A bit about my favourite game, and my father.
I put together my thoughts on Stewart Milne, in a big picture 20-25 years overall look back a couple of weeks back called Stewart Milne – an uncomfortable read. Where I put it, I felt our club has been mothballed for the last couple of decades, just ticking over. McInnes being a handy, and very talented sticking plaster disguising that fact. And there was a great Roger Rabbit analogy…
As I wrote it, I was aware Dave Cormack has had a growing Afc media presence recently, but had no real opinion on him. Then one specific event woke me up to him.
It was announced the club were launching an Aberdeen Women’s team. I had followed Aberdeen Ladies on Facebook a while back, and thought it odd the 100,000 plus official Afc Facebook page didn’t promote them. Now I know why. They were not properly part of the club.
You don’t need to know much about football to know Women’s football is a fast expanding, incredibly positive development in the world of football. And has been for some time.
I think it’s safe to say who would be behind that move. It’s not just about money and investment.
It’s ideas and awareness. Our club is awake after a long sleep.
Here’s to Cormack and Milne becoming the new Chris Anderson, Dick Donald. Forward thinking, responsible, creative people who love our club like we do.
One of the nice aspects of creating illustrations, is now and again you bump into your own artwork unexpectedly. Always sweet, sometimes the artwork has carelessly ‘lost’ it’s signature, or even been doodled on. Whatever, the more art in the world, the better.
So I bumped into a couple of old friends on Twitter.
A classic title of the genre. https://t.co/ruprTZGtb8
— The Red Final (@theredfinal) December 6, 2018
My two covers for The Northern Light fanzine. I have a feeling maybe the one on the right was a back cover. I remember painstakingly adding the Letraset lettering (no Mac then) for the vertical typography on the right.
So in the interests of, ye know ego, I’ll just drop into the comments, to gently point out the person who created the art over 25 years ago is me. Hello! And a silly wee Oasis gag too.
Nice cover artwork on those two! The artist that did positive on Afc, back then. Not as good as Gordon, Bob and Gio in all honesty.
Standing on the Shoulders of giants, not just a piss poor Oasis album.
— The Dandy Dons (@thedandydons83) December 6, 2018
Not a sausage. Nada. Nix. No one gives a shit you egotistical tool. Serves ya right.
I pop back a bit later, just in case, I don’t know, Willie Miller has opened a Twitter account specially, and has thanked me, and said those last two cups were all down to me. Could happen…
This (along with its master copy )
is in #TheAberdeenCoĺlection “a scurrilous rag produced by faceless upstarts.”
— AFC Heritage Trust (@AFCHeritage) December 6, 2018
Oooh, even better. The Heritage account, has descended from the clouds of Aberdeen FC royalty, to leave a comment. Presumably sent via a tablet of stone to a guy on a hill to tweet.
They’ve taken time away from fiddling with their toys in the permanently mothballed Afc museum someone thinks should be in Westhill and not central Aberdeen. Where the people are. Why no Guggenheim in Westhill I wonder? The mothballing of which pretty much representing a metaphor of the last twenty years of Aberdeen FC general management.
I wonder which member of the Heritage team would be commenting on The Northern Light. Who could it be?
Well I’d literally mentioned his name earlier in the thread.
It was in fact a quid for the later issues, more than twenty five years ago.
That’s how Chris Gavin bought his yacht.
— The Dandy Dons (@thedandydons83) December 6, 2018
Still nothing. Well aware of the random nature of what people spot on their Twitter feed, and the level of concentration and time some people use. But having been turned down by The Red Final when I offered artwork after the great The Northern Light band split up of 1993, on the back of having slaved away for free on both The Northern Light, and The Granite Kipper, which was a singular waste of my fucking time, as there was no material to write on anything, but I was too nice to say no, because I liked Chris. Am I going to handle it like a mature adult, old enough to seriously know better?
Am I fuck.
Do you have the original illustrations from these two?
And can I have them back now please!
— The Dandy Dons (@thedandydons83) December 6, 2018
And the response.
Let it go Iain, let it go…
Oh and one other thing. So you have all The Northern Lights ready for the museum when the stadium opens in possibly a decade. Just in time for the last of the actual audience to have passed away. Such a shame there’s no website it could go on… or photos of the museum pieces you have hoarded could go online. Be nice if our club could try living in the present. It’s been a while.
We all know Ally Begg. TV producer, former boy band member, former TV presenter, makes excellent AFC videos with football A listers, comes over like a thoroughly decent, self effacing bloke, and most importantly a passionate Dandy. He has a book you can buy here, a fantastic blog you can read, with all sorts of fantastic Afc interviews and videos. Big on Twitter, big on Facebook, he’s Afc celebrity royalty. Dundee Utd have that drunk woman from the telly, we’ve got Ally Begg.
