wright

In an odd development, potential footballer and serial physio table ornament Scott Wright is leaving to join the Rangers. It’s annoying, it’s disappointing, even more significantly, it’s a bit weird. And quite predictably for Scottish football, another far more significant story is being missed by Scotland’s client journalism media.

It appears a certain football club are downsizing. Significantly downsizing, and the product on the pitch will be of a significantly poorer quality. Also it appears their director of football might just be, really, really shit at their job. Or McCrorie and Ferguson being released and turning out to be good players needed some sort of ‘revenge’? It’s a pretty sad state of affairs when supporters are scrambling about wondering why you were signed eh Scotty?! Maybe it was for your banter on Rangers TV? Who knows, who cares…

Buckle up for some pandemic rage

Then there’s the anger. Reasons to be very, very angry. I’ve posted on social media a front cover illustration I did from The Northern Light fanzine in 1989 when Paul Wright left for QPR, and a P&J cartoon I did when David Robertson left for Rangers. Apart from blowing my own trumpet (see Bill Hicks), and pointing out I’ve been doing this shit way too long, and really should stop now, I’m just showing this same thing has happened countless times. And will happen again and again.

But what I am angry about, what I am absolutely livid about, is Willie Miller.

Unlike these players and countless others who left for more money first chance they got, Willie Miller was a world class footballer. He could have left many times, chose not to, and lifted twelve trophies as captain. That’s TWELVE TROPHIES AS CAPTAIN.

To honour that loyalty, to honour those achievements Aberdeen’s directors, have named a training pitch after him.

A fucking training pitch.

Aberdeen football club have three stands named after NOTHING. And have done for several decades. A couple of weeks back Chris Anderson’s wife passed away. Imagine what it might have meant to her if The South Stand hand been named after her late husband. Too fucking late now.

The same fucking directors with the fucking idiocy of the Kingsford stadium. Idiotic beyond belief. Training facilities HAVE to be next to the stadium because? Because why?

We’re going to have a museum? Really!! It’ll open after the last one of us is dead. The museum could be ANYWHERE in central Aberdeen. But oh no, it must go hand in hand with the white elephant generic McStadium in the middle of fucking nowhere that will destroy the club.

From the destruction of Pittodrie to the club’s history and legends being treated like dirt by Aberdeen’s directors.

Ironically we may actually have a potential lifeline coming from the last people on earth you’d expect something sensible from. Aberdeen fucking Councillors. The people that collectively as good as destroyed a city during a fucking oil boom. Jesus wept!! Your enemy’s enemy’s enemy’s enemy’s enemy is your broken clock might get one fucking decision right in a century. I suspect the beach suggestion will get kicked into touch when convenient. Councillors and developers and unfuckingbelievably bad decisions go together like Scotty Wright and Ryan Hedges. (Rangers will be coming for him later, brace yourself)

Yeah I’m angry. But not about a nonentity like Scott Wright leaving. From the complete and very deliberate disrespect to Willie Miller, and just about everything else they’ve done the last few decades, and I’m fucking sick of the fact they’ve gotten away with it, and countless people will defend them and attack me for writing this.

Willie Miller got a fucking training pitch named after him. AFC. Absolute fucking cunts.

Nothing points to the goldfish nature of football supporters better than, ‘such a shame we didn’t appoint John Hughes’. Yeah, he won one game. A couple of weeks ago it was the St Mirren guy, six months before that the Motherwell one. The short term nature of a manager winning a couple of games making them an immediate shiny object.

Then there is the magical, mythical reputation of someone who has never managed before, but must be ‘worth a shout’. Yeah, ‘worth a shout’. Aberdeen are a multi-million quid business, EVERYTHING revolves around that managerial appointment. Let’s try someone who we have nothing to measure whether they can do it or not, on the off chance, they might have that magical, elusive managerial talent that so few in the world of football actually have. And you would somehow consider it more likely to be found in someone who has never tried practicing that craft, at any level whatsoever, but were a good player. Take a look at the current EPL manager list. How many were bang average or poor players? Now remove Lampard and Arteta from the list, as their clubs will shortly be doing.

So you think Barry Robson a potentially better manager than say Darren Young (currently managing at East Fife- ye know, actually practicing the skills involved in the actual job) because… why? Barry was a better player? He’s not going to be playing. Or you’d rather Darren Fletcher ahead of Darren Young (still practicing the actual skills of managing a football team) because why, Fletcher was coached by SAF? Gary Neville was coached by SAF. Ye know Valencia’s Gary Neville. And Mark McGhee. Not saying it should be Darren Young, but watching his team would give you something to evaluate, as opposed to someone who has never managed. And also, if you have never managed, why not? Did you fail your East Fife interview? Did Buckie Thistle lose your CV? Managers manage. Careerists hang around looking for an easy highly paid gig. And get a big pay off when it doesn’t work, and ‘being a manager’ is out of their system. (Wayne Rooney in 14, okay 18 months).

