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Sunday, 2 February, 2003, 18:22 GMT
McCall stars in soap opera
United chairman Eddie Thompson on the appointment of Paul Hegarty
Thompson had promised Hegarty more time

You know how Scottish football is deep in the financial mire? Well, there is a simple solution to opening the cash floodgates.

Simply turn the whole affair into a soap opera and flog it to a major network. The game would make fortunes.

It's a thought I have nursed for 15 years or, to be specific, round about the time Maurice Johnston signed for Rangers and I promised myself that I would never again be shocked by anything which happened in the sport in this country.

But at times I have to admit that I have been hard pushed not to let my jaw drop and once again events have pushed me to the limit.

There once was a sports writer more cynical than I who claimed that he knew when people in football were lying. Their lips were moving

Notably, the unfolding of events at Dundee United and Falkirk. It's official, the lunatics have taken over the asylum.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but did new owner Eddie Thompson, having swept into Tannadice, not fail in the wooing of Ian McCall from Falkirk, with the Bairns gaffer pledging loyalty to all things Brockville?

And did Thompson not, in turn, then appoint Paul Hegarty at least until the end of the season?

And have these promises not withered in the winter cold?

There once was a sports writer more cynical than I who claimed that he knew when people in football were lying. Their lips were moving.

It's not as bad as that, but I can see from where he was coming.

Paul Hegarty would be entitled to tell the world where to stuff the beautiful game.

Because, when it comes to kicking him in the teeth, Hegarty needs a personal dentist.

Ian McCall tries his United hat on for size
Ian McCall had promised loyalty to Falkirk
He won't, of course, because - just like the rest of us - football is a drug to him.

He is a legend as a player at Tannadice and a brilliant bloke, neither of which makes you a good manager, but the one thing he deserves is an even break.

He didn't get one with Aberdeen. He should have been due one from the club that was his first love.

Thompson's reign at the club is in its infancy. I can only hope he shows maturity with age, because so far he is wandering about like a crazed assassin.

And what of the Falkirk and McCall roles in all of this?

The manager didn't so much change his tune as ditch the Sex Pistols for the Royal Philamonic.

When he knocked back United the first time, there was talk of football loyalty. Such a phrase was conspicuous by its absence this time around.

But then the financial offer from Thompson was, I understand, huge and I blame no man for being attracted by a big pay packet, especially in a business - as we have just witnessed - where chairmen can be fickle, if not evil.

And, to be fair to McCall, he has done awesome jobs at each of the crisis clubs that have chosen to employ him.

He has served his apprenticeship with aplomb and deserves his chance in the top league. But what a way to do it.

Yet again, Falkirk are the victims of their inability to start work on a new ground

Falkirk, meanwhile, have been left in the lurch as once they were by Jim Jefferies.

But they should take heed of the words of their departing manager, who reflected that he might have stayed had a brick been layed in the construction of a new stadium.

Yet again, they are victims of their inability to start work on a new ground.

Already they know that, champions of the First Division or not, they have no chance of promotion.

They have a fine football team, but you wonder whether the same adjective could be applied to the club.

All round it is, then, a sorry state of affairs. A soap opera unfolding before our very eyes.

Maybe Falkirk should bother not at all with a new ground. Just let them move into the Queen Vic.

See also:

31 Jan 03 | Dundee Utd
13 Feb 03 | Dundee Utd
05 Nov 02 | Dundee Utd
05 Nov 02 | Dundee Utd
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