s financial hardware portfolio with a specific focus on activities such as demand generation, sales enablement, market analysis and customer engagements for the ATM business.
Over the years, it has served as a grist mill, hydro-electric power plant, Ford factory and fabricating factory.
The three-story frame mill as we know it was built in 1848-49 by Alfred Wilkerson, as a grist mill. The nearby dam had been constructed out of logs in 1846.
The building is of Greek Revival design, popular in Monroe County in the 1840s. “It is compact, geometric and of exquisite proportion,” according to the community’s Sesquicentennial Book, published in 1974.
The windows are double-hung with multiple lights. The exterior doors are divided horizontally (Dutch) and the overall design is symmetrical.
Hand-hewn beams, 10×10 inches for the main columns, support the building. The roof, floors and other connections were made with oak pegs. No longer existing are two smaller additions at the rear of the mill which were used to store flour barrels and milling tools during the building’s grist mill days.
The Wilkersons sold the mill to Henry Smith of Berlin Township, in 1880 for $8,000. Two years later, Captain R.B. Davis purchased the mill. He built a new rafter dam in 1897. Timbers were floated to the site of the dam from a railroad bridge upstream which was unused and disassembled.
Capt. Davis ground buckwheat flour and feed. In 1910, he sold the mill site to the Dundee Hydraulic Power Company, which built a concrete dam.
In the 1920’s Detroit Edison acquired the rights to power the Village, and the mill stood abandoned and weather-beaten until the 1930s. In 1931, Village officials voted to demolish the building in a clean-up campaign. However, Henry Ford informed them that he was the new owner.
In 1935, Mr. Ford began work on the Old Mill. He stripped the building to its original timber frame. It was rebuilt along the old lines, and timber for the mill foundation was cut from adjacent land and hand-hewed.
Henry Ford also added a limestone structure in which he installed a Leffel turbine-powered G.E. generator and a steam-powered generator as well as a foundry and steam boilers. His new factory was now part of his grand design for dotting the countryside with village industries.
The Dundee plant produced welding tips for Ford’s main factories. In the Depression Era, the plant was of major importance to the local economy.
After Mr. Ford’s death, the company gradually withdrew its support of the village industries and the plant was sold in 1954 to Wolverine Manufacturing Company. The company converted the plant into a paper mill to produce gasket material.
In 1970, Wolverine sold the landmark to the Village of Dundee for $1.00. The mill stood unused for the next decade until 1981 when the Old Mill Restoration Committee, a group of community volunteers, undertook the daunting task of turning the mill structure, whose first floor was covered with tar and chicken wire, into a museum.
BNL years Edit
Founded in 2001, the Dundee Stars won the Findus British National League (FBNL) and the Playoffs in their first season (2001–02) and then ranked 2nd in the FBNL 9n (2002-03), topped their playoff group and reached the semi-finals of the challenge cup the following season. Stars' third season was a disappointment compared to the previous two, with a low league position and a place in the final of the Capital Cup.
Season 2004–05 started off disappointing for all three Scottish teams in the BNL. The National Cup, the Keyline Cup and the Challenge Cup were no better. However, the Stars turned their season around after making a few changes to the roster and won the Playoffs and also fared well in the Caledonia Cup.
Post BNL years: SNL Edit
In 2005 Edinburgh Capitals and Newcastle Vipers decided to resign from the BNL in order to join the premier Elite League. As this would leave the BNL with only five teams and thus with little option but to fold, the Capitals and Vipers temporarily withdrew their applications so as to allow the remaining BNL teams to apply for EIHL status. However, terms could not be agreed between the EIHL and the remaining five BNL teams leading the Capitals and Vipers to resubmit their original applications and join the EIHL which ultimately resulted in the closure of the BNL. This led the Stars, along with fellow former BNL team Fife Flyers, to move to the Scottish National League. The Stars refusal of the EIHL's terms was due to their local rival, Fife Flyers, being unable to join the EIHL due to their arena not meeting the EIHL's standards. It was decided that Stars' would not join the EIHL at that time unless the Flyers were allowed to join with them. In joining the SNL the Stars had to release all of their imported players in order to meet SNL rules.
During the first season, Fife won the SNL with Stars three points behind in 2nd. Flyers also won the Autumn Cup, the Northern League and the SNL Playoffs. Season 2006–07 introduced the NHL style Zero Tolerance rules and the one import rule with the intent of making the SNL a more skillful league. The Stars have relied heavily on their junior development with many under-19s and some under-16s "playing up" as well as managing to secure the services of two of the "old" favourites, Jeff Marshall (Canada) and Patric Lochi (Italy).
EIHL years Edit
In late April 2010, the Dundee Stars confirmed that they had been accepted into the EIHL,  as the league's 2nd expansion team for the 2010–11 season.
† Note: The 2019–20 Elite League season was cancelled completely in March 2020, owing to the coronavirus pandemic. The season finished without a league or play-off winner and Dundee's stat line above reflects the Stars' position at the time of the cancellation. 
†† Note: The 2020–21 Elite League season - originally scheduled for a revised start date of December 5 - was suspended on September 15, 2020, because of ongoing coronavirus pandemic restrictions. The EIHL board determined that the season was non-viable without supporters being permitted to attend matches and unanimously agreed to a suspension.  The season was cancelled completely in February 2021. 
Why is Dundee famous for marmalade?
We have referenced the city’s renowned ‘three Js’ a little bit before on SeeDundee, but it’s time to go into full detail on why the city is so ridiculously famous for marmalade.
Yup, marmalade. The citrus-infused, sugary preserve that was surprisingly way more of a hit for breakfast in the early 20th century than it is now.
The legend of this substance’s invention has long been synonymous with Dundee’s cultural heritage – so, here it is.
The marmalade legend
It all begins in the 18th century with a mysterious ship on the port of our wee city, alongside the soon-to-be iconic Keiller family. On board this Spanish ship was an abundance of alarmingly bitter oranges from Seville, which were discovered and bought by John Keiller.
Following this incident, it is said that Keiller’s clearly savvy wife Janet fused the bitter and not-so-fresh oranges with plenty of sugar, boiled it all up, and Bobs your uncle – orange marmalade was born into Britain.
Obviously natural entrepreneurs, the dynamic duo capitalised on their discovery and later founded James Keiller & Son (named after their son), which became the leading manufacturer of marmalade in the world in the 19th century.
By the end of the 1800s, Keiller’s Marmalade was a global success and traded across the entire British Empire.
The Keiller Factory
The Keiller Factory, located on Mains Loan in Dundee, was an integral part of the city’s industry. It was not only world famous for producing marmalade, but also boiled sweets and butterscotch. The factory also had eight bakery shops dotted across Dundee.
Some of the female staff at the Keiller factor – working hard (but looking pretty happy!) on the marmalade production line in 1981 (Photo: DCT Media).
Impressively, the Keiller factory was acknowledged by the Royal family on three separate occasions. It supplied King George V with marmalade and Queen Mary with chocolate by personal appointment in 1931.
It was also visited by Princess Diana years later in 1983.
The Princess of Wales at James Keiller and Sons Ltd factory, Mains Loan, Dundee. On the table is a sweetie lorry for Prince William (Photo: DCT Media).
Although a little-known marmalade recipe existed before the Keillers came into the picture, it was their crafty decision to give the substance a deeply infused orange twang which solidified Dundee’s title as the place of ‘Jute, Jam, and Journalism’.
Did you know?
Dundee marmalade is still made commercially (with Seville oranges) by Mackays in Arbroath, the only remaining producers of the zesty goodness from Dundee.
The company still sell two specific types of Dundee-branded marmalade, so the product’s fascinating heritage has not been forgotten.
Stay tuned on SeeDundee for more articles like this.
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Dundee - History
Hiram Wood was born April 8, 1828, in Kentucky, the son of Samuel Wood III and Keziah (Dougherty) Wood. Though only a youth, Wood enlisted in a U.S. cavalry company and served during the Mexican War, which ended in 1848. After his discharge, Wood took the land warrant allowed for his service and located in Richland Township. He was then only 20 years old, but he was to become a prominent citizen of Delaware County. In 1853 he married Lydia Luken and they had eight children.
Before the truck transportation age arrived, all livestock, poultry, and merchandise were shipped out by rail. Groceries, coal, lumber, feed, and many other items were also brought in. The railroad was important to the town and to the farmers. Several passenger trains and many freight trains passed through each day. One local train stopped at every town to pick up or unload freight. Passenger train was the way to travel and mail was also delivered twice a day as the train went through town each way. The last "dinky" consisted of one unit with engine, baggage compartment, and passenger seats. After being replaced by diesel engines, the huge coal-fired engines were taken away for scrap.
Dundee, Ia., June 16, 1922 - Special: Four robbers early this morning dynamited a safe in the Dundee Savings Bank and escaped with $1,200 in cash and $4,500 in bonds.
Plans for the robbery were carefully laid. The men drove into Dundee about 2 a.m., after cutting all telegraph and telephone wires. Chicago Great Western passenger train number 2 was due at that hour and it is supposed that the robbers waited until the arrival of the train, working in the bank under cover of its noise. Six charges of high explosives were fired in the safe, completely wrecking it. The bank vault was untouched, however. Two persons heard the explosions but the telephone lines were "dead" and they were unable to sound a warning until the robbers had completed their work.
"Earl Watt, a Dundee merchant, gave the alarm about half an hour later. The sheriff, accompanied by several deputies, immediately started in pursuit of the yeggs, who were driving a new Buick Six touring car, bearing a Minnesota license. The pursuing party was outdistanced near Clermont and it is believed that the robbers have crossed into Minnesota."
"The bank's loss is covered by insurance. The bank building is a one-story structure. Several business houses stand to the north of it with a vacant space to the south. The bank's officers are: President - W.H. Norris Vice President - F.G. Larrabee and Cashier - J.L. Gilbert."
