bern-1984
bern-1984

On the 16th of May 1984 Aberdeen should have played in The Cup Winners’ Cup final in Basel against Juventus. This didn’t happen as Aberdeen were cheated by Porto in the semi final. Porto bribed the referee, and were later convicted and punished for it.

Fernando Barata, the former coach of first division side Farense, admitted this week that he acted as a go-between to bribe a Romanian referee when FC Porto beat Aberdeen in the 1984 semi-final of the competition when Alex Ferguson was in charge of the Scottish holders of the title.

The Irish Times 1996

That would have been Aberdeen’s third European final in a row. Up against the mighty Juventus managed by Trapattoni, with Michel Platini in his prime. France would a short time later win Euro 84 with Platini as top scorer. Would Aberdeen have won? Would they have made it three European trophies in a row? That would also have gotten them a place in their fourth European final in a row in the 1984 Super Cup, against Liverpool. A chance for revenge.

Who knows. Highly unlikely I’d say. About as likely as them beating Real Madrid in 1983.

In the second week of November, Fernando Barata, currently president of third division club Imortal, announced that on behalf of FC Porto president Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa he ‘bought’ the Romanian referee, Ion lgna, before one of the semi-final legs of the Cup-Winners Cup tie against Aberdeen in 1984.

When Saturday Comes

One thing we do know for sure is, had the Aberdeen support descended on Basel, and The St Clair found a way to port in a land locked country, (the Rhine does flow through it…) there would have been a familiar sound all over the Swiss capital. The same sound that echoed around Gothenburg the previous year, the sound of exasperated Aberdonians saying ‘How much for a pint?!’.

Porto clearly learned their lesson from the scandal. Until they were caught doing it again in 2003. And they are still in football.

European soccer’s governing body UEFA excluded Porto from next season’s Champions League on Wednesday, saying the Portuguese club had tried to influence the outcome of matches by allegedly bribing referees in the 2003-04 season.

France 24

The free Gothenburg 83 book of fans’ stories.

Not been a lot of football matches to react to the last couple of months, but that didn’t stop me. Scottish football’s been behaving up to it’s usual standards. As well as the potential liquidation for a good number of clubs, a certain ‘in a row’ appears to be a catalyst for a certain amount of the infighting. So…

It would be wrong of me not to mention the big elephant in the room at the moment, the blight on society we all have to deal with… Kris Boyd.

Let’s see if I can push it a bit further, yep… *Glitterband plays*

A first bit of caricature in a long time. Going to be more of these, and they’ll get better as I get into them.

Gothenburg Day

A celebrity Swedish Gothenburg Day endorsement!

gothenburg-swedish-chef

Gothenburg 83. A huge thanks to everyone who contributed to the book. It was an incredible honour to be trusted with your stories and photos. Over ten thousand downloads was reached during the Gothenburg celebrations, after the launch about seven months ago. Delighted to see the club asking for supporters stories and photos this year too. *and bites tongue*

*Wookie noise*

Legendary Northern Light cartoonist Gio Alzapiedi (he was also co-editor) brought this cartoon to Gothenburg Day. Fingers crossed Gio will be contributing more cartoons to the page from time to time. (I’ve said it now Gio, you have to do it!)

So the new strip looks good for next season. On the back of Hibs NHS strip.

A controversial second strip too. Sad to see no Saltire markings. But if you sponsor Ally Begg’s blog, and not mine, then…

Talking of which…

Some colouring in for kids and big kids.

A little something for the ladies to colour in. Didn’t know quite a few of them have a thing for Devlin…

More to colour in here https://thedandydons.com/colouring-in-for-aberdeen-supporters/

And The Free Gothenburg Book is here.

andy-considine-aberdeen

So the season appears to be over, subject to the shit show that passes for the governing body of Scottish football changing their minds, so this leads to, who gets the awards for season 2019-2020?

Do you remember the season? All I can remember is the chat with the pigeons on my balcony this morning.

By a piece of incredible foresight, (sheer blind luck) in the Dandy Dons group immediately after our last game, I posted poll questions on who should win awards for the season. So at roughly the point where most of us could remember the previous three games – which appears from my intensive studies of Afc social media, to be roughly how long most Aberdeen supporters’ memories can remember… *pandemic Iain, keep it light*.

Anyhoo.

Player of the season

So player of the season for 2019-2020 is, okay, ever so slightly rigged. But, in my defence, not a single person disagreed in the comments, and we have disagreed about EVERYTHING in the comments previously.

