Played for both clubs - Bobby Mann

Played for both clubs – Bobby Mann

This weekend sees Dundee make the trip north to the Highlands for the first time this season to take on Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Today we look at the career of Bobby Mann who turned out in the blue of both Caley and Dundee during his career.

Bobby was a Dundee fan who lived the dream of playing for his beloved Dee after he had made his name playing for Inverness Caledonian Thistle. A solid and dependable defender, Mann played in the two famous Caley Scottish Cup wins over Celtic and when he came to Dundee had a brief spell as caretaker manager in 2006 and won the player of the year the same season.

Robert Alexander Mann was born in Dundee on January 11th 1974 and enjoyed a youth career with St Columba, West Park, Fairmuir Boys Club and Dundee United Social Club before being snapped up by St Johnstone in 1991.

Mann joined Forfar Athletic a year later after failing to make the first team breakthrough in Perth and stayed at Station Park for seven years until moving to the Highlands in 1999.

Bobby made his Inverness Caledonian Thistle debut away at Stenhousemuir in the Scottish League Cup on July 31st 1999 but it was in another cup tie in his debut season that he would become part of Scottish Football history. Later that season in the Scottish Cup, Mann was part of the Super Caley team that went ballistic when they knocked Celtic out at Parkhead with a stunning 3-1 victory.

As if to prove that lightening really can strike twice First Division Caley knocked Seville-bound Celtic out again, this time at home in a 1-0 quarter-final victory in 2003, setting Bobby up with a semi-final tie against his hometown team Dundee.

Bobby featured on the cover of the semi-final match programme and lined up against The Dee at Hampden on April 20th but there was no fairytale ending for Thistle as the Dark Blues won 1-0 thanks to a Georgi Nemsadze goal; a result that propelled Dundee in Europe for the first time in 29 years with SPL champions Rangers already waiting in the Final.

Bobby and Inverness did achieve glory the following season when they won the First Division to secure promotion to the top flight for the first time in their history but the lure of his beloved Dee was enough to persuade Bobby to switch to Dens Park in the summer.

Mann made his debut for Jim Duffy’s side in the first game of the 2004/05 season at home to Hearts and in his second game was part of the Dundee side to win 2-1 at Tannadice in front of the SKY Sports cameras.

Bobby made 32 appearances in his debut season for The Dee but it was a season which ended in disaster when Dundee were relegated on the last day of the season after a 1-1 draw at Livingston.

Dundee therefore looked to bounce back to the top flight at the first time of asking and in the first league game of the season Bobby scored his first goal for the club in a 3-2 home win over promotion rivals St Mirren. He scored his second a fortnight later in a 3-1 home win Queen of the South but defeat by the same scoreline in the next match away at Stranraer in the League Cup saw Jim Duffy relieved of his managerial duties at Dens.

Alan Kernaghan replaced Duffy in the hot seat but the Irishman failed to launch any serious promotion bid as the Dark Blues slid down the table and he paid the ultimate price after a Scottish Cup semi-final defeat at Hampden to Gretna; Bobby’s second Scottish Cup semi defeat in two years.

One plus point however were the consistent performances of Bobby Mann who emerged as a leader at the back with his battling displays and when Kernaghan was sacked he was appointed a joint- caretaker player/manager alongside Barry Smith for the last couple of games of the season.

The season finished with the joint-caretakers leading Dundee to a 3-1 win over Queen of the South in Dumfries and 24 hours later Bobby was named as Dundee player of the year therefore lifting the Andrew De Vries Memorial Trophy. Bobby was chosen as the overall player of the season after winning every single Dundee Supporters Association club awards; an excellent achievement not repeated since.

In the summer Alex Rae was appointed to permanently replace Kernaghan and with Barry Smith departing for pastures new after 11 years at Dens, Mann was appointed as club captain by the new manager.

However as Alex Rae attempted to reshape the side to get them back into the SPL, Bobby became a peripheral figure as the season progressed and at the end of January reached an agreement to leave Dens Park to re-united with his former Caley boss Steve Patterson at Second Division Peterhead. Bobby stayed with the Blue Toon for four years and was once again re-united with Paterson in 2011 when he left Peterhead to sign for Scottish Highland League side Formartine United F.C as player/assistant manager to Paterson.

Bobby Mann was a popular player at both Dundee and Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Ian McCall once said of him, after missing out on his signing when manager of Dundee United, “Bobby Mann is without a doubt the best distributor of a ball from defence, bar none”. High praise indeed from a man who failed to beat Bobby or his Dens Park team mates when in charge across the road.

Appearances, Goals:
League: 79 + 2 subs, 4 goals
Scottish Cup: 7, 1 goal
League Cup: 3
SFL Challenge Cup: 3
Totals: 94, 5 goals

Sign up to #TheDEE News

Sign up to our newsletter and be the first to #THEDEE news, exclusive updates and offers.

We respect the value of your inbox and mail, and we want to make sure that you are certain we can contact you. We will process your personal data as set out in our Privacy Policy.