The hall above the store was used for many years as an entertainment center. Dances and school activities, including graduations, high school plays, declamatory contests, and other programs were held there. After the new school addition (1936) was finished and the hall was no longer needed for school activities Earl Schroeder started showing weekly movies for 10 cents. There was also a drawing for a free box of groceries.
"The Dundee correspondent of this paper gives the particulars of the disastrous fire by which that enterprising little town was ravaged last Sunday night. This is one of the worst calamities which has ever visited any portion of this county. Dundee is a wide-awake town, and its business men are singularly alive, energetic and progressive. This is true because so many of them are young men, and on that account, too, the blow is especially severe, for not all of those affected by the fire are able to endure the loss with equanimity. That community is entitled to and is assured the hearty sympathy of the county in general. It is likely that most of the buildings destroyed will be replaced in the spring, although the process will necessarily be slow. The disaster is a most serious and regrettable one, from any point of view.
The established loss is between $13,000 and $15,000 and is divided as follows: Dundee Savings Bank has a loss of $800 on the bank building and harness shop which belonged to the bank. The Post Office building, owned by J.L. Gilbert, was a total loss, although the mail and office fixtures were saved . loss, $600. Fuehr Brothers Hardware Store proprietors report a loss of $5,000. Dr. Deckow's office, owned by Kleinsorge and Fuehr, was a loss of $300. Dr. Deckow lost all of his instruments and office fixtures, with no insurance. The drug store building, owned by Gregg and Ward, formerly of Manchester, entailed a loss of $1,000. The drug stock owned by O.D. Wheeler was a loss of $1,800. The butcher shop, owned by Henry Becker of Lamont, had a loss of $500. The stock and fixtures were owned by John Hense of Lamont and represented a loss of $800. The building used as a pool and billiard hall and owned by Fred Schure entailed a loss of $950. The proprietor of the hall lost $400."
July 4th and Harvest Home Celebrations
|Dundee was known for its big Fourth of July celebrations. Everyone would get dressed up and come to town to participate in the festivities. There would be a parade, music from the local band, and activities for the kids and adults to do.|| |
Early Dundee July 4th celebration.
|The first annual Harvest Home was held on October 3, 1908. There were such events like the Boys' Potato Race, Men's Horseshoe Throwing, Ladies Tape Cutting Contest, Girls' Pumpkin Rolling, Boys' Cracker Eating Contest, Men's Sack Race, Girls' Apple Paring Contest, Ladies Base Ball Throwing, and Boys' Running Race. A dance was held at Schroeder's Hall after the day's celebrations.|
Later Myrtle Seward and a Miss Heiden took over the office. When they left in 1911 the Aimers family moved into the telephone office/house. Jennie Aimers and daughters were the new operators. In January 1914, a new, larger switchboard was installed in the upstairs of the Goldsborough store building and the Aimers family moved there. The board was still run by batteries, but one could sit to operate it.
The Delaware County Telephone Company built a new house in 1914 to be used as a telephone office and home for the Aimers. The new switchboard had 50 local lines and 12 toll lines. The party lines in the country had several people on them but the rest in town were local one-party lines. These phones were still operated by a crank and batteries until electricity was installed. The Aimers girls helped at the switchboard as they were growing up and until they got married and left home. They also received fire calls and blew the fire siren. She also blew the town whistle at 7 a.m., 12 noon, 1 p.m., and 6 p.m. Her salary was $45 a month.
A town council was chosen at a special election held on August 20, 1917. The following were elected: J.L. Gilbert, mayor E.R. Leedham, clerk W.B. Robinson, treasurer F.G. Larrabee,, George Martin, George Pound, E.R. Schroeder, and Joseph Zemanek, councilmen. Appointed were J.A. Burroughs, marshal I. Chamberlain, street commissioner and H.R. Theel, town assessor.
The council rented a room at various business places in town to hold monthly meetings. In 1920 a committee was chosen to get estimates on the cost of erecting a public office and fire department building. However, it was ten years later, in 1930, before a building was built. The cost was $738 to the Dundee Lumber Co. for materials and $283 to W.J. Pelley for construction.
|After preliminary planning was completed, the first digging for the sewer in Dundee was begun in April 1979. A lagoon was built west of town. Dundee received a grant of $325,000 from HUD for the project and borrowed $75,000 through FHA.|
Besides farming, Louis supplemented his public school training by a business course and subsequently followed the profession of teaching for several years. In 1896 he erected a new store building and opened an agricultural implement warehouse in 1892. From 1897-1900 he was Dundee's postmaster. In 1907 he owned one of the first automobiles in town. Louis helped organize the Dundee Savings Bank in 1904 and was cashier for many years. He held this position at the time of his death in 1926.
5. In 2010 Dundee was voted as one of the seven smartest cities in the world
In 2010 Dundee was selected by the Intelligent Community Forum as the only city in Scotland to be voted as one of the seven smartest in the entire world. The Intelligent Community Forum is a non-profit policy research organisation, which is focused on job creation and economic development in the broadband economy. And, now in 2018, Dundee has been included in a list of top European destinations for 2018.The Scottish city is the only UK entry on the list from guide book publisher Lonely Planet. Not only is Dundee famous now for the V&A Dundee museum but also it’s become known as a centre of excellence for technology and award winning mobile app development companies including Waracle!
University of Dundee University of Dundee logo
The University has always promoted a message of “One Dundee” - of a community united in good times and bad. That ethos has been exemplified by the response of the University and our community to the Covid-19 pandemic over the past year.
Two hundred boxes packed with science activities and experiments are en route to some of Dundee's most deserving children this Summer
Published on 28 June 2021
Professor Shane O’Neill has been appointed to the post of Senior Vice-Principal at the University of Dundee.
Published on 24 June 2021
Innovative designs for underwater travel, moon tours, floating vehicles powered by plastic, food waste and water, and even a self-flying solar-powered unicorn, are some of the many ideas submitted by schoolchildren for a University of Dundee competition
William Joseph Kincaid and J. M. Brawner met with nine other gentlemen on
February 11, 1888, for the purpose of forming a new company and to build a
cotton mill. In those early days of the industrialization of the South, it was
a bold move to forsake the centralized textile industry of New England and
establish a plant far removed from the skilled work forces found in the North.
Nonetheless, with $78,000 capital raised, the Kincaid Manufacturing Company
was born and contracts awarded on April 5, 1888, for the construction of the
plant that would become known as Dundee #1.
With William Joseph Kincaid as President and J. M. Brawner as Treasurer,
Kincaid Manufacturing Co. completed its first year of operation and on April
17.1890, the minutes showed that it had produced 1957 bales of goods (Damask)
and 2780 dozen towels. After selling 1638 bales of goods and 2755 dozen
towels, they had an inventory at the end of the year of 319 bales of goods and
25 dozen towels.
Cherokee Mills (Now Dundee #5) was purchased on February 21, 1913.
Lowell Bleachery South was constructed as a joint venture by Kincaid
Manufacturing Company and Lowell Bleachery of Lowell, Mass. in 1923.
In the meantime, John H. Cheatham came to Griffin from Hartwell and acquired
the Georgia Cotton Mills (Now Dundee #2) in 1918. Georgia Cotton Mills
manufactured and marketed the Red Diamond line of birdseye and gauze baby
The old Boyd-Mangham plant (formerly Dundee #3) and Central Mill Plant #4
(Later known as Griffin Industries) were part of the Georgia Cotton Mills
On January 26, 1924, the Board of Directors of the Kincaid Manufacturing
Company voted to accept an offer by John H. Cheatham, President of Georgia
Cotton Mills to purchase the entire common stock of Kincaid. Offer was
accepted and the new organization was known as the Georgia-Kincaid Mills.
As early as 1892, the name "Dundee" was adopted by Kincaid Manufacturing
Company as a 'brand' name for its goods named for the high quality textile
products of Dundee, Scotland - the homeland of Kincaid and Brawner.
On October 13, 1924, it was registered as a trademark by the newly formed
Georgia-Kincaid Mills. Then in 1942, it was incorporated into the name of the
new company - Dundee Mills Incorporated.
Dundee Mills operated six plants, all located in Griffin, Georgia. During the
years of World War II and the 40's, growth was held to a minimum because of
the lack of new machinery and equipment but with the dawning of the 50's,
Dundee began a modernization program. Of primary concern was the introduction
of new and improved machinery and better working conditions such as air
The 70's brought a decade of growth and expansion to the Dundee
1972 - Colorcraft, Inc. of Newnan was acquired and renamed Georgia Screen
Printers. Using a silk screen process, this plant provided the printed
patterns and floral designs for our towels and washcloths.
1972 - The Chix line of baby products was acquired from the Chicopee
Manufacturing Co. in Gainesville, Georgia. Our Baby Products Division began
operating in neighboring Oakwood Georgia
1976 - The Georgia Schiffli Company was acquired and operated as Schiffli
of Georgia in Manchester. Schiffli provided the embroidery patterns on our
towels and washcloths.
1976 - The Rushton Plant was acquired from Hartwell Mills and immediately
converted to a yarn manufacturing plant. It was as modern a plant you'd find in the
1978 - The new ultramodern corporate headquarters complex was dedicated in
Griffin as the Company celebrated its 90th Anniversary.
1981 - Hampton Mills of Ellijay Georgia was acquired. Hampton Mills
manufactured a line of bathroom rugs arid accessories that complimented our line of towels.
1982 - Dundee opened its new ultra modern 150,000 sq. ft plant in Gainesville
that housed our then expanding Baby Products Division.
From the few 'bales of goods' and towels in 1890 to the Dundee product line of
today is truly one of outstanding growth Bath Towels and Terry Products
Upwards of thirty-million pounds of raw material are woven each year into a
wide variety of high quality towels, washcloths and related terry products
Styles range from plain to printed to embroidered to Jacquard designs and in
all colors and sizes.
Bathroom Rugs and Accessories - Rugs of a variety of styles and shapes, tank
tops, commode covers, etc., of all colors to compliment our wide line of
(Information above is edited from a pamphlet that was given to Dundee employees during The Dundee Centennial Celebration in 1988.)