Runner up

Second place, by a considerable amount, and not rigged, was Lewis Ferguson, then Big Joe. A very commendable fourth place to Ash Taylor who had been playing very well in the latter part of the season.

Chairman of the season

2019 – 2020 season was kind of unusual in that we had two different chairmen, so as a pathological shit stirrer, I put Stewartie Milne up against Dave Cormack for the now very coveted chairman of the season award.

I should have explained more clearly it was only last season it referred to, as it would have saved me getting quite a few lectures on, well Stewartie fans love a lecture, and… *Pandemic Iain, keep it light*

So anyways, Dave Cormack blew Stewartie Milne out of the water. Gubbed Milne at a rate of almost 3-1. And that’s before he started phoning up supporters and being the voice of calm and common sense the last difficult few weeks.

Notable extra awards

Scott Wright got the ‘I grafted so hard to get myself fit for Spring and now f**kin’ this!’ award.

Bruce Anderson got the ‘sitting on the bench all season was great preparation for sitting on the sofa watching Netflix’ award.

Far right touchline, assistant referee Douglas Ross MP got awarded the coveted ‘Top C**t’ award, so he can put on his bookshelf next to Eugenics for Dummies.

So congrats to all the winners!

secret-footballer
secret-footballer

Monday

Hair has become an issue. Gave myself a number one buzz cut. Looking proper menacing, and considering a neck tattoo when all this is over to finish the badass look off. No one ever regretted getting one of those babies. Talking of badass, my sincere congratulations to Kyle Walker. Living the dream.

Tuesday

Dave the Dash is starting to give me funny looks. I think I may have to call him a doggy hooker. Ever since the incident with my watch, we have really bonded. I don’t care how longingly he looks at me, I’m not sticking a couple of fingers up his arse again! At least I never forget to wash my hands since that incident.

Wednesday

Googled ‘doggy hookers Aberdeen’. Apparently there’s a woman on Union Terrace that’ll do it for sixty quid with your dog. That WASN’T what I was looking for, but interesting to know next time one of the lads is having a stag do. What I need is a slutty girl dachshund to help Dave forget the watch incident.

Thursday

The lack of sport to bet on is proving an issue. But my losses are sadly continuing under lock down. As Boris Johnson appears to have recovered.

Friday

As the weekend approaches it’s this time that is the hardest. The nights out, the bars, the clubs, the shaggin’, the banter, the laughs, shit faced in McDonalds at 2am, stealing a Twix from the garage at 3am…
Oh yeah, and the fitba. There’s that at the weekend too.

Saturday

Some of the lads got spoken to by the police for training together this week. That was an awkward zoom call between us lads from those of us not invited.

Sunday

The whole lockdown thing has got me to become a kinder gentler version of myself though. It’s time to grow up. The new mature me has been getting into vintage porn on Pornhub. Hoping under lockdown the ladies are letting everything grow out for when this is all over…

Part two.
Part one.

james-bond

As I slowly descend into madness during this lock down, I watched a pile of James Bond films back to back. Here are some of my thoughts on the films.

  1. It’s the same plot in every film. At the end of act one Q appears with a couple of random gadgets, and in the final act, the random gadget saves the day. Every fucking time.
  2. Sean Connery is the best Bond. Until you watch Diamonds are Forever and a clearly overweight Connery is channelling Blankety Blank era Terry Wogan with a gun.
  3. During the 1980s Timothy Dalton era they decided sexism wasn’t good and made a big deal of it in the publicity for the films. And yet in The Living Daylights he smacks Moneypenny’s arse in the office (he does it off camera, but you hear it). That was them NOT being sexist.
  4.  Daniel Craig is such a great actor. Really?! The whole way through every film it’s like he has a butt plug up his arse a couple of sizes too large.
  5. They had Gemma Arterton in Quantum of Solace and absolutely fail to give her any character whatsoever and she gets less than a minute’s screen time. A franchise filled with assorted ‘models’ with the acting range of a showroom dummy nailed to the floor, and while casting her early in her career, they didn’t think ‘fuck me she can really act, and looks sensational let’s use her properly’?! And *plot spoiler* they can’t bring her back, as they killed her character.
  6. Product placement in Spyfall. Hey Heineken, you want James Bond drinking your product? Give us a gazillion dollars. Okay we’ll have him drinking Heineken as he descends into alcoholism and we will subsequently show how that alcoholism makes his skills as a secret agent significantly worse. We will have him order a Martini, when he is back to his old self. You paid for that Heineken?! Really?
  7. Every single fight scene is pointless after 15 seconds and incredibly boring as we know he will ALWAYS be okay, as he’s James Bond and his plot armour will always protect him. It’s as engaging as watching someone else play a computer game, and is clearly them padding out time.
  8. If it wasn’t for the music, there would be no James Bond franchise. John Barry and the other composers are the real stars.
  9. I’ve nothing on the Roger Moore films, even on lockdown, no-one is bored enough to watch them.
  10. Ye know the train in Skyfall at the beginning? You know the digger bit. Bond attacks the last compartment of the train with a digger destroying it. Why doesn’t the train stop? They’ve lost a carriage, maybe passengers are dead. They’re definitely going to be in trouble for the digger being wrecked when they arrive. They just keep on going!