It’s a bit like if you’ve two people, one has never tried playing the piano before, the other has. The one who plays the piano isn’t that good, so we’ll go with the one who’s never played, just in case that person is just ‘a natural’… well he used to polish Sir Alex Ferguson’s piano so he must be ‘worth a shout’.

But they have to start somewhere? Yeah, try East Fife. And if you don’t, what are you hiding?

A football manager’s job is very difficult. It’s worth breaking down some of what they need to be able to do. Yeah they’ve assistants, a coaching team. But the real talent is the person who employs the assistants.

They need to be able to spot potential in people. They need superb people skills. They need to be able to get inside the heads of all sorts of different personalities. They need to like people to be able to understand them – one of Roy Keane’s huge failings – and they need to engender respect. There is a myth in the media, managers of the past like McLean, Wallace, Stein, Ferguson just shouted at players. Of course they shouted a bit, but there is so much more to their skills’ set. Anyone can shout at people and be an asshole, but to make players not want to let the manager down, to crave the manager’s trust and respect, that’s the magical element usually missed by today’s journalists. (‘Jim McLean wouldn’t have gotten away with that today’ – McLean would have gotten inside their heads a different way. Just as Ferguson adapted with multi-millionaires like Rooney, Giggs, Ronaldo). Plus there is all the football knowledge they need. Then there is dealing with directors, the media, supporters, agents, fitness issues, reacting to events, being able to take a team out of a slump, and at the same time dealing with their own personal issues, like everyone else. Like during a pandemic say. It’s a tough gig.

So why would someone who was exceptionally gifted at football, say a Wayne Rooney, have those skills? Again look at the list of EPL managers. Wayne just might have it, but probably not. But Gerrard has it? He might, but his real skill may have been seeing managing that club isn’t that difficult a gig. Particularly when someone like Lennon is managing your only viable competitor.

Whoever will be Aberdeen’s next manager is a very difficult call. We must avoid goldfish appointments (3 second memory – oh look John Hughes won a game), ‘worth a shout’ never managed before novices, a former great player as people can’t separate the famous player from the bad manager (Roy Keane), oh and ‘highly rated’ assistant managers because you know the manager isn’t good enough. STFU about Eric Black.

So who? Two things, I’d say the next manager probably won’t be in the job long, it might be the one after that is the real deal, and the McInnes trajectory is a good template. Someone who had some success, then some failure, and is hungry to succeed. Or there might be an interesting European coach out there. If the proper research is done. The best person for the job. Hopefully nobody from US ‘soccer’ thanks all the same Dave. Nobody who’s first name begins ‘Coach’, who can’t pronounce Notre Dam… Hey they might be the best person for the job, or from that geographic location, more likely the only place they looked.

Gonna be interesting.

One last piece on McInnes. Cormack invested and it didn’t work. When we had the momentum, when McInnes was in full flow, Milne didn’t invest. We had a chance before Brendan took over at Celtic. And that was significant to the McInnes era. Why there was only one cup. I’d say Rodgers was arguably Celtic’s best manager since Stein. That was tough to be up against. It’s all very sad. The next period, just like the current one, will be awful. There will be a time when we will remember McInnes well. McGinn, Rooney, Hayes, Pawlett… be nice if elements in the Afc support would tone down the hate though.

individuals

I love our collective idiocy. I love our collective coming together when all is good. I love our hypocrisy, our stupidity, our ability to change our minds at the drop of a hat, our selective memory loss, our shared hatreds, for everything we agree on, for everything that brings us together, there are a million things that can divide us in the most petty and laughable way. So enough about Xmas with the family, let’s get down to fitba.

‘Happy Clappers’ and possibly it’s opposite ‘So called supporters’. I believe ‘Happy Clappers’ to be a unique to Afc supporters’ phrase, an original, all ours, and I believe it to be about five years old. Maybe it’s not, but that’s how long I’ve known it. ‘So-called supporters’ has probably been around forever, but it’s popping up more and more on online discussions/rants.

I asked on Twitter of the etymology of ‘So-called supporters’, and it was put to me, without irony and a considerable degree of anger, that it was “something happy clappers said when called happy clappers to justify them not wanting to win”. Or something like that.

