A sombre mood hung in the air at Tannadice through the weekend after news emerged that Dundee Utd legend Jim McLean had died.
Hundreds of fans flocked to the ground to pay their respects to the club’s greatest ever manager, who died at the age of 83 following a battle with dementia.
And, young and old, they all shared the same conviction – there would never be another one like him.
A shrine of tangerine scarves, flags and other memorabilia grew from Saturday evening, when the news was first confirmed, and by yesterday the stadium gates were covered, including one banner emblazoned with “Mr Dundee Utd”.
Such was McLean’s impact on the city where he spent his managerial career that rival supporters also placed Dundee FC shirts and scarves – this was also an acknowledgment of his time spent as a player for the Dee.
Fans paid their respects as they recalled his exploits both at home and abroad during the late 1970s and 1980s.
Graham Byrne, a lifelong Arab, was among those supporters who had decided to place a memento on the shrine.
He added: “I’ve followed United since I was a kid, I saw the McLean era, I never missed a game home or away.
“I was shocked to hear of his passing and I had to come down and pay my respects to the great man.
“I still remember going to a game with McLean and the players at Parkhead. We had a pre-match meal in Dunblane, it must have been around 1979 or 1980.
“Jim was great with me that day and its always stuck with me. There will never be another like him at the club.”
Fellow supporter, Derek McGeoghie, was similar in his belief that the club, and Scottish football, would be unlikely to see his like again.
He added: “Like many United fans I was shocked to hear of his passing. I put him among the Sir Alex Ferguson and Brian Cloughs of the game, that’s the type of character he was and the success he achieved in the game.
“There will never be another like him, the way football is now – particularly the Scottish game there will never be that level of success we saw under McLean.
“Looking back you almost have to pinch yourself on what was achieved, memories of the Nou Camp and games against IFK Gothenburg.”
Husband and wife, Alex and Lyn Cussick, described him as a “legend” and recalled the transformation of the Terrors during the McLean era.
The pair from Lochee said: “When he first came to manage Dundee United from over the road at Dens, I still remember one of the first games against Motherwell, we took a bit of a doing.
“People were shouting for his head, no one had the foresight to see what was going to come out of his time here.
“That is his legacy at this club, he built them from nothing into a force that was renowned throughout Europe with just a squad of about 14 lads playing week in week out.
“One of my lasting memories of him will be seeing him coming out of his wee box when things weren’t going to plan, skooshing along the track to the dugout, ranting and raving – it always seemed to gee the team-up.”
‘A generous man who always made time for people’
Author Steve Finan, who recently released the “Jim McLean: Dundee United Legend” in May, said he had got to know more about McLean away from the dugout while he was working on the book.
He said: “Like all the United supporters I was saddened to hear of Jim’s passing
“Working on this book we got some great personal accounts from fans on their encounters with the Dundee United manager.
“Jim had a great affinity with working-class people and hearing the stories of his relationship with the fans is the most touching bit of the book.
“I heard tales of a man standing in the street with a United scarf on and Jim was pulling-up to wait on his wife Doris at the shops, he gets out of his car and hands over signed postcards of the players.
“Another story was of McLean driving around the Scott Fyffe Circle and he saw a fan sitting in his United tracksuit. McLean pulled over and asked if he was OK and if he needed a lift anywhere.
“There was very much a marked divide between Jim in his professional life, where he was a sharp-tongued, driven man.
“Away from the game his wife and family saw this shy and generous man who always made time for people and was aware of his place in Dundee society.”