It has definitely been way too long ladies and gentlemen however, I am back with ‘The Tangerine Dream’ and with all of season 3 as well! A switch to this season review format allows me to get through the season quicker and be able to write up in one go due to my busy work schedule at the moment.
Last time out it was the end of season 2 where we were able to battle back to third place after a horrendous start, also grabbing Europa League qualification in the process. If you missed it, check it out here.
A reminder for the rules of the save, which are key to progression which is why there will be three self set objectives to achieve each season. This will help my progression and the club’s progression in becoming that go to team in Scotland. The season three objectives are;
- Promote two youngsters to the first team, making 10 appearances each (Failed Objective From Season Two)
- Beat Both Old Firm Teams Within the Season
- Win Either Domestic Cup (Betfred Cup or Scottish Cup)
- Fin Malcolm or Daniel Labila to Score 10+ Goals This Season
After failing an objective in season two, this means there are four to be achieved and I’ve really upped the ante this season targeting the Old Firm and a trophy. The objective including the two players will be explained a bit more when we talk about the squad.
If all objectives are passed, the next coaching licence can be obtained. In addition, if a trophy is won this acts as a bonus token for a coaching course also on top of the objectives. (If a trophy forms part of the objectives in a season, then this does not act as a bonus). I will continue to set objectives after all coaching badges are complete and any failed targets will be added on to the following season to put the pressure on!
The Squad, Pre-Season & Club News
Firstly it is all about our beautiful retro kits made by the main man himself – @Wightyyyy. These are throwbacks to the good times of the 1980s for the club with the adidas/VG sponsor combination.
Now on to the returning squad for the season three pre-season!
The squad looks big but you’ll see a few transfer listed players who will be moved on over the season hopefully. No loan players were retained as I want new additions to be permanent where I can help but also an emphasis on the youth as Lyall Mackie, Fin Malcolm & Daniel Labila will be with the first team this season battling for places. Malcolm & Labila will deputise for Lawrence Shankland so the their objective relies on their individual impacts.
Hopefully some good things to see from these three over this season. Now into the pre-season results which was a mixed bag as usual!
June’s results were very poor in general and really we should be winning all four of them games but July saw an improvement with wins against Viktoria Plzen & FC Midtjylland. For context George Byers who scored against Plzen was on trial but wasn’t signed permanently in the end.
Lastly, another season and another new club partnership as we take our ties across to the Mediterranean.
Cypriot side AS Ethnikos Achnas agreed a partnership with us where we can send players to play top division football.
Summer Transfer Window
The summer window had to be a big one to get our squad closer to the top two and with £7.8 million to spend it was my intention to dive into this money to boost a few areas in the team.
Eleven new signings and quite a few of these will come into the first team squad. Cameron MacPherson, Liam Henderson & Tomas Handel all boost different areas of centre midfield, Neil Farrugia & Daniel Harvie come into to support the left hand side on the wing and at full back respectively, Ryan Porteous is a massive addition to centre back and Mandela Egbo will provide back up to Liam Smith at right back.
Connor Barron, Harrison Leyden, Lewis Richardson & Andreas Jungdal are all youngsters who will start the season with the Reserves to kick off their development with us.
In terms of outs, there was mainly younger players going out on loan, Peter Pawlett has joined Blackpool until January as he is no longer needed and Andrew Carleton was sold to Genoa as he has not impressed since joining for free in season one.
Scottish Premiership 2022/23
As we head through the episode, each competition will be broken down separately. The league season is divided into three parts so we can all digest the results!
First up is July through to December which you may think is a lot but 2022 is the year of the winter Qatar world cup of course.
As usual its a mixed start to the season but compared to season two we were battling to gain draws opposed to giving in to easy losses. July was a great start against Hibernian & Aberdeen who are two decent teams before a 5 game winless run before getting back on track. Unfortunately my side couldn’t get the better of the Old Firm at this early stage.