My favourite Bond film? The Bourne Identity. The first three Jason Bourne films piss all over the whole Bond franchise. The first one is particularly good (For those who say the second is best, you are wrong, you’re not Empire Strikes Backing that one. And for Star Wars fans, no Empire is not the best Star Wars film, you elitist bullshitters, because Empire has a fucking muppet in it, with a fucking muppet’s voice).

Bourne films two and three just re-hash the same main plot as number one, with a new layer of previously never mentioned boss revealed higher up each time, and Paul Greengrass proved with the fourth one, he’s just a hack, who clearly didn’t understand why the first ones were successful. Shaking the camera about a bit is only clever as you have a well written story to go with it. The fourth Bourne film with Greengrass at the helm is an abomination, and has destroyed the franchise probably forever.

The first Bourne film has character development, a story arc, two mysteries (we don’t know who he is, and he doesn’t know who he is) a love story where the female character is fully rounded, the greatest ever movie car chase, and a fantastic revenge plot that is cleverly written. It has the Bond locations (cold and dark ones), and a brilliant score, even Moby’s bit. With the exception of his ‘superhero’ skills, whenever he gets out of something, it’s always logical, thought out and shown to us the viewer. For example how to escape the embassy; by stealing a walkie talkie and using the fire escape map on the wall to navigate his way out, while listening to how they are coming after him. How to blow up a building and get out first; break the gas pipe, then put a magazine into a toaster to become a detonation timer. It’s not realistic, but in it’s own way it is relatable, clever, it’s thought out, it’s researched, it’s well written, and we the viewer get to see it unfold. We learn nothing from James Bond other than he is amazing and he coincidently always has a gadget that will get him out of what the villain has planned for him.

The main improvement Bourne has on Bond, in Bourne the bad guy is the state. The state is the good guy in James Bond. Now that’s not believable. The real life James Bond was probably in Boris Johnson’s class at school, and every bit as self entitled, lazy, incompetent, with a gun, and a licence to kill.
secret-footballer

Week two, click here for week one

Monday

Decided to move in with Jeanie from Garthdee for a bit (the Gaffer doesn’t need to know). It’s lovely getting your mince and tatties at 5pm every day, and she even irons my tracksuit bottoms for me. Plus there’s the sex eight times a day. Struggling to keep up, but my cardio stats are massively improving. I wonder if all the houses on Garthdee Road have sex dungeons in them. I thought Westhill was where the swingers lived…

Tuesday

Jeanie died. Mid stroke. Not from the corona virus, but natural causes. Dave Cormack’s going to be furious. Don’t think us calling up Aberdeen supporters to check up on them was to lead to us actually killing them. This is a low. Went back to my flat and had a very sad wank.

Wednesday

Coronavirus is the great leveller. Unless you are an Aberdeen FC footballer. Phoning up elderly fans to check up on them on behalf of the club, all I get is ‘why didn’t Big Joe call?’ ‘Will you get Lewis Ferguson to call, he’s a great player, I like him, he’s not shite’, ‘Is Drew Jarvie still playing, now him I like’. Aye, even the ones with dementia are mean to me.

Thursday

I miss the lads so much. The lack of banter is getting to me. I took a shit in one of my own shoes today, but it just wasn’t the same.

Friday

I’m going stir crazy. I’ve watched all of Pornhub. There’s nothing there I haven’t seen, several times. Am considering uploading some of my own cam work to help others out. Trying to plan a new career after football. Considering learning a new skill. Maybe get an education. The Open University has a lot of stuff apparently. I’ll have a look at that when I’ve more time.

