Striker signing ensures United’s league campaign won’t stutter

I see Dundee United have signed giant Dutch hitman Mark De Vries as they look to strengthen their bid for 3rd place in the SPL this season.

Admittedly, this is not a huge signing (other than his size) and won’t be of any real interest to anyone not of a Tangerine persuasion. So why, you may ask, have I decided to blog on this?

The answer is simple and, to be honest, pretty self-indulgent. I have had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing the big man and he is a true gentleman.

A good few years back when I was working at Deadline Press & Picture Agency and De Vries was a Hearts player, the Sunday Mail got in touch to see if someone could seek out the 6ft 3in striker and ask him about………………his stutter.

 W-w-w-w-what? Presumably the Sunday Mail’s reporter’s were too precious to risk asking this giant of a man about something which he was no doubt pretty sensitive about.

Apparently, on his arrival in Scotland, De Vries was reluctant to do any TV or radio interviews and press interviews were pretty scarce commodities as well.

So, with more than a hint of trepidation I set off to Tynecastle to confront the big man about his speech impediment. However, my fear was unfounded and I quickly realised De Vries was an affable and humorous chap who was more than happy to discuss the problems he had faced since he was little.

Indeed, listening to him about life growing up in Surinam and then moving to Holland as a youngster proved an engrossing hour or two.

I believe De Vries has continued to work on his speech and overcome the problem and, if that is the case, then hat’s off to the big guy because it can be a frustrating condition.

I wish him well in his second spell in Scotland because there’s not many nicer guys out there in football.

No doubt United manager Craig Levein, who signed De Vries for Hearts in the first place, will be hoping the big man can prevent the Arab’s league campaign from stuttering after a promising start.