I suspect from my detailed academic study (Academic qualifications: 2 years at Gray’s School of Art before being chucked out) that ‘so-called supporter’ is in fact a response to anyone with an opinion different to you.

‘I remember that game in 1992, it was raining’

‘IT WAS SLEET. SLEET I TELL YOU. SO CALLED SUPPORTER’ etc.

Now I don’t like the phrase ‘Happy Clappers’ for a number of reasons, one of which only became aware to me recently when a post in a non-football Facebook group brought something back to me that was so significant from my childhood, that I am ashamed to say I can barely write this sentence for laughing at the slightest memory of this shameful event.

For most of you the name Joey Deacon will mean nothing. For those of us who were in school the day after Blue Peter’s very naive middle-class attempt to educate kids, would sear something so deep into a generation’s psyche even now, some of you are doing the face and the hand gesture. Stoppit.

Everyone stop laughing and compose yourself. To be fair I am laughing at us, as children, and how wrong, and just how long after it is still so vivid in my memory.

Little kids can be bastards. Let’s not be bastards eh. And if you are using a phrase like ‘Happy Clappers’ in 2020 to describe people with possibly one opinion different to you, people of whom you know nothing, nothing of the sacrifice they may need to make to get to a football match, what that football match may mean to them, what their mental health may be, because of your ingrained need to feel superior to those around you, then seriously, have a word with yourself.

But why is it, we can’t disagree without getting nasty? And the ‘we’ in that sentence very much includes me. Presumably because we are passionate football supporters and if we are passionate about something, and someone does not agree with our deeply entrenched opinion on something, however trivial that opinion in the scheme of things, then we must hit out, and scream ‘Unbelievers!’ whenever we see fit.

It’s just why do we go ‘nuclear’ in our response to someone with one opinion different to ours. Our football opinions are built on thousands of opinions that chop and change all the time. One opinion on any given thing, doesn’t make our other opinions necessarily follow that line. In the words of Brian in Life of Brian ‘We’re all individuals’. Let’s celebrate that, accept we are all different but ultimately share a certain ‘One Love’ in common.

Take me for example. Ten Aberdeen FC opinions. Of which there are probably ten thousand more, and more tomorrow, some of which will be the opposite. 1. I like and back McInnes 100% 2. Consider the Dick Donald Stand architectural vandalism 3. Didn’t like Shinnie 4. Loved Willie Miller 5. Thought Charlie Nicholas a bad signing who largely did nothing and couldn’t believe Celtic were stupid enough to give us 100 grand for him. 6. Loathed Alex Smith 7. Loved Darren Mackie 8. Love Dave Cormack 9. Hate what the club are currently doing regarding attacking the Scottish government 10. With city centre property prices going through the floor and all sorts of pieces of land becoming available all the time, with much more to come, any move to Westhill… let’s just end that one there.

Does that make me a ‘happy clapper’? Does that make me a ‘so-called supporter’. It possibly makes me mentally imbalanced, but trust me, if you’d met me, and if you’d met the psycho step-family I lived with as a kid then…

I am no more a supporter than you, and I am no less a supporter than you. And frankly no-one is. Actually that’s not true. Those who go to every game home and away, they are the ‘real supporters’ and should carry some sort of Red tick verification on social media. You miss a game, one game, ever, no excuses, that Red tick is off!

*Mumbles under breath* not many Red ticks during a pandemic though.

Also while we are going into the minutiae of who is, and isn’t a ‘real’ supporter, if you have a social media page with over, I don’t know, 11,530* say, then surely that (double red tick?) makes you better than… anyway, I digress.

Where does this ‘top trumps’ bollocks of a need to feel superior to others in the Aberdeen support come from? You need to feel superior? There’s a couple of Glasgow teams’ supporters to sneer at, there’s the God awful Glasgow media, that Hearts supporting prick at The Guardian Ewan something, there’s Douglas frigging Ross MP and his ilk, every MSM fraud journalist… anyways who am I to even question what the Aberdeen support do or think, or write on social media. We are but people, just like other people, just like other supporters, no better than those who support Motherwell or Celtic, Cove Rangers or Albion Rovers, well… apart from the two European trophies that is.

*Plus 4900 in the Facebook group, 1600 on Twitter, 400 on Insta…18,500 ish, (almost a capacity home game) albeit a few duplicates.

mcinnes-aberdeen
mcinnes-aberdeen

I quite like that we just went out in the first round of a cup. It feels so retro. So Roy Aitken. So Jimmy Calderwood. So shit managers from the past… the ghost of Aberdeen Xmas past (and perhaps future) has just visited.