I appear to be sucking up. Or about to say something not that nice, maybe.
I don’t know him, but I’ve met him. A long, long time ago.
1990 to 1993 I worked in the old caseroom at Aberdeen Journals as a layouter. We had a five aside football team that played twice a week, every week. This was a phenomenal achievement, a phenomenal piece of perseverance, as we never once won a game in that time. That may have changed after I left.
We played at Sheddocksley Sports Centre in Mastrick. Not far from the Journals building at Lang Stracht, not far from where quite a few of the guys in the team would have lived.
I don’t remember anyone else who worked at Sheddocksley Sports Centre, but there was this one guy who appeared for a few weeks I do remember.
Sheddocksley Sports Centre
White, flat, overhead strip lighting. The least flattering lighting that can be found. The stench of heavy duty disinfectant, possibly undistilled bleach, a lot of stale sweat, and I’m getting just a hint of hangover farts and a dash of Kouros. Welcome to Sheddocksley Sports Centre. Every sports centre in Scotland.
He looked like Tom Cruise. But much, much taller. Ally Begg is the only person in the history of anything, who has looked good, in an Aberdeen District Council shell suit. It is almost impossible to describe the unnatural juxtaposition of someone who would shortly be joining a boyband, to this council building. What the fuck is he doing in here, what is he even doing in Scotland, making the rest of us look and feel bad.
But that’s not why I remember him. Despite the fact we always lost, we’d started out losing 28-0, we’d gotten better, and we were closing in on games losing 7-4, 6-3. This was bringing out the competitive edge, this would involve trying to pull in outside help. One of the guys must have asked Ally to join the team. Of course he’s good at football. Gritted teeth. I forget the rest of the game, I know we lost, but I remember very, very clearly being shouted at for making a mistake. By Ally Begg.
I am an artist, with an artist’s soul, and two left feet. The bad man shouted at me. That’s why I remember Ally Begg.
Oh we’re not done yet.
After the Journals I moved to London. I’m at my desk drawing, listening to the radio one evening. It’s either Radio 1, or Capital Radio. A boy band is being interviewed. I’m not really paying attention.
It starts to become clear something is wrong. The USP of a boy band, is very good looking people, who dance and sing/mime a bit. However being interviewed in a radio studio, they are just some blokes talking. There is clear inter band tension. The normal show business professionalism has been eroded by either shaggin’ too many women, taking too much drugs, or just getting on each others nerves 24/7. This is car crash radio. This sounds like it could end in a fight.
Now I’m listening.
One of them is Scottish. I don’t know how many boy bands there were back then. Probably through the Journals I’m aware that bloke from Sheddocksley Sports Centre is in a boy band, I don’t know which one, I won’t have remembered his name either back then. Pre-internet.
In true Smash Hits, Just Seventeen magazine, bubble gum nonsense style, the interviewer is asking incredibly inane questions that listeners are calling in with. I still remember two of the questions.
What is your favourite thing?
Each member answers with various stock answers, it comes to the Scottish one, he answers ‘chocolate’. A perfectly fitting boyband member answer. This is pissing one of them off, I’m fascinated at what’s going down.
Next question. What do you hate the most?
Various stock answers.
Our man, the Scottish one answers:
Wait for it.
At this there is an audible, ‘oh for fucks sake’ from the other band mates, followed by ‘there goes that demographic from the fan base’. And I am on the floor laughing. I think I’ve found our man. And, I’ve just forgiven him for shouting at me during the game.
Maybe there was another boy band with a Scottish member who didn’t like Rangers back then, who knows…
And breath. Still too early to forget Saturday.
Things to remember: 1. The players and employees of Aberdeen FC do not read some random blog by a supporter.
In light of the cup final, this makes analysis, or half arsed opinions, post match slightly different. There is an important game on Sunday. If they win, they are in the history books, and what happened the week before, the 13 league games before, disappear into a half sentence of ‘after a slow start to season 2018-2019 The Dons lifted…’. And that’s it.
And of course I want them to win. Of course I want Shinnie lifting that trophy, of course I want him to send me an email saying ‘get it right up ye, who’s a cunt now, ye cunt’. Because you can be furious with footballers and still back them all the way. It’s the fitba.
It was wrong to say he isn’t a captain, and isn’t a midfielder. He’s a great player, a great Dandy, a great captain. My anger with him comes from a number of issues, that aren’t just about him. I think it’s also perfectly okay to give him stick. He is very popular, gets lots of praise. I would never have gone after an unpopular player. I’m not following the nasty element in our crowd who are so desperate to feel superior to someone in life, will go after someone to destroy them… And I’m sure in the unlikely event of my opinions getting to Shinnie, he’ll be fine.
