Frank Kopel Player Profile

Player Details

  • Full Name: Frank Kopel
  • Born: March 28th, 1949 (Falkirk)
  • Died: April 16th, 2014 (Kirriemuir)
  • Height: 5' 9
  • Position: Left Back
  • Signed: January 1st, 1972
  • First Manager: Jim McLean
  • Career Totals: 407 appearances, 13 goals
  • Also Played For: Arbroath, Blackburn Rovers, Manchester United

Playing History

Season Win % Draw % Loss %
1981-82 14 (3) 0 1 0 41.2% 23.5% 35.3%
1980-81 43 (7) 0 3 0 50.0% 24.0% 26.0%
1979-80 47 4 3 0 42.6% 29.8% 27.7%
1978-79 16 (3) 2 0 0 26.3% 21.1% 52.6%
1977-78 46 0 3 0 50.0% 19.6% 30.4%
1976-77 39 (2) 0 2 0 46.3% 22.0% 31.7%
1975-76 40 (1) 0 4 0 39.0% 22.0% 39.0%
1974-75 43 1 3 1 48.8% 25.6% 25.6%
1973-74 49 (1) 3 3 0 48.0% 24.0% 28.0%
1972-73 43 (1) 2 2 0 47.7% 18.2% 34.1%
1971-72 8 (1) 1 0 0 44.4% 22.2% 33.3%
Totals: 388 (19) 13

 Apps = First Team Appearances (Sub Appearances) | Gls = Goals
 Cln = Clean Sheets | CtGR = Clean Sheets to Games Ratio | W/D/L - Games won, drawn or lost as percentage of games played in
 Yel = Yellow Cards/Cautions | Red = Red Cards/Dismissals

 Recent First Team Starts
 24/10/81 Premier Division vs. St Mirren (H) 0 - 2
 20/10/81 2nd Round 1st Leg vs. M'gladbach (A) 0 - 2
 17/10/81 Premier Division vs. Celtic (A) 1 - 1
 07/10/81 Semi Final 1st Leg vs. Aberdeen (H) 0 - 1
 03/10/81 Premier Division vs. Hibernian (A) 1 - 1

 Recent First Team Goals
 07/11/79 2nd Round 2nd Leg vs. Diósgyőri (A) 1 - 3
 02/10/79 1st Round 2nd Leg vs. Anderlecht (A) 1 - 1
 22/09/79 Premier Division vs. Partick Th (H) 2 - 1
 28/07/79 Quarter Final vs. Dunfermline (H) 3 - 0
 14/10/78 Premier Division vs. Celtic (H) 1 - 0

 List of Goals Scored (click to expand)
 07/11/79 2nd Round 2nd Leg vs. Diósgyőri (A)  1 - 3
 02/10/79 1st Round 2nd Leg vs. Anderlecht (A)  1 - 1
 22/09/79 Premier Division vs. Partick Th (H)  2 - 1
 28/07/79 Quarter Final vs. Dunfermline (H)  3 - 0
 14/10/78 Premier Division vs. Celtic (H)  1 - 0
 30/09/78 Premier Division vs. Hearts (H)  3 - 1
 14/12/74 Division One vs. Morton (A)  6 - 0
 29/12/73 Division One vs. Dumbarton (H)  6 - 0
 12/12/73 Semi Final 1st Leg vs. Newcastle Utd (H)  2 - 0
 24/10/73 2nd Round 1st Leg vs. Leicester City (A)  1 - 1
 02/12/72 Division One vs. Arbroath (A)  4 - 2
 23/08/72 Sectional Tie vs. Kilmarnock (H)  2 - 1
 08/04/72 Division One vs. Hearts (H)  3 - 2

 List of Games Played
Sorry, there are too many games to display for this player.


Frank started his senior career with Manchester United after being spotted in a Scotland Schoolboy trial at Ochilview in 1964. He turned professional in 1966 and made his first team debut in September 1967, coming on as a substitute in a League match against Burnley. He went on to make 12 appearances for the Matt Busby's side, alongside the likes of Bobby Charlton, George Best and Dennis Law, and was still at Old Trafford when they won the European Cup in 1968, appearing on the bench for some of the earlier rounds of the competition.

A move to Second Division side Blackburn Rovers followed, with a £25,000 deal in March 1969, but he only managed 25 appearances in two and a half years at Ewood Park. After Rovers were relegated, Frank was released in December 1971, and he became Jim McLean's first signing on New Years Day 1972, making his debut in midfield against Morton at the end of January.

Frank played just occasionally over the rest of that campaign, but season 1972-73 saw him become a regular in the side, playing in either midfield or defence. In the following season, he became the first choice left back, appearing in the clubs first ever Scottish Cup final in May 1974, and he held that position in the side for nine seasons, hardly missing a game.