If there is one thing the Stewart Milne years taught me, it’s how to spot a bad managerial decision.

‘I think they should give Darren Fletcher a go’.

Oh FFS. This never fails to get me. A former (is he still playing?) player who ‘must be’ an exciting new managerial prospect. Because why? Alex Ferguson, Wenger, Stein, Mourinho, were not great players. Why, when they are not bringing their boots, would you think someone who was good at football a potential manager?

Fletcher was a poor man’s Roy Keane. Did you see Roy Keane’s managerial career? Arguably one of the best midfielder’s in the world in his day. Captain and leader. Managed by Ferguson and Clough. Probably the two greatest ever football managers were his teachers. He learned nothing. So why would a shit version of Keane magic into a football manager, when he has never managed before?

But Fletcher seems articulate and studied under Alex Ferguson all those years? Yeah like Gary Neville. Did you see what that fucking clown did at Valencia?

I am so confident of my ability as a manager, despite never having managed, I will manage in another country despite not speaking the language, and appoint as my assistant, not someone Spanish who knows the league and speaks the language, but my idiot fucking brother, who presumably brings literally nothing extra to the job having had a remarkably similar career, and the almost identical genes, all because… narcissist… And then to prove he is singularly a fucking idiot, instead of taking that knowledge he learned as a football manager during his very short spell at Valencia and moving down to a level fitting with his skills and knowledge to learn more and become a better manager… (which is what an actual football manager would do) no he went back to being a TV ‘expert’ telling everyone what they are doing wrong. And he’s a multi-millionaire from playing football. He never needed the money from either job. And no-one in this Donald Trump world of fucked-up self confidence over actual ability, will question it. Valencia have a 46800 capacity. He just wanted to play at being a manager. Without learning the language. His brother. The only person who he wanted help from. Another version of himself. Because presumably he couldn’t actually clone himself. He probably tried. He must have tried. Narcissist. No-one talks about it…

When Alex Ferguson puts self-belief into people, he really puts self-belief into them.

Oooh what about Paul Hartley?!?! Yeah the guy that failed at Dundee has somehow become the real deal at the mighty Cove The Rangers. Get in the fucking sea.

Paulo Di Canio!!!! What are you, twelve years old?! Have you really not watched this guy’s managerial career. And let’s just gently ignore his politics.

‘Let’s give Barry Robson a chance’. Fuck off. And when you are done fucking off, fuck off again. I don’t doubt Barry Robson is a thoroughly good bloke. And a very good coach, and may have a very successful managerial career in front of him. But have you learned nothing from the Milne years that no one gets to manage our club, who has never managed before. We are not a plaything, for someone who fancies ‘giving it a go’. See G. Neville above.

We know Barry Robson’s not good enough, ‘what if we team him up with Eric Black as assistant’ The Dream Team!- excuse me while I wank into a bucket. Oh you fucking idiots. Hartley and Hewitt. Russell Anderson and Alex fucking Smith. Fuck off, fuck off, fuck off. The idiocy of teaming up someone who clearly isn’t good enough, say an Ole Gunnar Solskjær, with a say ‘highly rated’ Mike Phelan. Because someone who comes with a ‘highly rated’ tag, but has never actually managed, ALWAYS turns out to be a disaster. You can’t make the number 1 guy better, by getting him an exciting number 2. If number 1 doesn’t have it, and very few do, it aint gonna work. (Barcelona have announced Henrik Larsson as assistant manager… that’ll work)

Career opportunities

Then we’ve got careerists. A subject that has fascinated me since Alex Smith’s time at Aberdeen, and while watching the work of Andy Roxburgh and Craig Brown at Scotland. And there is another one at the moment in Scottish football for everyone to analyse, if they are paying attention.

I like Neil Lennon. Perhaps it’s because he has been around so long, for whatever reason, he seems like a good bloke. He is also fascinating to watch, and much can be learned from his interviews and behaviour.

Neil Lennon isn’t much of a football manager. Very few are in football. He isn’t a complete fraud in the way some are, but he’s no Brendan Rodgers, who was clearly the real deal. Anyone who saw what he got out of his Swansea team knew this. There are not many in football who can do that. Since Rodgers left Celtic, his legacy has been slowly frittering away. Players are not improving, the team unit is not a cohesive entity that slides into the groove during games anymore. In true ‘Scottish football style’, there is a lot of talk of ‘not trying hard enough’ and ‘winning mentality’ and not enough about the specifics of why that team is playing poorly and what is no longer happening during training and why the manager can’t get the best out of the players. Because that would involve learning about what it was Rodgers could do, and the Scottish way doesn’t involve learning or education. ‘They’re just nae trying’. Someone needs to shout at them more. Or blame them publicly. That’ll work.

