curtis-main-aberdeen

What a week. New training facilities, Sir Alex Ferguson, six points. Curtis Main puts in a great performance and scores a goal, the manager looks more like his old self in a post match interview.

We’re not happy of course. We’re Aberdonians. We’re a bit less unhappy than we were.

The opening of the new training facilities. Interesting to hear people speak. Sir Alex Ferguson’s bit about Stewart Milne not being able to take it with him. Utterly beautiful.

Bobby Clark’s speech. Got a real hint of what it was that so many people who knew him, looked up to him for. And the story of Sir Alex, barely started the job, finding and insisting on signing Johnny Hewitt… I’m not crying, you are.

Also for the first time ever a former PE teacher and the phrase ‘touched me in ways…’, was positive. (well it made me laugh!)

Curtis Main

Curtis Main though. It was just one goal, it was just one performance. But here we go again. What is wrong with so many in the Aberdeen support? Seriously what is wrong with you people. The determination, and clear enjoyment in bullying and trying to destroy another human being, and actively damaging the team that you support.

This is nothing new, this isn’t social media (albeit it amplifies it). Gordon Strachan got it, I remember Willie Falconer as a 19 year old getting it. And again, and again as with Sam Cosgrove, the player turns out to be good, and sometimes very good. And yet those in the Aberdeen support, never learn.

Why is Bruce Anderson not playing? What does he need to do to get a game? Often from the same people slagging off Main, who were slagging off Cosgrove before he started delivering.

Because of you, he’s not playing. Because YOU, can’t be trusted to not go after, and try to destroy, a footballer wearing an Aberdeen shirt. Irrespective of age, or experience. You can’t be trusted, because you’ve done it before, and you’ll do it again.

To unlock people’s potential, you have to support them, and make them feel welcome.

August 17 2019 The Dandy Dons McInnes, where now?

Brendan Rodgers

And while I am being self righteous. Brendan Rodgers. WHY IS HE LEAVING NOW, the Scottish media screamed in unison when he left, before picking up the treble, treble. Both showing that the treble, treble in Scotland with that budget, was no achievement whatsoever, and the Scottish media are nothing short of a disgrace. Pandering to supporters of both the Glasgow clubs, who are dangerously out of control as entities in society, as no-one is holding them to account.

March 15th I wrote about why he left when he did. https://thedandydons.com/the-glasgow-media-reach-a-new-low/, and how it mirrored Derek McInnes’s decision to start the Aberdeen FC job when he did. It’s not rocket science, it’s basic common sense if you’re not pandering to the deluded.

He needed to get in there early, to prepare for this season. Preparation is everything in football. And what you see on the pitch today, isn’t what you will see on the pitch in a few months time. Talented people need time and the correct positive environment, to unlock potential. Training facilities, supporters being supportive, just a little vision.

And if you missed the training facilities opening.

https://youtu.be/H06DW4QaDvA

sad-dog

Nope, I’ve nothing. You’re on your own McInnes.

What can we deduct, how long has he got? Not my opinion, my guess on what the directors will do. Will he be sacked tomorrow? Depending when you are reading this. I don’t think so.

When would he be sacked, if things carried on? And ‘if’ is being exceptionally generous. If we work in reverse. How long might he get?

Probably as soon as we are out of the Scottish Cup. Let’s face it those directors are nothing if not money men. Once we are out of that one, the clock is ticking down, for a summer change at the latest.

Will the Aberdeen directors have their eye on a few candidates, will they have done their research, will they have an exciting surprise, an Italian with extensive Serie A experience, someone who has done something special a few years back in Spain or England, the next Jose Mourinho talent spotted from Portugal?

Of course not. It’s Aberdeen directors. It’ll be the guy from Motherwell, because McGhee and Broon worked out well after doing a good job in that very different job to the Aberdeen job. Or it’ll be some Yank no-one’s heard of, but he went to Notre Dam and comes *bunny ears* highly recommended *bunny ears*.

Oh, and I’d put money on Craigie Broon fancying a wee shottie as a swansong temporary manager. Maybe Alex feckin’ Smith will fly in as assistant to just finish me off on the spot. (insert gif of me shooting myself in the face here).