It started with Ryan Jack. Two seasons of Ryan Jack as centre midfield. The lynchpin that every move was to start from, who’d control the tempo of the game, lead the team and dictate play. A position he never grew into, never had the skills for, that disrupted the flow of our team, and he repaid that trust by… That Ryan Jack.
Then there’s the loan players. Maddison in our team, was not that good. They didn’t get long enough to gell, a couple of bits of brilliance apart, he was whisked away just before he was about to start delivering. Ryan Christie. Do you remember that much magic from him? I remember the last few months. Him coasting along. Nobody thought he’d make it at Celtic, least of all Scotland, and that was just a few months ago. So safe to say Ryan Christie simply wasn’t trying the tail end of last season. Remember when he used to hate Aberdeen supporters, well… Once a Dandy, never forgets.
And that takes me back to Shinnie. He hasn’t signed a new contract, I quite understand why. Financially the rewards at a club like Norwich, Ipswich, Wolves or whoever are enormous, but what would really fuck me off, would be seeing Graeme Shinnie playing for one of them, at left back. If that becomes the case, at what point are Aberdeen FC just a play thing for bigger and better players. A place to mess around before a real team, a proper job where you do what you are fucking told for the good of the team, not the good of your career, or where you fancy playing.
Mutton dressed as mock chop supper
We have had a disjointed midfield since Barry Robson and Willo Flood stopped controlling the centre. Professional midfielders, specialists in their area, which meant from defence to attack, the team flowed, one unit working together. Now we have a defence. A midfield. And a forward line.
A forward line that is low on confidence. Taking pelters game after game. I loved Adam Rooney to bits, but I remember him missing chances. Particularly in big games. This current lot, barely seen them miss a chance. Because our atrocious midfield couldn’t find them if you drew them a fucking map. Forwards that are low on confidence need more chances to score a goal than confident forwards.
There is a name missing from this. As there was in the unbridled rant after the game. You know who it is. And I’m not criticising him. He’s still the best manager since Ferguson by a country mile. I am happy to admit even for a football supporter, I’m a football supporter who doesn’t know much about football. I’m a graphic artist. But I regularly get opinions from people who are not graphic artists telling me what is wrong with my work. And they are wrong. So, welcome to my world Dek.
Here’s to the final. They can still do it. Because We are the famous Aberdeen.
On the off chance you missed the unbridled rage version.
Cup final coming up. Mustn’t rock the boat. Mustn’t upset the applecart. Cause let’s face it, I’m sure they read my blog…
Aberdeen Motherwell, how dare you. How fucking dare you. You collection of pig ignorant, overpaid, fucking wage thieves. How dare you. Each and every one of you, fucking arseholes. Back from international duty, back from a Xmas away day in Dublin, how fucking dare you wear that fucking strip. How dare you. You fucking cunts.
Did I mention I was on a diet. You fucking arseholes. That was nothing short of shameful what you did on Saturday. Cunts, each and every one of you.
2-0 down at half time. The Motherwell keeper didn’t have a second half save to make.
Was it a blip, was it a one off, were they saving themselves for the final? Were they fuck. That is the perfect example of what they have churned out for about 80% of games this season. Oh, we are building towards something. Are we? Are we really? You mean the team that appears to be built around the waste of space captain Shinnie, who hasn’t signed a new contract, and is not a midfielder or captain but game after game is the centre of everything, singularly resulting in fuck all. The headless chicken, punching the badge but getting literally nothing done.
Ooooh, there’s a final. Mustn’t upset them. Been coasting all season. Lazy, complacent, disinterested, wastes of space. How dare you wear that strip.
You win 8-0 in the cup final. Doesn’t begin to fix the damage from saturday you fuckin’ wage stealing arseholes.
Once again we are being trolled by Kris Boyd. It’s all a bit of a laugh, it’s all a bit of banter.
Ellen Degeneres said in a very succinct stand up routine years ago, ‘If you are teasing someone, and the person you are teasing isn’t laughing, you don’t understand teasing’. A routine about that line being crossed between teasing and bullying, or abuse. A line quite a lot of people appear unaware of. For teasing, replace with banter.
So football supporters who have just conceded a goal, or in the case of Hearts had a decision go against them, are laughing along are they at that moment. A player we say is fat, scores a goal, then rubs it in to the opposition supporters. Is that banter, really? It could be, if that was all it was. In the context of his Sun newspaper column and pundit career where he has said a number of dishonest, nasty and really quite hateful things about our club, our players and our supporters, is it bants? Or is it clear and deliberate provocation from someone who, probably correctly, believes he is above the laws of Scottish football.
We got the last laugh, but is that really relevant?
No one is condoning throwing a coin, but when Lennon was provoking the Hearts support, were they laughing at the time? The 99.9% who didn’t throw anything? Were they in on the fun, the bants?
