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Monday, 28 September 2009

2009-10 Season Review - September

Before any games kicked off this month, Gary Harkins's efforts for the previous month went rewarded with his player of the month award. There is a strong possibility that the 1-1 draw with Airdrie United will be null and void as Livingston could be re-instated to the First Division; Scottish football does love its off field court cases.
The first competitive fixture was for the other dark blues in a 2-0 win over Macedonia, but we didn't need to wait long for Dundee's first game- the day after, in fact. Dundee travelled to Stirling in the Alba Challenge Cup quarter final and circa 700 fans followed the team through. Griffiths notched a brace in a 2-1 win to see us through to the semi-finals. The team's performance prompted mixed comments from home and away fans alike suggesting Dundee deserved the win, but need to improve if promotion is to be achieved.

"...excellent performance from Stirling today, but Dundee's superior finishing proved to be the difference. Good to see a healthy away crowd too, must have been 700 odd Dundee fans made the effort.

We played well, and created lots of chances, but Dundee's 'injured' keeper pulled out a few good saves. Disappointed we lost obviously, but well pleased with how we played. If we keep up that level of performance for most of the season, we'll be playing Dundee again next season, in the league." StewartyMac, P&B.

The disappointment of Scotland's 1-0 defeat to the Netherlands was soon forgotten as the anticipation of another big game in the league campaign built. There was also the news that Dundee had drawn Annan Athletic at Dens in the semi-final of the Challenge Cup- the best possible draw we could have hoped for in our quest for our first trophy of the season.

Another decent Dens crowd saw a Gary Harkins penalty decide the Dunfermline game. It was far from convincing but it kept Dundee's unbeaten start to the season going and the 100% record for the month of September intact.

"Little between the sides first half, we probably started the better and slightly edged the play before the Dundee scored, (being denied two stonewallers in the process, one for a two handed shove on Bayne and the other for a blatant pull back on Cardle as he cut inside and set to shoot). Frustrating because the confidence boost the goal brought to Dundee made a big difference and we really offered no real threat after that and resorted too easily to aimless punts up the park. Kirk should have at least forced a save from the keeper from his one real chance and Phinn was unlucky second half to see a sweetly caught volley from Bayne's knockdown fire straight at the keeper." gingapar, P&B.

Next up- QOS away. This was always going to be a difficult game but Dundee didn't do themselves any favours when Bullock got himself sent off after 5 minutes, giving away a penalty in the process. Judge for yourselves via the link whether or not it was merited. That was effectively game over as Dundee couldn't score while QOS went on to score another before full time.

"Dont want to be negative but the sending off and penalty early on allowed us to win the game, I feel that if it had stayed 11 v 11 Dundee would have got the better of us. Once we got the 2nd I was looking for more but at the end it was a big 3 points for us. Dundee are without doubt a good side but they seemed to lack discipline at times all over the park and another Ref might have seen them finish with less than 10 men. Harkins was again a bit anonymous against us and never got to grips with the game as I would have expected. Griffiths was having strong words with Jocky Scott when he went off. I thought Tosher bossed the game today and was excellent and well desreved the man of the match reward. All the lads done well and David Lilley looked assured at the back and McCausland and Harris had sound games, Reidy had a couple of jittery moments but held his game together. McKenna and Burnsy both did well and Wilson and Tosher showed their quality. The front two worked very hard although I thought Davie Weatherston was often a bit isolated at times especially in the second half. Holmer was excellent, winning almost everything in the air and having lots of neat touches on the ground......await Hard Labours view with bated breathe...... A fine 3 points against what is without doubt the best side in the league"
Musky, QotS-Mad

Next up was the eagerly awaited cup tie against Aberdeen. This was a chance for the team to pick itself up after the defeat to QotS. In another classic night match at Dens Dundee took a 2 goal lead before, surprise surprise, losing it again with 2 minutes left. Deja Vu struck the home crowd. However, towards the end of the 1st period of extra time, Griffiths took advantage of a Langfield fumble to notch Dundee's winner. The win came at a cost with Douglas and McMenamin picking up injuries.

" I did enjoy the game. I also think in patches we played some decent stuff. I also thought Dundee looked a very good counter attacking team with plenty of pace and the boy Griffiths was good. I thought we would sneak it in extra time but wasn't to be and I wonder if had we won would there be boys on here posting how lucky we were and how crap we had played. It was good to see the likes of Pawlett going on a run and bursting into the penalty area even if it didn't end in a goal it was exciting to watch. Paton looks a player and is more composed than any of our other strikers currently." Seanthesheep, Aberdeen-Mad

The cup draw on the 24th of the month paired Dundee with Rangers at Dens in what could be another great cup night at Dens. Once the dust had settled on the Aberdeen game the bread and butter of the league returned in the form of a match up with Ross County at Dens. Bullock received news his red card at QotS has been reduced to a yellow and Jocky fixed up Derek Soutar as cover until January. Two second half goals from Griffiths secured the 3 points. The pairing of Cowan and MacKenzie at the back is becoming a huge favourite with the fans.

"Over the piece Dundee deserved their win.....

County had a real off day, partly due to the the loss of the highly influential Richard Brittain. Both him and Steven Craig were separately stretchered off within the first 20 mins. This obviously affected County's game plan and changed the pattern of the game. Brittain looks like he took a real bad one when in a tussle with Harkins on 10 mins. it seemed that Harkins studs came heavily down on his leg. Although this looked purely accidental the game was stopped for a full three minutes before the stretcher appeared. Craig followed him on 20 mins. although in this case it looked like his injury came from an awkward fall.

