They played at The Showgrounds: David Narey

IN the continuation of the mini series, colerainefc.com’s Jonathan McNabb delves into the archives to remind supporters of great names who have graced the turf on the Ballycastle Road…

For the fourth issue, we remember defender Dave Narey who faced the Bannsiders in the UEFA Cup with Dundee United in September 1987. A hero amongst the United support, Narey would play over 600 games for the Arabs and won a Scottish Premiership title, two League Cups and was a member of the squad who reached the 1987 UEFA Cup final.

Narey would later win a League Cup winners’ medal with Raith Rovers and won a total of 35 international caps, including playing in two World Cup tournaments. He would be inducted into the Dundee United Hall of Fame, as well as Scottish Football Hall of Fame in 2010.


Narey was a local lad, born and raised in Dundee and was educated at St John’s RC High School. He was signed by United on an Schoolboys form in 1972 at the age of 15 whilst with St Columba’s Boys Club, and signed professionally the following year. He made his full debut for the club at Tannadice in a league match against Falkirk on November 21st 1973, playing as an attacking midfielder, although he would go on to become a full-international centre-half.

Dave soon became a regular in the Dundee United side of the mid to late 70s under the management of Jim McLean and formed a successful defensive partnership with club captain Paul Hegarty. In 1977 he became the first ever United player to receive a full international cap for Scotland, and would go on to make 35 appearances for his country, becoming the most capped player at the Club for many years.

In 1979, Narey received his first winner’s medal after helping the club win their first ever trophy, the League Cup after defeating New Firm rivals Aberdeen 3-0 in the replay at Dens Park. In 1980, United retained the trophy on the same ground, this time defeating city rivals Dundee 3-0 on their own turf, again Narey was at the heart of the United defence. In the 1982/83 season Narey played a key role as United defied all the odds to claim the Scottish Premier Division Title on the last day of the season with a famous 2-1 win over Dundee at Dens. Narey won the decisive spot-kick from which Eamonn Bannon eventually converted following the initial save made by Kelly in the Dundee goal. It would prove to be the goal that clinched the 1982/83 Premier Division Championship.

Following the League Championship success, United found themselves in the European Cup and Narey was part of the side that reached the semi-finals of the competition, eventually being knocked out 3-2 on aggregate by AS Roma. In the 1986/87 season United went on a now legendary UEFA Cup run which saw them reaching the final of the competition. Paul Hegarty missed a large spell of the season due to injury and in his absence Narey took over the role of team captain. On the way to the final United recorded 2 famous victories over Catalonian giants Barcelona. Captained by Dave Narey, United incredibly won 2-1 at Camp Nou in the 2nd leg. Unfortunately United could not go all the way, running out of steam at the end of a long season and lost both the two legged UEFA Cup Final and the Scottish Cup Final sandwiched inbetween.

Narey remained part of the side for the remainder of the decade and into the early 90s. As age caught up with him he began to play less often but memorably started against Motherwell at Fir Park in the Scottish Cup 4th round replay in 1994 and played superbly at the age of 37. Although United went onto lift the Scottish Cup at the end of the season, Narey did not play in the final and it was announced that he would be released at the end of the season. Although offered a coaching role at Tannadice, Dave wished to carry on playing.

After leaving United, Narey joined First Division Raith Rovers and was part of the team that won promotion to the Premier Division as champions. He also played in the Raith team that defeated Celtic in the 1994 League Cup Final, winning the man of the match award for his performance. Narey retired from professional football at the end of the 1994/95 season.

With a Dundee United career spanning 22 years, there is no doubt that Dave Narey is one of the all-time Tannadice greats. As part of one of the greatest Dundee United sides ever, Narey collected three winners’ medals in his time at the club and that could easily have been so many more had it not been for United’s dreadful luck in cup finals. In 1992, Dave Narey received an MBE for his services to football, an honour few Scottish footballers have received, and in January 2008, he was one of the first players inducted into the Dundee United Hall of Fame.


The match was played at The Showgrounds on Wednesday, September 16, 1987 as the Bannsiders welcomed Dundee United to the Ballycastle Road.

COLERAINE’S European warriors did themselves proud at a packed Showgrounds on Wednesday when they restricted the mighty Dundee United to a one goal victory.

