McLean's sad finale to career at Tannadice

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The Independent Football

Dundee United will this week look for a new figurehead following the ignominious exit of Jim McLean, the chairman and former manager, whose 29-year association with the club ended when he allegedly punched a BBC reporter on Saturday.

Dundee United will this week look for a new figurehead following the ignominious exit of Jim McLean, the chairman and former manager, whose 29-year association with the club ended when he allegedly punched a BBC reporter on Saturday.

McLean resigned after the incident, which was broadcast by the BBC on Saturday. It showed him terminating an interview after the 4-0 defeat by Hearts in a flurry of swear words before allegedly striking the reporter, John Barnes, off-camera. Dundee United later issued a statement which read: "Jim McLean has resigned as chairman of Dundee United Football Club. The board will meet next week and a further statement will be made."

The outburst by McLean, 63, was sparked by questions about Dundee United's poor position at the bottom of the Scottish Premier League - they have not won a game this season - and the reinstatement of the chairman's younger brother Tommy McLean, whom he sacked two years ago as manager, to the coaching staff.

McLean Snr was hurried out of the press conference and then asked for the club lawyers to be summoned.

It is a sad end to his association with the Tayside club whom he led to their greatest success. United won the Scottish title in 1983 and reached the semi-finals of the European Cup in 1984, before advancing to the final of the Uefa Cup in 1987, when they lost to IFK Gothenburg. McLean stepped aside to become chairman in 1993 but his role was rarely in the background - he sacked his younger brother as manager in 1998.

Paul Sturrock, a member of McLean's successful championship side, resigned as manager of the troubled club just two games into the season and Alex Smith, the experienced Scotland Under-21 coach, took over as interim manager - but the downward spiral has continued.

Barnes, the BBC reporter, will make a decision on whether to pursue legal action against McLean today.

"John was on a day off on Sunday. He is having a think through what actually happened and whether he wants to take it further or not," a BBC spokesman said.

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