Despite these setbacks, the first half was fairly even with relatively little goalmouth action. The best chances during this period came from Vigurs blasting over the bar from a good position on the edge of the box -and with time/space - and at the other end McGovern pulling off a great reflex close-range save from Griffiths, who found himself one-on-one with Griffiths.

During the first ten minutes of the second half County pressed Dundee hard, and forced a series of corners. During this time Vigurs should have scored from the edge of the box, in space, but he tried to pass the ball low into the net instead of blasting it, and Bullock retrieved his effort at the second attempt.

After that Dundee pinned County back for most of the second half. Griffiths put them ahead on the hour mark when he headed the ball unchallenged into an empty net from six yards out following a Harkins corner. A bad defensive goal to lose. His second goal thirteen minutes from the end resulted from a great through ball from Clarke that split the County defence. Griffiths beat the offside trap and raced into the box behind the County defence, dummied the onrushing McGovern, and blasted the ball into the net from the right. When this goal was scored Watt was off the park receiving treatment. The second goal killed the game off, and the County heads went down.

In between both goals McGovern also pulled off a fantastic reflex save from a close range free Higgins header in a very similar position to where Griffiths scored his first from.

Apart from the first 10 mins. of this half a nervy County did little to threaten on the counter, and played extremely deep, often hoofing the ball away from the defensive area.

A total contrast to recent County performances, but the real worry is what effect these injuries, particularly to Brittain, will have in games to come - with such a small squad.

This is not meant to sound like sour grapes, but we weren't that impressed with Dundee. The main difference between the sides was the clinical finishing of Griffiths, a real pain in the a*** to County in recent times.

Despite this setback County stay ahead of Dundee in the league table, but have now dropped to second place."
Fyrish-stag, Over the Bridge Forum

As we head into October Dundee still find themselves in all competitions which is as much as can be asked for. However, it seems the team still has much of the proverbial "gelling" to do in order to step up a gear. While the QotS defeat- the only defeat of the season so far- can be put down to unfortunate circumstances given the subsequent rescinded red card, Dundee are not traveling well in the league. On a positive note, it seems that the defence has been aided, in no small measure, to the centre back pairing of Cowan and MacKenzie and the capture of Klimpl at the end of August. The team is slowly improving and the strongest first XI is starting to become clear.

6th- Stirling Albion 1-2 Dundee, 1,277- Challenge Cup Quarter Final
Griffiths (2)

Bullock, Paton, Malone, Klimpl, MacKenzie (Forsyth 65), Benedictus (Lauchlan 25), Hart (Clarke 85), Kerr, McMenamin, Griffiths, Harkins.

Subs Not Used: Geddes, Young.

12th-Dundee 1-0 Dunfermline Athletic, 5,326 (League Position-3)

Bullock, Paton, Malone, Klimpl (Cameron 87), MacKenzie, Lauchlan (Cowan 72), McHale, Kerr, Griffiths (Higgins 85), McMenamin, Harkins.

Subs Not Used: Douglas, Clarke.

19th- Queen of the South 2-0 Dundee, 2,875 (League Position-6th)

Bullock, Paton, Malone, MacKenzie, Cowan, Klimpl, McHale (Forsyth 72), Cameron (Douglas 5), Harkins, Griffiths (Higgins 61), McMenamin.

Subs Not Used: Casement, Kerr.

22nd- Dundee 3-2 Aberdeen, (AET- 2-2 90 mins), 6,131, League Cup 3rd Round,
Malone, Forsyth, Griffiths

Douglas (Bullock), Paton, MacKenzie, Cowan, Malone, Klimpl, Forsyth, Harkins, Kerr, McMenamin (Clarke), Higgins (Griffiths)

Subs not used: McHale & Casement

26th- Dundee 2-0 Ross County, 4,682, (League Position- 5th)
Griffiths (2)

Bullock, Paton, Malone, Klimpl, MacKenzie, Cowan, Forsyth, Kerr, Griffiths (McHale 90), Higgins (Clarke 70), Harkins (Hart 85).

Subs Not Used: Souter, Casement.

September Goal Count:
(L-League; LC-League Cup; LCC-League Challenge Cup)
  1. Griffiths 5 (2-L, 2-LCC, 1-LC)
  2. Harkins 1 (1-L)
  3. Malone 1 (1-LC)
  4. Forsyth 1 (1-LC)
Running Total for Season:
  1. Griffiths 8 (2-L; 3-LC; 3-LCC)
  2. Harkins 6 (4-L; 1-LC; 1-LCC)
  3. McMenamin 3 (2-L; 1-LC)
  4. Courier 3 (2-LC; 1-LCC)
  5. Higgins 2 (1 L; 1 LC)
  6. Cameron 1 (1-LC)
  7. Malone 1 (1-LC)
  8. Forsyth 1 (1-LC)
Average Home League Attendance So Far- 5,241
Cumulative League Attendance (4 games)- 20,964

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Dundee v Aberdeen, Scottish League Cup

Back cover of Dundee v Aberdeen Coca-Cola Cup final programme, 1995

Okay, so we have some catching up to do here. Aberdeen have a better head-to-head record in the league cup; hopefully that's something we'll start rectifying tonight. Aberdeen started life strongly in this tournament's early years, and indeed, it's unofficial precursor, played during the war. The two clubs first met in the quarter final of the 1946-47 season in a two legged affair. The first game was played a Dens in front of 28,700 and a Miller goal for Aberdeen gave the Dons a 1 goal advantage to take into the second leg 4 days later on the 5th March. The Pittodrie tie, alas, also went Aberdeen's way with Hamilton (2) and McCall scoring for the home team while Juliussen (2) scored for Dundee in a 3-2 defeat for the Dees. Aberdeen stormed to the final, beating Hearts 6-2 in the semis before succumbing to Rangers 4-0 in the final.