Saturday

I’m now off of AFC phone duties. An old fella was laying into me for being shite, I finally snapped and called him a c*nt. Of course he grassed me off. In my defence it didn’t say in Dave Cormack’s crib sheet, I wasn’t allowed to call them a c*nt, but as Dave Cormack explained to me in a TWO HOUR Skype call, it shouldn’t need to be said.
On a yella.

Sunday

A ray of sunshine, Dave the Dachshund took a shit in my shoe today! He gets it, he gets the bantz. That guy has helped me through so much, he truly is this man’s best friend. Also he kind of owes me as I had to stick three fingers up his arse to help ease my Apple Watch out last week after he swallowed it (tricky trying to get purchase in such a tight space). We really bonded through that experience.

Everyone remember to wash your hands.

RIP Jeanie. Yer mince and tatties were amazing and what a ride!

Part one is here. https://thedandydons.com/secret-aberdeen-fc-footballer-blog-part-1/

secret-aberdeen-footballer
secret-aberdeen-footballer

On the back of Niall McGinn’s excellent blog on the official Aberdeen website, we at The Dandy Dons have an exclusive blog from a secret Aberdeen FC footballer.

Monday: Training. Worked out if I soak my head in the shower, and pretend to be out of breath on Skype, the Gaffer and the lads think I’m still training. After ‘training’, mainly eating Doritos, watching Netflix and regular bouts on Pornhub. So all caught up on my wanking. I used to laugh at the married players for being with the same woman all the time. Not laughing now. None of my girlfriends would move in with me for the lock down as they decided to stay with their husbands instead. And a couple of them are concentrating on their Highers.

Tuesday: We’ve to download an app, so our training can be monitored, as ‘someone’ wasn’t doing it properly. Rest of the lads well pissed off with me. So now my Apple watch is passing details to the Gaffer of my training and all my vitals go to the medical team.

Wednesday: Discovered if I put my Apple Watch on the dog, and get him to run around the garden for an hour, my stats are brilliant.

Thursday: The dog has swallowed my Apple watch. The Gaffer is furious with my training stats and the medics think I may have Kennel cough.

Friday: I’m in deep shit, literally. As the dog finally shat my Apple watch out. Both myself and Dave the Dachshund are very relieved. Washing my hands a lot. Did some calls to elderly supporters checking they are okay on behalf of the club. A lot of people think we footballers live a very privileged life, but I have to tell you that deep in the Coronavirus pandemic to be told by an 83 year old great-grandmother called Jeanie from Garthdee, ‘yer fuckin’ shite min, why didn’t one of the good players call me!’ is quite tough to deal with…

Saturday: One to one Skype with the gaffer. Learned a lot, as considering going into management myself after career over. Apparently wanking doesn’t count as cardio. Disappointingly, nor is it weight training. Also I’ve not to put my brilliant version of the toilet roll challenge onto social media as The Gaffer says ‘No-one wants to see my penis’. A number of ladies at Babylon would disagree with that!

Sunday: Uncomfortable moment as I thought we were off today, really shouldn’t have answered the Skype call mid wank. Will never be able to look Tony Docherty in the eye again. Popped in past Jeanie in Garthdee with some messages. She’s quite the goer. Any port in a storm.

Part two of the diary is here.

bill-shankly

These are very unusual times we are living in. Despite what Bill Shankly’s quote says football is pretty insignificant in the scheme of things.

Dave Cormack appears the perfect person to be in charge of the club at this time, so we can all chill out a bit about Afc’s survival. But looking at football as a whole, and some of the unknowns facing it.

Every year, club football takes a break for two and a half months in the summer. Right now, football has been closed for about a fortnight. The players are training alone to maintain fitness, but they are resting in terms of aches and pains and assorted knocks. No-one is trying to kick them several times a week like in a normal week. So for their bodies, it’s the summer break.

So what might happen for a restart? Football, like the rest of society, will need money. So they will need games as quickly as possible, and as it will be an even playing field of the opposition not being match fit either, the games can start right away and they can get match fit playing real games. Twice a week, because revenue. Albeit how skint will the rest of society be.

As it’s still being argued about on Twitter, I think football will begin with the end of the season 2019-2020 however late that will be. Let’s say hypothetically in six months. This will be because the end of the season is far more financially rewarding than the beginning of a season, when things start quite slow.

