Aberdeen v Livingston was very significant. Everything McInnes’s Aberdeen can’t do, was on the pitch for Livingston. Organisation, motivation, the importance of the team unit, set up with regard to knowing what the opposition were going to do, flexible enough to adapt during the game. Coldly and cynically and expertly took us apart. And it was all so predictable.
The previous evening’s Twitter excitement had me wondering what I was missing.
In the words of Han Solo, I had a bad feeling about this. Was Sam the problem really? Was it Curtis Main? I don’t remember seeing them missing many chances, but I’ve watched the ball sailing over their heads a thousand times.
I was going to do a pre-match post on the Facebook page, a fake competition. Name the first defender to balloon the ball over Hornby’s head and win a prize! HA HA. I thought, better not, better be positive…
It was Andy Considine in the 28th second.
I only wish I was joking.
The rest of the game, just as predictable.
So what is wrong other than everything? What insight might there be?
Big Sam is a very good metaphor for McInnes era Aberdeen.
McInnes does many things well. He is also very poor at other aspects of management. Without knowing the exact finances Cosgrove and McKenna may have rescued our club. Potentially in a different environment, they could have left for 6 million each. (Which would have paid for those training facilities) They may both make the club a considerable amount further down the line. Creating talent and selling them on, was a big part of the Aberdeen FC way, that Bosman and chronic mismanagement meant dried up over the last twenty five years.
Under McInnes we can now do it. But at what cost to the team? I have long felt players were being indulged ahead of the team. I’d say Ryan Jack was the first one. As captain and centre-midfield, it didn’t work. It seemed for Jack’s development he was being given that time, and that responsibility, neither of which he was particularly good at, at the time, as opposed to on the right of midfield.
Kenny McLean blew hot and cold, and was undropable. That was very good for Kenny McLean, but not our team. While crying out for a left back, we signed Graeme Shinnie. He didn’t play at left back. He got to endlessly run into cul de sacs as he was exceptionally ball greedy, and seldom part of a cohesive team unit. We were very good for Graeme Shinnie’s career. We still don’t have a left back.
You can add Ryan Christie’s development, Maddison’s (apart from that free-kick he did very little for us, and disrupted our team) and Big Sam. Developing his talent with a view to selling him on, has appeared more important than getting our team to function. The money came in, exactly when the club needed it, but at what cost to the actual team.
When Covid hit, and with no supporters, I wondered how it would affect our team. McInnes teams are incredibly slow starters in games, and the phrase ‘the manager just needs to get to them at half time’ has been a regular of Red TV for a very long time. And often he can get them to improve in the second half, only for a repeat performance in the next game. The Aberdeen support, particularly the away support have perhaps given the team the motivation during a game, they certainly aren’t getting in the dressing room.
So back to Livingston, or the St Mirren manager, or Tommy Wright, or the bloke that was at Motherwell. In terms of pre-match motivation, organisation, flexibility during a game, unexpected game plans, they all could probably manage the Aberdeen team better than McInnes.
Could they develop talent though?
And now I will argue with myself
To turn things around completely, is the reason Scottish football doesn’t develop talent properly because other managers don’t or can’t see the need to indulge an individual player’s needs. Which is what the whole competitiveness of the ten team league does to Scottish football. Instant gratification in the short term has been the Scottish football way since we used to be pretty good at developing talent a long time ago.
If we had a sixteen team league, might there be more room for player development rather than constant relegation battles for half the league? Too many short term decisions being taken by managers, not enough real football people, who invest time and develop potential.
McInnes can spot a player, he can develop them, without rushing them, and if it doesn’t work with the player, he gets rid. Where some managers will stubbornly stick with a bad signing. He does conversely stubbornly stick with a system that doesn’t work or a captain that doesn’t work.
Those are, and always will be McInnes’s training facilities. His legacy was to help all future Aberdeen managers. And Scottish football. His legacy is also in the Scotland squad. McLean, Shinnie, Christie, Jack. Would any of them be there if McInnes hadn’t got hold of them at the right time? With the exception of Christie, none of them are that good, but he got the maximum out of them, albeit our team often wasn’t that good during their development.
I think he is gone in the summer whatever. Whether we were doing well, or as unbelievably badly as we currently are. I don’t want to go after him, I don’t want to be nasty, I wish him well, however…
Cat meet pigeons
Shouldn’t do this, but Andy Considine shouldn’t balloon the ball over Hornby’s head in the 28th second, and he’s a legend so… conspiracy theory for you based on nothing but why on earth did THEY sign Scott Wright.
Gerrard to leave in the summer. McInnes to replace him. Who the f**k else would want Scott Wright?
Reverse engineered guesswork. Would Gerrard land the Liverpool job in 4-5 years if he has only managed them, however successfully? Or the England job which he might well fancy? Has his family moved to Glasgow? I don’t know, I don’t care. He might stay longer, but he might be a man in a hurry, he’d need to do well somewhere else first. Has he not done what he came to do, when they win the league? Is that not also what they got him for?
But Scott Wright is a strange signing. There are issues with Brexit and work permits that makes UK born players at a premium at the moment. It also points to their business being run in a different way. Living within their means. *shocked emoji here*
McInnes was not in the running for the West Brom job, his stock has fallen. Where would be his next move? He’s not a young manager any more. Five or six years with a lower championship team, before maybe a West Brom came in for him? He could get his hands on a lot of silverware at Ibrox with that budget. A well run Rangers would want a manager who can develop talent, with a view to selling expensively, like (Brendan Rodgers) Celtic have done. Managing those two teams is very easy, with their budgets, developing talent isn’t something a journeyman like Lennon can do. But McInnes can…
I don’t know someone who knows someone. Pure guesswork. Purely based on why did they sign Scott Wright?
If I’m right, I’m a genius. If I’m wrong I delete this, hack Ally Begg’s blog, and blame it on him.
Footnote: I think he’ll go at the end of this season. If my Gerrard hunch is wrong, he won’t have a problem getting a job in England. I suspect he wouldn’t want a pay off. He is a decent bloke who cares about Scottish football. Football is upsetting at the moment.