The next time the Dark Blues and Reds crossed swords in this competition was in the 1960-61 sectional ties. Free scoring Dundee romped the group, and the games against the Dons were no different with Dundee winning 4-1 in Aberdeen and 6-0 at Dens. This set up a quarter final clash versus eventual winners Rangers who defeated the Dees 5-3 on aggregate.

The 1966-67 season wasn't one to boost about with regard to this fixture- 5 times these sides would meet in all 3 major competitions and 5 times the red side would triumph. In the league cup sectional ties Aberdeen would win 4-3 at Dens and 2-0 in Aberdeen. The Dons eventually lost out to Rangers in a semi-final replay.

1980-81 Quarter Final 1st Leg [pictured]

The 1971-72 sectional ties were slightly better from a Dundee point of view (a 3-1 home win and a 1-1 away draw), however, neither Dundee nor Aberdeen made it through to the knock out stages- that honour fell to Falkirk.

1987-88 Semi-final

On our way to the 1980-81 "Dundee Final" we knocked out the Dons at the quarter final stage. Again, the format of the time meant a two legged tie. The first leg attracted 10,300 to Dens and they witnessed a goalless draw, which gave Dundee a mountain to climb if they wanted to reach the semi-final. Aberdeen were strong favourites but Dundee again kept a clean sheet on their way to a 1-0 win to set up a semi-final place against Ayr United.

Two seasons later Aberdeen would exact revenge in the sectional ties- a 3-3 draw in Aberdeen was followed up by a 5-1 thrashing of the Dark Blues at Dens two weeks later.

The teams met again one season later in 1983-84, and again, they were paired in the same group. Once again, a draw in Aberdeen (0-0) was followed up by a home defeat (1-2). Aberdeen eventually reached the semi-final and would also knock Dundee out of that season's Scottish Cup.

Memory Match- 1997-98 Cup
Programme Recalls the 1996-97
League Cup Game [pictured]

The next meeting was, thus far, the most important meeting in the competition. Dundee knocked out Queens Park and Meadowbank Thistle before ending Dundee United's hopes in extra time in the quarter final at Dens in front of 19,800 in a thrilling cup derby. Aberdeen saw to Brechin, St. Johnstone and Celtic to set up a semi-final date at Tannadice with Dundee. Aberdeen scored in the first minute against Jocky Scott's charges and added another before full time in a 2-0 win. The match reports credit Aberdeen with a fantastic performance but

Dundee didn't do themselves any favours with losing that early goal and so their 87-88 cup run came to an end. Aberdeen lost the final on penalties to Rangers.

The next meetings were the run of 3-in-a-row in 95-6, 96-7 and 97-8. The 95-6 game was, of course, the Coca-Cola final. This game is bittersweet for both clubs. For Dundee fans it represents a game in which we froze and lost a golden opportunity for a 6th major trophy. Aberdeen see this as the last piece of silverware they won- and it's knocking on for 15 years now- the Aberdeen faithful expect more.

1997-98 3rd Round Tie [pictured]

Another great derby victory in this competition rewarded the Dees with the other half of the New Firm in the quarter final of the 1996-97 season. [As I type, Eddie Malone makes it 1-0 in tonight's game] 8,650 witnessed an 89th minute goal from Jim Hamilton set up a semi-final date against Hearts in Edinburgh; ultimately it's as far as we would progress.

In Dundee's promotion season, Aberdeen would sweep aside
Dundee at Dens 3-0 in front of 7,457 in the 3rd round. This leads us to tonight's game, the 19th league cup tie between the clubs. Currently Aberdeen have the beating of us winning 9, drawing 4 and losing 5. Lets hope we can dent that record somewhat tonight!

1946-47 Dundee 0-1 Aberdeen, QF, 1st leg
1946-47 Aberdeen 3-2 Dundee, QF, 2nd leg

1960-61 Aberdeen 1-4 Dundee, sectional tie
1960-61 Dundee 6-0 Aberdeen, sectional tie

1966-67 Dundee 3-4 Aberdeen, sectional tie

1966-67 Aberdeen 2-0 Dundee, sectional tie

1971-72 Aberdeen 1-1 Dundee, sectional tie

1971-72 Dundee 3-1 Aberdeen, sectional tie

1980-81 Dundee 0-0 Aberdeen, QF, 1st leg

1980-81 Aberdeen 0-1 Dundee, QF, 2nd leg

1982-83 Aberdeen 3-3 Dundee, sectional tie

1982-83 Dundee 1-5 Aberdeen, sectional tie

1983-84 Aberdeen 0-0 Dundee, sectional tie
1983-84 Dundee 1-2 Aberdeen, sectional tie

1987-88 Dundee 0-2 Aberdeen, SF (Tannadice)

1995-96 Dundee 0-2 Aberdeen, Final (Hampden)