But the Scottish Cup was the longest he might get. What would be the shortest? Right now, three more defeats like that in our next three games, he’s out. Let’s say it’s more sporadic, good and bad performances mixed, a tanking from either of the Old Firm, or another SPL team, and that would probably be it.

I don’t write this with pleasure. Somewhere later, there will be huge affection for McInnes on what he did for the club. How brilliant I have enjoyed the last few years personally, and that my last game with my dear old Dad, was his team tearing ICT apart. And that those fucking training facilities that he, and he alone made happen, fuck off Cormack, are just about ready… is a little bit heartbreaking.

But what went wrong? Overconfidence maybe. You start to believe the hype instead of the hard work that went in early on to kick start a club that was almost dead. The loan players, the favourites, the sitting back… Is the Aberdeen job, just too hard for anyone? Football is very different from before the EPL began. And then the outside influences, AberDNA kinda meant, we had to get better. And before AberDNA we were pretty good. McKenna’s agent being an absolute c*nt. Stevie May having lost it…

The fine line between success and failure, and momentum in football, once it tips…

So I think it is now when not if. And I’m really sad about that. Be fucking brilliant if he’d prove us all wrong though.

What makes Pittodrie so special?

Life is short and fragile, we need to hold on to, and enjoy the things we love while we have them. In all things Aberdeen, and Aberdeen FC, one of the things that binds all our supporters together, is that Pittodrie is a special place. It is of course the one stable thing in our football team. The players, the managers, the directors, come and go.

I spent a long time staring at Pittodrie in my younger days, wondering at it’s beauty, and trying to understand what made it work as a piece of design. This is pre The Dick Donald Stand, when it’s vastly differing stands still created a cohesive stadium design. With four floodlights to hold it all together. Who knew? I came to the conclusion, the reason Pittodrie worked, was because it was a small, large stadium.

This in turn, made our club, a small, large club. This is the eighties, before TV money (neoliberalism) destroyed football for clubs like ours. We had a team that could, with the right manager beat anyone, and we had a stadium, that on Pittodrie’s Greatest Night, could scare the life out of Bayern Munich. The Bayern players commenting on Pittodrie afterwards.

The height of Pittodrie

The small large stadium comes from the floodlights. The huge towering and very beautiful beacons. They are the ‘unworldly’, like the steeple on a church or cathedral. Giving us the sense of being part of something much bigger than us. The lights drawing in the congregation from afar. Beaming out their white light, fighting the cold dark North East sky.

Under the lights we are far more at ease as supporters. Far less self self-conscious in the dark, to sing to cheer. The lights light up the pitch, the players, not us. We are also on the beer as it’s an evening game.

The church metaphor is more than a fun connection for football. There are psychological reasons why going to football matches, concerts and church are good for us mentally. Lots of people, part of something bigger, shared experience.

This is also what makes Union Street so special, and does relate to Pittodrie. The sense of scale. Despite it’s disgraceful treatment by councillors for the last decades, the original concept is superb. The width of the street, the straightness, the length, and if we just ignore that monstrosity at The Capital, the height of the street is part of the harmony and balance, that just works. The uniform height of most buildings broken up by church steeples reaching for the sky. Like floodlights do.

Aurora

Looking at the new stadium, even the 3D video can’t hide, the new stadium isn’t going to be a great experience inside at a game. It’ll be clean, it’ll be modern, but there will be no wow effect. There will be nothing special to it architecturally, no sense of scale, and no sense of wonder, to drag you back, to mystify and beguile young kids, and hook them for life. A generic McStadium.

The new stadium will be a large small stadium, and so the club will become a large small club.

Bringing that back to Union Street. If Pittodrie is Union Street, then Aurora is a new shopping centre. Shiny and exciting at first. Very quickly, tacky and generic, without history or longevity. But it won’t matter, because when it’s too late, those responsible will be long gone.

So enjoy Pittodrie while you’ve got it. Even though it has been very deliberately run into the ground.

The Aberdeen megastore

The Dandy Dons Union Street Aberdeen FC Dandy Megastore™ exclusive designs and ideas. A look inside the Aberdeen FC flagship Union Street Store.

Further developments from the initial design and concept. Giant banners to be added, hanging down the height of the building. A little bit like the Nazis, but without the fascism, as another Scottish team have that covered. When it’s dark, red lights will shine into the sky hundreds of metres above Union Street. They will be able to see them from Dundee.