Springs Industries purchased Dundee Mills in 1995, for around $118 Million dollars.
Springs Industries, Inc. consolidated and modernize its Griffin, Ga., towel weaving and yarn operations in a $67 million towel manufacturing modernization program.
The company invested over $26 million to modernize and expand Plant No. 5. Production from Griffin Plant No. 1, was consolidated into Plant No. 5, in January 1999. In addition $40 million was spent on new facilities and equipment at the Hartwell, Ga., operations.
Springs' modernization plan included adding 55,000 square feet of manufacturing space for weaving and yarn storage at Plant No. 5, and closing weaving at Plant No 1. Employment at the Griffin plants was reduced by 300 positions.
Weaving and yarn production were closed at Plant 2 in Griffin, GA.
Plant No. 3 was being torn down.
Plant No. 1 closes all yarn manufacturing but will continue to be used for storage of towels.
Plant No. 5 in Griffin and Hartwell Finishing were closed in April 2005. Cheaper imports from China and other areas were named as the main reasons for the closings. Hartwell weaving and Griffin Finishing continue to operate. The closing of Plant 5 is the end of the towel making era in Griffin that started 117 years earlier in 1888.
Home textile operations of Springs and Coteminas of Brazil merge in a joint venture to create Springs Global, the world’s largest manufacturer and supplier of home furnishings. Crandall Bowles and Josué Gomes da Silva (CEO of Coteminas) jointly lead Springs Global and serve as Co-Chairs of the board of directors.
Hartwell weaving is to be phased out over the summer of 2006. Some equipment will be moved to Brazil where all weaving of towels will now be moved. No towels will be made in the USA.
It is announced by Springs that Griffin Finishing and the Distribution Center will continue to operate in Griffin.
Before the year comes to an end Crandall Bowles announces that she will step down as Co-Chair of the company but will remain on the board.
It was announced by Springs that Griffin Finishing and Distribution will start to close starting Feb. 28, 2009. Griffin Finishing and Distribution, all that was left of the operations that were once Dundee Mills Inc. Thus ends an era that started 120 years ago in 1888 when our company was founded.
Our company would have been 121 years old on Feb. 11, 2009. Springs Industries was one year older than Dundee. Dundee started in 1888 and Springs in 1887.
Comments on this set
Great pictures and history. Awesome work.
Posted 120 months ago. ( permalink )
Damn. a zillion years ago (late '80's), I was a textile engineer in NC. I went to the plant IN Griffin (can't remember now which number it was), doing a warranty test for Pnuemafil Corp., as they'd just put some new air filtration equipment in, and we were an independent firm that tested the air quality (OSHA PEL on cotton dust), to certify their equipment was working as advertised. That was 1988 or '89, as I recall.
Damn shame that it's all gone now. like MOST textile manufacturing across the south. :-(
Posted 48 months ago. ( permalink )
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“Welcome! thrice welcome! to the year 1893, For it is the year that I intend to leave Dundee.”, wrote poet William McGonagall in his New Years Resolution poem but if he did so, then he would have been unfortunate enough to miss the birth of Dundee Football Club who were founded that year and their first ever game which was played at West Craigie Park against Glasgow Rangers on August 12th.
Dundee F.C. were formed from the amalgamation of two local clubs Our Boys and East End and their merger formed the basis of an application to join the three year old Scottish Football League into which they were admitted in June 1893.
Their first match took place therefore at the home of Our Boys with their colours being the sky blue and white strips of East End and on the ‘Glorious Twelfth’, Dundee’s first match ended 3-3 with Sandy Gilligan having the honour of scoring the Club’s first goal.
By the end of their debut season, Dundee had moved to a new ground at the city docks at Carolina Port where a smoking slag heap on the adjacent Gas works on the Broughty Ferry Road side, nicknamed the ‘Burning Mountain’ often gave hundreds of fans, a free view of the game.
William ‘Plum’ Longair
In March 1894, goalkeeper Bill March, centre-half William ‘Plum’ Longair and left winger Sandy Keillor became the first Dundee players to represent Scotland in a 2-1 victory over Ireland in Belfast and two years later Keillor became the first Dundee player to score for Scotland in a 4-0 triumph over Wales in the first and only international to be held at Carolina Port.
‘The Port’ had a superb playing surface but it was too remote, with no public transport links and in 1899, Dundee moved to their current home of Dens Park. Dens Park was officially opened against St. Bernards on August 19th 1899 when Fred McDiarmid was awarded with a medal for scoring the first goal on the new ground and the move was the start of the good times for The Dee.
Twelve months previously, Dundee were saved from liquidation after poor gates had contributed to large debts and the part of the new committee’s strategy was increase attendances by relocating to the new ground. It was a move that paid off, as the crowds started to flock to Dens and with Dundee now regularly playing in the dark blue of Our Boys, they finished as runners-up in the Scottish League championship three times within the next decade.
DUNDEE IN THE 20TH CENTURY
Silverware was also just around the corner and in 1910, Dundee won their first major honour when they brought home the Scottish Cup for the first and to date only time in the Club’s history. After a marathon ten game campaign, Dundee won the oldest football trophy in the world after a 2-1 win over Clyde at Ibrox in the second replay. Jimmy Bellamy scored the equaliser after the Bully Wee had taken the lead and it was John ‘Sailor’ Hunter who wrote his name into Dundee folklore by scoring the winning goal.
It would be another forty-one years before Dundee would win another major honour, although they did reach the Scottish Cup Final again in 1925 when they lost 2-1 to Celtic who scored two late goals after Davie McLean gave Dundee a half-time lead.
However it wasn’t until after the Second World War that Dundee emerged as a major force in the Scottish game when managing / director George Anderson built a side that was to challenge for honours. Having been relegated on the eve of War, Anderson lead Dundee to back to back B Division championships, having been denied promotion in the 1945/46 season as the Scottish League gave clubs a years grace to get players back from the armed forces and soon they were challenging for the A Division title.
Anderson would tell the players to ‘go out and enjoy themselves’ and he liked to encourage attractive football and Dundee’s first season back in the top flight was rewarded with a fourth place finish, their highest placing for twenty-six years.
Season 1948/49 saw Dundee reach the semi-finals of both the League and Scottish Cups and in the League Championship finished second after a heart breaking last day defeat. Dundee were one point ahead going into the final match at Falkirk and a win would guarantee the League Flag, regardless of what Rangers did at Albion Rovers but it wasn’t to be.
The Dundee players were flooded with nerves and the effervescent and chirpy Anderson was unable to dispel them. When confronted with the usual pre-match opposition banter, Anderson locked his troops in the dressing room an hour before kick off and tried to protect his players from unnecessary distractions. It back fired however as Dundee first missed a penalty while at 0-0 and then fell apart in the second half and went down 4-1 as Rangers snatched the title with a similar score line at Coatbridge.
In just five short years however, Anderson had taken Dundee from Division Two also-rans to Championship contenders but the fact was, that there was no major trophies in the Dens Park cabinet and he had to work out how he was going to change that.
However it was the signing George Anderson made in September 1950 which was the final piece in the jigsaw, when pulled off one of the transfer coups of the century when he signed Scottish superstar Billy Steel for a world record fee of £23, 500. Anderson had fought off competition from Rangers to land Steel and the inside forward brought power, skill and imagination to the Dundee forward line. It was extraordinary for a provincial club like Dundee to pay such an extraordinary fee and Anderson’s philosophy of ‘think big’ was repaid when silverware was soon on its way to Dens.
With the strong back-line of Cowie, Gallacher and Boyd added to the goals of Flavell and the skill of Steel, Dundee won their first trophy since 1910 when on October 27th 1951, Dundee won the League Cup in an exciting 3-2 win over Rangers at Hampden.
Twelve months later Dundee became the first club to retain the League Cup when the defeated Kilmarnock 2-0 in the Final and with a Scottish Cup Final defeat to Motherwell squeezed in between the two League Cup wins, Anderson had finally turned Dundee in a trophy winning, Scottish footballing force.
While the early fifties brought cup glory, the rest of the decade would see dismay for the Dark Blues in the country’s main competition notably with a three nil defeat in the season 1953/54 by C Division Berwick Rangers.
Things got worse five years later when in January 1959 Dundee visited to Highland League Fraserburgh in the Scottish Cup first round and crashed out with an embarrassing 1-0 loss. With a team that was full of experience and youthful promise, the Dark Blues had Bill Brown and Doug Cowie both of whom appeared for Scotland at the previous year’s World Cup Finals, alongside Jimmy Gabriel who would go on to have a fine career with Everton, Hugh Robertson, Alan Cousin, Bobby Cox and Alex Hamilton. On paper Dundee should have been comfortable winners but the defeat to ‘The Broch’ is perhaps the biggest shock defeat ever from a Highland League Club.
Billy Steel Debut
However Robertson, Cousin, Cox and Hamilton didn’t have long to wait for honours, for in season 1961/62 the Dark Blues had their most glorious season, beating Rangers 5-1 at Ibrox and winning the Scottish League championship with a 3-0 win at Muirton Park, Perth on the final day of the season.
The names of Liney, Hamilton, Cox, Seith, Ure, Wishart, Smith, Penman, Cousin, Gilzean and Robertson trip off the tongue of every Dundee fan young and old and managed by Bob Shankly, they were described by Scottish Football historian Bob Crampsey as ‘the best Scottish footballing side to emerge in Scotland since the war, better even than the Lisbon Lions.’
Shankly brought together a blend of players together both on and off the park who allowed Dundee to live their dreams. There were the young stars like goal scoring phenomenon Alan Gilzean, who had trained as a painter and decorator, Ian Ure, who had given up rugby to play football for Dundee and Andy Penman, the ‘Penalty King’, the homesick genius whom Willie Thornton had rescued from Everton at the tender age of fifteen.