The new signings seem to be bedding in well with some of them chipping in with goals, Fin Malcolm has impressed as Shankland’s deputy which is great to see for someone who could be our main man up top in the future. Another positive is we are scoring more goals as a team opposed to scoring once a game in comparison to the past.
Just before the next set of results, there was of course the January transfer window but I made a bold decision not to sign anyone as I was happy with the current squad so there was a few outs.
Main names on their way out was Nicky Clark and Jamie Robson, for Clark despite being one of my favourite Dundee United players, his abilities don’t make the grade anymore so I decided to part ways with him. Jamie Robson asked to leave in the summer which is why I signed Daniel Harvie but there was no suitors at that time surprisingly so he’s joined Falkirk on loan with an option to buy.
January and February were very busy due to the fixtures missed during the 2022 world cup, there was cup games included in this time which will be covered after the league section!
UN-BE-LIEV-ABLE! Look at that league form for how often we played. It all seemed to click finally for us. One loss in fourteen games is insane form and we really grinded out some results in addition to battling our way through games.
I think one thing we need to address is the amount of goals the team conceded but at the same time when you’re constantly rotating the squad due to fatigue you have to appreciate the overall effort.
A good range of scorers too but for me Hakeeb Adelakun really impressed over this period with goals and assists, same as Adrian Sporle who has played second fiddle to Neil Farrugia this season. Before the next lot of games, it was youth intake time!
Probably our worst intake in the series so far but it’s still not bad. From a potential view there is definitely 3 or 4 players who look like they can develop to first team level. For the rest, only they can realise their true potential within the youth and reserves setup.
Right let’s get on to the point before the league split which is March and April.
Again March was busy in terms of fixture catch up and the tiredness really effected the squad but we still dug in and grabbed results including a late win versus Rangers. One massive positive was conceding no goals in the league in March! The defensive work in training has really paid off for sure.
Fin Malcolm & Lyall Mackie have really fit in well this season making the step up to the first team and their performances are really showing it.
Celtic brought us back down to earth in April but they have been unbelievably dominant in the league all season…this loss actually secured them the title before the split! Speaking of the split…
A decent group with the Old Firm, Aberdeen, Motherwell & St. Mirren. So let the games begin!
An unbeaten championship group run for us gaining 11 points but we finally got one over Celtic, beating them 1-0. This is the first time my side have beaten them since season one and what made it sweeter, former Celtic player Liam Henderson got the goal.
It was a different season with all the fixture congestion following the world cup but league wise, this is definitely our best and we really looked like a top side at times with some of our performances, onwards and upwards of course but where did we finish?
For the third season in a row, it’s a third place finish but as you can see we were pushing Rangers all the way to the end. At this point of the league finishing, it had confirmed Europa Conference qualification but there are still cup competitions to be had…
It was Europa League football that we entered into however, it was all reliant on qualifying from the play off round. The opponents were LASK Linz from Austria.
A 5-2 aggregate win after a thrilling home tie before the team doing the business in Austria. This meant a place in the group stage but for a second season in a row, we found our self in pot 4 for the draw.
A tough draw to say the least but you have to be optimistic in these competitions and give it a good go!
It was tough as expected but we actually started pretty well after gaining 4 points from three games including a big win against Bayer Leverkusen. Unfortunately, the second half of the group campaign was a struggle missing a key opportunity to beat FC Midtjylland and threw away a lead to lose to PSV. What could have been but it wasn’t over yet…
Goal difference can be a bit of a nightmare sometimes but this time it worked in my favour as it secured third place meaning the European adventure is not over, instead we’re off to the Europa Conference. The first two rounds of the Europa Conference are single legs so you can’t get it wrong or you’re out, so let’s see what we were able to do!
Okay so we went out quite early but lets focus on the first knockout round shall we…A MASSIVE 6-1 WIN IN ISTANBUL!!! I didn’t know how I felt about being drawn against Basaksehir as they have popped up in European competition the last couple of years, the media pitted us as underdogs too. I told the team to show everyone what we can do and boy did we do just that, unreal performance!