Other elements to the Dandy Megastore™ will include:

The Donald Family Cinema

After you’ve seen around the museum, pop into the 50 seat cinema. Occasionally the Cup Winners Cup Final on a loop will be broken up by actual matches. And depending on how the live game is going, the Gothenburg game might go back on before the end.

The cinema will have a bar, as we are good people, who can be trusted with a beer, in a glass, in a cinema.

Ian Donald will come round with ice creams on a tray at half time, with a wee torch, and tell those talking too much to shush.

The Pittodrie Virtual Reality Experience

Wonder at the Pittodrie virtual reality experience through the ages. In the 1920’s part, you will feel the itch of your flat cap, and it will feel like someone is pissing down your leg, and you have rickets.

Through the decades the delicate sound of sweety wrappers changes, reflecting the appearance of new sweets arriving on the market. The aroma of Pandrops changes to Spangles and onto Menthos, and all the time no matter what decade, over your shoulder some miserable bastard will be moaning like hell.

When you reach the Bayern game in 1983, once again that feeling of someone pissing down your leg will hit you. But this time it will be real, and it will be you pissing yourself, at the sheer unadulterated joy of Pittodrie’s Greatest Night.

Heaven – the sports bar

Named after the Swedish nightclub Dandy supporters found themselves in Gothenburg on the 11th of May 1983. Mein host, Craigie Broon will regale you with stories from back when he was Scotland manager if you misbehave or cause any trouble. Fortunately Sir Archie Knox will ensure the bar has speedy service, with all the beers at optimal quality, as throughout his career he is used to doing all the work while others get the credit.

Former players will occasionally work as guest barman for the evening. Former players that can be trusted near alcohol, a till, credit cards, and to give the correct change from a twenty quid note. So Brian Irvine, Russell Anderson and, and, oh there must be more than that. Surely. Aye we’ll get back to you on that one.

There will be Harper’s Lager, but not by the bottle. Only on draft. So finally, Harper’s a barrel… Here all week, enjoy the beef burgers.

The REAL Aberdeen Angus Steak and Burger Restaurant

We all love Angus the Bull. So much, we’d like to eat him. Enjoy the succulent beef of our region that others have marketed in restaurants way better than us, in the surroundings of the Aberdeen FC flagship restaurant. REAL geddit?! REAL!!

Quality locally produced ingredients, prepared by specialised chefs, the way they are prepared for the professional athletes at AFC. Aberdeen FC are a brand associated with health and fitness, with it’s own young, fit brand icons. A brand that will never go out of date plus tapping into the North East’s finest ingredients being world renowned for their quality… it’ll niver work min.

Special Beers exclusive to the Dandy Megastore

Brewsheep! Hello court case, if not brewed by the fellas up the road. Exclusively designed by The Dandy Dons (the artwork) these craft beers, brewed with local ingredients?, with an oak? finish and, I don’t know, hoppy, tasty, beery, with the added essence of two European trophies (now we’re talking). Beers. Dandy beers.

This silly design, is just me messing around. But notice how nice it looks. It looks nice because something is missing. The Aberdeen FC badge. Designed by Donald Addison, who taught me briefly at Gray’s School of Art (and was my neighbour for about five years) the badge is a wonderful piece of design. But it’s designed to be on a football strip. There is a tendency with merchandise in football clubs (and not having a go at Afc) to just stick the badge on something. That’ll do, sell it in the shop as merch. And it usually looks very tacky. Use the components of the badge maybe, but not the whole thing. It says it’s official, that’s all it needs. End of design lesson/lecture.

I have a lot of Aberdeen FC craft beer ideas…

The Aberdeen FC Museum

We trust Chris Gavin and the rest of the Aberdeen Heritage Trust team to deliver something sensational for the museum. In particular the section on The Northern Light fanzine.

As a contributor to The Northern Light, I’m expecting my two covers to feature prominently. Perhaps a shrine, where visitors can light a candle in thanks for our collective genius and the campaigns to get Portaloo and Smiffy sacked that would have happened anyway.