There was the ageing genius Gordon Smith who had been put out to pasture by Hearts with four championship medals in his pocket, whom Bob Shankly picked up for nothing at the age of 37 and who would play in a European Cup semi-final at 39. There were fellow veterans Bobby Wishart and Bobby Seith who had championships behind them with Aberdeen and Burnley respectively and who would bring vital experience to a young team.
1962 Muirton Celebrations
There was Alan Cousin, the part-time footballer who juggled his playing career with school teaching and whose double shuffle was something that could never be taught. There was Hugh Robertson, deft and electric on the left wing and Pat Liney, without whom the Championship might not have been won had he not saved a penalty against St. Mirren in the penultimate game.
There was Alex Hamilton, Dundee’s most capped player with 24 international appearances for Scotland, a joker and an extrovert, whose party-piece was playing keepie-up with a sixpence before flicking it up and catching it in his pocket and fellow full back Bobby Cox, the local boy who with his famous sliding tackle who skippered the Club he loved to its greatest moment.
Legends all of them and the following season, Dundee set off on a memorable European odyssey as the Club entered into it’s first foray into continental competition. As they took their European Cup challenge to a semi-final against AC Milan, they showed that the classic Scottish passing game which they played, could work as well in Europe as in Scotland. Their campaign began with an 8-1 thumping of second favourites Cologne, before a bruising rematch in Germany. Sporting Lisbon and Anderlecht were also despatched before AC Milan ended the dream 5-1 in the San Siro despite Dundee winning the second leg 1-0 at home.
Another Scottish Cup Final followed in 1964 when only two late goals denied them a replay against Rangers in a game during which keeper Bert Slater turned in one of all time great performances in a final and a League Cup Final was reached in 1967 where the Dark Blues lost 5-3 to Celtic.
That same season Dundee reached their second European semi final as they reached the last four of the Inter City Fairs Cup – the predecessor to the UEFA Cup where they lost to Don Revie’s Leeds United 2-1 on aggregate.
1973 brought Dundee’s last major trophy when captain Tommy Gemmell lifted the League Cup after Gordon Wallace’s winner had beaten Celtic 1-0 at Hampden and both would later go on to manage the Club..
Two seasons later came the formation of the Premier League, something Dundee had been prime movers in establishing, but they were not in it long, being relegated at the end of the first season. They found life tougher than anticipated in the First Division and although promotion was achieved in 1978 the Dark Blues were back down by the end of the following campaign despite registering a famous 5-1 win over Celtic towards the end of the season.
1980-81 saw them win their way back to the Premier League and reach another League Cup final which was played at Dens Park in an historic Jute City Final against Dundee United and once up Dundee, stayed in the top flight throughout the eighties
The nineties brought more years in second tier wilderness with a Centenary Cup win in 1990 and two First Division titles in 1992 and 1998 and another League Cup Final as a First Division club, where they lost 2-0 to Aberdeen at Hampden.
Promotion in 1998 entered Dundee into the inaugural Scottish Premier League but it was a season that Dundee off the field were in a continual fight against adversity, expulsion, bankruptcy and takeover fears. The S.P.L. wanted to see Dens Park as a 10 000 all seated stadium within twelve months and Dundee United attempted a takeover and merge the clubs but the players got on with it and turned in some terrific performances.
On the field, Dundee showed a gritty determination and fighting spirit to retain their top flight status and by the end of the season, The Dee finished in fifth place, their highest league position for twenty-five years and never bettered since they were Scottish champions in 1962.
Dundee had also failed to finish above their rivals Dundee United during the same period but now they managed to achieve this after a memorable derby victory on May 1st 1999 when goals from Brian Irvine and James Grady gave Dundee a famous 2-0 win.
The stands were built and named after the League Championship winning captain and manager Bobby Cox and Bob Shankly and despite being within a point of finishing fifth again that season, Jocky Scott was replaced in favour of Italian manager Ivano Bonetti.
Bonetti would bring excitement, stars and wonderful football and had no problem attracting players, most notably Argentine superstar Claudio Caniggia but the problem was that apart from Caniggia, they could not sell the stars in for a big profit. With cost spiralling out of control and no tangible league or cup success to match Dundee’s stylish football Bonetti left in 2002 to be replaced by Jim Duffy who took over for the second time.
A 21ST CENTURY DUNDEE
Dundee still had a fine squad and Duffy led them to the Scottish Cup Final in his first season, losing 1-0 to Rangers in a match which the Dark Blues could well have won and took Dundee back into Europe after a twenty-nine year absence. There they defeated KS Vllaznia 6-0 on aggregate in the preliminary round of the UEFA Cup before losing out 3-1 to Serie A side Perguia when over 2000 Dees had travelled to Umbria to watch the second leg.
However the following month, November 2003 brought a bombshell for the Dark Blues faithful as Dundee went into administration. The court appointed Tom Burton and Fiona Taylor from the accountants Ernst & Young as joint administrators and the following day the full extent of Dundee’s financial plight was revealed with debts reported to be close to a staggering £20 million.
Dundee fans feared the worst and it was a crucial time for the survival of Dundee FC with the supporters’ association launching its Dee4Life fundraising campaign which was crucial in helping save the Club.
Twenty-five members of staff had been immediately axed and manager Jim Duffy took it upon himself to inform the playing and coaching staff and almost immediately became a target for Partick Thistle to replace Gerry Collins who was sacked with the Maryhill club rooted to the bottom of the league. He showed incredibly loyalty however and stayed with the beleaguered Dees and against all the odds led them to a seventh place finish at the end of that year.
There was real concern that the Club would not survive and the drastic cost cutting that was necessary to do so, impacted not just on that season but continues until today. In 2005 the Dark Blues were relegated in dramatic style on the final day of the season after Tam McManus’ injury time shot which hit the post would have kept them up and the first season in the lower leagues saw Duffy and his replacement Alan Kernaghan both sacked.
Alex Rae replaced the Irishman in the summer of 2006 but a third and then second place finish couldn’t get The Dee back up and he was replaced in November 2008 by Jocky Scott for his third spell in charge.
Scott’s first game in charge stopped the rot with a 1-1 draw at home to Airdrie United and the following week on November 8th, Dundee got their first win since August 23rd with an impressive 1-0 victory over Dunfermline in Fife thanks to a goal from Guadeloupe international Mikel Antoine-Curier.
Results continued to pick up with just one league defeat in nine as well as running Celtic close in the third round of the Scottish Cup at Parkhead when Colin McMenamin gave The Dee a 1-0 lead before eventually losing 2-1.
Another run of only one defeat in nine in February / March saw Dundee propel up the league but their poor early season form meant that they never really put pressure on St Johnstone and Partick at the top.
In April Dundee held their first ever Hall of Fame Dinner at the Invercarse Hotel and manager Jocky Scott was one of eight inaugural inductees alongside William Longair, Alan Gilzean, Billy Steel, Doug Cowie, Claudio Caniggia, Bobby Cox and Barry Smith, Scott’s former captain from his last spell in charge whom he would bring back to Dens to coach the Under-19s.
At the end of the season Dundee finished a credible fourth, fifteen points behind champions St Johnstone who won the League with 65 points – four less than Dundee had as runners-up the year before.
Hopes were high therefore that promotion could be achieved in season 2009/10 under the guidance of the experienced Scott who had led Dundee to the First Division title in 1998. After years of struggling with the financial constraints caused by the administration period of 2003/04, it looked like those days might be behind the club thanks to new investment that had come into the club in the summer of 2009.
That investment came in the form of Aberdeen businessman Calum Melville who joined the board in March 2009 after answering a newspaper advert from Dundee F.C. chairman Bob Brannan which invited investment into the club. Prior to the forty-one year old’s arrival at Dens, Dundee, if not exactly reaching for the stars, were hardly in the gutter either and the board, having studied the impact of administration, realised that they couldn’t afford to live beyond their means and if that meant fans had to lower their expectations, so be it.
Such pragmatism exited Dens Park however when Melville breezed into the City of Discovery with big promises and grander ambitions and journalists regaled Dundee supporters with various tales of Melville’s wealth, from his princely house in Gleneagles and his Bentley, to how he wasn’t averse to hearing himself compared with the American billionaire, Donald Trump.
Brannan had placed the advert in The Sunday Times at a cost of £5900 in February 2009 advertising for ‘Business Directors’ and at the club’s AGM a few weeks later, told the assembled shareholders that a shortlist of ten interested parties had been drawn up. By the end of March that list had been reduced to one and on the 26th of the month, Melville was invited to come on board.
Melville was born in Aberdeen and made his fortune through commercial and residential property, hotels and the oil and gas industry in the Granite City, and was a lifelong Dons supporter. He was listed in The Sunday Times top 500 rich list in 2008 and in his first public interview since joining Dundee in the Evening Telegraph on April 27th, Melville revealed that the board had come up with a plan that for every full price season ticket over the figure sold the previous year, they were going to match it pound for pound to invest in the playing staff.
“If we sell a thousand more than last year, that’s £280,000 from the fans and we will put in another £280,000 to match that and get the best players we can”, said Calum in an exclusive interview for the local press. “We are having a genuine push to get back to the SPL and the term we will use again and again is that second is last. There is no second prize in the First Division and we have to be first.
“We have to get promoted and the guys in the street have to know that and support us accordingly. I’ll say it again and keep saying it – the mantra for next season is second is nowhere.”
Before then Brannan had already announced at the club’s annual Hall of Fame dinner on April 3rd that the budget for the playing staff would increase by 25% for the following season and that manager Jocky Scott was already identifying some exciting signing targets.
An approach for one of those signing targets was made on the last day of the season against Partick Thistle when Scott asked Jags manager Ian McCall about the availability of midfielder Gary Harkins who had been outstanding despite Dundee’s 4-0 win. Harkins had been nominated for the First Division player of the year award and after a protracted three-month transfer saga, Jocky eventually got his man for a fee of £150,000 plus add-ons which was funded by the new director.