How important was the football to those Hearts supporters, or us the Aberdeen supporters who went to Kilmarnock. What percentage of our disposable income goes on the football? Kris Boyd and Neil Lennon are multi-millionaires.
When I wrote about Boyd, all of last week, I put my opinion forward as to why he was attacking Aberdeen so much. I said it was probably orchestrated by Traynor, and it was as a bare minimum the Rangers must get past us this season. As I was writing it, I thought at what point will they turn on Hearts? We were days away from it.
Watching the BBC ‘journalists’ on Twitter circle around Lennon and Boyd is very enlightening on that cozy little club called the establishment.
Call them what you will, The Old Firm, The Collective Cunt Club, The Sectarian Cartel, between them the Scottish msm and their former players, they are a cancer in sport and in Scottish society.
I saw Ronaldinho play for Barcelona in the Nou Camp, Camp Nou (make up yer feckin’ minds) while he was the best player in the world. Rijkaard had taken over as manager, it had started badly, then *Bartha* went on a run of about eleven wins in a row, the beginning of the little bit too short window of Ronaldinho being the man.
It was about game seven of that run, Davids got sent off. Athletico Madrid they were playing I think. Ronaldinho was just incredible, unstoppable. I was with a Danish girlfriend (number 3 in a series), the loveliest, coolest Scandinavian chic you could ever meet (of course I’d go on to self destruct it) but for that magical weekend in Barcelona, with that football match, with Ronaldinho at his prime, I was in heaven.
Best footballer I ever saw, the greatest footballing experience of my life, Peter Weir in an Aberdeen shirt.
Everyone connected with Gothenburg is a legend. Everyone worthy of unending gratitude. But it was Weir and Willie Miller who had their own special stratosphere. My greatest footballing privilege. To see Peter Weir play.
I have a late memory, a sad memory. Can’t remember who we were playing. Mystified at Peter not getting a game. For Gary Hackett? This had been going on for a while, before a game all the players warming up, Peter started doing this incredible bit of skill by himself. I can’t remember what it was, but the crowd got behind it. Were watching him, were with him. He was making a statement. I think he was gone within a few weeks. Our next decent left winger was Jonny Hayes. Three decades later. Jonny is a lovely guy by all accounts, and was a great Dandy, but not a tenth of Peter Weir. Porterfield you blundering thundercunt.
We can’t end with that. I will badly paraphrase a story left on the page a couple of years ago. Apologies to whoever left it, if you recognize it, want your name on, want it revised, let me know.
A plane full of Dandies flying to Gothenburg for the final. A wee bit fired up. The stewardess starts doing the safety instructions, before take off. Every time she mentions the rear of the plane, the whole plane keeps bursting into a round of ‘Peter Weir, Peter Weir, Peter Weir’ (to the Here we go song). The safety instructions take quite a while. Finally the plane takes off, literally bouncing up the runway to the sound of Peter Weir, Peter Weir, Peter Weir…
I put it forward, Peter Weir is not just a legend, not just a Gothenburg Great, perhaps, the greatest of them all.
What a butterie… sorry
Football supporters are a complex, contrary, inconsistent bunch. By way of example, I’ve grown to really quite like Neil Lennon, I think he’s a good bloke.
It would appear, from my very unscientific social media studies, (Higher grade C probably, to match the others) since Lennon has been at Hibs, a large chunk of the Aberdeen support also seem to quite like Lennon, and when Dek looked to be leaving a year back, his name appeared on quite a few wish lists for our next manager. More in hope than expectation.
I’m not entirely sure what it is I now find likeable about Lennon I didn’t see before, maybe because he’s imperfect like the rest of us, a flawed man doing his best in a difficult world, but one of the more silly reasons, as by Christ a bit of levity in all this is needed, is a bit like a bad guy in a soap opera, he’s been around so long, you begin to quite like the fella. Och it’s just Wee Neil being Wee Neil, I wonder what will happen next Doof, doof, doof (Eastenders theme…).
I have a confession to make that appears to make me slightly different to most Aberdeen supporters. I genuinely loathe Celtic exactly as much as I loathe The Rangers and Rangers. And I do mean absolutely equal. There is no fractional leaning towards either of them on even a hint of a religious or political ground.
It’s always been that way for me, I’m not judging others’ choices, I just see them as one entity. While I will generally avoid any Old Firm matches on TV, if in a pub and an Old Firm game is on, I will back whichever one is playing away from home, as I want to see the home supporters look unhappy. That’s just the way I roll.
The Old Firm, does it exist? For me yes it does, if you accept there are three teams in it. One of them dead. The original meaning of The Old Firm was an insult. Denoting a business cartel exploiting sectarian division for financial gain. Plus ça change?
