You’ll sometimes hear a football commentator or journalist refer to Dundee United as the ‘Arabs’, but that name is wrong. The name ‘Arabs’ correctly identifies Dundee United fans not the team itself.
While no one quite knows how the fans got this name, the most common reason given is that in the 1960s, after a particularly icy spell, United hired a tar burner to melt the ice on the pitch. But tar doesn’t just melt ice, it also burnt all the grass beneath.
Undaunted by their lack of a playing surface, United ordered several lorry-loads of sand, spread it around, painted some lines on it, and played several games before the grass grew back. When the team started winning on this unconventional surface they were described as having taken to it like Arabs.
The name stuck and even after the grass returned the Dundee United fans started to dress up for big games and cup final appearances. Hence the fans are now the Arabs and not the team.
Local rivals, Dundee, spotting an opportunity to bait the opposition, also jumped on the name to write some Arab themed songs. Reviewing these songs today, there is something Ron Atkinson-ish about many of
them with their references to Arabs, both football and not. And there’s a fair few that even Luis Suarez would think twice about before forwarding to Patrice Evra. But I’ve managed to find one that’s just about tasteful. Just.
This week’s song is “Living Next Door To An Arab” by Jump The Q.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you…
Your songs: If you have a song you would like to nominate for the SCFC Hall of Fame please let us know via the comments below.
About the Author
After too many years as season ticket holder at Parkhead, Andy Todd renounced the SPL three years ago to support Queens Park. One team is a rank bunch of amateurs who play in a state of the art stadium and the other is…(I think we can all see where this is going).
Andy has been performing comedy for 18 months but is currently ‘between gigs’ while he writes a book on Scottish property law to be published in Summer 2012. Its potential audience will be less than 300 but his mum will be very proud.
Follow Andy on Twitter: @toddandy
Check out Andy’s website: www.toddandy.com