A bizarre episode in West African sporting insults

Following decentralize.today or our Mastodon account you'll know we're passionate about a few things! Passionate about privacy, crypto and, yes, football (soccer to our US friends). We also occasionally go on fakeations! Any story, another day!

So today I'd like to kinda push our passion for the sport of football into a blogpost because you know, we should feel free to write about anything and likewise you can choose to read it or not! Fair?

Since it's football and it's us and it's right now I could shout out 55! And many of my friends would know exactly what I am referring to! Many others in Scotland and around the world would go “oh! he's a Rangers fan!”. For any others, who either didn’t know or couldn't figure it out, it's the 55th Championship title for the (Famous) Rangers from Glasgow, Scotland and it's a special one after 9 years of suffering!

But wait up, this blogpost isn't all about one of the two clubs I love, but it is instead about another Scottish team. A team that plays on the banks of the silvery Tay, a team known as 'The Arabs' because their pitch drainage is (was) so poor that the pitch was always covered in sand...and that team is Dundee United!

However, we are not here to extol the virtues of Dundee United nor their massive (pre-covid) fan base or long history of success in the game but to look at how 'Dundee United' ended up in Nigeria, and not in a way that you might expect!

"You're a Dundee United!”

Let’s go into a bar in Nigeria, where we're having a drink and you unintentionally piss someone off! There is a very big chance they'll call you a “Dundee” which pretty means you're an idiot! If they get really pissed at you, they'll likely elevate this to a “Dundee United” — "Stupid Idiot" or perhaps in modern barspeak, a fucking moron!.

Now you're probably a bit confused and possibly on a couple of counts...one, Dundee, the city, has two football teams (Dundee and Dundee United) both of which managed to get caught up in this expanded insult and secondly, how on earth did any football team, Scottish or otherwise, end up in the urban vocab of Nigeria?

The year is 2010 and the BBC is showing a documentary series about Lagos. In the second episode a local says:

"You need to be smart through life in Lagos, if you don’t learn things in Lagos you won't learn it anywhere. If you be stupid, the locals will teach you to use your brain. When you are a “Dundee United” they will give you shit and make you feel unwelcome."

So there it is again...but why? I mean “Dundee United” wtf?

Let’s dig a little deeper It appears that “Dundee United” meaning "Fucking Moron" which in turn is stronger than a simple "Dundee" (idiot) but it can also be used as a collective term for a group of idiots. Basically, 'One Dundee, multiple Dundee Uniteds”! And when we asked  around we are told that no-one was sure when this started but that it's been around for generations.

One possible origin could be the U16 Football World Cup in Scotland back in 1989. The “Super Eagles” National team of Nigeria had their training facilities at Dundee United. Victor Ikpeba, a Nigerian striker at the time, was, as legend has it, getting some racist abuse from some locals and responded! This theory, however, was never really confirmed, and with a little more digging it transpired that “Dundee United” as an insult had already been used in an Anti Malaria TV spot in the mid-80’s.

Another theory revolves around the 1983/84 European Cup tournament where Dundee United were  semi-final vs AS Roma and had won the first leg 2-0. Unfortunately, away from home they lost 3-0. Nigerians, known for betting heavily on sports, had bet big on Dundee United, especially after the 2-0 lead after the first match. Legend has it that thousands of gamblers lost because of the stupidity of not being able to bring a 2-0 lead home in the return match started to use Dundee United as a new way of saying "You are stupid!".

Sounds reasonable, But is it enough? Seems not, as in the '70s Nigerians already used Dundee United as an insult! Perhaps it went back to the spring of 1972 when Dundee United went on a PR tour to Nigeria. They arrived with all their 'stars' but played awfully and clearly lacked motivation. Kenny Cameron, the Dundee United striker, was bashing Nigeria during the trip and said that when they arrived in Kano that they were greeted by “vultures and hyenas”.

These comments and the terrible performance agains amateur teams didn’t make Dundee United many friends in Nigeria. They started with a 2:2 against Sta­tio­nary Stores in Lagos followed, 4 days later, by a 1:0 win against the Vipers (from neighbouring Benin and United's only tour win. The Enugu Ran­gers beat them 2:0 whwile the Mighty Jets drew 1:1 and a return rubber against Sta­tio­nary Stores ended in a 1:4 loss for the team from Scotland.

Kenny Cameron claimed it was the temperature and the high humidity that caused Dundee United to play so badly. The traffic was also terrible, he added.

Now imagine how Nigerians who paid to see the “Big Scottish Football Team” and paid anything up to one weeks wages to see them felt after seeing them underperform so disappointingly? Perhaps some even had a bet on them!

As the Nigerian Daily Express headlined it: “Dundee United: Don’t come back”. Safe to assume they never did!

Regardless of the origins of “Dundee United” as an insult, let's try to behave and not start calling people it even if even if you are really drunk, no-one deserves to be bashed like that..

Fun sporting blog authored by The Privacy Advocate and edited by Big H...both big fans of Lions!!!