I looked up The Old Firm on Wikipedia to see their definition, and it’s a really funny, but not intentionally funny page, where you can smell the editing, and re-editing that will have gone on countless times with heavily agendaed editors. And while Wikipedia’s reputation is as good as destroyed thanks to the Philip Cross story of clearly organised political manipulation with Wikipedia’s consent and collusion, it’s fun to think there’s a bit even Wikipedia dare not fuck with. Old Firm supporters and their whataboutery.
When he was manager of Celtic I detested Lennon, his behaviour, his club’s behaviour, the reasons behind it, and the arseholes who threatened his life or sent bullets in the post. I have never had any interest in anyone’s religion or nationality, and I still regret not walking out of Pittodrie when Mark Walters was receiving monkey chants. I’m sorry Mark, sorry you or anyone else ever had to experience that.
I wasn’t surprised when Lennon couldn’t land an EPL manager’s job in England. How much of that was down to his behaviour come reputation, or more likely how much of it being down to Walter Smith, Alex McLeish, Gordon Strachan and Martin O’Neill being largely found out after landing top jobs in England on the back of managing The Old Firm successfully. Proving once and for all, the Old Firm managerial job to be a piss easy gig, is impossible to know. Ironically, of all those managers, Neil Lennon may be the most talented of them.
When he took over at the soon to be relegated and financially knackered Bolton, I believed he ‘got found out’. I thought he’d disappear to the pundit sofas and golf courses. And then came the resurrection.
When he reappeared at Championship side Hibs I was immediately interested and impressed. At a stroke he proved himself to be a real football manager and not the careerist I’d thought he was (like many others). The careerist, who sits and waits for a job.
A football manager manages. You are making the decisions, in charge of your team. Whatever level you play at, a huge percentage of the job is exactly the same. Get the best out of your players, motivate them to beat the opposition, whos opposite number is doing the same. Champions League Final or Highland League (no disrespect) maybe 90% the same job. The same job skills.
Look at the world’s biggest and most deluded fool, Gary Neville. I am so talented, so brilliant, such a winner, so amazing, as I used to occasionally be in the same room as Sir Alex Ferguson, I must have learned everything from him through osmosis. I will start at the very top of management learning as I go along, in a foreign country, where I don’t speak the language, and my equally inexperienced, idiot brother will be my assistant. Well who’d have thought that would have been a failure?
Meanwhile Steve Patterson, a talented football manager. With issues, like the rest of us, (something, something, something throw the first stone – but not at Neil Lennon) just kept on managing, at whatever level would take him, because he was/is a football manager. Roy Hodgson, another that never developed a media career, just kept managing. It’s almost like the more you do a job, the better you get, and the more likely you are to stay up to date with modern developments. There are those that do, and there are those that talk about doing.
What did Neville do after the Valencia car crash? Did he go down a few leagues, take his knowledge with him that he’d learned, to pick up the basics of management, perhaps try managing the football team he owns. No he went back to his TV career. So he was just playing at football management. Neville is a multi-millionaire from playing football. He doesn’t need the TV money.
Give peace a chance
My own tuppence worth on the Hearts game, I am not going into the details of who’s to blame, and why etc. From the outside, isn’t it quite nice as an Aberdeen supporter that we are outside this one for a change. A couple of thoughts, he is a highly paid multi millionaire. People in football crowds doing very bad things jacked up on whatever, including possibly one of the most potent drugs of all, football adrenalin, will not be multi millionaires. May go to prison, lose their jobs, homes, marriages, the lot. NOT defending them for a second though. And also the same people shouting for the hanging and drawing of the guilty will also be posting on Twitter their awareness for mental health issues and how important it is to talk to someone. As there’s nothing as hypocritical as some asshole on Twitter. Myself included. @thedandydons83
Whatever gets you thru the night
We need to remember it must have been difficult for Lennon growing up, not that many will have experienced the hardship and difficulties he will have faced, the suffering and the pain, the abuse and rejection, growing up as a little ginger fella. I myself can empathise as am part ginge, more an auburn, a higher class of ginge than your regular garden ginge. Also I’m tall, so really I can’t empathise that much at all, but I’ll betcha Wee Gordon Strachan can.
Wee Gordon and Wee Neil, celebrity angry little ginge wrestling. There’s an idea for ya. Neil McCann, he’s another one, despite not being a ginge, appears to be an honorary one, wee angry man at C&A. Let’s get him in the ring too. Any others? Or what about wee angry Scottish fitba ginge throwing? How far can… I’ll stop there. Way too late, but I’ll stop.
Well isn’t that ironic, the unwelcome guest at the sectarian wedding, just ruined the whole wedding, and may yet fuck the bride out of her smug self satisfied, frankly laughable treble treble ambitions that her bridesmaids in the media see as something to be proud of rather than a perfect example of the ridiculously skewed state of Scottish football.
I took that wedding metaphor, and just went for it, like Lewis Ferguson with his eye on the ball in the six yard box at a corner.