Lennon is brilliant in his interviews at putting the focus onto other things, giving the media a story, which takes the pressure off him. He is clearly very intelligent, and I would say far better at managing his career, than managing a football team (effectively the definition of a careerist – see also re-writing of history long after the event. Alex Smith’s recent claim Jocky Scott was not co-manager. And you waited thirty years to tell us! To just tweak that CV one last time to go into the history books as sole Aberdeen manager… careerists never retire. And here’s Craig Brown to remind us about his time as Scotland manager as apparently he has an anecdote to share on every team Scotland play always and forever. With neither the talent or achievements of a Stein, a McLean or a Ferguson, they’ll get themselves remembered as a ‘great’ by the power of self promotion. Breaking News: Ally McCoist has been voted second greatest Scotland player in a poll of fucking idiots who didn’t see him play. (that actually happened recently) Self confidence and self promotion over actual talent. Whatever happened to Scottish football? – for anyone who didn’t see McCoist play, probably every forward who got a Scotland cap before 1990 will have been a better footballer than ‘Super’ Ally. And that’s not really a subjective opinion).

You can see with Lennon’s relationship with journalists (From what I have seen he has cultivated friendships there – a smart thing to do if you aren’t that good) they don’t go after him. Even that prick from The Guardian (that doesn’t narrow it down much) you know, the awful Hearts supporting one, Ewan something? even he appears to have Lennon’s back, so I’m guessing he must have befriended all of them…

Brendan Rodgers didn’t cultivate friendship with journalists on the golf course, as he was too busy working at managing a football team. At the time of writing Lennon is still in a job, (while I wrote this, Celtic went out of the cup to Ross County) but I suspect he is gone as soon as Celtic find a replacement, (the Strachan rumours lowering expectations before a ‘sexier’ appointment) and I suspect he knows that (his body language points to a man looking forward to having Xmas off). And when someone like Chris Sutton goes from attacking Green Brigade for stating the obvious, to a 180 degree turnaround in a week, it’s safe to say Sutton knows something too. There has to be some sort of payback for pumping out all that PR.

But reputation management will take care of Lennon and his pretty dubious legacy and he will be on the cozy pundit sofas venerated as a legend, sometime soon.

What about Derek McInnes

So then we’ve got McInnes. I can criticise McInnes for plenty. But as there are others doing that all over social media at the moment I will be ‘mister contrary’. Not to provoke, just because…

What if Derek McInnes hasn’t taken us as far as he can take us. What if Derek McInnes has taken us as far as we can go. Not saying it is, just what if?

What if the real reason for a lot of supporters (a lot of loud supporters on social media) wanting rid of McInnes is not because there is a need for change, but because you, as an individual, are bored of McInnes. You are tired of this TV programme, and you want to change over to almost anything. If a relegation battle is the result and all our young players stop developing, you will think it worth it, as you got to watch something different for a bit.

‘That’s just saying what about McGhee all over again you happy clapper!’

I’m not a happy clapper! So fuck off social media voices arguing in my head. (I’ll deal with Covid lock down however I wish!)

What if the unpalatable truth is Aberdeen under McInnes is the best we can be? We know, it can be hugely massively worse. If you are older than twelve at any rate.

‘Lack of ambition!’

The screaming voices of some thundercunts on Twitter yell in my head.

Who is McInnes?

Who would be a similar manager to compare Derek McInnes to? I think it would be Davie Moyes or Roy Hodgson.

Some managers come into a job, and it’s all very exciting, and dramatic. They take over a team, they revitalise it, it’s all brilliant, and then bit by bit within six months it all falls apart.

A different type of manager works from the ground up. Ensures everything is done properly. Talent is developed slowly and carefully, the maximum is gotten out of players, and slowly but surely a solid team is produced, and further solid teams are produced further along the way. That is the McInnes way. It isn’t sexy. It isn’t dramatic. It’s long and solid and safe. And when it works it’s fantastic. We also play with two wingers. Two fucking wingers. Believe me you will miss than when he’s gone. When you see Aberdeen teams start with no wingers. Oh it’ll happen! Oh mouthy prick kids on Twitter, what a lot of fun you’ve got ahead of you, you know nothing dipsticks.

Of the three managerial styles I named above. A complete fraud. A careerist. Or the real deal. McInnes is in the real deal section. McInnes is the best manager available for our club, and deserves enormous respect and thanks for transforming the utter fucking car crash he inherited into a club that is ‘demanding’ more and more. To repeat an overused phrase, McInnes is a victim of his own success.

