Might not be able to manage in his own inimitable style in these modern times, but an absolute and deserved legend in Dundee.
Always used to enjoy his interviews. He made Fat Fattries look like a jolly old boy.
His achievements with Dundee Utd are unlikely to be ever repeated. Beating Barcelona was one of the highlights in his career. These were the very best days of Scottish football when Dundee Utd together with Aberdeen beat the then Old Firm and top sides in Europe before the game became money orientated and corrupt.
Quite simply one of the greatest managers scottish football has ever seen.
His achievements with Dundee United in the 1980's were phenomenal. To take a small provincial club to the heights he did and achieve the success he did was testament to his motivational and tactical abilities and his great knowledge of the game. Yes, he was a hard, intimidating type in an era where that type of manager was common, but he got his club to where he wanted it to go. We are unlikely to ever see his like again. The days of clubs of Dundee United's size winning leagues and beating the best in Europe are all but over, but we live in hope.
His United team was based on a strong youth development carved out over many years, and a keen eye for a player. The players may have been in awe of him and possibly feared him, but they played for him. He got results. Great results. They became scottish champions in the 1982/83 season using just 14 players throughout the season. They had some great players like Narey, Hegarty, Milne, Sturrock, Dodds, Bannon and Gough. They had a reputation for being overly defensive, and yes they could be. However, his team could play. When you can go to the Nou Camp and defeat Barcelona 2-1 as they did in 1987, that says it all.
A sad day. RIP Jim.
A couple of footnotes; Jim McLean idolised Eddie Turnbull and saw him as his mentor. He said he learned so much from our Eddie. Famously after selling Alan Gordon to Hibs at the start of 1972 for £12,000, he said to Turnbull. "I have a feeling i've just been done".
I was at Tannadice in 1987 to see their UEFA Cup Final second leg against Gothenburg. They lost out on aggregate but the atmosphere inside the totally packed out stadium that night in a place not known for noise or atmosphere was absolutely electric. None of the crowd would leave at the end of the game till McLean came out so they could acclaim him.
Done an amazing job at united, given United were not even the top team in Dundee before that never mind top team in Scotland. Would expect a few people disliked him because of holding players against their wills at Tannadice thus bringing about the Bosman ruling (Not that this got Messi far this season) Be surprised if they dont make a statue to him
I think he fell out with a lot of journalists towards the end; I think the pressure was intense on the legacy he created - Dundee United had a period of a decade when they never finished outside the top 4.
Edit: picked up the above from somewhere else - turns out it’s not true - they didn’t manage ten consecutive seasons, but they finished top 4 in 16 out of 17 seasons.
best hibs have ever managed is 7 seasons with FF. It gives some kind of context to just how good Dundee United were.