This time of year football takes a break, players head off on holiday and fans start counting the days to the new season – that wasn’t always the case, though.
Not even that long ago, the end of May and start of June would see Dundee FC head off on a post-season tour.
A tour of the USA and Canada in 1986 brought the end-of-season trips to an end with a 1-1 draw with QPR in Tampa on June 14 the club’s last post-season fixture abroad.
These days, league fixtures extending into the middle of May and the beginning of the new campaign in July has put paid to trips abroad like North America, Spain, West Germany and Switzerland, Belgium and Denmark and, remarkably, looking back, Israel and Turkey.
One trip, however, stands out above the others so we’ll start with that.
Tour of South Africa
May 16-July 15 1953
Fresh from lifting their second straight League Cup, Dundee felt snubbed by the football authorities after not being invited to the Coronation Cup to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s crowning despite finishing above Celtic and Aberdeen in the league.
Instead of moping, however, flamboyant manager George Anderson whisked the team off for a lengthy tour of South Africa.
The 16-man squad played a massive 17 games on the trip, losing just the once, and kicked off the tour in front of 22,000 fans in Johannesburg against Southern Transvaal.
They also beat the South African national side in a ‘Test series’ akin to a cricket or rugby tour with 5-0 and 5-3 victories, losing the first ‘test’ 1-0.
Top scorer on the trip was Bobby Flavell – fresh off 25 goals in the season – knocking in 17 in the 17 games.
Tours of Spain 1923 and 1924
The first ever foreign trip for the Dark Blues saw them travel by boat and train to Spain, kicking off against Bilbao Athletic on May 20, 1923 and winning 3-0.
Four days later they became the first foreign side to beat the mighty Real Madrid on their own turf with two goals from Davie Halliday in a 2-0 win.
In 1924, they did the same to Barcelona with another Halliday brace bringing a 2-0 victory followed by a 2-1 win and then another over Real.
Tour of Israel and Turkey
May 30-June 24 1951
On the request of the government, the Dark Blues made what would be a likely impossible journey in today’s political climate by travelling through Israel and then Turkey.
The first game in Tel Aviv saw them take on Maccabi in front of a recorded 50,000 people, running out 2-0 winners.
In Istanbul, the Dee hammered Galatasaray 6-0 with Flavell and Ernie Copland hat-tricks.
Tour of Australia and New Zealand
May 13-May 28 1972
Travelling to the other side of the world, Dundee brought their shooting boots with them, piling in seven against an Auckland XI, nine against Queensland and a massive 16 against Northern Rivers.
In fact, over seven games they scored 53 times with Jocky Scott getting 15.
Tour of USA and Canada
May 24-Jun 14 1986
Just over 30 years ago, Dundee’s last post-season trip saw five wins from 10 games with Albert Kidd the main man, scoring twice in a 4-0 win over San Jose Earthquakes.
Graham Harvey also got four goals as the Dark Blues enjoyed themselves in the North American summer in a post-season tour that is now, sadly, a thing of the past.