A crowd of over 8,000 saw the first ever floodlit game at the Showgrounds and they were not  disappointed as the home side gave their all. Only a Paul Sturrock goal just before half-time separated the teams.

However, the result must leave the Bannsiders progress in the UEFA Cup in doubt with the second leg at Tannadice in a fortnight’s time. But the Irish League side’s player-manager Jim Platt could not contain his satisfaction at a professional job by his part- timers.

“Considering our injury problems, it was a tremendous performance by the lads,” said Platt afterwards.

“All the young boys did well and I was particularly pleased with the maturity shown by Nigel Quigley and Dermot Doherty.”

He added: “We had hoped to create a little more ourselves but they are a very good side. Don’t take anything away from Dundee, give us the praise.

“They were able to step up a gear when they wanted, but having said that, their goal came from a lucky break.

“I wouldn’t say we’re out of the tie yet, we might have a few surprises and we should have a full squad. You never know, if we have a go we could nick it, mind you we don’t want to have too big a go!”

Dundee United’s manager Jim McLean: “Obviously it’s a great result for us – we can’t complain. Coleraine made it awkward for us and put on a good show for their fans.

“We won’t count our chickens before they are hatched, but obviously we’re now in a very good position as far as the tie is concerned.”

The injury-hit home side suffered yet another blow just two hours before kick-off when their gifted teenage midfielder Michael O’Neill had to withdraw with an injured ankle.

Platt was already without three regulars – his captain Ronnie McDowell, Dean McCullough and Raymond McCoy – and had to bring in a half-fit Billy Beggs in place of O’Neill.

Coleraine began positively and almost got off to a dream start after just three minutes. Billy Beggs crossed to the far post from the left and youngster Nigel Quigley cleverly nodded across goal. Martin Tabb stabbed a shot, from six yards which the visitors’ goalkeeper Billy Thomson did well to save.

In the seventh minute United moved into attack, but Scottish international Paul Sturrock saw his near post shot comfortably dealt with by Jim Platt. A clever through ball by Ricky Wade for Coleraine three minutes later was flighted perfectly into Barry McCreadie’s path, but Thomson was too quick off his line.

Just when it looked as though the Irish League side might go in level at the break, last year’s UEFA Cup finalists struck. There were six minutes of the first half remaining when Eamon Bannon crossed from the right. Kevin Gallacher had a shot blocked by a defender, but Sturrock was on hand to crack home the rebound.

One minute from the interval, United might have made it two, but Platt produced a great save from Gallacher who was sent clear by Sturrock.

Jeremy Robinson had Coleraine’s first long range shot of the night well saved one minute after the break, heralding a spell of pressure from the Bannsiders. Wade’s cross was destined for Beggs at the far post before McGinnis’s last second intervention.

United were in all sorts of trouble from the resultant corner and Wade’s shot flew narrowly wide from the edge of the box. Ten minutes into the second half McCreadie produced Coleraine’s best effort thus far, turning sharply to half-volley Wade’s cross towards the bottom corner, but Thomson was perfectly positioned to save.

Two minutes later Robinson was rather unlucky to have his name taken by the referee for a clumsy challenge on Gallacher. Midway through the second half, Sturrock produced a breathtaking turn and shot which Platt did well to save.

Moments later Gallacher’s 20-yard drive took a nasty bounce, but once again, the Bannside goalkeeper had it covered. Three minutes from time Coleraine almost snatched a dramatic equaliser when Wade’s cross was headed on by McCreadie, and substitute Paul Kee was just beaten to the ball by Thomson at the far post.

The Bannsiders would travel to Tannadice for the second leg two weeks later and would lose 3-1 in Scotland, with Desmond Edgar getting on the scoresheet for the Stripes.

COLERAINE: Platt, Quigley, Edgar, Henry, Tabb, Wade, McGurnaghan, Robinson, McCreadie, Beggs (Kee ’78 mins), Doherty (Wright ’65 mins).

Subs Not Used: Campbell, Harding, McCurdy.

DUNDEE UNITED: Thomson, McGinnis, Malpas, Bowman, Hegarty, Narey, Ferguson, Bannon, Gallacher, Sturrock (Beaumont ’82 mins), Redford.

Subs Not Used: Thomson, Holt, McLeod, Irvine.

Referee: F. Roberts (Wales)

*Many thanks to Hunter McClelland for the research*