Also on Jocky’s radar was nineteen-year-old Livingston striker Leigh Griffiths and an approach was made for the Scotland B cap in April shortly after Melville joined the club. This approach was immediately rebuffed by the West Lothian club and Dundee looked to have a job on their hands to secure his services as the much sought after youngster was also being coveted by a number of SPL clubs including Hearts who publicly stated as much. Dundee, however, were the only club who put cash on the table and on June 25th, Livingston accepted Dundee’s offer of £125,000 and “Sparky” was on his way to Dens.
With a number of new players, including some with international experience, reported to also be close to joining Dundee, Melville was asked in an interview with the Dundee Mad website if the club could sustain the wages they were now offering without him.
His answer was emphatic and he said, “Yes. This is not a Gretna situation. This club is only sustainable in the long run in the SPL and that is where we need to be. We can pay good money now so imagine doubling the crowds and having SPL football to offer. We are aiming for regular 4th to 8th place in that league. I need to make it clear the players joining the club just now, they are not mercenaries. They are not being paid SPL wages, they are being paid good First Division wages. There are fantastic bonuses in place for success in this league and to get out of it. They get First Division wages now with built in SPL wages after promotion. They are buying into the opportunity we are giving them. The board, the fans, the backroom staff and the players, we are all in this together. Everyone wants to see this club back in the SPL.”
To invest to get into the SPL was clearly Dundee’s plan as the build-up to the 2009/10 season saw a host of new players join the Club, including former Scotland internationalists Brian Kerr and Colin Cameron, Northern Ireland internationalist Chris Casement, goalkeepers Tony Bullock and John Gibson, strikers Pat Clarke and Sean Higgins and midfielder Ritchie Hart. In total eleven new players joined the club and straight away things seemed to click into place in the first game of the season when Stranraer were dispatched 5-0 in the League Cup 1st round, with three of the new boys on target.
By the end of October, Dundee had reached the final of the ALBA Cup, the League Cup quarter-final after beating SPL Aberdeen in the third round, and were level on points at the top of the league with Queen of the South and the next two months would see Dundee win the ALBA Cup and open up that eight-point gap at the top on Boxing Day.
Dundee had reached the Scottish League Challenge Cup Final, now sponsored by Gaelic speaking television channel BBC ALBA for the third time in their history where they met fellow First Division title contenders Inverness Caledonian Thistle at McDiarmid Park on Sunday 22nd November 2009.
In a thrilling final, Dundee were 2-0 down at half-time but stormed back in the second half to win 3-2 thanks to an own goal from Caley’s Nauris Bulvitis and strikes from Gary Harkins and Craig Forysth to lift the cup for the second time.
ALBA Cup Final
“That was a big win,” said an understandably delighted Dundee manager Jocky Scott when he emerged from the home dressing room. “It was a big win though not a big score and hopefully that will inspire the players for the future and prove to them that we are a good side when we do the right things.”
Immediately Jocky appeared to be right as the ALBA Cup win inspired the players to storm to the top of the Scottish League First Division with impressive away wins against Ross County (1-0) and Partick Thistle (2-0) in the immediate aftermath of the Cup Final. These victories were followed by two 3-1 home wins over Ayr United and Morton and after a Boxing Day draw against the recently relegated Inverness, the Dark Blues had opened up an eight-point lead at the top of the table ahead of Queen of the South and a twelve-point lead over the side from the Highlands who had been arguably Dundee’s biggest threat to promotion pre-season.
December saw Jocky Scott win the Irn-Bru First Division Manager of the Month Award and Gary Harkins named as the Irn-Bru Phenomenal Player of the month and in the first half in Inverness on the 26th, Dundee were extremely comfortable against one of their main rivals and went in at half time 1-0 ahead thanks to a Leigh Griffiths penalty. A win would mean a fifteen-point gap being opened up over the Highlanders but the second half was a completely different proposition and The Dee were lucky to escape with a 1-1 draw.
Having endured a long trek on Boxing Day, Dundee were also disappointed that the Scottish League fixture list had given them another match on the road at New Year, this time away to Airdrie United. This had meant that the club had missed out on some potentially decent revenue as the festive fixtures are often well attended while the fixtures before Christmas are normally amongst the lowest of the season for every club and Dundee had hosted Morton on December 19th in front of just over 4000.
However, by the Monday in the lead-up to Airdrie on January 2nd, it became clear that the match was already in severe jeopardy due to the weather and at Melville’s suggestion, Dundee approached The Diamonds and the Scottish League to have the game moved to Dens as the Dark Blues had under soil heating and were confident they could get the fixture played. Melville felt this would give Dundee a great chance to get some revenue in over the festive period, as well as continue the recent good run, and with the majority of other games likely to be off, Dundee could increase their lead at the top.
Melville approached the Scottish League personally and all parties agreed that the game could go ahead at Dens on Sunday the 3rd with the corresponding fixture against Airdrie in March now being swapped to be played at the Excelsior Stadium.
A monumental effort therefore took place to get the game on but by Sunday lunchtime, Club General Manger Jim Thomson, who had overseen the operation, feared the worst as temperatures plummeted in Dundee. To everyone’s relief, referee Colin Brown finally did deem it playable at 2.20pm but in hindsight, it would have perhaps have been better if he hadn’t as, in the words of Jocky Scott, “Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong on that day.”
In the sub zero temperatures Dundee slipped to their first defeat in fourteen as Airdrie deservedly won 1-0. It was a tale of two penalties with Leigh Griffiths’ spot-kick being saved with the game at 0-0 before Kevin McDonald sent Rab Douglas the wrong way with his shot from twelve yards shortly afterwards.
As the fans watched the pitch start to glisten towards the end, Airdrie were reduced to ten men and still Dundee couldn’t make the breakthrough in a game that was to have ramifications for the rest of the season. Losing to the side at the bottom of the league was a serious blow and was a big dent to the players’ confidence and the swapping of the fixtures meant that Dundee would now have six of their last nine fixtures away from home for the title run-in. The pitch itself also took some serious punishment and cut up badly and it didn’t really recover from this until pre-season. It meant that it was often more of a hindrance to Dundee and a help to the opposition when they visited Dens and it could affect Dundee’s passing game.
One such game was three weeks later when second-placed Ross County came to Dens and snatched a 1-0 win in a drab affair to cut The Dees’ lead at the top to six points having also played three games more. There was a huge surprise for the Dundee support at kick-off when top goalscorer Leigh Griffiths started on the bench, having been left out of the starting line-up as a punishment for turning up late. Dundee were 1-0 down at the break and so Sparky came on at half time but he couldn’t inspire the Dark Blues as they turned in a dismal performance and blew the chance to go twelve points clear. It was another dent to the players’ confidence and it gave both Highland sides the chance to close the gap on Dundee at the top.
Melville’s appearances at Dens however had become more infrequent since Christmas and he claimed this was due to being busy with his business interests and he was censored by the SFA after claiming to BBC journalist Jim Spence that Dundee might offer Dundee United £500,000 for Scott Robertson in the January transfer window. Dundee had already outspent the likes of Rangers that season and the SFA gave Melville a ‘slap on the wrist’ as it was seen as ‘tapping up’ the player.
On February 20th Dundee were due to play Partick at Dens but on the eve of the match the club received some devastating news that legendary skipper of the 1962 championship winning side Bobby Cox had passed away during the night. ‘Sir’ Bobby as he was known by the fans was a regular at Dens on match days until he had recently taken ill and the club honoured him with a minute’s applause before the game. The players stood for the applause in front of the stand which bears his name and they furthered honoured his memory when current captain Eric Paton scored the winner in a 1-0 victory.
Less than a month later however, there was more devastating news when another of the League winning side, Hugh Robertson, passed away, but by then Dundee’s results had been on the slide. On March 6th Dundee again came back from 2-0 down against Inverness to draw two each and keep Caley at nine points’ arms length but that lead was being whittled away with a draw at Ayr and a defeat again to Airdrie later in the month.
There was a further blow on March 13th when Dundee lost at 2-1 home to Raith Rovers in the Scottish Cup quarter-final and this disappointment was further deepened when the Fife side drew Dundee United in the semi-final in what would have been a huge money spinner for the club.
That defeat, coupled with the loss at Airdrie, signaled the end of Jocky Scott’s time in charge and the shocking performance in Lanarkshire had been the final straw for the board. Calum Melville wasn’t at the match at the Excelsior Stadium but he took the responsibility himself to personally inform Scott of his fate and left his home in Aberdeen to drive south give him the bad news after a conference phone call between the directors decided the manager had to go.
In a statement released by the club via the official website, it explained why the decision had been made despite Dundee still being top of the league. “The unanimous decision of the board was not taken lightly but it was felt in view of the results since the turn of the year that the move was essential and in the best interests of the club.”
Recent performances had indeed been poor and with the lead now down to just three points, there was a worry that Inverness were going to overhaul The Dee sooner rather than later. It was clear now that it was imperative for the club to win the First Division to return to the SPL after a five-year absence and the mantra of ‘second is nowhere’ meant Jocky Scott had to pay the ultimate price despite his side still being top of the league.
Jocky Scott was sacked on March 20th with just nine matches to go until the end of the season and according to striker Colin McMenamin, “The whole place died the day they sacked Jocky Scott and we just never recovered from that. The boys were so close to Jocky and they felt really let down by the board at the time.”
It was not the first time that Dundee had replaced their manager while top of the First Division, it was the third and on the previous occasions Dundee managed to finish the season as champions in their last two successful promotion campaigns. The first was in 1992 when Iain Munro was replaced by Simon Stainrod in February while in 1998, John McCormack was ironically replaced by Jocky Scott during the same month to guide them to the league title.
Having won just two of their eight games since New Year, the board felt a fresh approach was needed to again get Dundee over the finishing line and they were desperate to get a new man in charge before the following Tuesday when the Dark Blues were due to face Queen of the South.
