Today I make the first entry into my SPFL Hall of Infamy. This is just a bit of fun where every once in a while I’ll name a player who has made a notable impact on Scottish Football since the new set-up was introduced. Whether it be a shocking player, comically poor manager or even an animal or object that somehow gained brief fame.
Today, our opening entrant is Rodney Sneijder. A signing that was as disastrous as the season to come for Dundee United.
Brother of Rodney, the midfielder joined the Tangerines in July 2015 but was gone at the end of August.
It seemed like a good signing at first. Sneijder had come through the Ajax youth system like his brother, spending 13 years with the Dutch Giants. He had international experience too, playing 13 times for the Netherlands’ u17 and u19 teams combined.
He came into a team that needed a player like him. The Arabs had lost Ryan Gauld in 2014 which wasn’t the end of the world but when Stuart Armsrtong and Gary Mackay-Stevens both left for Celtic early in 2015 it was clear that the summer of that year would be when replacements had to be found.
In Rodney Sneijder, Dundee United thought they had found a decent replacement. The guy had pedigree, showing that during a trial period with the club, and he filled a creative void that needed filling. Chris Erskine was struggling to find a place in the team and Ryan Dow was unable to replace Armstrong and Mackay-Stevens in any way so Sneijder seemed a good fit. Also, he was just 24-years old so had plenty of years left in the game. But would he be a success in the gritty Scottish Premiership? Well, we’ll never know.
The midfielder made a substitute appearance for the Tangerines against Aberdeen, the game being his debut but on the 11th of August, following Dundee United’s 2-0 win over Motherwell where Sneijder was not in the squad, Jackie McNamara revealed that the Dutchman had fallen ill and returned to the Netherlands.
It was then announced, two weeks later, that Sneijder’s contract had been terminated by mutual agreement. Jackie McNamara sited a responsibility for the player’s health when facing the press but it can’t be denied that the saga was a huge complication that the club would have liked to avoid.
Rodney’s departure left the Tangerines with very little time to find a replacement for the player that was seen as a big part of the season to come and in the end they couldn’t sign another midfielder leaving them at a disadvantage before the season had even begun. This lack of creativity could even be to blame for some of the awful results that were to come in the season to follow.
Not only did the whole thing prove detrimental on the pitch but the club ended up replacing every Sneijder top bought by the fans, costing them further money, rubbing salt into the gaping wound.
Overall, the calamitous signing was symptomatic of United’s season as they were relegated from the Premiership. Sneijder was one of many ineffective and expensive signings that the Arabs made last season and Sneijder’s Dundee United career perfectly foreshadowed the Terrors fate in the 2015/16 campaign earning him a place in the SPFL Hall of Fame here on the site.