Members of Dundee FC’s record-breaking 2010 squad are set to recount their brush with administration and their record-breaking fightback from the brink.
“Deefiant!” on March 20 will see Dark Blues stars including manager and one-time Tele columnist Barry Smith, Rab Douglas, Matthew Lockwood, Gary Harkins and Stephen O’Donnell discuss their against-the-odds battle to keep the club in the First Division – and in business.
Over the course of the evening at the Whitehall Theatre fans will hear about the club’s impossible challenge – with administration looming, a ban on buying players and their rookie manager Barry Smith thrown in at the deep end without a paddle.
Dundee was threatened with administration in 2010 after being confronted with a £365,000 tax bill. An offer to pay £100,000 immediately was rejected, sending the club into crisis.
It was forced to cut 13 players and staff as it fell into administration, for which it was docked 25 points by the Scottish Football League.
The SFL also made the club sign an embargo preventing it from signing new players.
With -11 points to its name, the now-legendary squad staged a fightback stranger than fiction, with a 23-game undefeated streak from October 2010 to March 2011 that propelled them to sixth in the league, and into the history books.
March’s event will be the first time in years that players have recounted their defiant fight to keep the fans’ faith in the club alive as they and the boardroom battled on in the background for its future.
Organisers Events 105 – based locally – say the team is “amazing for what they achieved”.
In a statement, the firm said: “All that was left was for the fans to pray for a miracle. What they got was something better and would be forever known simply as DEEfiant.
“We will hear all the amazing stories first hand from the players themselves, relive the big moments and a decade on get a chance to salute a remarkable group of players who, by refusing to throw in the towel, propelled themselves to legendary status in the eyes of Dundee FC fans both at home and abroad forever more.”
Tickets are available through ticketing website Skiddle, starting at £23, with meet-and-greet tickets available for £35 and a “VVIP” ticket with after-party access available for £55.
The legends of Dundee who saved the club
It was an incredible season and one Dundee’s fans will never forget.
When the club entered administration and fell an enormous 20 points adrift at the bottom of the First Division, it would have been understandable if the players and management as well as the supporters, struggled to recover.
But it wasn’t that way at Dens Park, with the club defying the odds and ensuring they would not go down without a fight.
The incredible 23-match unbeaten run included 14 wins and nine draws, bringing in 42 points.
Led by gaffer Barry Smith and relying on the striking of a young Leigh Griffiths, who bagged 12 goals in all competitions, the team ensured they stayed up in sixth place.
It led the club into the next season where the momentum continued and the feel-good factor went on.
Smith led his players on another incredible journey which ultimately saw the club narrowly miss out on a place in the Scottish Premier League.
But, even though the next season didn’t bring the fairytale ending the club wanted, nobody could ever forget the impact the Dundee side of 2010-11 made at Dens Park.
Those players were heroes, and fans will have the chance to thank them in person at the special get-together at the Whitehall Theatre next year.