One way or the other he will be gone soon. Probably had it not been for Covid, and certainly Cormack taking over, he would be already gone. And when he goes it will be brilliant. A new manager, with new ideas, and different tactics, and smug cunts on Twitter patting themselves on the back at their own brilliance, their own all knowing genius, before slowly but surely all the ground work done by McInnes will slowly wear away, and it’ll turn out the new guy isn’t doing things properly, and bit by bit, we’re fucked again. Just like when Pellegrini took over from Moyes at West Ham. It’s all sexy and fun at the beginning, but if that foundation work isn’t being done, and keeping getting re-done, it all falls apart… one step forward, three steps back. Because some cunt on Twitter, with an ego the size of a house, and a desperate need to feel superior, I was into the band before you, I knew McInnes was rubbish before you, had to destroy the best manager we’ve had in decades.

I back, and always will back Derek McInnes, and if you think that makes me a happy clapper that’s fine, I think you are a fucking cunt. You started it, you called me a happy clapper.

But I am an Aberdeen supporter, and I back what I think is best for Aberdeen. I wanted Alex Smith out, as he was rubbish. I wanted Milne out for the same reason. I knew Alex Miller would be dreadful. Ditto Craig Brown. I want McInnes to stay, as in a few weeks we’ll be good again. And that’s what’s best for Aberdeen. So I’m not being contrary for the sake of it.

McInnes goes when the time is right, and we thank him for his sterling work from the bottom of our hearts. And perhaps, just perhaps, the next manager will build on his good work and bring us to a higher level. Bring us more silverware. It certainly wasn’t going to happen under Milne. The appointment of McInnes being sheer blind luck. But Cormack is different, very different. The only possible worry, the only nagging doubt, we get someone ‘highly rated’ from US football. Who uses the word ‘soccer’ and can’t pronounce ‘Notre Dame’. Then we’re fucked. Proper fucked.

Also whether you support or don’t support McInnes, how about not being a cunt about it.

His salary? He has generated that himself multiple times over. Just stop being a cunt about it.

‘He only won a cup on penalties’. Shame on you if you have ever said that.

Looking at the ground during an interview. Because the man is upset you daft bastards. He cares as much as we do. Where is your basic humanity.

Through the Facebook page and group I asked for your stories on Gothenburg, and a lot of you did and this free download was the result. So let’s do another one as social media is particularly good for collecting stories, and none of us are getting any younger. Also perhaps a way to help get us all through ‘this thing’.

These stories are to be your personal memories, or perhaps those a relative/friend told you about. Again whatever becomes the end result won’t be for sale, it belongs to everyone so will go out for free. No-one will financially benefit from your story.

Stories can be sent by email, info@thedandydons.com or shared on the social media comments of The Dandy Dons as that was a great way to chat about memories last time, and trigger memories for others.

What is different this time? Stories on anything at all connected to the Dons from before 1983. Queing for Liverpool tickets. Starting that fire in the board room (kidding). Cup finals in the 70s, the 60s. Do you have a Zoltan Varga story no-one has heard, or when George Best played, Ipswich, Hamburg, there has to be a million events that could lead to a fun story, whatever you have got. Take another look at the Gothenburg book. It can be one sentence. It can be paragraphs, or perhaps a chapter. Photos (previously unpublished) or of memorabilia pre 1983, fantastic.

One of the issues that came up with the Gothenburg book, was everyone getting a bit uncomfortable about writing. Well as it turned out, the nature of the book, being in lots of voices, turned out no-one gave a shit about the grammar or the style of everyone’s prose, it was the story that mattered, and the audience is people just as obsessed with the Dons as you and I.

So get writing. You’ve a good few weeks if you want to take a run at it. There will be reminders and nagging and fake deadlines along the way.

Stand Free, Iain

stovies-aberdeen

A few months back a thing happened involving Aberdeen FC. You’ll probably have forgotten what it was now, it really wasn’t that big a deal. Eight men went for a pint! There was a fair bit of material on it, but we’ll skim over that quickly.

Okay done with that one now! Well a wee statement went out when they returned to the football after their ‘little holiday’.

And now you all fancy a plate of stovies!
Then I put this out, and things got a bit ‘interesting’ on the Facebook page.

So yeah, we are all struggling in different ways, and at different times, with this thing we are currently living through. I don’t want to upset people, I don’t want to provoke, at any time, least of all now. I also very strongly despise racism. I did it because I kept seeing really horrible comments from within the AFC support, with regard to the team taking the knee.