Ironically it was Queens’ manager Gordon Chisholm who quickly became the board’s first choice to take over and they envisaged a management dream team to include former Dundee favourite Billy Dodds, who had been coaching part-time with Chisholm in Dumfries. The Dark Blues wanted Dodds to give up his media career and join Dundee as full-time assistant manager instead of Chisholm’s number two at Palmerston, Kenny Brannigan, and when the pair agreed, they were offered their new roles at Dens.
Chisholm and Dodds were controversial choices for many Dark Blues fans with Chisholm becoming the first man to manage both Dundee and Dundee United while Dodds had criticised the club on a number occasions while working on the radio for BBC Scotland.
Chisholm’s opening match in charge just two days later therefore was against the club he’d just left and the match against Queen of the South was shown live on BBC ALBA. The hope was that Dundee would get the immediate boost that a new manager often brings to a club and the game got off to the perfect start when Queens were reduced to ten men in sixteen minutes. McAusland was sent off for denying Leigh Griffiths a goalscoring opportunity in the box and the striker dusted himself down and scored the resultant spot kick.
The Dee however couldn’t make their extra man count and after an hour Queens drew level through Bob Harris and managed to hold on for a point. In injury time it had looked as if Dundee might snatch a winner when the referee pointed to the spot again, this time for a handball from by Paul Burns but as Griffiths placed the ball on the spot, the Queens’ players surrounded referee Scott MacDonald as he went to consult his linesman and after an agonising delay, he changed his mind and awarded Dundee a corner.
It was another blow to the confidence of the players while the fans had also been noticeably nervy after the Doonhamers’ equaliser. It was a disappointing start for Chisholm with another two points dropped and now they had to face a Ross County side in Dingwall who were only seven points behind with three games in hand and on a high after knocking Hibs out of the Scottish Cup in their last match.
Four changes were made by Chisholm for the trip up north and it looked like Dundee were heading for a timely three points when on-loan Celtic striker Ben Hutchinson opened the scoring just after half time. However, with just three minutes left on the clock, former Dundee forward Steven Craig equalised for County and the game despairingly ended in a draw.
It was another two points dropped and The Dee had now taken just two points from nine in the last eight days. Second placed Inverness had won 1-0 at Partick Thistle to take seven points from nine in the same period and they now dislodged Dundee from top spot to move one point clear.
The following Tuesday was now going to be a crucial one with a full set of First Division fixtures seeing the top four playing each other and second placed Dundee had another away game at third placed Dunfermline, who themselves still harboured ambitions of promotion.
However, it turned out to be a miserable night for Dundee in more ways than one, as they went down by two goals to one on a cold, wet, snowy night on a slippy, muddy surface. Dunfermline were firing on all cylinders from the off and took the lead in six minutes while a lacklustre Dens side were never at the races and went in at the break 2-0 behind. Chisholm sent on all three substitutes at half time and went for broke but an injury time goal from Eddie Malone only served as scant consolation.
In the Highland derby in Inverness, league leaders Caley gunned down fourth placed Ross County by three goals to nil and in the process extended their lead over Dundee. It was a disastrous start for Chisholm, without a win in his first three games, and the three-point lead he had inherited had now turned round to a four-point deficit.
Dundee were now desperate for a win and achieved one at Dens against Ayr United the following Saturday but the 3-0 victory was overshadowed by the news that Caley had come from behind twice against Raith to win 4-3.
Dundee were due to play Inverness on the last day of the season at the Caledonian Stadium and the hope now was that Dundee could get within three points of Inverness before they had to travel north to give them a chance of grabbing the title. Caley however showed no sign of letting up and were on a sixteen-game unbeaten run which stretched back to November and they made it seventeen games on April 6th with a midweek 2-0 win at Greenock which gave them a seven-point lead as Dundee were inactive.
Dundee kept within touching distance of top spot when they won their first league away match of the year 1-0 at Partick but the following week dropped two more points when a late Griffiths equaliser earned a 2-2 draw with Morton.
Sparky’s free kick in the 86th minute at Greenock meant that Dundee were now nine points behind with three games to play and that goal had merely meant that Dundee could still mathematically catch Inverness. To do so they would have to win their game in hand at Raith Rovers the following Tuesday, but after twenty-six minutes they suffered a serious blow when goalkeeper Tony Bullock had to go off with a hamstring injury.
Dundee had been unlucky throughout the season with goalkeeping injuries to Robert Douglas and Tony Bullock and veteran goalkeeping coach Bobby Geddes had already featured on the bench five times before Christmas. In the ALBA Cup quarter-final at Stirling in October, it looked like the forty-nine year old Dundee legend would have to come on when Bullock picked up a knock, but the Englishman played on, much to everyone’s relief.
To avoid a repeat of this scenario, Jocky Scott had brought in former Dundee goalkeeper Derek Soutar in November but now both he and Douglas were injured for the game at Stark’s Park and Geddes was again on the bench and therefore had to come on when Bullock hobbled off. At the age of forty-nine years and eight months, Geddes became the oldest player in Scottish football history and let no one down with a performance that rolled back the years.
However, it wasn’t enough to prevent Raith from taking all three points as The Dee turned in a dreadful performance and the 1-0 win for Rovers handed Inverness the First Division Championship.
The farcical situation with the goalkeeper just about summed things up for Dundee as a fifteen-point lead over Inverness had been overturned to a nine-point deficit. Dundee gained some revenge over Raith on the Saturday with a 2-0 win in their last home game but a 1-0 defeat at Caley on the last day meant Inverness won the league by twelve points, having orchestrated a twenty-seven point swing.
Where it all had gone wrong was what every Dundee fan wanted to know but credit to Inverness who went on a twenty-one game unbeaten run just after their defeat to the Dark Blues in the ALBA Cup final. Dundee, by contrast, had won just four league games since Christmas and didn’t enjoy the boost normally enjoyed by clubs when they bring in a new manager. Dundee never really recovered from the defeats to Airdrie and Ross County in January and took only nine points from twenty-seven after Gordon Chisholm took charge.
After a season which had started with so much hope and promise, it became painful watching the SPL dream, which seemed so close at Christmas, slowly disappear. Dundee had clearly gambled on getting promotion by offering higher wages than previous years and paying the second highest transfer fees in Scotland but it had not paid off.
It was obvious therefore that failure to win the league meant cutbacks had to be made and budgets had to be reduced and new Business Development Manager Harry MacLean, who had joined the club in May 2010 and would become CEO in September, immediately went from raising money to saving it, cutting the first team wages from £31,000 a week to £16,000.
During pre-season, Chisholm had a number of players on trial, training with the squad and on the eve of the new campaign, deals were completed with Nicky Riley, Stephen O’Donnell and Gary Irvine. Mikael Antoine-Curier also joined up with the team after a spell last season on loan at Hamilton and the Guadeloupe international went straight into the side for the season’s opener against Alloa Athletic in defence of the ALBA Cup which The Dee won 2-1.
The league campaign started with a 1-0 win over Queen of the South at Dens with debutants Rhys Weston, Netan Sansara and Jamie Adams on loan from St Johnstone in the side. Dundee achieved that victory despite going down to nine men but the next game saw the Dark Blues go from the courageous to the ridiculous when they crashed out in of the ALBA Cup to Second Division Stenhousemuir, after a dismal performance saw The Dee surrender the trophy with a 4-1 defeat.
Results continued to be poor with a defeat away to Partick and a 0-0 draw with Ross County at Dens before another embarrassing cup exit, this time in the League Cup at Brechin on penalties.
Defeats in Fife to Dunfermline and Cowdenbeath in September started to put real pressure on Gordon Chisholm but rumours started to circulate that there were more pressing financial pressures off the pitch. Internet chatter was suggesting that Dundee may be in some sort of financial trouble and that Calum Melville might be about to jump ship and the dreaded ‘A’ word started to being bandied about.
The local press were suggesting that Dundee owed the taxman in the region of £365,000 and on Friday 1st October, the players and staff were left reeling when the club failed to pay their wages. Financial expert Blair Nimmo had been negotiating with HMRC on the club’s behalf and was trying to persuade them to accept a lump sum now and the balance in the summer but the talks became deadlocked and Dundee decided not to pay their staff after taking independent advice.
The reality now was that if a resolution wasn’t reached, Dundee would have to go into administration for the second time in seven years. On October 14th it was official when the papers were lodged at the Court of Session in Edinburgh and Bryan Jackson of PKF assumed control of the club. It was the third occasion that the club was on the brink due to financial mismanagement and as Dundee arguably sunk to the lowest level in its 117-year history, there was real worry that the club might not survive this time.
As expected, the first task of the Administrator was to reduce the wage costs and release a number of staff with immediate effect. Jackson was involved in the same process at Motherwell when they went into administration in 2002, letting go nineteen players shortly after taking over at Fir Park and on this occasion the number was thirteen.
From the playing staff, Mikael Antoine-Curier, Scott Fox, Charlie Grant, Brian Kerr, Njazi Kuqi, Paul McHale, Colin McMenamin, Eric Paton and Dominic Shimmin were released alongside manager Gordon Chisholm, assistant manager Billy Dodds, youth development coach John Holt and ticket office manager/kit man Neil Cosgrove.
October 15th 2010 was a horrendous day at Dens and Bryan Jackson held a press conference to inform the fans that firstly under-19 coach Barry Smith had been put in charge of the team as caretaker-manager and secondly that Dundee’s debts were much larger than initially feared and were in the region of around £2 million.
Amidst all the chaos and conjecture, Dundee actually had a game to play twenty-four hours later at Stirling Albion and new boss Barry Smith had the job of lifting the thirteen senior players who were left on the books. With so few players remaining, the team virtually picked itself while the substitutes’ bench would have to be supplemented with players from the youth team.
Astonishingly, after such a week of turmoil and despair, a match would have understandingly been the last thing on the mind of the players, but they turned in an excellent performance which trumped anything of recent weeks. In front of a noisy away support, Dundee dominated the first half before Leigh Griffiths gave The Dee the lead not long after the break. Stirling, however, bounced back and equalised despite being down to ten men and although it was one way traffic towards The Binos’ goal, Dundee couldn’t grab the winner as every player gave their all.