So if I’m right, there will be semis and a final, there will be league title run ins, and flag unveiling, European places to fight for and relegation battles to be won and lost and play offs. This will generate more money quickly, will stop any legal action from clubs or bookies (who are big football sponsors) and should leave if not everybody happy, less people unhappy.

Then as soon as that season is over, I think they will start the brand new season 2020-2021 without any break. Perhaps slightly truncated, there will be no summer break in 2021. Maybe a fortnight for them all to head to Ibiza or whatever.

So with no normal summer break for 2020 and 2021 that adds up to five months that football is kind of okay for. Obviously no-one knows how long this will go on for. But football came out of two world wars, it will come out of this.

As for European football, well it’s the same for all countries. Every problem Aberdeen and Scottish football has, so does AC Milan and Real Madrid. So the same solutions will work for them. It however wouldn’t be a big surprise if the biggest clubs are looking to engineer a super league or something so they can make maximum buck after all this, and it’s something they’ve being working towards for a long time. To be cynical for a second.

It may well be society starts getting back together without borders being opened. China has now closed its borders to stop Corona getting back in. So European games are pretty insignificant, as is international football, as is football…

fergie-archie-colouring-in

For homeschooling or if you are bored, Aberdeen FC colouring-in artwork. Print out or take them into a drawing/colouring app in an iPad. The images are transparent pngs, so if your drawing app has layers, put it on the top layer, then colour-in on the layer underneath.

joe-harper-aberdeen

Aye, another week, and for the umpteenth time, I’m writing the last ever blog article on here. It’s interesting times, so damn it, here’s a look at the Kilmarnock Cup game, but without any tactical nonsense. Aye, like the team. This shit writes itself.

So I was 100% with McInnes up until they came back from Dubai. Seeing them return without an iota of improvement, I just went ‘enough’. I’d been not happy with the team for eighteen months and just sick of waiting for them to ‘turn the corner’. Plus the whole Ryan Christie, Maddison thing with loan players had kind of sickened me bit by bit along with a feeling that certain players’ careers appeared more important than the good of the team. Particularly the now multi-millionaires Shinnie and McLean. We’d not been a team for a long time, I’d finally lost hope he’d recreate a proper team like his first one.

And that took us to St Johnstone midweek, and I wrote an odd blog afterwards, including a strong indication that if they lost against Kilmarnock in the cup, I felt it was over.

Fitba’s a weird old game. St Johnstone was awful. More awful. But, quite a while afterwards, had me thinking about that game. The result and the disappointment had stopped me spotting something. For my untrained, non technical, daydreamy graphic designer brain, they had improved. In fact for the first time in several years, I could see a team in there. The unit was back. Not a collection of individuals just getting by. I was again fascinated at pieces of interplay and individual performances. It needs tweaking, but not that much tweaking. So something from Dubai was beginning to take shape. It had just taken a couple of games to begin to become apparent.

And ultimately in football, the one thing you really need to see is improvement. The goals haven’t come yet, but they will. We know McInnes can build a team that score goals. Which brings me to our Sam.

We know Sam can score goals, because we’ve watched him doing it. “He’s nae tryin'”, “he didnae wint tae be here”.

He’s gone off form you daft melts. He was carrying the whole fucking team for about a year. Give him a fucking break. And he won’t find his form, on the fucking bench.

Sorry, I just drifted out of my positive mindset, into stupidly reacting to people on Twitter. Lets just take a closer look at our Sam Cosgrove relationship from the very beginning. He arrived, costing virtually nothing, we (actually you, not me, I spotted something very early. That’s not important, I take no pleasure in this, this doesn’t make me better than you, or anyone else in the Afc support – we are all equals – and there is no need to underline it, but I spotted Sam was a player right away. But it’s no biggie. Forget I mentioned it, not that important. Called it.) forgotten where this sentence was going…

He was given dog’s abuse for a long time. A reminder the Ballon D’Or nickname was sarcastic originally, and designed to destroy him. That he then started, and couldn’t stop, banging in the goals, made it fun, if you selectively ignored the original intent. He scored a fuck load of goals, (I don’t do stats) and only since the winter break, has he had his first ever form dip in an Aberdeen strip. And low and fucking behold, we have a significant element in our support giving him dog’s abuse again. What are you, fucking goldfish? Seriously, confidence is so important in football. What on earth is it that makes an element go after, and try to damage a player’s confidence?

