Barclays League -
Manager: Clive Middlemass
Final pos: 12th
Player of the season: Nigel Saddington
Admission price: £3.50
Avg attendance: 3169
Saddington climbs highest -
v Liverpool FA Cup Jan 1989
|A RETURN TO RESPECTABILITY
A season of re-building ended on a high note as United lifted themselves from the foot of the league to a respectable finishing position of 12th.
Things could not have got off to a much worse start as the Blues failed to win in their first nine league games. However, the £40,000 capture of Paul Fitzpatrick from Bristol City helped spark a revival that took off once United had been knocked out of the FA Cup by Liverpool.
The close-season acquisitions of experienced defenders Mike Graham and Ian Dalziel together with the arrival of tough-tackling midfielder Derek Walsh from Hamilton Academicals helped strengthen the squad, although it took the return of old favourite Dave McKellar in goal to shore up the defence.
United became so mean during the second half of the campaign that at one stage, they only conceded two goals in eight games. Their FA Cup run took them to the Third Round for the first time in three years but was ended in front of over 18,000 at Brunton Park by a Liverpool team boasting Beardsley, Barnes, Aldridge and McMahon.
The defeat seemed to galvanize United, who responded by winning three and drawing one of their next four games, including a fine 4-1 win at Peterborough. With Paul Proudlock arriving from Middlesbrough and proving an instant hit with the fans, the only disappointing note was the sale of 17-year-old Steve Harkness to Liverpool in May for £70,000. Harkness was another sign that the Youth team set up two years previously was now bearing fruit.