Brownlie quickly made his presence felt at Tannadice, using
his extensive knowledge of the Scottish football scene to
sign virtually a new squad of players. One of Brownlie's first
signings was his ex-Third Lanark team-mate Jock Kay, who immediately
established himself in the United team which within two years
won promotion to Division One for the first time in the club's
history as they won the Division Two championship.
time Borwnlie had retired as a player to concentrate on the
roles of secretary/manager, and he convinced the board that,
if United were to compete at a higher level it had to be on
an equal footing with the top clubs, and that this meant full-time
football at Tannadice for the first time.
United's promotion to Division One for the first time, the
Scottish League Management Committee informed the club that
Tannadice would be subject to an inspection during the close
season to ensure that it was up to the standard required for
the higher level, and this clearly concentrated the directors'
1909, Tannadice had been leased, but the board now decided
to buy the ground, paying £2,500. Extensive renovations
were then begun, the first to the pitch. There was a steep
upwards slope towards the corner where the George Fox and
East Stands now meet, and this necessitated solid rock being
blasted to enable it to be levelled. For the first time, proper
terracing was constructed, using the time-honoured method
of disused railway sleepers, while the pavilion was given
a facelift and new turnstiles were built.
improvements made the Scottish League's inspection a formality,
but, along with plans for a new 3,000-seat stand, the total
cost was reported to be £7,000, a huge sum at the time.
The intention was that a share flotation would cover the cost,
as well as providing money to improve the playing staff, but
it realised only £5,000 when five times that amount
had been anticipated. As a result, it was announced that the
new stand was to be delayed.
met Celtic for the first time in September, and capped a great
day by winning 1-0 with a goal by Jimmy Howieson in front
of a then record crowd of 20,000 at Tannadice. The club's
first meeting with Rangers came in December at Tannadice,
and goals by Malcolm Campbell and Tommy Simpson gave United
a 2-1 win and an amazing double over the Old Firm in their
first season in Division One.
in this first season in the top flight that United met Aberdeen,
Hamilton, Morton, Hearts, St Mirren, Motherwell and Kilmarnock
for the first time, and was also the first meeting with Hibernian
since their first match as Dundee Hibs.
League derbies against Dundee were each won by the home club
and, interestingly, United's average home attendance for the
season was greater than Dundee FC's.
brought in 8 new signings for that first season in Division
One, one of them was Jimmy Simpson from Ladybank in Fife.
Signed from Newburgh West End Juniors, he made his debut in
Division One at the age of seventeen. He was both mobile and
fast despite his height of six feet, and quickly matured beyond
his years as an inside forward, becoming regular during the
club's survival from relegation - finishing in 17th place,
just 2 points above relegated Raith Rovers.
defeated Rangers again on Christmas Day 1926, with Simpson
putting in a fine performance in a 2-0 win, and Rangers began
to show their interest in the talented teenager. Unfortunately,
United finished bottom of Division One at the end of the 1926/27
campaign and were relegated back down to Division Two, and
it was inevitable that Simpson would be sold, and was transferred
to Rangers for the then record fee of £1,250.
was eventually moved into defence, and make over 400 appreanaces
for Rangers and became their club captain. He also became
the first ever player to become an internationalist after
starting their career at Tannadice.
to Division Two signalled another rebuilding process, and
Brownlie brought in a number of new players including another
Fifer, Duncan Hutchison from Dunfermline Athletic, and Jacky
Kay from Motherwell Juniors. In his first season with the
club, Hutchison rattled in 27 goals in 35 matches as United
narrowly missed out on promotion, only two points behind 2nd
placed Third Lanark.
the club once again won the Division Two championship in 1928/29,
beating Morton to the top spot by one point. Hutchison played
a vital role in the clubs promotion, scoring a staggering
34 of United's 99 goals, taking his tally to an amazing 61
goals in 70 games - all this in just two seasons.
another 3 goals in 3 games at the beginning of the 1929/30
season, United received a bid from newly crowned English Champions
Newcastle United. It was a figure that United couldn't refuse,
and sadly Hutchison left Tannadice for a fee of over £4000
- more than trebling the club's previous record transfer fee.
It was a decision that provoked a furious reaction among supporters,
including a match boycott against Dundee and season tickets
being torn up outside the ground. He was held in such esteem
by the fans that hundreds of them travelled down to Newcastle
to present Hutchison with a lucky horseshoes on his debut
for the English club.
star player gone, United dropped back down to Division Two
after just one season.
the Yo-yo effect continued the following season, as United
finished in 2nd place, three points above Dunfermline, to
gain promotion once again. However, United lost the services
of two of their most important men since the days of Dundee
Hibs. After eight years in charge and taking the club back
to the First Division, Brownlie was surprisingly dismissed
following a disagreement with the board, and in protest of
this William Hutchison resigned as a director of the club.
at the end of this decade that Ernest Robertson, the son of
a local businessman, inherited his father's 50 shares in the
club and began an association with the club that lasted over