Under the circumstances it was a very good point and an emotional week ended with an emotional moment that fitted the day perfectly. Before the match, the players had gone into a huddle for the second match in a row and then at the end, every member of the team, alongside Barry Smith and his coaches, made a point of heading towards the 1000 plus away support that stood to applaud their heroes. The Dundee fans gave the players a tremendous ovation and the bond between the players and the fans was a theme that was to become more prevalent in the weeks and months to come.
As they had done seven years before, the Dundee support mobilised quickly and the Dundee FC Supporters’ Society started a fighting fund in an attempt to save the club while the threadbare squad achieved credible draws against Dunfermline and Falkirk in their next two games.
Before the next match at home to Partick however the club received another blow when the Scottish League hit Dundee with a twenty-five point penalty on November 1st. It was a serious threat to the club’s very existence as relegation could mean part-time football or even closure. It left Dundee on minus eleven points, bottom of the league and in a state of shock.
Dundee were reeling and on the precipice and the next game against Partick Thistle at Dens on November 6th was clearly going to be one of the biggest games in the club’s history as the reaction of the players, staff and supporters would go a long way to showing the footballing world whether Dundee FC had a future or not. The fight for survival was now in full swing.
The players and fans didn’t disappoint as over 6000 turned up to wave their red cards in protest of the draconian 25 point penalty and watch Jamie Adams score in the 85th minute to give The Dee a priceless 2-1 win. It was the first victory since going into administration and there were wild celebrations both on and off the park. The noise nearly lifted the roof off of the old Archibald Leitch stand and Dee-Fiant was now the belief and inspiration.
Victories in the next five games against Ross County (home and away), Morton, Cowdenbeath and Stirling Albion put The Dee on a ten game unbeaten run and chipped away at the gap between Dundee and second bottom place which was now down to ten points.
Against Ross County on January 2nd a familiar face was in the line-up when Steven Robb returned to help out his old club as a trialist. As well as the 25 point deduction the Scottish League had imposed a transfer embargo on Dundee and in the coming months manager Barry Smith would use the 3-game trialist loophole to help boost his tiny squad.
The most celebrated example of this occurred a month later against league leaders Raith Rovers at Dens on February 12th when club legend Neil McCann came out of retirement and put his boots on again for three games. Now working as a SKY Sports pundit, he came to the aid of his old club and old team mate Barry Smith and it was a fairytale return for the winger.
McCann started on the bench and came on after 57 minutes with Dundee already 1-0 down. His appearance saw the tide begin to turn however and with four minutes left captain Gary Harkins scored a fantastic free kick to deservedly level the scores.
Dundee didn’t settle for a point however and four minutes into injury time, those who were there witnessed one of the great Dens Park moments. A Craig Forsyth corner was cleared by a Raith defender but when it fell to Matt Lockwood outside the box, he lofted it back in where it was met by Forsyth who headed the ball down. It landed at the feet of McCann twelve yards out and as he spun and fell to the ground, he lifted the ball gently into the air and watched it float over the Rovers keeper and into the net.
McCann’s sprint towards the South Enclosure belied his thirty-six years and his team mates didn’t catch him till he reached the touchline. When they got there, they buried him in dark blue bodies in front of a frenzied Dundee support which had bounced to the front of the South Enclosure to celebrate with their heroes. It was simply magnificent as Dens reverberated with joy.
The previous week Dundee had come off the bottom of the league for the first time after a 2-1 win at Dumfries and the victory over Raith was incredibly Dundee’s fourteenth match unbeaten.
Ten days later Dundee met Raith again this time in Fife and there was another fairytale in the Dens Park ranks when Lochee United’s Craig Robertson, a lifelong Dee, was offered the chance to turn out for his heroes. Dundee exploited another loophole where Junior players could be used as trialists and Robertson did himself proud with a magnificent performance in the middle of the park in another 2-1 win.
Two weeks later Dundee were back in Fife and their 3-1 win over Cowdenbeath equaled the club’s 19-game unbeaten run record set by the Championship winning side of 1961/62. They broke the record with a 2-1 win over Queen of the South on March 12th and the run would eventually become a new record of 23 games, broken only when Raith gained a modicum of revenge for McCann’s last minute goal with a last minute winner of their own at Starks Park on April 2nd.
By then Dundee had survival in their sights and on Easter Saturday travelled up to Dingwall where victory would ensure not only that Dundee would avoid bottom spot but also ninth place which would have put Dundee into a relegation play-off.
Although Barry Smith had predicted a ‘cracker’, it turned out in the end to be anything but, but no one connected with Dundee cared a jot as in they secured the victory they needed with a 1-0 win in a scrappy affair. In many ways it was a performance which summed up much of the post-administration season as they defended superbly when under pressure, played some neat passing football, ground out a result when most needed and saw a youngster come to the fore by grabbing the winning goal.
The winning goal came from Leighton McIntosh in sixty-five minutes when he took advantage of a poor touch from Michael McGovern to take the ball off the County keeper before rolling it into the empty net in front of the jubilant away fans. It was McIntosh’s fourth goal in three games and as the only fit striker on the books he had really come of age with vital goals at vital times after missing part of the season earlier with a broken wrist, which he still protected with a cast.
The final whistle brought scenes of joy as players, management and fans celebrated the amazing feat of what they had achieved in staying up after the 25 point deduction with two games to spare. Survival had seemed a pipe dream in November but it would be an achievement long remembered.
The following week there was a carnival atmosphere at Dens as almost 8000 fans came out to salute their heroes against Partick Thistle. An entertaining 3-2 win meant that Dundee had lost just one game in 27 and the players enjoyed a lap of honour at the end. Dundee would finish the league in sixth place, 24 points ahead of bottom, 9 points ahead of the play-offs and the players deserved the applause for everything they had done in adversity, giving their all and for playing a huge, huge part in saving the club.
The fans more than did their bit as well, raising an astonishing £250,000 in six months which allowed the Administrator to propose a CVA as early as March 11th. It was accepted without appeal and Dundee officially exited Administration on May 12th to become a fans’ owned club with the Dundee FC Supporters’ Society as the majority shareholder.
The fans-led new board was announced at the end of season player of the year dinner at the Hilton Hotel as was the news that Barry Smith had been appointed permanent manger. He’d been given a three year deal as reward for his remarkable Dee-fiant leadership and this elicited a huge cheer and standing ovation in the room.
Smith’s task was now to consolidate Dundee’s position in the league and build on the confidence of the Dee-Fiant season. It was a new beginning and a new chapter for club and no one seriously expected Dundee to be challenging for promotion as the club started to rebuild.
What the fans didn’t expect however was to be bottom of the league by November after a 1-0 home defeat to Partick. A series of disappointing defeats to Livingston, Morton, Falkirk, Hamilton and Ross County contributed to being rooted to the bottom.
The return of a former hero however changed the fortunes on the pitch when Gavin Rae rejoined the club seven years after leaving for Rangers to raise much needed cash during the first administration. Almost immediately Gavin’s drive and determination in the middle of the park saw results pick up, culminating in a superb 6-1 win at Hamilton in December. Steven Milne, another former Dee who had returned in the summer scored a hat-trick at New Douglas Park as the Dark Blues started to shoot up the league.
By early February Dundee were up to third, six points behind leaders Ross County who had two games in hand but had lost Gavin Rae to his hometown team Aberdeen. The chance to close the gap on the Staggies however came when they visited Dens at the end of the month but a 1-1 draw allowed County to keep their distance and as they won their games in hand, started to pull away at the top.
Dundee kept plugging away however and by the end of March were up to second in the league albeit 15 points behind the Highlanders. By then however Rangers had gone into administration on Valentine’s Day and the press started to hint that second in the First Division may be good enough for promotion should Rangers liquidate. A run of four home games in a row allowed Dundee to stay ahead of Falkirk in second spot and when they beat the Bairns at Dens in early April, it all but ensured that Dundee would finish as runners-up.
A last day 1-0 home win over Livingston thanks to youngster Jamie Reid’s debut goal secured second spot behind champions Ross County and it was another superb achievement from Barry Smith less than twelve months after coming out of admin.
By the end of the season the situation with Rangers was no clearer and the uncertainty became a Scottish football summer soap opera. Rangers had indeed liquidated but when the new season fixtures were released on June 20th, the S.P.L. named ‘Club 12’ on their list as no decision had yet been on the future of the new company headed by Charles Green.
The 2012/13 fixture list gave Dundee an opening day home game against Dumbarton but they were watching the Rangers situation quietly and with great interest. Dundee had finished as First Division runners-up for the third time in five years but if the ‘Newco’ were denied entry into the S.P.L., then The Dee would be in prime position to move back into the top tier after a seven year absence.
After a season of consolidation manager Barry Smith now looked to assemble a Dark Blue squad to attempt to win promotion but as he did so, events with Rangers took a dramatic turn. On July 4th the eleven other S.P.L. clubs unanimously rejected the ‘Newco’ Rangers’ application to join them and twelve days later named Dundee F.C. as ‘Club 12’. For once ‘second was somewhere.’
Dundee were handed their Golden Ticket just two weeks before the start of the new season and indeed didn’t actually receive their S.P.L. share until twenty-four hours before opening day and the national summer of uncertainty meant the whole of Scottish football were ill prepared as fixture reshuffling ensued.
The League Cup First Round draw was made in June giving Dundee an away trip to Peterhead but this match was scheduled to take place on the first day of the S.P.L. season as the top flight clubs had a bye. This match therefore had to be brought forward four days to the previous Wednesday meaning Dundee had to cancel a pre-season friendly with Bristol City.
Dundee however had been building for a tilt at the First Division title and had assembled a squad over the summer which reflected this. They scraped through on penalties after a 0-0 draw in the ‘Blue Toon’ but that uninspiring result didn’t stop over 3000 Dees travelling to Kilmarnock for their first SPL game and witness a battling 0-0 draw a decent start against the League Cup holders
The next two games however highlighted Dundee’s deficiencies with a 2-0 home defeat to St Mirren and a 3-0 loss ‘across the road’ at Tannadice to bitterest rivals Dundee United in which captain Stephen O’Donnell was sent off live on SKY Sports.