Kopel was a fixture in the side that finished in fourth place in the old Division One to qualify for the inaugural Premier Division in 1975, and then only just held on to their top-flight place in that very difficult first-ever Premier League season in 1975-76.

Not known as a goalscorer, Frank occasionally chipped in with a goal or two, including a first minute winner against Celtic at Tannadice in October 1978. Although will always be best remembered for scoring one of United's most spectacular ever goals. It came against Anderlecht in Brussels in 1979 - a volley from the edge of the box into the top corner securing United's passage through to the next round on the away goal ruling.

Frank was one of the few original McLean signings that survived the transition as products of the manager's youth policy bore fruit. His experience and reliability were vital to the development of the younger defensive players like Dave Narey, Derek Stark & John Holt - both in Europe and domestically.

He was a member of the side that reached the Clubs first ever League Cup final, where he helped United hold out for a 0-0 draw against heavy Aberdeen pressure at Hampden. The tie went to a midweek replay at Dens Park where United ran out 3-0 winners to claim that historic first major honour. He collected a second winners medal the following year, as United swept aside neighbours Dundee at Dens Park as United retained the trophy in December 1980. A second Scottish Cup runners-up medal soon followed as United lost out to Rangers in the final at Hampden in May 1981.

After ten years service, Frank was allowed to leave on a free transfer in February 1982, and was quickly appointed player/coach at Arbroath. He returned to Tannadice in December 1983 to fill the need for an experienced defender in the reserves, a role he filled on several occasions over the next few years. In February 1989, he joined Forfar Athletic as a coach, working with former United players Henry Hall and later Paul Hegarty, but left there in January 1992 and left the game. In January 2011 Frank was inducted into the Dundee United Hall of Fame.

Last updated on Wednesday, April 20th, 2022 by B Orr.


January 29th, 1972
Dundee United 2 - 1 Greenock Morton

League (Division One)


  • Date of Birth

    Frank was born on this date in Falkirk.

  • Signed For Dundee United

  • First Team Debut

    Dundee United 2 - 1 Morton
    League (Division One)

    Dundee United introduced Frank Kopel into the team for this one with Jackie Copland dropping to the bench. Morton made seven changes to their team from their previous encounter!United hoped fo

  • First Goal

    Dundee United 3 - 2 Hearts
    League (Division One)

    United were without forwards Knox and Traynor for this one. Meanwhile Hearts introduced young centre half John Gallacher for Allan Anderson. Rain had poured heavily ahead of the game and left the pitc

  • 50th Appearance

    Dundee United 1 - 1 Arbroath
    League (Division One)

  • 50th League Appearance

    Aberdeen 3 - 1 Dundee United
    League (Division One)

  • 100th Appearance

    Dundee United 0 - 1 Dunfermline
    League (Division One)

  • 100th League Appearance

    Celtic 0 - 1 Dundee United
    League (Division One)

    A marvellous Parkhead afternoon for the Tannadice club with Andy Gray emerging as the goal hero as United upset the formbook with a memorable victory. And United's success was no fluke as was proved b

  • 200th Appearance

    Dundee United 2 - 0 Motherwell
    League (Premier Division)

  • 200th League Appearance

    Dundee United 1 - 1 Aberdeen
    League (Premier Division)

    United made two changes following their midweek Forfarshire Cup match with Forfar. Rennie and Robinson dropped out of the squad and were replaced in the team by Fleming and Stark.The game got

  • 300th Appearance

    Dundee United 2 - 0 Airdrie
    League Cup (2nd Round 2nd Leg)

    Two first half goals from Graeme Payne and Paul Sturrock were sufficient to see the Tannadice side through into the last six

  • Last Goal

    Diósgyőri 3 - 1 Dundee United
    UEFA Cup (2nd Round 2nd Leg)

    Far-off Miskolc proved to be the end of this season's European road for United who had been hopeful of making up the one-goal deficit incurred in the 1st leg at Tannadice. However a combination of the

  • 400th Appearance

    Airdrie 2 - 1 Dundee United
    League (Premier Division)

    After the midweek success in Monaco, manager Jim McLean stuck with the same starting eleven, with Richard Gough and Graeme Payne keeping their places on the bench.Airdrie took a shock lead in

  • Last Appearance

    Rangers 2 - 0 Dundee United
    League (Premier Division)

    Fixture congestion took United to Ibrox at a mere 48 hour notice, after the severe weather had again taken a swipe at the scheduled card. Our sixth consecutive match had been wiped out with the condit

  • Left the Club

  • Date of Death

    Frank died on this date in Kirriemuir.