A brief explainer

I don’t know why I do this Dandy Dons thing, for the most part I enjoy it, it certainly isn’t a business, the club are never going to use me for anything, so I do it to entertain is the ‘thing’ that I am doing. You may well be of the opinion I fail in that aim! What I don’t want to do is to get into arguments. But this just blew up. About 350 likes, reasonably popular post, over 300 comments, just fuckin’ awful in the main part. It was really wearing, several hundred left the page.

But then, in for a penny…

This is Colin Kaepernick. The man who first took the knee. Well that calmed things down. Not really, however by this time the comments were changing. Others joined the comments equally disgusted at the racism being spouted. Plus I kicked out the worst/loudest offenders, and the odd phenomena of social media from my experience, the quieter majority took over. The racist morons are loud. But very much in the minority. This next one was also a very popular post, but some of those against, quite shocking.

So away from politics, a North East hero got a new job, so he deservedly got a special statement.

I thought this was a fitba website! So we have a new hero on the pitch. We’ve a few actually, but this fella…

I so wish we would retire that 6 shirt. A training pitch just is not enough.

And then we lost a legend. RIP Ebbe.

ebbe-skovdahl-aberdeen

A look at the late great Ebbe Skovdahl and his time at Aberdeen. This is built on a previous article about the Skovdahl years and has been amended to reflect his passing. The person writing it isn’t a journalist or writer.

Aberdeen post Fergie

Of those who became Aberdeen manager after Alex Ferguson up until Derek McInnes arrived, every single one was sacked, except Ebbe Skovdahl.

Of all the football managers Aberdeen had post Sir Alex Ferguson, Skovdahl is probably the only manager who left behind a significantly better team, than the one he inherited.

It is worth looking back at what Skovdahl inherited, and from who. One of Stewart Milne’s first pieces of work as Aberdeen chairman was offering Roy Aitken a new contract. I think Milne later said he was a bit star struck by Aitken. Then as the team were atrocious Aitken had to be sacked, as he was never a football manager, and in came, unbelievably, Alex Miller. A man who had been sacked as Hibs manager as his team were nothing short of abysmal, and somehow became highly rated on the back of a successful spell as assistant manager in England. Well that’ll work.

In a complete surprise to no-one who had been paying attention, Alex Miller was an abject failure, a huge amount of money was wasted and yet another manager left with a massive compensation cheque in their pocket. This is where Aberdeen were going seriously into debt.

Aitken into Alex Miller into around five months of Paul Hegarty as interim manager running the club into the ground led to Skovdahl arriving at Aberdeen FC at ‘ground zero’. Post Alex Ferguson Aberdeen were as low as they could be. An absolute shambles.

Skovdahl wasn’t found by Milne, a team of headhunters were sent into Europe to find the next manager.

Skovdahl was a very successful manager at Brøndby in Denmark, (with his passing he is still their most successful manager, winning four Danish championships and three Danish Cups) they won trophies, they developed talent, and sold talent expensively, and they did it on similar budgets to Aberdeen. Skovdahl regularly stated how important it was training facilities were needed, requesting multiple times publicly.

It’s interesting listening to some of his former players being interviewed about him. To be fair they are hit with leading questions, designed to get them to laugh at him or belittle his ways, which they do, and then they say something properly enlightening like ‘but it was weird, as he introduced stuff like weight training which was unheard of then, but everyone does it now’. Yeah lads, you had a state of the art European coach!!

The first year would lead to avoiding relegation by the skin of our teeth, but two cup finals, and the crowd were firmly with Skovdahl. There was hope. The team were improving from a very low position. Young players were getting better.

The team would come together to form quite a unit, manager, players and support. We missed out on third to a high spending Livingston that would eventually be liquidated. We won nine games in a row. There was a Danish Day to celebrate the renaissance of the club. See the artwork below.

There was a dark thing that kept happening. The team kept being turned over by Celtic. Huge terrible defeats, that blighted everything. It’s worth remembering what that Celtic team had back then. Larsson was reputed to be on 42k per week. At that time, that was as high as the highest EPL salary (Ryan Giggs may have been earning less at the time). Sutton and Hartson were in the 30k pay bracket, again EPL players, on top EPL salaries. Barry Ferguson at Rangers was on about 30k a week (which ended well for his employer).

Aberdeen players were on a fraction of that. They still are almost twenty years later. The team was young, and they went to pieces many times. On top of that there was the Glasgow media. Led by Traynor then at the BBC and the Daily Record Aberdeen were and still are a very easy target for the Glasgow media to go after. They went at Skovdahl constantly.