Anyways…

So here’s an out there prediction to get me flamed on social media. McInnes is on the verge of doing something astonishing. Something very few managers have done. He is about to bring a football team out of a death roll, and we are going to be really, really good again, probably quite soon. And by death roll, I mean that moment where a team loses confidence, it transfers to the crowd, and ultimately to a trigger happy director and the inevitable sacking. Which happens all the time in football. It’s all going to be okay, and we’ll all say, we knew it would happen. But I’ll have the time-stamped blog to prove it…

And yeah smart arses on social media, he’s not going to shag me. But, if he could just drop the word ‘Dandy’ into a post match interview, then…

Shop on fire. T-shirts here. Posters here.

merkland-elevation-one

Big game Saturday v Kilmarnock. Maybe the biggest game of Derek McInnes entire Aberdeen career. Don’t want to up the pressure any further, but don’t think it can be upped any more. And I didn’t build the pressure to start with, so, don’t blame me. But why is it so big? Where are the pressures?

The obvious one first, not going into detail, but the team are playing very badly, and have been for some time. But what else have we for pressure?

The Red Shed. A superb initiative, presumably direct from Cormack. That’s going to be one very noisy, very concentrated, very drunk, very passionate block of our, usually sleepy home support, hyped up and organised like our excellent away support. Brilliant backing for the team, scary as fuck if they don’t deliver.

On top of that, it’s only a week since the assistant manager went on the attack on a section of the support for criticising the manager, which led to the scum of the earth that is the Glasgow media, to roll out their tired prejudiced anti Aberdeen FC supporters’ views. Well played there Doc. Another tactical masterclass. Still waiting for that apology, albeit McInnes saying he too would have booed the St Johnstone performance shows just maybe they’ve cottoned on to the idiocy of blaming the supporters, or any element of the support.

I’ve thought about this a bit since it happened, the sheer idiocy of it. If Sir Alex Ferguson at the height of his powers had lost 5 games in a row at Man Utd, they’d have been plenty calls for him to be sacked. His reputation, his previous success would have meant nothing. That’s football.

The cup

Then we have the cup itself for pressure. And the very poor preparation from the under pressure manager that includes, phrasing along the lines of ‘we have to do well in the cup’. A piss poor piece of pre-match psychology, that he has been guilty of before.

The most important and basic piece of football psychology, one game at a time. Shut the fuck up about Cup Finals, Hampden, Quarters , Semis and runs in the cup, and make the game against Kilmarnock the cup final. That’s all that matters, that’s all that needs to be in the players head before and during the game.

For anyone saying that is defeatism, “nae ambition min”, it’s got nothing to do with that. It’s about the players’ psychological preparation. If they go 1-0 down, which can happen in any game, psychologically, they need to equalise, and score a winner, and win the Quarter, the semi, and the final, all at the same time, while 1-0 down. Because all that has been put into their heads pre-match. A task that will mentally, lead them to panic, and go to pieces, and not be able to equalise.

But if their only task is to equalise (that would lead to a replay) that’s a psychologically manageable task, that they are perfectly capable of doing. And from that, the psychological momentum will go with them, and they win the game. Or the replay.

That’s why the phrase, one game at a time, is a fucking cliche. Because it’s true.

So for the lead up to Saturday, for the manager, the players, the directors, the marketing people, all lines of external communication, make it the ‘cup final’ Saturday. The only game that matters. That will transfer to the support, The Red Shed in particular, and TOGETHER, we will dig our way through whatever it takes.

Just one game, shut the fuck up about everything else. (And that’s not directed at the supporters.)

Otherwise, the season will be over, and so will quite a lot of other things. No pressure.

jon-gallagher-aberdeen
jon gallagher aberdeen fc

Fitba eh?! The agony and the ecstacy. But enough of my 1990s drug habits. Let’s look at the talking points of an exceptionally eventful Aberdeen FC week.

In reverse. A performance against The Rangers. A fighting performance, a solid performance, it could so easily have been a win. And for the first time in a long time, enjoyable to watch. Still just one performance, they are not out of the woods, but they’ve found their torch, their boots are on the right feet, and the wee Venezuelan fella may have brought a map… (I tweeted that, and was roundly ignored, so it’s here).

Big Sam getting a wee bit of stick online. For me he was magnificent, apart from his couple of fluffs. It was inevitable he would go off form after improving month on month at such a rate in the last twelve months. He will come very good again very shortly. But he was getting right under their skin, and his aggression looked far more controlled, despite their very clear attempts to get him sent off.