Like the Clash, Nirvana and Elvis, it all ended too soon for The Northern Light. Probably most like Elvis on that list. On the toilet, bloated, and full of shit…

The Gordon Reid Gallery Rooms

By way of an annex to the Super Dandy Mega Store, Aberdeen Art Gallery will finally get it’s act together, and have the greatest North East artist of a generation, Gordon Reid, featured in his own permanent gallery rooms. They will come from far and wide to witness the great man’s art in the flesh. But probably not from Boomtown Books, the Donald Family, the Milne Family… actually quite a long list won’t make it.

The St Clair Casino

Top floor. The St Clair Casino. Relive the magnificent journey in the casino. Let the dice roll, the beer flow, and dinnae forget the cairds. At the end of the evening a croupier will shake you about a bit, for that wee bit sea sick feeling.

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herald-scotsman-aberdeen

Do you remember when we used to respect Scottish journalists?

No, me neither.

This, this is all sorts of awfulness, even by The Glasgow media’s standard. And The Herald is supposedly not a tabloid. https://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/football/17956331.neil-cameron-derek-mcinnes-best-aberdeen-manager-since-alex-ferguson/

I am not sure who or what Neil Cameron is, but I don’t think journalism is really his thing. He slides between fact, fiction, opinion, stereotypes, attempts at humour, and sheer bigotry like a turd escaping your arse after a particularly heavy session and a curry the night before.

It’s not a particularly impressive record for what is Scotland’s third biggest football – at least according to those in the North East.

Listen to the sneer in that. Where exactly have you heard this? Hearts and Hibs have similar or larger season ticket sales. Hey, any excuse for a dig though.

However, because St Mirren sacked the greatest club manager in football history – it remains one of the all-time baffling decisions . Translation: I’m too lazy/incompetent to research it.

There can’t be another club anywhere on the planet which has enjoyed such a dramatic spike in fortune. Translation: I’m too lazy/incompetent to research it. Nottingham Forest, Ipswich, Manchester City? Without me even leaving the UK.

Aberdonians are a funny lot. They have a real hit for themselves because they don’t live in Slumdee or Weegieland where “they rake in the bucket for something to eat, find a dead rat and they think it’s a treat.”

Jesus wept. ‘They have a real hit for themselves’ Is that even a phrase? Let’s take a song that is a cheeky/provoking piece of banter and make it a defining characteristic of a region of Scotland’s supporters. But presumably not the ones who support The Old Firm. (Oh it exists, and shut up, I’m not in the mood, I had to read his whole article to write this).

There is arrogance about their wealth which has come from the oil.

There is an arrogance about Glasgow based ‘journalists’, that marks them all down as arseholes.

Everyone from within ten miles of the city limits is guaranteed a job at the BBC. That’s a fact, by the way.

Is this a joke? Is this an in joke? Are you chatting directly with Richard Gordon? What the f*ck are you?

And there is a cracking cultural scene. I like the place.

I’m an absolute c*nt of a human being, but I’d better add some sort of ‘balance’.

There is a large section of the football public who can’t accept that Willie Miller has retired

At least 60% of our support never saw him play. Did you write this in 1994?

That the current manager once played for Rangers and comes from the west coast is a factor

Percentage wise of the Aberdeen support 1% maybe, if we’re being generous. We have an idiot section in our support, just like any other club. But if you want to define us all by that fine. We’ll define you by the journalist that hacked the dead child’s phone.

Oh, and Miller is Glaswegian and grew up a Rangers fan. Same, too, Alex McLeish.

Did you so some research?! Really? Well done fella. We. All. Know. This.

Although an argument could be made for Alex Smith…

Let me stop you right there. He was a shit manager. He proved he was a shit manager by doing precisely nothing in management after Aberdeen. Except playing the victim to the god awful Glasgow media to attack/blame Aberdeen supporters at every feckin’ turn. Which the media lapped up, as they still do attacking Aberdeen supporters to this day. The two cups were the Fergie legacy cups. The leftovers from Ferguson’s team, and the money generated through the Ferguson years for Charlie Nicholas and Hans Gillhaus. Don’t argue with me people, I aint listening.

Angry, perhaps, that Real Madrid haven’t been taken to the cleaners recently. 

Is this humour? Anyone?

And when that happens, Aberdeen will slink back to mediocrity. Then they really will have something to moan about.

Says man moaning about Aberdeen supporters.