Incidently according to Twitter the Celtic support’s FORTY MILE journey from Edinburgh to Glasgow after the semi final was a nightmare. That’s as ironic as rain on Alanis Morissette’s wedding day. Let’s hold a minute’s silence at our next game for their suffering.
BT Sport’s coverage
Normally I have Red TV International’s excellent coverage to take me through Dons games. I saw it with BT Sport’s commentary. Something I’ve pretty much never heard before.
One of the media’s favourite narratives is the love of an underdog, a giant killer, a fairytale ending. The team with the far smaller budget, who were not playing at home, whose supporters had travelled furthest, who were vastly out numbered… course they didn’t.
And not one of the three man commentary team had a clue about Aberdeen. No insight, no basic knowledge, these people are supposed to know more than the audience. The only angle on McInnes, his former Rangers connection, the only angle on Lewis Ferguson, his family connection to Rangers. Their knowledge of anything else Afc related, nothing. I suspect they could have told us how many times Stevie G had been to the toilet that day. It’s not just Glasgow media bias, it’s rank unprofessionalism.
It’s always been that way
I wrote leading up to the semi final on Hampden, on Boyd, on the SFA and the Glasgow media. One of the points put to me a few times on social media is, ‘it’s always been that way, just move on’.
‘It’s always been that way’ in particular intrigues me. It’s an age thing. My grandfather was born the year Aberdeen were founded. In the scheme of things, organised football isn’t actually that old. ‘It’s always been that way’ just doesn’t wash. Much like [add your own joke here].
We don’t need to stand for this crap. We have to get our club to fight The SFA, and the media. The corrupt disciplinary committees, which is clearly about helping The Rangers reach full revenue potential, which means damaging us. The Traynor controlled Glasgow media agendas, led by the chief attack dog, the arsehole’s arsehole Kris Boyd.
The shame of Hampden
The other giant white elephant in the room, Hampden continuing as the ‘National stadium’. Just accepting the decision when Murrayfield is sitting there in Scotland’s Capital. With a tram service stopping right outside it. The dishonesty of ‘Glasgow is a football city’, (with the innuendo of nowhere else in Scotland is, or is allowed to become). The dishonesty of ‘tradition of Hampden’, generations now only know it as a shithole for a serial failing Scottish national team. And if ‘Glasgow is a football city’, why aren’t there 50,000 at Partick Thistle matches. The Old Firm (3 clubs, 1 dead, it exists) is just the establishment’s divide and rule distraction. Why else does it not get a bad word said about it in the establishment media? Why no mention how much better it was without one of them? Why no questioning of a club spending money, that doesn’t have money? Why no questioning of corrupt disciplinary committees? Why not a negative word about Sir David Murray? Because the establishment use this shit show to divide and distract.
Here’s a thought, use Murrayfield, then when Murrayfield is done and dusted in 50 years or whatever, the next one can be back in Glasgow. How hard was that. The fact the SFA didn’t have the money to even purchase the land at 6 million. Not even a bit of the money. Where will the funding come from for a decent stadium? The fact The SFA/SPFL didn’t think those semi final tickets needed to be reprinted with the correct time on. Or perhaps couldn’t afford to reprint.
Scottish football, like Scotland’s media is corrupt to the core. The media in Scotland hold nothing and no-one to account. It’s as good as on it’s arse. Aberdeen FC don’t need to accept this shit anymore. The best time of all is to act while in a position of power, not angry or hurt, or aggressive. With a big old smile on your face. That time is right now.
*Pedants I don’t need schooling on the irony of Alanis Morissette’s Isn’t it Ironic lyrics thanks anyway. I too have the internet.
Neutral. Meaning ‘without advantage’. A venue for a football match which is not home to either of the teams involved. The reason being to make the chance of winning based purely on merits on the pitch. A one off, equal contest, a different type of game from a league fixture. Winner takes all.
Hampden. Neutral like Switzerland during the second world war. But without the nazi gold. Well the gold at any rate.
A brand new day
One of the things I find fascinating with Scottish football, is whenever there is a problem, whenever there is a decision to make, those in the authorities act like this is the first time this has ever come up. Every day in Scottish football is day one of Scottish football. Every day a brand new day without history. Whether it be times for televised games for clubs geographically far apart or venues for neutral games. Ticket sales, finding a competent manager, arranging semi finals, day one.
The argument from those of an Old Firm persuasion is it is important that those who regularly attend football matches are at semi-finals and finals. Hence a 75-25 split of a crowd for an Old Firm team, in their city, is a fair and just split of a crowd.
This care for those who ‘regularly attend football matches’ I first heard from the mouth of the esteemed football visionary Sir David Murray. Why oh why didn’t we listen to him more.