Jon Gallagher. An apology, gotten a bit of stick on here (he’s in the illustration!!) He looked very good playing off Big Sam, and I was loving the wee interplay of him hovering around Sam when the long ball came, and how it was disturbing the opposition defenders. And Ash Taylor, if he had just scored that header, we’d have named a stand after him, if we were the sort of club who honoured players’ achievements…

Damn me and my optimism, I am happy for enjoying a game of fitba for the first time in a very long time.

That press conference

So moving backwards to the midweek press conference. Absolutely not happy at that clearly planned attack on an element of our support and felt, like a few on social media, that was the beginning of the end for the pair of them. They were engineering their own way out. Also that the worst part was tweeted by the official Twitter feed was astounding.

On the back of that performance against The Rangers, I am perhaps giving way too much credit here, but wonder if perhaps ‘the bollocking’ from Docherty may have been not for our benefit. It may have been for the players. They certainly appeared to have woken the fuck up for the first time in sometime at Ibrox.

On the other hand, are mind games really the McInnes/Docherty way?

So here’s what I thought was disgraceful. On the back of a third post winter break performance in a row against teams whose combined player buget don’t add up to a third of ours, we got three ‘nails down the blackboard’ performances in a row. And before they went away they were awful too.

An element of our away support, who had travelled to Paisley, on the back of those previous two performances, started singing McInnes must go, or gtf (I believe).

So, an element of, the most loyal element of our support, who are spending their hard earned, using their free time on following the team, our away support… unless they’ve actually killed someone, those guys are beyond reproach.

Doesn’t mean I agree with them.

But a public fucking bollocking. McInnes is a grown up. A highly paid grown up. You prove them wrong on the pitch, not in a fucking press conference. We are football supporters. Flash us a shiny object* and our attention is immediately moved, and we’ve forgotten everything. And as any primary school teacher will tell you, you’ve made a fucking enormous rod for your own backs there. All the kids now know exactly how to get to you. You’d better be making sure that fucking team of yours starts delivering consistently.

Again though, might that be the idea he was communicating to the team… really don’t know.

Docherty needs to say something very positive about the away support. Even the ones at the back, chewing gum and graffitiing the toilets…

*The shiny object

So in our Pulp Fictionesque storytelling technique (out of order) me jump to the signing of Hernandez. Which, hipster kids, is pronounced ‘Gernandez’. The H sound is pronounced ‘G’ in Venezuelan, in reverse of how it works in Dutch with Gillhaus.

An exciting foreign signing. An exciting signing. Chickens not being counted, but, yes you fucking beauty!! Counting chickens a wee bit then.

And this is where I upset a lot of supporters. Perhaps it’s an age thing. Been watching ALL the Milne years. All the way through. Watching, listening, wondering, analysing, over analysing…

Watching Cormack in action. Absolutely underlines every suspicion about Milne. It was never about spending money, it was about ambition, creative thinking, passion. It’s there with Cormack, it wasn’t there before.

Watch Milne’s last interview with BBC Scotland, referencing the story of McInnes not moving to The Rangers. Who was that for? Was that beneficial to our club or our manager? It was EXACTLY what the Glasgow media wanted for their creepy Glasgow Centric ‘journalism’ though. So who got publicity? The Stewart Milne years.

The Dave Cormack Shed

Back to Cormack, if he would just consider a third option for the stadium, an as yet unfound location for a potential new stadium. Land changes ownership and usage all the time. I’d say within two miles of a train station ought to be the criteria. (walking distance). There’s Aberdeen Station (ideally), Dyce Station, and there could even be some creative thinking for Stonehaven Station.

The third option stops it being about Kingsford or Pittodrie. And then for the benefit of everyone regarding the biggest decision in the history of Aberdeen FC , we would know without any shadow of doubt, the move wasn’t being created to be beneficial to someone’s business empire…

blackboard-aberdeen

Alex Ferguson had three teams at Aberdeen, in my opinion. The first team, that won the first league title, contained strong elements of the players Ferguson inherited from previous managers. Harper, Jarvie, Scanlon. The second team, we could call the Gothenburg team, was the peak Fergie team. Fine tuned and improved from its predecessor, a team so successful it was quickly asset stripped by other clubs. Team three, I’d say could be described as the Jim Bett team. It was successful, but never finished.

Football is different now, four year contracts are no longer the norm, players come and go much faster than in the past. New teams need to be put together more often. But what would be McInnes teams?