1996-97 Dundee 2-1 Aberdeen, QF

1997-98 Dundee 0-3 Aberdeen, 3rd Round

2009-10 Dundee ?-? Aberdeen, 3rd Round

Coca-Cola Cup Final 1995

Friday, 18 September 2009

Corinthian FC v Dundee FC, April 4th 1896

Three months to the day of their last meeting, Dundee and the Corinthians met again at Queens Club, London. This is the same Queens Club that latterly has become famous for tennis and, reputedly, it was the first multi-sports venue in the world when it was built in 1886 and was named after Queen Victoria. Now, Corinthians managed to attract some very large crowds at this venue and it is said elsewhere that this game attracted 60,000 spectators and therefore broke all attendance records. Sadly, from a Dundee point of view, this would appear to be inaccurate. The game only attracted 2,000. When you consider that, on the same day, England were playing Scotland and that match attracted 55,000 (which, incidentally, was the new record attendance for a game of football); that Corinthian were not at full strength due to supplying 5 players for the aforementioned Home International; that the FA Cup final that year attracted its record attendance of 48,000 and that the visit a few weeks earlier of Scotland's most famous club- Queens Park- only attracted 5,000, then it becomes clear the figure of 60,000 is fanciful.

The Eleven Corinthians Selected for England to play Wales in 1894
Back row: AG Topham, LV Lodge, GO Smith, JG Veitch, R Topham, RR Sandilands
Front Row: RC Gosling, LH Gay, C Wreford-Brown, AH Hossack, FR Pelly

For the match, Corinthians were missing, amongst others, their back L.V. Lodge; half-back A.G. Henfrey and centre G.O. Smith; the latter having taken part in the Carolina Port tie. Corinthians replaced Lodge with Pelly who joined Bray at back with Lawrence in goal with Wilson, Middleditch and Reynolds at half back and the notable forwards turned out to be Sandilands and Gosling. This meant, that despite absent players, Corinthian still managed a very strong line up.
The game kicked off in heavy rain and Dundee found it extremely difficult to break down that home defence. Sandilands and Gosling linked up beautifully for the home team and the latter set up the former twice before scoring a third for himself before half time. Corinthian FC tired in the second half and there was an attempt to explain this in the match report:

"When the second period began the home side did not play so well, and maybe the reason of this, perhaps, was the long wait at the interval, when the professionals [Dundee] were away six or seven minutes. These delays between the two halves of the match are getting worse. They are against the old spirit of the game, for half-time was instituted for change of goals, not clothes."

Play slowed at little in the second 45 but Dundee were playing for pride and Alex Black, who actually only played 1 competitive game for Dundee-in a 3-1 league defeat at Ibrox on Feb 29th 1896- caused no end of bother for the home side. Indeed, it was Black's saved shot that Keillor managed to follow up upon to net Dundee's consolation in a 3-1 defeat. Despite the Dundee team containing 3-4 Scotland internationals and a player who represented the Scottish League, this was still a respectable result for the Dark Blues against a very good side.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Dundee FC v Corinthian FC, January 4th 1896

Corinthian FC can be described as the English Queens Park, except much more militant. It is said they were formed to develop a squad capable of measuring up to the formidable Scotland international team of the day. Indeed, Corinthian FC supplied 9 of the 11 England players in the Scotland-England international in 1886 and 11 England players in the international matches against Wales in 1894 and 1895. In this respect they were like Queens Park- another prolific supplier of international players of that era. They also shared the same outlook as their Glasgow counterparts in playing the game just purely for the enjoyment that brings. They took this philosophical ideal farther than the Glasgow side, however, as Corinthian FC (formed in 1882) refused to take part in the FA Cup until 1923 as the FA Cup was not a competition where charity was the primary objective. They were more international than Queens Park also having taken part in "missionary" trips touring South Africa in 1897 and Brazil in 1910 to name two notable examples. These trips inspired many and it is said Real Madrid adopted the English side's distinctive white strips and Sport Club Corinthians Paulista (the notable Brazilian side) adopted their name. In 1904 they also left a mark on another great club by defeating Manchester United 11-3, which remains the Manchester side's heaviest defeat. It came to an end in 1939 when they merged with Casuals FC to form Corinthian-Casuals FC, who, to this day, play in the English non-league.

We'll rewind to 1896 and their visit to Carolina Port to visit Dundee FC in which some of the players in the above photo no doubt took part. 4,000 fans turned out to witness the game and the English side had the better of the early stages of the match but the Dundee backs and, in particular, left wing shone and prevented an early advantage for the English team. Longair, playing at centre-half, "tried negotiations" with Corinthian's G.O. Smith and seemed to be winning the battle for supremacy in this part of the field. However, Dundee were not able to hold out for much longer and Corinthian's superior passing reaped rewards in the form of two goals in quick succession.
Dundee started the second half well and Sandy Keillor, in particular, caused Corinthians problems. The English side's quality shone through though and time after time the Dundee backs were called upon to clear the opposition threat. Dundee eventually got a just reward when Keillor notched what would only be a consolation- amid "tremendous cheering". It ended 2-1 to the visitors, but there can be no shame in that result against a very fine side who viewed friendlies, benefit matches and charity tournaments as their raison d'être.

The two sides had it all to do again in April of that year...

