What kind of job lies in store for the next Dundee United manager?
Academy coach Tam Courts is, seemingly, the frontrunner as Tannadice chiefs this week opened discussions with “several exciting candidates”.
Regardless of who is appointed, what will be sitting in the new gaffer’s in tray when they are unveiled?
That will be up to the man himself and the United board.
However, after speaking to fans, Tele Sport has compiled a list of priorities for the the new boss according to Arabs.
The vast majority of supporters who responded agree that strengthening the current playing squad should be the top priority.
Most are calling for creativity, pace and width to be added to the group with others hoping United add some steel and strengthen the spine of their team.
Two wingers, attacking mid, left back, cb keeper and striker if Benji, Edwards or Shankland leave!
— ᏕᏗᏁᎧᎧᏠ 🃏🎭⛓ (@King_Kong_83) June 1, 2021
In terms of permanent signings, Mellon was only able to add Ryan Edwards, Jeando Fuchs and Flo Hoti last season.
Arabs hope this will change under a new man, with many looking for at least a handful of new faces.
With key men Benjamin Siegrist, Lawrence Shankland and Edwards running into the last year of their contracts, securing new deals or finding replacements for them, too, is a concern for fans.
Although most are keen to see strong recruitment in the early days of the new manager’s tenure, United developing their own is as important for many.
Homegrown talent in the first team is something Arabs have grown accustomed to since the halcyon days of Jim McLean and Mellon’s reign was no different.
Last term, he handed debuts to the likes of teenagers Archie Meekison, Kai Fotheringham, Kerr Smith and Lewis Neilson, while academy graduates Jamie Robson and Logan Chalmers had their best campaigns to date.
Personally, I think it should be Youth Development, however, I'm probably going against the grain on that. Recruitment would be next after that, esp. in the first two windows
— Alex Marr (@alexmarr98) June 1, 2021
With a strong youth set-up now in place, one which owner Mark Ogren and the hierarchy at Tannadice have invested heavily into in recent years, it is a huge part of the club’s long-term strategy.
Any new boss will likely have to get on board with the remit of playing youngsters in the top team – with academy head of tactical performance Courts sure to be keen to bring through kids if offered the job.
Success on the pitch
Challenging for silverware and making a concerted push for a top-six finish next season is next in line for United supporters.
Last season, their first back in the Premiership since 2016, the Tangerines finished ninth and made it to a Scottish Cup semi-final.
They weren’t a million miles away from a top-half berth, ending the campaign only a point off St Johnstone in fifth when the curtain came down.
Winning a trophy?
— Ceres Arabs (@CeresArabs) June 1, 2021
Although, they disappointed in a 2-0 defeat to Hibs at Hampden.
Given the history of the club, particularly under McLean, challenging for both domestic cups and being among the best teams in the country is expected.
United are two-time Scottish Cup winners, two-time League Cup winners and, famously, won the league back in 1983 in an era that regularly saw forays deep into European competition.
Football has changed since then, but the weight of history will still very much be on the shoulders of whoever next occupies the manager’s office at Tannadice.
Style of play
A major gripe of the fans last term was United’s style of play under Mellon.
Favouring a defence-first approach as the Tangerines looked to solidify themselves in the top tier following Championship promotion, the football wasn’t always easy on the eye.
Most hope that will change under a new man and with a whole year of Premiership action under their belt.
Getting crosses into the box at the attacking end, stopping crosses at the other end. Baby steps.
— Gammon Goalposts (@gammongoalposts) June 1, 2021
Winning games and winning them well is of paramount importance to the club and firmly entrenched in its identity.
They have the players – Shankland, Chalmers, Nicky Clark, Louis Appere – but the service to their danger men was often lacking last time out.
They were the league’s lowest scorers with 32 and also ranked lowly for shots and shots on target.
If they are to have aspirations of finishing among the best teams in the country come the end of season 2021/22, they’ll have to find a cutting edge.
All told, it’s a big but not insurmountable task that lies ahead for the next Dundee United boss.
As ever, the fans remain expectant.