At that time the Scottish national team was appalling and we really were not developing talent in Scotland. Not once did I hear Skovdahl get asked about it. At the same time as Denmark had players playing all over Europe at the highest level. Many of those players Skovdahl had a hand in their development, Brøndby had some of the best youth development in Europe, he was related by marriage to the Laudrups FFS (European football aristocracy). The lack of journalistic curiosity that so… maybe not today.

So Skovdahl was on a hiding to nothing from the media. During his time when things were going well for Skovdahl at Aberdeen, Scottish football got hit by a TV deal collapsing, and for a variety of reasons Skovdahl got a significantly reduced budget. Not long later he announced he was leaving.

One of the very telling parts regarding Ebbe is during his time at Aberdeen and since, whenever he is mentioned someone always has a story to tell of meeting him. And he was always the loveliest guy, who showed great interest in the person he was talking to. By all accounts an absolute gentleman.

Ebbe Skovdahl 1945-2020 RIP

Danish Day illustration.

A free Niall McGinn poster in a print ready PDF to download. Take it to your local printer or use an online one like Vistaprint. You can also use up all the ink on your work’s printer.

If you can afford a donation to the Afc Community trust page. www.justgiving.com/campaign/20kin2020forAFCCT

A free PDF (ready to print) poster of Andy Considine. The poster is 42 x 39cm. So any size up to that size will print well. So take it to your local printer or use an online printer like Vistaprint.

jonny-hayes

To celebrate the return of Jonny Hayes, a free poster to download. You can take it to your local printer or use one of the online ones like Vistaprint. The original size is 67 x 40cm, so it is big. Any size up to that size will print well, larger than that will lose quality.

The original photos are taken from here https://www.afc.co.uk/gallery/gallery-jonnys-first-day-back/#nanogallery/undefined/0 and are copyright of the photographers (DEREK IRONSIDE (NEWSLINE MEDIA) ALAN HARVEY (SNS PIX)) and the club.

ferguson-aberdeen

A free print-ready poster of Lewis Ferguson for Aberdeen supporters (70cm x 40cm). Download the PDF, and take it to your local printer, or use an online one like Vistaprint, or use up all the ink on your work printer. Not for re-sale. Copyright The Dandy Dons (and the photographers).

If you are feeling grateful you could make a donation to the AFC Community Trust.

reporting-scotland-glasgow

Two clubs wish to have their B teams in the lower divisions of Scottish football. Two businesses with no interest in developing talent, football, sport or Scottish society, want to increase their revenues by expanding their franchise. These ‘global’ clubs whose ‘global reach’ goes as far as wherever Scottish or Irish people with certain sectarian and/or glory hunting tendencies emigrate to, have realised the only way they can really develop their franchise is by tapping their core support as they are gullible as fuck and easy to fleece.

They will use these teams to generate income, to put their bloated squads’ out of favour players in the shop window, and ultimately together with the succulent lamb, talentless, sycophantic, vile Scottish media ‘journalists’, will turn ‘Old Firm’ B the sequel into the second biggest game in Scottish football while loudly proclaiming it to be the ‘biggest and greatest colt team match in the world’.

So what of smaller clubs? Increased revenue can only be good? Those two teams are going to get competitive. They are going to do everything possible to be ahead of each other, and to generate interest in the big game, the only game that matters to these cretins, the Catholic v Protestant game.

So you are going to take a lot of tankings from those two teams, 4-0, 5-0, 9-0 against full-time professionals. You will also get their supporters at your grounds and their lovely songs and behaviour and entitlement that is so endearing in the SPFL. And as for more exposure, the Scottish media could not care if you close tomorrow as they are too busy sucking on the rancid, sectarian, neoliberal ‘Old Firm’ cock to give a flying fuck for your club, Scottish football or Scottish society in general.

So have a good long think before you vote on this one. These two ‘global’ businesses are using a pandemic to push through something they’ve wanted for years to dominate Scottish football even further. The two businesses that are allowed to play all neutral semi-finals at neutral Hampden because they just don’t have enough advantages already. Something supporters are so used to, they don’t even fucking question anymore. A neoliberal carve up going back to before Thatcher was even born.

The clubs could of course get smart, and say ‘yes you can put your colt teams in our league. And because you are doing it to develop talent, and not to expand a franchise, you can hand over ALL revenue from your home games to the other clubs to help grassroots football in Scotland.’

And they’ll be gone like a rat up a drainpipe.

So to the clubs who can vote on this, wake up and smell the shitty fucking coffee you fucking fools if you even consider this concept. They are going to make an absolute colt of Scottish football.

So no change there.

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.