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Football: TRAITOR DE VOS SHOULD FOLLOW McLEAN OUT OF UNITED; Mathie claims 'cliping' skipper isn't trusted by his team-mates.

ALEX MATHIE last night claimed skipper Jason de Vos should follow chairman Jim McLean out of Dundee United.

Former Tannadice hitman Mathie reckons McLean's decision to quit as chairman last weekend was long overdue but he insisted team morale won't improve because de Vos clipes on his team-mates.

Mathie, who joined York City last month, said: "I can only think of one guy I haven't really liked so far in my career.

"Jason isn't very popular with the players because he tells the manager everything.

"He talks about people behind their backs which means he can't be trusted.

"In the end, I was just really glad to get away from there because the morale in the dressing room was so low."

McLean quit United following his TV bust-up with BBC reporter John Barnes after last week's 4-0 thrashing by Hearts.

Now Mathie reckons the 63-year-old former manager of the club, who still has a majority shareholding, should sever all links with United as soon as possible.

Mathie said: "In the long run I think his resignation could be the best thing ever to happen to United.

"It's in the interest of both parties that he leaves and lets fresh faces on to the board who can take the club forward to fulfil its potential.

"It would be good if there was a clear-out from top to bottom so they could make a fresh start.

"Nobody can question Jim's record as manager but times have changed and you have to move with them.

"What he achieved in the past will never be repeated because of the way football is nowadays. It would be best for a replacement to come in from the outside."

Mathie reckons the shadow McLean cast over Tannadice made it impossible for former boss Paul Sturrock to succeed in the hotseat.

He said: "Paul loved the club so much but it's difficult when you're trying to emulate someone else's achievements.

"When things go wrong they automatically look to the chairman for advice and it's not always the answer.

"Nearly all United managers in recent years have played under Jim McLean and have obviously been very close to him. Ivan Golac was the exception and he did not do too badly by winning the Scottish Cup.

"What they need is for someone to come in who has no previous connection and inject some fresh ideas."

Mathie hopes Alex Smith is given the chance to manage the club on his own terms. He said: "Alex has proved in the past he's a good manager, so I hope he's given time to do the same at Tannadice.

"They need someone who is strong enough to stand up for himself and not be intimidated. I was never intimidated personally but I don't know if that's the case with others.

"Jim came in to the dressing room and had his say one time after we had lost to Hearts at Tynecastle at the end of my first season there.

"There were other times when I could see him battering on the windows of the glass box near the tunnel if things were going wrong."

Mathie was a victim of the influx of non-Scots to United. The 31-year-old found himself `surplus to requirements and feared he would end up in the reserve dressing room.

He said: "I honestly feel it's not the right road to go down by bringing in so many foreign players all at once.

"Sturrock said he wanted to make United a British club with as few foreigners as possible when he took over a couple of years ago.

"But they've gone in the other direction recently, even though the players are no better than the young Scottish lads at the club. There are a lot of good young players who aren't getting a chance and that is one of the saddest things.

"The morale in the dressing room before I left was the lowest I've experienced during my career and I didn't look forward to coming into training in the morning.

"At one stage I thought Jim Hamilton, Scott McCulloch and myself would all be moved into the reserve dressing room.

"It doesn't help that team spirit isn't right but I feel the club sold all their best foreign players like Kjell Olofsson and Sigi Jonsson.

"They were used for a British style of football but the new guys have come from a totally different culture and it can't be easy to adapt.

"I really hope they can turn things around because there are a lot of good lads there. But if they do go down it might not be the worst thing to happen. Maybe they need to take a step back before taking two steps forward.

"They were relegated a few years ago but bounced back from the disappointment. They could even come back a stronger team.

Meanwhile, former United star Dave Bowman is taking on a coaching role at Tannadice.

The midfielder, currently serving a suspension at Forfar, has accepted an offer from his old club to coach S-form kids on a part-time basis.

Bowman's tasks will not interfere with his Station Park playing commitments and Alex Smith said: "Dave has a wealth of experience as a player which will be invaluable to our youngsters.

"He's got United in his blood and can help us produce players in the traditional Tannadice way."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Mcarthur, Euan
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 20, 2000
Words:895
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