An obvious solution
We’ve played Celtic quite a few times at Hampden in the last five years. Ye know Hampden. In Glasgow. Celtic’s city. Here’s an idea since we will at some point in the next couple of years be playing them again, how about the next one is at Dens Park. In Dundee. Then they travel a bit, and we travel a bit, and it’s neutral. We’ll sell our 50% (it’ll be oversubscribed), they’ll sell their 50% (also oversubscribed) it’ll be a cracking spectacle, and will look fab on TV. Dundee will make some money (good for Scottish football to spread it around) and lots of fitba supporters get to visit the Dundee V&A and pronounce ‘peh’ in a patronising tone. Everybody happy. Then the next couple of times, back to ‘neutral’ Hampden. How hard would that be?
Even it out a bit, mix it up a bit. Different clubs can have different venues for their neutral Old Firm game. Watching Brendan squirm at having to go to Murrayfield made for a fascinating reveal on how scared The Old Firm are of a real neutral venue.
But why is the game so rigged for the Old Firm?
Neoliberalism. People of a neoliberal persuasion claim to love the free market, love capitalism, love business, and will claim to be creative, visionary entrepreneurs. It’s all bullshit. What they love is a rigged market, where they have a guarantee of profit, and they can’t lose money. Richard Branson at Virgin Trains. If they lose money, the tax payer pays, if they make a profit it’s theirs. He makes out he’s a silly old hippy, an entrepreneurial genius, but he’s just someone who can spot an easy mark, and that easy mark is the tax payers’ money. Hence he is currently all over NHS contracts at the moment. Branson himself is a tax exile. Go figure.
On the football side, take the Champions League. If you are in the Champions League you get skwillions of quid, and therefor have a higher chance of getting into The Champions League the following season with the extra money from The Champions League. If you finish higher in the English Premiership you receive more prize money, and therefor have a higher chance of finishing in the top end of the English Premier League the following season, and then, in the Champion’s League, which leads to more money… It’s a neo liberal carve up. The market must decide, but only after we’ve rigged the market. The only chance of things being shaken up in the upper echelons of English football is some Arab country pumps in money to a club that really ought to be paying for hospitals for it’s citizens. Hello Man City’s UAE. The only way into the party, is even more money, irrespective of how that money has been ‘acquired’.
A closed shop. Neoliberalism, Thatcherism, Reaganism at it’s finest- For younger readers, vile sociopathic politicians began long before Trump and May, and Blair…
And that ultimately is what The Rangers and Celtic are. Neoliberal football club’s uninterested in playing the game fairly. They control the football authorities, control the media, they are Thatcher’s children, Thatcher’s football clubs. In fact as their cozy little cartel goes back a lot further to before Rangers died, it could be The Old Firm was really Thatcher’s inspiration. It wasn’t Adam Smith at all. It was the cunting Old Firm.
Hit me baby one more time…
Interesting narrative going on at the moment in Scottish football. From a historical perspective and seeing the big picture of what is going on is also worth looking at.
A sort of re-cap we are ‘an embarrassment’, being laughed at, sneered at, criticised for not selling enough tickets and pretty much the punchbag for Scottish football at the moment.
We have a very important game against The Rangers coming up, my what a coincidence. Ticket sales? Irrelevant, Cormack may have made an error, but so what, it’s a trivial thing in the scheme of things. But our lack of ticket sales are a very big story in the Scottish media with a remarkably consistent line of argument. One might say synchronised.
For anyone who doesn’t understand the concept of geography, we are much farther away, it will cost far more money, and take much more time, to visit a stadium that is a piss poor sporting experience and our team is not playing that well at the moment. We shouldn’t need to explain it, we shouldn’t need to justify, or apologize for it, Hearts and The Rangers are playing at home. Celtic are travelling forty miles. It’s almost like time and cost can affect the size of a crowd.
Doncaster and the SFA’s job is not to run Scottish football efficiently, it’s to do the establishment’s bidding. The establishment team need a huge amount of help right now. The establishment have two teams, but one currently needs help more than the other. So the royal fuck up of four teams in the same stadium on the same day, on the back of Hampden being a disgrace, the national team being chronically mismanaged for decades, and clear and open corruption in disciplinary committees, is not a story, didn’t happen, nothing to see here. Just Aberdeen not selling tickets.
A poor man’s Ally McCoist
Then there’s Kris Boyd. He’s a bit of a rascal, a cheeky chappie, a poor man’s Ally McCoist, and McCoist was a cunt. What he does is not accidental. Everything he writes is passed by at least two editors at The Sun. Almost certainly he is following instructions, he may also not be writing it. And the same cheeky chappie is free to say whatever he wants on any part of the media he wants. Including your licence fee funded BBC Glasgow.