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Dundee V Dunfermline, 13th April 1996

The 1995-96 season was a roller coaster; the first half was memorable for the run to the league cup final and a thrilling 3-2 derby win. However, the second half consisted of poor performances and a slide down the table to a final finishing spot of 5th- one of the worst league placings in decades. Add to that two inept derby performances resulting in limp 2-0 defeats each time.
This game was a 1-1 draw in front of 3,218 hardy souls and O'Driscoll netting for the Dees in the second half. Dunfermline still had a title battle with United but Dundee were well out of the race by then and already looking forward to another season in the First Division. The programme very much has that tone about it also and season tickets are already being offered by the time this game (the 33rd out of 36 league matches) was played.

In Jim's View

Jim Duffy's piece at the start of the programme tells us his view on the season- plagued by inconsistency since losing the Coca Cola Cup final and that the final four games are to be used to give youth a chance seeing as we are out of the promotion race and can't afford to bring in any players.

From the Boardroom
Nigel Squire lets loose in his article assuring fans that as soon as there is anything to report on the club or players then the Dundee fans will be first to know.

"Rumours, innuendos, wink-wink, nudge-nudge stories, people again coming out of the woodwork saying they know somebody whose granny knows somebody else who knows somebody at Dens and it's dead true McCann's off to United, all were proved to be rubbish.

Surprise, surprise, Neil McCann is still at Dens."

Squire then hits out at the critics also:

"I see the letter writers have been writing to the Telegraph again complaining about mismanagement by the board.

Well, here is an open invitation to anybody out there.

My position could be up for grabs, just think- Managing Director of Dundee Football Club, and all you have to do is keep a full time team on the park with crowds of 1,700, 2,000, 2,400, 2,700, pay all the other bills and sign some players over and above this.

I know a guy did manage something like that once with a couple of fish and some loaves but, hey, even I couldn't manage that one!"

Junior Dark Blues
The programme has very little decent content in it other than local businesses' advertisements and the usual appearance and season results tables. The Junior Dark Blues page has a (rather depressing) message from "Big Dee":

"It's very, very sad that Dundee FC won't be playing in the Premier League next season, yet again.

It is difficult to explain why they played so inconsistently over the last few months. The players played really attractive football right up until the Coca Cola Cup. I suppose losing the final was a major blow, but that should not have distracted the players from the main objective which was promotion to the Premier League. I hope Jim Duffy manages to hold onto the good players for next year. I hope someone with lots and lots of money will buy the club, someone who is interested in football. I am sure the players will respond to the challenge next year."

Dens Park Bard
Finally, the Dens Park Bard lets us know what he thought of the previous week's defeat against St. Mirren:

"St. Mirren got two cracking goals,
defensively we faltered -
and so it stayed at two to one,
that score could not be altered.

Instead of trying for more goals,
as if it were a crime;
the Saints persisted to the end
in carefully wasting time.

The ball was booted out the park,
a pastime highly rated -
Returned but slowly to the field.
by Saints fans confiscated.

Or by some mystery injury struck,
and trainer's aid required.
some precious minutes passing on
to give the result desired."

Friday, 4 September 2009

Dundee East End - 1877 - 1893

It is only natural that I follow up the Our Boys feature with a feature on the history of East End - Our Boys' fierce rivals and, ultimately, the club they merged with to form Dundee FC.
Unlike Our Boys, East End did not make an immediate impact on the local scene and despite being formed in 1877-the same year as Our Boys- they did not enter the Scottish Cup until 1882. There may have been good reason for this as East End were very nomadic in that they chopped and changed grounds quite often and flirted with extremes in shirt colours. This may point to unsettled, uncertain origins which may explain why it took a while for East End to establish themselves.
In the beginning East End opted for narrow light blue and white hooped shirts, white shorts and hooped socks and played at Havecroft Park. As mentioned, the early years for East End were fairly quiet. While their future, great rivals, Our Boys, would be competing in the Scottish Cup and playing in high profile friendlies, East End remained rather low key.

By the time the Forfarshire Cup started in 1883 East End moved to Clepington Park, now Tannadice of course, and East End began to rise to prominence. East End had also taken part in the 1882-83 Scottish Cup, losing 4-3 to Arbroath in the 1st round. In the 1883-84 Forfarshire Cup, East End reached the 3rd round, going down 3-0 to Dundee Strathmore at Strathmore's Rollo's Pier ground. (If anyone can supply the location of any grounds mentioned, please do so in the comments). Strathmore would also get the better of East End in the Scottish Cup that very same season, this time winning 1-0 in the 1st round. In the October of 1883 East End would go down 8-1 to Our Boys in a game which "The Boys asserted their superiority throughout" according to the national press. East End were still a poor relation of their West Craigie rivals. It was a tentative introduction to competitive football, but the club's stock would only go up from here.

On the Move, Again
1884 saw East End move to Madeira Park, and the Scottish Cup campaign that season was (slightly) more successful. Coupar Angus were beaten 8-1 at the new ground and a 1-1 draw away to Dundee Strathmore was followed up by a 5-2 home defeat in the replay. 1885-86 saw East End paired with Dundee Strathmore once again; the first tie ended 3-3 but East End won the replay 4-1. On that very same day Arbroath beat Bon Accord (in truth, Orion Cricket Club) 36-0. Incredibly, Dundee Harp won 35-0 against Aberdeen Rovers, although, the referee had counted 37 goals but Harp's secretary said he had only counted 35, and thus, unknown to the Dundee official at that moment, he had handed the world record to Harp's Forfarshire County rivals. It may be a mute point though, as the Arbroath-Bon Accord ref later stated the score may well have been as much as 43-0 to the Smokies had he not disallowed what may have been perfectly fine goals. The goals would continue to flow in the county when, after a 2-2 draw, East End dispatched Broughty 8-3 in the 2nd round replay. Free Scoring Arbroath halted East End's cup run, however, winning 7-1 in the 3rd round. East End were now beginning to build some momentum and real progress was being made; this, however, did not stop East End dramatically change colours (left), and stadium, in 1886- this time to Pitkerro Park.
The 1886-87 Scottish Cup kicked off against Aberdeen, or rather it didn't as East End were awarded a walk over. The 2nd round saw a thrilling 5-4 win over Broughty to set up a 3rd round home tie v Dunblane:

