Dundee United manager Jackie McNamara has vowed not to be broken by “poisonous” rumours which claim to cast doubt over his future at Tannadice.
McNamara spoke out yesterday as inaccurate speculation on social media claimed he was on the verge of walking away in the wake of last Saturday’s chastening 4-0 defeat by Hamilton Academical.
It was a result which caused consternation among the travelling support. A small knot of fans called for the manager’s head while the suspension last week of United’s youth director Stevie Campbell exacerbated tensions, causing a split within a fanbase that has seen the side win just four games in 22.
McNamara has now spoken out about how rumours that he was set to leave got back to him on Saturday night. The situation is a repeat of what happened earlier this year when he was the subject of similar speculation suggesting he had resigned in the wake of the joint sale of Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven to Celtic.
But the manager, whose side face Celtic on Saturday, is pledging not to let off-field issues distract him.
“It’s very difficult,” McNamara said. “It’s probably a good thing I’m not on social media. I get wee snippets coming back to me which are quite poisonous. But that’s part and parcel of the job nowadays. That’s maybe why managers don’t last a long time in different jobs.
“I’m one of the longest serving ones and I’ve been here for two-and-a-half years.
“Yes, [rumours got back to me last Saturday] the same as they did months ago. That’s the society we’re in. It’s social media so it’s very difficult for people to control. It’s taking up a lot of people’s lives.
“It’s always personal when you’re a manager. People pay good money to watch and it’s always personal but it’s been going on since football began. It’s just different now because everyone has a voice. They have a computer and can hide behind a false name.
“I try not to let it affect me and get on with the job. It’s society being reactive but I try and be proactive. I try not to react to what people think or say. If I did that, then I wouldn’t be doing my job.”
A civil war has broken out among the fans after the Federation of Dundee United Supporters’ Clubs issued a statement on Monday stating they were “very concerned” by Campbell’s suspension as the club continue to lead an internal investigation.
And McNamara admits it makes for a far-from ideal situation. He said: “It’s never nice. It’s been like that for a while now.
“I take criticism the same way I take adulation when we do well. I’ve been in football for a long enough time to understand how it works.
“My focus hasn’t changed. It is on getting the best out of the players. Again it’s a challenge, but it’s one I’m ready to face. I’m not going to start panicking because we’ve had one bad result.”
McNamara was remaining tight-lipped over the investigation involving Campbell, but hopes it can be concluded soon.
He said: “I think it’s very difficult for me to comment. It’s an internal matter. Obviously, I would like these things to be sorted so we can understand what’s going on. I’ve seen some reports bringing me in to it.
“But hopefully it gets sorted soon so that people can see what’s behind it.”
United’s new-look side are struggling to click in the new season and McNamara insists that can take time.
He said: “Of course, there’s been change. Our team is young and we’ll make mistakes. It takes time to gel together.
“We can put last Saturday down to a bad day at the office, a lot of things like the goals we conceded, went wrong.
“People look into things on the back of Saturday’s performance and result – a lot of people have jumped on the bandwagon.
“It’s obviously up to me to put that right and we’ll be ready for Celtic this weekend.”