With no goals and no points after three games, it was obvious that Dundee needed to add to their squad but they were unable to do so as they had yet to receive any money from the SPL. With Rangers now playing in the Third Division this caused uncertainty with the television deals and the usual August payment was delayed until September after the transfer window had closed. With Dundee having no overdraft since administration, they were therefore only able to bring in Hartlepool striker Colin Nish on loan until January.
A 1-0 home defeat to Ross County after the derby was followed by one of the worst cup results in the club’s history when Dundee crashed out 2-1 in the League Cup to Third Division Queens Park at Hampden after scoring their first goal in over 500 minutes. A surprise 1-0 win away to Hearts in the next game was followed by six straight defeats and the SPL was becoming a nightmare.
Dundee’s inability to score would plague them all season and despite having seven strikers on the books, the top scorer finished with just seven goals. In fact the strikers scored no league goals in August and from September to January scored just one league goal between them each month.
Long term injuries to key players also didn’t help and throughout the season The Dee lost the services of Carl Finnigan, Jamie McClusky, Stephen O’Donnell, Mark Stewart, Lewis Toshney for extended periods as well as those of new signings David Grassi, Brian Easton and Mark Kerr who had been brought in as free agents for their experience.
A mini revival was sparked in November when another win over Hearts was followed by a draw at Motherwell then victory against Hibs which put second bottom St Mirren in their sights but when the sides met next met in Paisley, the turning point was the dismissal of Colin Nish and the Dark Blues lost 2-1. The decision to move the following midweek game against Kilmarnock to a free Saturday in January meant that Nish would now be suspended for the home derby against United and another 3-0 defeat meant the natives were becoming restless.
A dismal Christmas period put pressure on Barry Smith and after a New Year defeat at Perth, a director was alleged to have leaked to a local newspaper that Smith’s position was under review. Dundee denied this and gave Smith a vote of confidence until the end of the season but on February 20th with just two more points secured, Smith was dismissed.
It was a sad end for a Dundee legend who was elevated from youth coach to manager in October 2011 after the administrators axe fell on Gordon Chisholm. Smith led them on a club record run to avoid relegation, helping literally save the club as well as secure that second place which was crucial in getting into the SPL.
On February 23rd former player John Brown was appointed as caretaker boss and had the job until the end of the season but with Dundee fifteen points adrift at the bottom he claimed it would be ‘a mountain to climb’. League results and displays improved but the ‘mountain was never climbed’ and relegation to the First Division was confirmed on May 5th after a controversial 1-1 draw with Aberdeen. It was a lot later than many expected after a run of just one defeat in nine since Bomber was appointed and Brown was deservedly given the job full-time.
In the summer Dundee endured a soap opera of their own rather than a national one as Football Partners Scotland looked to invest in the club. After a protracted saga, a vote was held at a Supporters Society SGM on August 12th where members voted overwhelmingly to approve the issuance of 100 million new shares in Dundee FC for FPS to purchase. Bill Colvin was subsequently appointed as chairman, with Steve Martin and Ian Crighton rejoining the board alongside John Nelms from American investment group Keyes Capital who was appointed Director of Football Operations.
Manager John Brown spent the summer building a squad to get Dundee back into the top tier at the first attempt and after a sluggish start, were right on the tail of leaders Hamilton after the first quarter.
By the New Year Dundee were on top of new Scottish Championship but after a series of disappointing home results, Brown resigned with his side joint top of the league. To replace him, The Dee turned to former Scotland internationalist Paul Hartley who had done an impressive job at Alloa, leading them to consecutive promotions and his target was to make it a hat-trick by taking Dundee back into the top tier at the first attempt.
Hartley’s first game in charge was against fellow title challengers Hamilton Academical on February 8th and his reign got off to the perfect start with a 1-0 win over his old side, making Hartley the first Dundee manager for 24 years to win his opening game.
Over the next few months the lead repeatedly changed hands between Dundee and Hamilton with Falkirk also on their tales and after a valiant 1-1 draw with Hamilton at New Douglas Park and a convincing 4-0 home win over Cowdenbeath at Dens, the Dark Blues were in pole position with just three games left.
However disaster struck on a sunny day in Greenock when already relegated Morton shocked The Dee with a 1-0 win. Hamilton went back to the top by a point meaning Dundee needed favours from others but just seven days later the football gods were smiling on Dundee as Dumbarton thumped Hamilton 4-1 as The Dee beat Alloa 3-0 in front of a sold out away end at Recreation Park.
It was all set up for Dundee to clinch promotion and the Scottish Championship trophy at home to Dumbarton on the last day of the season where a win would guarantee the title while a draw was likely good enough as Dundee were two points and eight goals ahead of Accies.
Anticipation reached fever pitch as Dens Park sold out by the Wednesday but the capacity crowd in attendance could hardly have anticipated the high drama that was about to unfold. Christian Nade and Peter MacDonald gave Dundee a 2-0 half-time lead but when Scott Agnew pulled one back from the spot with twenty minutes left, the news filtering through from Lanarkshire was that Accies were beating Morton 8-1. The Greenock side pulled one back before Hamilton scored twice to make it 10-2, giving them the eight goals they needed to better Dundee’s goal difference on goals scored.
A goal for Dumbarton therefore would hand the title to Hamilton and The Sons desperately pushed forward in search of an equaliser to spoil the Dark Blues’ party. First there was a penalty shout for Dumbarton, then an almighty scramble in the Dundee box and then with 90 minutes on the clock Kyle Letheren pulled off a world class fingertips save from a Bryan Prunty header as The Dee tried to desperately hang on to their 2-1 lead.
Eventually the referee’s final whistle went and Dens Park exploded into unbridled joy. Dundee were SPFL Championship winners and had won promotion at the first attempt. The helicopter carrying the Championship trophy which had been circling over Dens in the final minutes delivered the trophy and when it was handed over to captain Gavin Rae it signaled that Dundee were back in the big time and could now look forward to the Premiership and the return of the derbies.
Paul Hartley rebuilt the squad in the summer in preparation for the Premiership and it would pay dividends with a top six finish in Dundee’s first season back in the top tier. The highlight was the derby victory over United in April which all but secured that top six finish and the success of Dundee’s season was emphasised by Greg Stewart’s nomination for Premiership Player of the Year and Scott Bain’s call up to the full Scotland side.
In Dundee’s second season in the Premiership, they just missed out on successive top six finishes by a point but there was compensation when Dundee got the chance to relegate their rivals Dundee United in what would become known as the ‘Doon Derby.’
Dundee had a good record against United that season with two draws at Tannadice a New Year win at Dens and the first draw in August was particularly memorable when The Dee came back from 2-0 down with 10 minutes to go to draw 2-2 thanks to a stunning strike from Greg Stewart and a 94 th minute equaliser from James McPake.
On May 2 nd 2016, the Dundee fans had the time of their lives when United crossed the road needing a win to avoid dropping down to the Championship. It looked like they might survive to fight another day when Ofere gave them the lead nine mutes after the break but on the 77 th minute, Bulgarian defender Kostadin Gadzhalov wrote himself into the history books when he headed home a Gary Harkins corner to equalise and effectively relegate United.
However in injury time, Dundee fan Craig Wighton hit the final nail in United’s coffin when he hit home a 93 rd minute winner and send United down and the home fans into delirium.
Greg Stewart was again nominated for the PFA Player of the Year alongside team mate Kane Hemmings and both were lured south to Oxford United and Birmingham City at the start of the 2016/17 season, with around £750,000 coming into the Dens Park coffers.
However their goals and influence were difficult to replace and the Dark Blues struggled at times in a rollercoaster season where Dundee sat 1 st , 6 th and 12 th in the Premiership at various points across the season.
It was certainly a season of highs and lows as Rangers were defeated at home for the first time in 25 years, Inverness were beaten at Dens for the first time since 2005, Dundee scored six and seven in consecutive home games and ended their Highland hoodoo in the first league outing of the season. The Dee came back from two down to win a thrilling match against Hearts, then threw away a two goal lead at Inverness a month later and gave Celtic three of toughest matches of their imperious season with a hat-trick of narrow one goal losses. Dundee also scored five in the first half in Motherwell but then didn’t win again until they went back there in Neil McCann’s first match in charge.
McCann was appointed as interim manager after Paul Hartley departed with The Dee hovering precariously near the bottom after the Premiership split and wins at Motherwell and Kilmarnock and a 1-1 draw at home to Ross County (secured thanks to a penalty from Darren O’Dea who ran into the South Enclosure after he scored) were enough to see Dundee safe from going down with two games to spare.
Dundee legend McCann was appointed full time manager in the summer and his first full season in charge saw more points won, an improvement in league position and further progress in both cup competitions.
It was a season of transition with Neil trying to implement his own football philosophy into the playing style and considering he was remembered in his Dundee playing career for his famous late goals, McCann clearly tried to instil that never-say-die attitude into his team with late winners against Raith, Hearts, Ross County, Hamilton, Partick and St Johnstone.
In the League Cup Dundee knocked their big rivals Dundee United out in the second round, after facing them in the group stages and the 2-1 victory came via a winner from Paul McGowan and a stunning opener from Faissal El Bahktaoui which saw him win the DFC Goal of the Season for the second year in a row.
Another highlight was defeating Rangers 2-1 in November – the second home win over the Light Blues in the calendar year and a decent post split campaign helped Dundee comfortably secure safety in the end.
Article by Kenny Ross – Kenny is the author of ‘Dundee: Champions of Scotland 1961-62’, ‘Dundee Legends’, ‘Dundee’s Hampden Heroes’ and ‘It’s All About the Memories’. A selection of those are available to purchase from the club shop and also online by clicking here.