Written by Euan Wood
Fans continue to voice their frustrations as the club vie to escape the dreaded drop.
Liam Fox’s side stare down their second relegation in the past decade, with last weekend’s 2-1 home defeat to St. Johnstone continuing to test the patience of the Dundee United faithful.
Lifetime supporter and founder of ‘DUFC Stats’, Andrew Winton says Fox’s dismissal as manager is ‘unarguable’ if they suffer defeat to fellow relegation strugglers Ross County this weekend.
“This is a huge game,” he said.
“It probably is our biggest game of the season now, the supporters will be desperate to win. If he loses, that’ll be a sixth defeat in a row, I think at that point it becomes almost unarguable to say it is worth keeping Fox.
“If United lose, they are four points behind Ross County. I always think when it’s more than a result, that becomes pretty serious because you need two weeks before you can turn it over.
“Fox might be seen as a cheap appointment, being a promotion from within, but he is actually going to be a very expensive appointment if the club get relegated.”
Supporters, who have watched their side suffer five straight defeats, directed their anger at Sporting Director Tony Asghar prior to the club’s long-awaited AGM on Tuesday.
Banners with the message ‘Asghar Out’ were displayed outside the gates of Tannadice, as concerns over on and off-field decision-making continue to mount against the senior figures at Tannadice.
The club’s top-flight status remained in a precarious position as the January transfer window loomed. Supporters made their expectations clear, with the hope that new additions could rejuvenate their confidence-stricken squad languishing at the foot of the Premiership table.
“If you gauged United fans opinion midway through the January transfer window, they would’ve said we’re not happy with the league position, but things are improving and if we make a couple signings and come out of the window stronger, then that’s fine.”
However, the club allowed former Motherwell and Celtic striker Tony Watt to depart the club on loan to European hopefuls St. Mirren and failed to attract a replacement, leaving them without a viable alternative to contend with experienced talisman Steven Fletcher.
“The decision with Watt is particularly infuriating. To let him go out and not bring someone in is just utterly astonishing, and that is part of the kick back from the fans.
“Those players were out there. Motherwell signed Jon Obika, Kilmarnock signed Kyle Vassell, Ross County signed Simon Murray and Eamonn Brophy. So, there clearly were strikers out there, they just didn’t get them because potentially they were going for higher targets.
“I think there was a certain arrogance when Asghar is saying the recruitment was good in the summer.
“They essentially spent all the money in the summer but didn’t address certain key positions. Motherwell have just signed Calum Butcher and United have previously had Jeando Fuchs, we don’t have a tough central defensive midfielder.
“Ultimately the owners have the purse strings, but they do not have the knowledge of Scottish football to make the decisions.
“The anger is really directed at Tony Asghar.”
Speaking to Dundee United TV, Asghar addressed the fans and outlined his disappointment at the club’s inactivity in the transfer window:
“Nobody is more unhappy at how we ended up coming out of the window than myself,” he said.
“Tony [Watt] wanted to go and play football, he wasn’t getting that here and we had to make a decision near the end of the last day of the window.
“We were still looking to try and bring players in, unfortunately we hit the bar with a few and that’s the way it goes.”
The inaction in Tayside has only increased the pressure on manager Liam Fox, as he attempts to prevent United’s Championship plight. However, Andrew is confident that Premiership survival is “retrievable” this season.
“I think it is a situation that is retrievable with the players they’ve got there,” he explained.
“The fact that they beat Aberdeen 4-0, Ross County 3-0, Kilmarnock 4-0. This is not a side that is clearly the worst side in the league.
“I think it is a side that is mentally quite weak, but I think there is something to work with. It is retrievable.”
However, whilst relegation remains a daunting prospect for ‘the tangerines’ financially, Andrew noted his uncertainty over owner Mark Ogren’s intentions regarding investment and ownership if the club were unable to escape the drop this season.
“If they sell the club, all the money they’ve put in to date is loss, so its basically writing off their investment.
“It basically boils down to, do the Ogren’s want to try and turn it around and get a return on their investment or do they want to cut their losses and say we’re out.
“Irrespective of whether it’s the Ogren’s or anyone else, financially its never been more important to stay in the league. It would be really problematic if they went down.”
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