"The strangers [away team], who had not their full team, played downhill in their first half, but at the close of the period the East End had 2 goals to one. The second forty-five was very stubbornly contested, but the visitors, who played a very hard and determined game put on two points to their opponents' one, and thus effected a draw-3 goals each."

East End decided to withdraw after this game however, and so the cup run came to an end. In January 1887 a derby between "The East" and Our Boys at West Craigie Park was particularly well covered in the national press:

"The East End kicked off down hill, and quickly invaded, but the boys retaliated. A long spell of runs and counter runs, rather in the favour of the East End, followed, and half an hour's play ended in one of the East End forwards sending the ball through. Nothing further was done in the first half. In the second period the Boys had the best of the play, and while they managed to keep their opponents in check they scored three. The match ended-Our Boys, three goals; East End, one."

Emerging Rivalry
The 1887-88 season a walloping 13-1 victory over Arbroath Strathmore saw East End into the 2nd round where Kirriemuir's Lindertis won 3-2. The developing rivalry with Our Boys was starting to get interesting and they were becoming closer, harder fought matches- the January 1888 derby was drawn 1-1. That same day, Our Boys Rangers (Our Boys' reserves) contested the 2nd XI Forfarshire Cup.
1888-89 charted the beginning of East End's rise towards the summit of the county's club teams. It also was the beginning of numerous important clashes with Our Boys in the four most important trophies around for Forfarshire sides- the Dundee Charity Cup, Forfarshire Cup, Scottish Cup and the soon-to-be inaugurated Northern League. Our Boys drew first blood in the Scottish Cup 1st round however, winning 5-4. By this time East End changed shirt colours to those shown on the right. The Forfarshire Cup brought more joy for The East- the first round saw a very respectable 3-2 win against Dundee Harp at East Dock Street. Harp had contested the first four Forfarshire Cup finals, winning 3 in a row between 1885-1887. The 2nd round was a goal feast at Pitkerro:

"A fast and high-scoring game ended- East End 7 goals; Montrose 5."

The goals did not cease there however, as the semi final, also at Pitkerro, produced another high scoring encounter:

"The East End had the best of the game all through, and at the close the scores stood- East End, 6; Forfar Athletic, 3."

This set up a final with early Forfarshire Cup heavyweights- Arbroath. Arbroath defeated Lochee United 5-1 in the semi-final and Our Boys 4-2 in the 2nd round to reach this stage. It must be stated that in those days, the Forfarshire Cup was a big deal, indeed, some of the crowds for the finals matched those of the Scottish Cup finals. When we think of the Forfarshire Cup these days, we think of tournaments not starting, not being completed, teams fielding youth players, matches arranged at short notice with no press coverage and of course, a competition comprising of only 7 teams. Not so 120 years ago. Back then it ranked as highly as the Scottish Cup and certainly it was more practical in terms of travelling to games. For the first tournament in 1883-84 there were 18 teams- 12 from Dundee (14 if you include Lochee and Broughty Ferry)- this meant a lot of competitive derbies to arouse interest.

So, East End reached the exalted berth of a final spot, but could they do the business? Dundee Harp's East Dock Street was the venue and about 3,500 turned out. East End started brightly:
"Soon after the ball was started the Arbroath custodian was called on to defend. Thereafter both goals were visited in turn but the Dundee team had the best of the play, and kept the Arbroath men busy. Again and again they looked like scoring, but by smart play in front of goal Arbroath prevented this."

However, East End would regret not taking advantage:
"Just before half-time Buick secured possession of the leather, and, passing to Willocks on the right, that player sent in a beautiful shot, and the first period ended- Arbroath, one goal; East End, nothing."

The second half started furiously and "so eager were the players to score that one or two good chances were muddled". However Arbroath's Petrie (who scored a world record 13 goals in that 36-0 win) added a second for Arbroath. This seemed to spur East End but they could only claw one goal back- Arbroath's defence was just too good on the day. It finished 2-1 to Arbroath.