The first McInnes team was easily the best McInnes team. McGinn, Hayes Rooney, Pawlett, Barry and Willo. A team, a unit, everyone playing in their natural position, a team that contained that magical element of a real team, whereby they are so cohesive together when they click, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Almost as if there is a twelfth player on the pitch. The team unit.

The second team was the Christie, Maddison, Mclean team. While able to win games, it was seldom as nice to watch, and there appeared to be an emphasis on individuals. The careers and development of individual players appeared more important than the team unit. Players were being indulged. Kenny Mclean was a guaranteed start and never subbed irrespective of how inconsistent and down right awful his play often was. He got the game time he needed though and came good, just in time to leave. Ryan Christie another, and one free kick apart, what was Maddison doing in our team? Pawlett left as he was always second fiddle to a temp.

More and more often as that team was slowly coming apart it would be rescued by the brilliance and dogged determination of Jonny Hayes.

Post Jonny Hayes

The third team, the current team is eighteen months old. The post Jonny Hayes team. Particularly for those missing Shinnie, we were just as fucking shite with Shinnie in our team last season as we are now. Shinnie was another player who seemed to be indulged above and beyond what was best for the team. Our team is now consistent throughout the park. A poor defence, a poor midfield, and a poor attack. Only Big Joe and Big Sam can be free of criticism.

To be fair to McInnes regarding Jonny Hayes, it was McInnes who made him, who unleashed his potential. Brown signed him, but he was in and out of the team, and a team that reached the dizzy heights of ninth did not have the Jonny Hayes we came to know in it.

So why was that first team so good? McInnes and Aberdeen coming together were a perfect storm. McInnes doesn’t give much away about himself. He is a highly skilled communicator, and unlike other managers he talks very little about himself. In the first few months he did give away a little of his mindset, in that Bristol City were mentioned a number of times, with some bitterness.

Being sacked there, it appeared from the outside, had left him bitter and angry. In the right hands, together with talent and a strong work ethic, that’s a very strong driving force. Also as an out of work football manager he would have had plenty time for scouting, and seeing potential targets. Which is perhaps what led to him putting together that first team so quickly and efficiently.

The perfect storm

The perfect storm of his coming together with a football club that was an absolute fuckwittery of chronic neglect and mismanagement over decades, combined to create something very special. Those first few years were magnificent. Partly as a contrast from what had gone before, part excitement at just how far he could take us. It was like getting your football club back again.

So where did it go wrong? What changed? I’d say the Bristol City anger melted away. Complacency kicked in. An over complication of a lot of stuff, and a loyalty to individuals, possible favoritism, that is not conducive to players staying hungry, and eager to stay at the top of their game. I couldn’t find it when I Googled it, but I remember Guardiola being asked why he changed clubs, and he said something along the lines of he felt players stopped listening to a coach after five years. He may well be not entirely honest about that, you just need to see how often Barcelona sack their managers to know some egotistical prick director would have got a kick out of sacking him, but it is worth considering when you see McInnes long term loyalty to various players. A number of players should have been moved on before they went stale. And we have two who left and came back.

I also have to wonder at the inclusion of Gallagher in our team and what influence Atlanta may have over our club for a measly 2 million. If he was from another club I wouldn’t be specifically questioning him (there are plenty other players underperforming) but the Atlanta relationship does pose questions as to exactly how that loan player relationship works. Why are we giving game time to a player who isn’t performing, and if he does later on due to that game time, it will be the parent club that gets the benefits. Ryan Christie, Max Lowe, Maddison…

This also adds the possibility of directorial influence on the team. Pure conjecture, but the development of Sam Cosgrove (superb piece of work) has possibly been to the detriment of the team overall. Plus McKenna has looked like he should be dropped a few times this season. Might a decision have been made at a very senior level to concentrate on developing individual talent with a view to a big sale above what is best for the team? Might the cost of the new stadium already be strangling the team before it has even begun?

Compensation

McInnes job is safe as long as we are in the Scottish Cup. I think he genuinely loves the club, he is well paid, appears to have a good personal relationship with the directors. Whatever you think of the team right now, I believe him to be a good person, think of the loyalty McLean showed in getting the club his transfer fee back, probably a loyalty to McInnes more than the club, a person who stays out all night to raise awareness for the homeless. From his comments it’s clear he loves the Scottish game. He knows how tight finances are. It’s very presumptuous of me to say so, but if he were sacked, I don’t think it will cost anything. He will also walk into a new job.

So where did it all go wrong? I’ve no idea. But this is where we are.