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Board games? I'm not a fan

I know Barry Smith well and I'm delighted Dundee have kept him on as manager, but he should never have been put in the position of worrying about his job.

A guy like that, who played such a big role when the club were in administration, taking them on a 23-game unbeaten run in the Irn-Bru First Division after the points deduction ... you don't give him five months of an SPL campaign he wasn't even able to prepare for properly and then say: you're out.

Barry said after Friday's meeting with the board that he has the 100% backing of every one of its members, but given that only a few days ago they were reportedly divided over whether he should stay, I don't believe that's true. As much as I feel I was carved up at Dundee, for Barry it has been worse.

Reading between the lines, and knowing football and the media the way I do, someone from that boardroom told somebody outside it that Barry was on his way out. Scot Gardiner, the chief executive, seemed a bit agitated on BBC Sportsound last Friday night and I'm convinced there had been a leak.

Papers don't run stories on their back pages about a manager being on the verge of the sack, and the radio don't lead their bulletins with it, unless they know it's true. It might not have come from Gardiner, but somebody from the boardroom has definitely leaked something.

For the board to have been thinking of getting rid of Barry makes no sense. That smacks of looking only at the short term when they should be planning for the future.

I think part of the problem is having fans on the board. Dundee supporters won't like me for saying that, but then some of them don't like me anyway. They're great fans, and I've always been a big advocate of Dundee being in the SPL because it needs the Dundee derby, but they are very hard to please. I know that from being there as a player and as an assistant manager.

Some of the people running Dundee are rookies at boardroom level and this is a learning curve for them as well. This has all put more pressure on Barry. It's made his job harder, but he's handled everything thrown at him so far.

He has received the dreaded vote of confidence now, but only until the end of the season, which still isn't good enough. Barry is one of the nicest guys in football, one of the hardest working, and he's Dundee through and through. Coaches and managers often back other coaches and managers just because they don't want to say anything bad about colleagues, but support for Barry is wholly deserved.

Who did the board members who wanted him out think could come in and turn the team's fortunes round? Nobody could, because whoever might have replaced him would face the same restrictions in terms of signing players as Barry does.

And if Dundee do go down, they will already have in place one of the best First Division managers around.

Directors, particularly rookies, always believe the grass is greener on the other side, that some other manager will be better. But that's not always the case, far from it.

The Dundee directors need to think about what Barry has already achieved for them and what he is going through now with people leaking stories and undermining him and the team.

I really like Kenny Shiels. He's one of the most sincere and passionate guys I've ever met, either talking to him when he's been on Sportsound or at matches. But he admits he likes a laugh, that he likes to wind people up. He believes that's part of his job as Kilmarnock manager, and that it's working.

He's phoned our programme in the past to get CDs sent out, so that he could let his team hear what people are saying, to motivate them because he's not been happy with what was said.

However, Kenny needs to realise he can't have it both ways. He likes to wind people up, so he has to take it when others wind him up, and not walk out of radio or press interviews.

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