Silverware Beckons
As illustrated above, The East got rid of the light blue trims on the collar and cuffs by 1889-90 and if you look closely you will notice recent Dundee Hall of Fame inductee William Longair sitting in the front row with the (Dundee Charity?) Cup to his right. Last season's Forfarshire Cup final gave East End a taste for more and this was evident in their performances in the 3 cup trophies this year. First up was the Scottish Cup and East End swept aside Broughty 6-1 and Wanderers 2-0, both away from home. Next up was an away tie against Our Boys. East End edged out their great rivals 3-2 at West Craigie Park. The same scoreline at home saw off Cambuslang and a 2-2 draw away to Moffat followed up by a 5-1 win in the replay set up a quarter final spot against 3-time Scottish Cup Winners Vale of Leven. The home tie v Moffat was played at Harp's East Dock Street ground in front of 5,000-a sign perhaps, that East End was outgrowing Pitkerro Park? East Dock Street may have just been more accessible for the out of town side. Whatever the reason, it proved fruitful with Longair opening the scoring but Moffat quickly equalised; however, East End proved to be too strong.
The quarter final pairing was unkind- away to Vale of Leven in Alexandria. Nevertheless, East End started well and a lot of "runs and counter-runs" were evident as was long balls by both teams. Vale eventually managed to break the deadlock and added another before half time. Longair twisted his ankle and could not play in the 2nd half. Despite this, East End gave a good account of themselves but Vale managed another goal just after half time. With the game over as a contest, half an hour of "uninteresting" football followed and East End were unfortunate to concede a fourth with the last kick of the ball. East End lined up: Goal- McIntosh; Backs- Brown & Salmond; Half-backs- Petrie, McHardie & Spalding; Forwards- McCulloch, McLaren, Longair, Proctor & Ramsay.
This was easily East End's best ever Scottish Cup run and they hoped they would continue the momentum into their next cup match- the 1889-90 Forfarshire Cup final on 18th January 1890. East End warmed up for the final the week before with a 4-0 win over Wanderers. Our Boys also warmed up with a fine hard fought win over Dundee Harp at West Craigie Park, a very hard fought game in fact- the game had to be cut short after an Our Boys fan and a Harp fan ran on to the pitch and "exchanged blows"!
The scene was set, the game was held at East Dock Street Park and 6,000 turned out to see Dundee's premier sides contest the final. East End won the toss and Our Boys got stuck in immediately roughing up an East End player, but The East gave as good as they got though and retaliated in kind. The ref was having none of it however, and stopped play to have some stern words. It seemed to have the desired affect as the rest of the game was played out without incident. Half time came and the teams changed ends with Our Boys leading 2-1. Craik scoring for East End.
The 2nd half was eagerly anticipated and once kick off came excitement levels increased. Large swathes of the crowd willed The East to level the score but Our Boys' defence was just too strong and the hardest fought Forfarshire Cup final yet ended in Our Boys' favour. East End lodged a protest due to the crowd encroaching on the field of play, but this was later dismissed.
All was not lost however, as East End made yet another final in the shape of the Dundee Charity Cup, played on May 10th, 1890. The East were in no mood to let another trophy slip from their grasp and promptly thumped Dundee Strathmore 9-1 at East Dock Street, and the Strathmore inside-right Anderson got a nasty kick in the stomach for good measure. Have it.

Arguably, 1889-90 very much belonged to East End where the Dundee clubs are concerned, but 1890-91 belonged to Our Boys. Our Boys warmed up for the season with two impressive friendly victories over Hibs, 3-2 in March at West Craigie in snowy conditions which restricted the game to two halves of 35 minutes; and a 4-1 victory in May in beautiful conditions, also at West Craigie.
The Scottish Cup campaign saw a walk over in favour of The East over Stranraer and a 4-2 win over Renfrew side Johnstone. This set up a 3rd round meeting with Our Boys at West Craigie Park where 5,000 would witness a 4-0 win for Our Boys.
Inbetween cup competitions and the absence of any league format, friendlies were very much still in vogue and in Dec 1890 Our Boys and East End met:
"These two great local rivals met at Pikerro Park, the ground of the former. A stubbornly contested and exciting game ended in a draw of one goal each"

Our Boys and East End both made the semi-final of the Forfarshire Cup and avoided each other in the draw. East End made no mistake and beat Arbroath 9-2, while Our Boys edged out Montrose 2-1 to set up a replay of the previous season's final.
"Several thousand spectators lined the ropes" at East Dock Street and puddles were evident on the pitch. East End's Craik started play and the game was fairly even for a long period and both goalmouths were visited before Malloch for Our Boys opened the scoring via a counter attack. Robertson soon put the Boys 2 up. Malloch wasted an opportunity to notch a third but soon after made no mistake and netted his second and Our Boys' third. The referee blew for half time, but was reminded that he had, in fact, only played 40 minutes (a rugby background perhaps?). The ref promptly obliged to play out the remaining 5 minutes but not before the obligatory East End protest- which was dismissed. East End managed to pull one back before the real half time whistle. After the break East End's McIntosh pulled another back and another period of level play ensued. However, a quick one-two from Our Boys virtue of a scrimmage (a popular term of the time-possibly meaning a goal mouth scramble) and a strike from Buttar put the Boys 5-2 up. Malloch netted his hattrick and the game ended 6-2 for Our Boys, who retained the trophy. Our Boys went on to take the Dundee Charity Cup later that season also, beating Johnstone Wanderers in the final. A nice little double for East End's rivals.