The next match was Wolves which I knew was a step too far but despite losing in extra time we were quality. Taking the lead before Wolves equalised shortly after, my side gave them everything we had before the decisive goal, very proud of what we showed against a very good side.
However, that’s where the European adventure ends this season but what an effort.
I’m so glad that with being in Europe, we don’t have to take part in the group stage of the Betfred Cup which I find to be a poor setup as it happens during pre-season disrupting season planning.
I was able to navigate the side to the final with beating Raith 2-0, before a tense penalty win after a 2-2 draw with Aberdeen. Then more penalty drama after a very dull semi-final with Hearts ending 0-0 before another win on penalties! I’m glad we can hold our nerve at least!
The final was against Rangers, we fell to a 1-0 loss however. Rangers came out the blocks quick and got a goal inside 15 minutes but over the game my team struggled to create anything clear cut. Never nice to lose a final but in this one, we were definitely not at our best. Regardless, we go again.
Entering in the fourth round it was another dramatic run to the final which would leave us with a decent chance in the final. Cove Rangers were swept aside 3-0 before Falkirk took us to extra time, my side sealed a 3-2 win thankfully. It was another penalty win against Aberdeen (1-1 AET) and then an absolute madness happened…
YOU LOVE TO SEE IT!!! No-one expected it, I didn’t expect it, the board didn’t expect it! We run a second half riot against Rangers in the semi-final and sent them home packing, what a win, momentous part of the save. Dundee United 4-1 Rangers.
The final presented us St. Mirren and it was a massive opportunity for our second trophy of the journey but was it meant to be?
DUNDEE UNITED ARE SCOTTISH CUP CHAMPIONS!!! A closely fought game decided by a 90th minute penalty (very dubious) but it was a 2-1 win thanks to a Lawrence Shankland double.
Nothing like the cup review to break it all down for us!
Winning the trophy was one positive but then it gave the side something extra as for the third season in a row, Dundee United will feature in the Europa League.
End Of Season & Objective Review
It was also nice to receive the Scottish Football Writer’s Manager of the Season after our best season by far on paper.
Now to see if our four objectives were achieved for the season to see if I can move forward as a Manager in terms of development.
Promote Two Youngsters to the First Team, Making 10 Appearances Each (Failed Objective From Season Two) – It’s a pass this season as Fin Malcolm made 18 starts and 19 from the bench and Lyall Mackie securing 12 starts and 9 from the bench.
Beat Both Old Firm Teams Within the Season – This was a brave objective but it was a pass beating Rangers twice, once in the league and that glorious Scottish Cup semi-final. The Celtic win came on the penultimate league game of the season.
Win Either Domestic Cup (Betfred Cup or Scottish Cup) – Another passed objective after my side secured Scottish Cup success against St. Mirren.
Fin Malcolm or Daniel Labila to Score 10+ Goals This Season – Labila’s opportunities became limited due to Malcolm’s form but the latter came through with the goods, scoring an impressive 17 goals in 18 starts.
All objectives passed means a token for a coaching course but also due to the Scottish Cup win, this provides a bonus ticket to a further coaching course, result!
Next up in terms of Dundee United will be season four however, I will be switching my attention back to the Far East Express for a season as we race to finish the journey in Asia before FM22…saying that I want to get Dundee United done too so I best get it all going!
Whilst you are exploring the DP-FM site, go check out guest blogger @emperor_fm and his new project named ‘Udinese Underdogs’. The aim is to lead Udinese from the lower parts of Serie A to the better side of the table to compete with the best!
To go from the start – https://dpfmblog.com/2021/08/30/udinese-underdogs-s1-e1/
Hope you enjoyed this format guys, a first for me to do a season review style so any feedback is welcome. May have been blogging for a while now but you never stop learning! Take care all, we’ll be back amongst it soon.