Why Aberdeen don’t take action against the Sun I find mystifying. I can’t think of a single reason to not ban them. They don’t give Aberdeen positive publicity. They don’t market the club, they don’t sell tickets, but they actively use Aberdeen FC as a punch bag whenever they see fit. They can’t treat us worse. That’s already what they do. There are 96 reasons to ban them from a football perspective, and there’s several thousand more outside of football.
The big question though is why are we under attack? Last season we were second. While we are not The Rangers real enemy, as an absolute minimum they must get past us this season. And if you are really watching our team, we could easily still be second, there is a lot to unfold this season.
Pulling the strings
Then there is another element. The real poison in Scottish football, the real power, Jim Traynor. It was him who orchestrated the shameful eight weeks of ‘McInnes must be The Rangers new manager’ last season. It could well be him behind Boyd, his power over the entire Glasgow media as sick as the lack of a semblance of impartiality during the independence vote. The Scottish media a collection of careerist waste of space, lick spittle arseholes completely free of integrity, and with no interest in sport, journalism or society.
I would say Traynor would want to destroy McInnes for turning him down. He clearly has the entire Glasgow media in his rancid pocket, and the SFA.
On Sunday, we go to war.
A look at the Alex Smith years, and The Northern Light and the P&J.
I like Stewart Milne. Well I want to at any rate. For a long time pre McInnes I was backing him when the majority absolutely were not. He made mistakes, but those were human mistakes. He meant well.
Perhaps I’m just a contrarian, maybe I don’t like seeing someone being overly criticised and will always defend them, I genuinely don’t know, but it’s been while McInnes has been with us, I’ve felt to be more revealing about Milne, than when things were going badly.
I’ve nothing but enormous respect and admiration for anyone building a business like his up from scratch. But what concerns me, or at any rate intrigues me with Milne, is that skill, that passion, doesn’t in my opinion, transfer to his governance of Aberdeen football club. When I say that, I am not talking about him spending his own money, it’s about decision making, short term and long term.
Let’s take debt for example. We were all unhappy when the club had enormous debt, and the interest was spinning it out of control. Debt’s a bad thing. The debt came about largely from very poor decision making. In particular allowing Roy Aitken and Alex Miller to spend large sums of money. So we learned, allowing football managers to spend money was bad. This isn’t what we should have learned from that. We should have learned giving bad managers money to spend is a bad idea.
For example look at McInnes’ early years. We’d become debt clear, we clearly had our best manager since Ferguson, there was only one half of The Old Firm available and they were poorly managed by Delia. Why not try investing there.
Let’s say there is a 5 million player budget, this is higher than under previous managers, as crowds are coming back, more games on TV, more semi and finals, more sponsors. McInnes has generated that bigger budget for himself. Why not, as a businessman, go in hard and invest? This guy seems to know what he’s doing, give him a six million budget (an extra million). Give him money he hasn’t generated, get it from the bank, but let him know if we don’t then generate further money from this investment, the following year’s budget will be a million down, to pay back the money. Or to put it simply, you invest when there is something to invest in. Investing money under Aitken or Alex Miller was nothing short of idiocy.
This brings me to another element, the club shop. There used to be one on Bridge Street. Presumably it didn’t do well, so we only have one at Pittodrie. But it wasn’t doing well while the club were doing poorly. Under McInnes the club has been doing well. There are no longer cash gates. A shop near the centre to sell merchandise, distribute tickets would give the club a footprint in the city centre, and could be very lucrative. They could even create a combined Adidas store working with their shirt sponsor. If they were to invest properly, they could open their own burger joint based around Angus the Bull. He is a very well created character, but they would need to invest, to be passionate about it, for it to work.
But they haven’t, they haven’t invested, haven’t tried to increase revenues despite a council shopping centre being desperate for the quantity of people a well run Afc shop could bring. The wrong lesson was learned, that a shop in the centre was bad. Celtic have nine shops.
They talk of American investment and selling to Asia, but can barely sell to Union Street, 15 minutes up the road.
AberDNA sums it up perfectly. A very good concept, very well executed. Clear investment, time and money working well to increase the club’s revenue. Imagine what McInnes could have done with all that money three or four years ago. How that in turn could have increased success, increased support, increased revenues. But they didn’t do it, until income was required for investment in a building project.
And that one, AberDNA is the big Stewart Milne give away. When Bob Hoskins asks Roger Rabbit if he could have done that at any time (taken his hand out of a handcuff), Roger replies, ‘only when it was funny’. Well for Stewart Milne, creativity, ideas, investment, only when it involved a building project.
It feels like our club is in mothballs. Look at what they can do when he is passionate about something. The Aurora campaign (you’re welcome) was brilliantly executed and had heavy investment in it, just like AberDNA. But the rest, it feels like McInnes is a very talented sticking plaster covering up a huge pile of disinterest. What happens when that plaster falls off…