Carolina Port
Despite Our Boys' exploits the previous season, East End were able to take over the lease of Dundee's best equipped ground, Carolina Port- a ground Dundee FC would enjoy 5-6 happy years at before ground expansion proved problematic. 1891-2 would also see the introduction of the Northern League- a local equivalent of the Scottish League and, initially, for teams from- Perthshire, Forfarshire, Aberdeen and, later, Fife.
The 1891-92 Scottish Cup kicked off with a 3-1 win away to Forfar, then a 7-1 win away to Vale of Atholl. The 3rd round was tied 1-1 with Dundee Harp but the replay ended 2-0 to East End. The 4th round was as far as they got though, going down 6-3 to Monkcastle. So, back to the local competitions and the Forfarshire semi-final of 21-12-1891 threw up an Our Boys v East End fixture. East End went into the game with confidence on the back of a 3-0 friendly victory over Our Boys at Carolina Port a couple of weeks before. The game wasn't widely reported in the national press but we learn that East End won a "hard and fast" match 3-1. The tide was turning back in favour of East End this season it seems. East End met Montrose in the final of the Forfarshire Cup and, unprecedented in the cup's 126 years, East End lost their fourth final in a row, 5-3. Surprisingly, East End protested. This time the complaint was that Montrose turned up late. The cup was withheld until the protest was not upheld and Montrose were awarded the trophy.
Meanwhile East End were going well in the Northern League with wins over Arbroath (5-0) and "keen rivals for the Northern League" Montrose (2-1) and were looking good to take the inaugural league championship. East End carried the good form into the Dundee Charity Cup in May 1892 with a first round win over Johnstone Wanderers at East Dock Street and won 3-2. East End made it all the way to the final where they met Our Boys on 28th May 1892.
Several thousand spectators turned out for the final. The team line ups that day: East End- Benvie, Ramsay, Brown, Gibb, Longair, Lyon, Craik, Fyffe, Reid, Beattie and Gilligan; Our Boys- Gould, Dow, Brown, Matthew, Shepherd, Erentz, Coupar, George, Dundas, Grewar, Buttar. It took two goals from East End's Craik to get Our Boys going and Dundas scored two quick goals for "the Blues" in reply. The game really got going from here and "fast" play followed. East End scored a third shortly before half time. Our Boys had the best of the play in the second half and desperately tried for an equaliser but East End managed to hang on for the win.
The Northern League was also hotly contested between these two sides and ultimately so close that nothing could separate the them and thus they were declared joint champions. The treble only just eluded East End.

Planning for the Future of Football in the City
1892-93 was, of course East End's last season. The club trotted out in light blue and white stripes for this season-the colours Dundee FC would initially adopt. The team was determined to win the Forfarshire Cup and yet another semi-final appearance was on the cards; a fifth straight final was not, however as Dundee Harp won the tie 5-2. That left the Northern League and Dundee Charity Cup. East End couldn't retain their Northern League title and only finished 2nd while Our Boys, on the other hand, finished second bottom. Our Boys' didn't have too much luck in the Dundee Charity Cup either losing 4-2 to East End in the final in front of 5,900 at East Dock Street.
Of course, something far more significant happened in 1892-93. There were hints and suggestions of a merger between these two great Dundee clubs and this finally came to be after a plea by an Our Boys official to unite some of the factions within the city and harness that support for a league club. East End and Our Boys were possibly the best two candidates to merge. Any local senior club with ambitions really had to consider merging to even think about applying for the fledgling Scottish Football League. Johnstone Wanderers and Strathmore did the same of course, and the new club- Dundee Wanderers managed a Division Two spot. This only lasted a season however and losing Clepington Park to big spending Dundee Hibs did it for them, as did Dundee FC beating them to the punch for a Division One spot. Whether Wanderers could have won their league place back is debateable however. The other big Dundee club- Dundee Harp- could also have achieved great things. Three times winners of the Dundee Charity Cup, three times winners of the Forfarshire Cup, with a well equipped ground and a terrific backing- 10,000 once turned out to see them play; Harp were badly run and when they couldn't pay match guarantees the SFA suspended them. They reformed however, and took the name Dundee Hibernian (not to be confused with you-know-who) before cheekily renaming themselves Dundee Harp again. Ladened with debt, perhaps in part, due to losing two major rivals in East End and Our Boys and lucrative Scottish Cup games due to the reorganising of the cup format; they folded in the 1890s. And so, Dundee's senior clubs slowly went one-by-one until two were left standing...Dundee FC & Dundee Hibernian.
The last game I can find reference to with regard to East End is a Northern League game against Dundee Harp on 20 May 1893 where "the Irishmen won by four goals to two goals". By the time of that game it is hard to believe that the wheels of motion towards a merger were not already in place...

SFL AGM 12-06-1893

"The Scottish Football League- The annual general meeting of the Scottish Football League was held last evening in the offices, West Regent Street, Glasgow. Mr A Lawrence, Dumbarton, president of the League, occupied the chair, and there was a full attendance of representatives. The proceedings were in private. In the accounts it was shown that, including a balance of £76, the income for the last year was £850, and the expenditure fell short of that sum by £140. It was decided to devote a portion of the balance to charity. Applications for admission to the League were received from St. Bernard's, Greenock Morton, Port Glasgow Athletic, Hibernians, Cowlairs, Linthouse, Glasgow Thistle, and the Dundee Club. The Abercorn and Clyde clubs, which were lowest in the competition last year, also sought re-election. After discussion, it was decided to admit the St. Bernard's and the Dundee club to membership. The applications of Abercorn and Clyde were refused, so that the number of clubs in the league remains at ten. The proposal by St.Mirren that the gross receipts at matches should be divided instead of the net receipts was rejected."

"Up Wi' The Bonnets" & "They Wore the Dark Blue" by Norrie Price
The newspaper quotes are all found in the excellent London Hearts website
Scottish Cup matches were found at RSSSF and Dundee's Footballing Victorians
Club and tournament information was found at the Historical Archive run by Brian McColl
Football strip illustrations copyright Historical Football Kits and reproduced by kind permission.