Bonetti's Blues: Dundee FC and its Cultural Experiment
The star Argentiniean striker Claudio Caniggia has described Dundee as 'a football town' and, as the favoured partner of arguably the world's greatest-ever player Diego Maradona, he should know. But why should he care? What was this man doing, plying his trade in Dundee?
Dundee Football Club - the Dark Blues - do have a tradition; they have produced a number of outstanding players, won all the major Scottish trophies and, in 1963, reached the semi-final of the European Cup. For the next three decades, however, their story was one of gradual decline - and you can lose a lot of supporters in 30 years.
When brothers Peter and Jimmy Marr, local businessmen, took over at Dens Park in 1997, the fans didn't know what to expect. They were a different proposition from their predecessors in that they had experience of running successful amateur and junior football clubs - but while the team performed creditably under Jocky Scott, there were still a number of very average players getting a game and the wider fan base was only inclined to attend a handful of matches during the season.
Having battled to get promotion to the Scottish Premier League and build new stands, however, Peter Marr proceeded to make a leap of cultural faith. He knew that quality football was the key to any form of success and that, generally speaking, it could be found on the European continent.
Marr originally expressed interest in Ivano Bonetti as a player, but when he discovered that the Italian was also interested in management, decided to embark on a footballing adventure with him. What followed has been one of the most remarkable episodes in recent Scottish football history. In the face of great cynicism and limited resources, Bonetti has assembled a squad of outstanding international talent, with his friend Claudio Caniggia the jewel in the crown. Results have been both good and bad - and sometimes downright weird - but the football has always been consistently entertaining and frequently breathtaking. No Dundee fan will ever forget season 2000-01. In this book Jim Wilkie reviews the tradition of the club and, using key profiles and reports, charts their amazing transformation to Bonetti's Blues.
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