WELL the wait is finally over and Dundee United have at last been promoted back to the Scottish Premiership after the SPFL decided to call a halt to the 2020 season due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The decision was taken with United sitting 14 points clear with eight games left to play. It’s a welcome relief after four long years playing Championship football.
A bizarre chain of events leading up to the announcement was dominated by city rivals Dundee FC who chose to vote against the decision thus denying United the majority they required for automatic promotion and the possibility of delaying lower league clubs their share of the season’s crucial financial spoils.
Just what was to be gained from such a stance by the Dark Blues is open to interpretation and with three choices for clubs—yes, no or abstain—Dundee chose all three in a period of seven days or so! Common sense however prevailed with a change of heart and a ‘Yes’ went in favour of the Tangerines.
Manager Robbie Neilson while delighted with the outcome quipped: “It’s not the way the players or the fans would have wanted it—we’d rather win it in front of our fans—but these are unprecedented times and when it’s safe to do so, the club can celebrate properly.
So now the task of building a side worthy of holding its own in the Premiership begins. It’s probably nailed on that international striker Lawrence Shankland will depart, with former Northern Ireland manager, Michael O’Neill, keen to take the 28-goal man to Stoke City. He will face stiff competition though with QPR, Norwich, Celtic and Rangers all mentioned as potential suitors. Neilson, though, will still hold out hope that the financial hardship that clubs will inevitably face over the next while could work in United favour.
It seems surreal to be writing about football in such awful times and nobody will not forget 2020 in a hurry. Having something to look forward to and focus on is though is surely a good thing. So United will be seeing you next season at Easter Road, Celtic Park or wherever your allegiance takes you.