When I was Scotland correspondent for TVam from 1985 -89 I covered all the top news stories, including the Piper Alpha oil rig disaster and the Lockerbie bombing. I also covered features, politics, education, showbiz and of course sport.
My husband Steve, who was also my cameraman, is a die-hard Dundee United fan and on our ﬁrst date, in 1985, he took me to see United versus Hearts at Tannadice. I fell in love with the man, the city and of course the team.
In 1987, under legendary manager Jim McLean, Dundee United went all the way to the UEFA Cup and Scottish Cup ﬁnals.
In the quarter-ﬁnals of the UEFA Cup I saw Kevin Gallacher score at home against the mighty Barcelona (managed by Terry Venables and with a team including Gary Lineker) for a ﬁnal score of 1-0 and then we went to the Nou Camp stadium in Spain for the second leg and won 2-1. It was magical.
I was then sent to Germany by TVam to cover the second leg of the semi-ﬁnal and saw United triumph against Borussia Moenchengladbach. I think I can safely stay that it was the most biased piece of football journalism ever broadcast. I could hardly do my sign-off piece to camera the end of the match because my voice had almost gone from roaring on my team all the way through the match. I was almost crying with happiness at the end.
Then it was the ﬁnal against Gothenberg with a squad including my favourite player, Eamon Bannon, and the classy Maurice Malpas, David Narey, Paul Hegarty and Paul Sturrock. They played their hearts out, but it wasn’t to be.
We also unbelievably lost the Scottish Cup ﬁnal against St Mirren, a game that was sandwiched between the two legs of the UEFA Cup final, a horrible double whammy.
Despite both defeats, I was really proud of every single one of our players, and anyway, that sort of heartbreak and disappointment makes the victories all the more sweet.
United fans were awarded FIFAs “Fair Play Award” for the sporting way we dealt with the UEFA defeat.
We did go on to win the Scottish Cup in 1994, but I wasn’t there to witness this triumph as I was hugely pregnant with my daughter Rosie, and would have probably given birth out of sheer excitement.
I had to wait until 2010, when we beat Ross County in an unforgettable Scottish Cup ﬁnal that showed the true spirit of football. The Highlands of Scotland emptied as thousands of Ross County fans made the journey south to Hampden and the stadium was a sea of Dundee United tangerine and Ross Country blue. It was an amazing day. The sun shone, we won 3-0 and began a weekend of fantastic celebrations.
When you support Dundee United, the lows might be very sore, but the highs make it all worthwhile.