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Smith unseated before Dundee derby hurdle

Barry Smith is a genuine guy who deserves better than his fate this week, but we know anything can happen up at Dundee.

There was never any animosity from either side after his appointment back in 2010 when myself and Gordon Chisholm were made redundant and the club had toppled into administration. He was gutted when we left because he knew we were hard-working and for the same reason we never had any resentment about him coming in.

We all knew Barry would get asked to take the team, and he knew that as well. He told us the way we were treated was a joke, a scandal, but sometimes an opportunity like the one he got falls into your lap. I have kept in touch with him ever since, and we had a long chat up at Pittodrie earlier in the season.

Frankly. I still don't know why he was sacked. When the Rangers situation happened and circumstances took Dundee up into the SPL I think it was a no-win situation for him. He would probably still have been in a job right now if they were still in the first division.

From Angus Cook, Ron Dixon, Giovanni Di Stefano, the Marr brothers, to Calum Melville and Bob Brannan, some colourful characters have been through the Dens Park boardroom in the last 20 years or so. But nowadays the club has several fans on the board and I can't help feeling that what we have now is the product of that. It is an opinionated game and this kind of decision-making is precisely what you going to get at boardroom level if you have a number of fans giving different opinions.

I said anything can happen at Dundee and yesterday's appointment of John Brown as interim boss just goes to show that. It is a huge surprise to me, because I thought if they were going for an experienced campaigner they might go for someone with a proven SPL pedigree like Jimmy Calderwood and Gus McPherson. Brown's time at Clyde wasn't exactly a success, but he is a legend at Dens Park and what he will bring is a no-nonsense approach which could fire the team up for the forthcoming cup tie against city rivals United.

The message has been sent that the new man has to keep them up but for me that is just rubbish. Ahead of this weekend they were 15 points adrift so surely they know they are down anyway. But the way they will see it is that they do at least have a great chance of getting to a cup final. If Barry had stayed, the fear would be another bad result against their city rivals after two 3-0 defeats this season. So I think they have effectively changed it for one game, just to get a bit of freshness going into the derby. But is that the correct way to run the club?

Everyone wants to strive for success, but sometimes you have to be pragmatic. I'm not saying you should accept second best, but there is no point in having unrealistic expectations. There has been criticism of Barry's signings, but personally I find it hard to take issue with anything much that he has done. Even when they got the share of SPL cash last summer they didn't know how much money they were going to get, so they ran with what they had, then threw together a team halfway through the season.

Something else which jars with me about this week's turn of events is that, assuming Dundee do go down and that they are back playing in the first division next season, they could hardly find a manager who had has a better record in that league than Barry Smith.

The decision to sack him brings to an end Barry's 17-year association with the club, but of course there is no room for loyalty in football. I was a hero up in Dundee and they loved me, but when administration kicks in, nobody thinks about anything like that. If there was loyalty in football then Barry Smith would still be in a job. Realistically, there aren't enough jobs going about for all the good people in the game, but the irony is that Barry is so much more ready for a coaching job now than he was back in 2010.

IT was all about the boardroom this week. After everything that Rangers have been through, the tensions between Charles Green and Malcolm Murray are a concern and will be an interesting watching brief over the next weeks and months.

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