I need to lie down.

mcinnes-aberdeenfc

Before assorted fourteen year olds reach for the ‘Happy clapper’ button on their phone, I’m not happy with our team at the moment. Wasn’t happy last season, and am deeply concerned for where it will go over the next few months.

The reason I am still backing McInnes however, is because I believe he is intelligent enough to change, learn, and lead us out of this mess, and onto a team playing decent football again. That opinion may change further down the line.

Mark McGhee

One of the arguments I get directed at me regularly is ‘just because he’s not McGhee…’. Well it’s got nothing to do with McGhee. Because despite what my skinny jeans and my dating profile say, I am older than the hills. I was there for Fergie, and McNeill, and just about McLeod. But far more importantly, I was there for Porterfield. And I was in the demonstrations that would lead to his sacking. And I was there for the Alex Smith demonstrations, and I do not regret it, and I will, and have, argued with anyone that they were a pair of wage thieves incredibly lucky to inherit Ferguson’s legacy and they absolutely destroyed that legacy with indecent haste, particularly the arch careerist Smith. Neither should have gotten within a country mile of Pittodrie, Ferguson’s team or the cash generated during the glory years.

Lest we forget…

Then watching my hero Willie Miller crash and burn, into the beyond idiotic appointment of Roy Aitken. Onto the nothing short of unbelievable appointment of Alex Miller. Who’s management of Hibs a few years earlier would make the current Hibs team look like Brazil 1970. A sick five months of Hegarty as interim manager. The Skovdahl years. Into Steve Patterson (due diligence anyone? Albeit it clearly wasn’t done on any of the other managers), Calderwood, McGhee, and Craigie ‘Largs Mafia’ Broon…

So, ‘he’s not McGhee’ isn’t a thing. Since Ferguson left for Man Utd, the managerial decision making was worse than appaling. You couldn’t have deliberately done things worse. Add building an atrocious stand behind a goal that bears no relation to the rest of the stadium, not purchasing any of the land as it became available around Pittodrie, and a plan to move eight miles away with no decent transport infrastructure, and you have to kinda say, Stewart Milne is an absolute… oh yes we are discussing McInnes.

Shinniesta – huffy-puffy Captain Caveman on a yella punchin’ the badge

I put last season down to ‘The Graeme Shinnie Show’. And all those desperately following him at Derby, well maybe look away here. The fullback who wouldn’t play fullback, the Philipp Lahm to Dek’s Guardiola, but frankly a not good enough defensive midfielder who kept getting in the way of attacking moves by trying stuff he wasn’t skilled enough for, running into cul de sacs, and generally leaving our team a disjointed mess. All at the same time as we really needed a decent permanent left back. And I like Graeme Shinnie. Really I do. And only wish him well.

But the Shinnie thing points to one of my complaints with Mcinnes. Aberdeen FC were very good for Graeme Shinnie, look at the fantastic contract he will have gotten at Derby. Ditto Kenny McLean, who regularly was very poor for Aberdeen. Ryan Christie, was playing his own very selfish game. Mackay-Steven, what a lovely contract in New York he got after being indulged by our club. Ryan Jack, the centre midfield position he never filled properly, or the captain’s armband. James Maddison, do you remember the other games he played in, other than that free-kick, before being whisked away just as he was starting to deliver. Jon Gallagher? Who will be leaving in a few weeks…

Aberdeen FC will have been very good for Gallagher’s development, giving him first team starts his club weren’t giving him. The top coaching from McInnes and Docherty will have helped him immensely. Meanwhile how are Aberdeen doing with him in our team, literally weeks before he leaves? So we will have a big creative hole in our team, because we brought in, and massively helped someone else’s player, again.

Is it because the coaching team love to work with more talented players? Is it for the careers of the coaching team? Is it because we are some sort of testing ground for people on their way elsewhere? Players and managers? Or is Gallagher there for some reason connected to US investment, or Bobby Clark (Notre Dame), or Cormack? Has he been forced on McInnes?

Also contrast the above players with the original, and most successful McInnes team. McGinn, Hayes, Rooney, Pawlett, Robson and Flood in the middle. All permanent players. A team, a unit, no-one indulged. No one playing out of position. Any loan players only with a view to a permanent move. And Pawlett. An inform Pawlett was very special. He left as Christie and Maddison were being played in front of him.

The negative mindset

Another issue is the negative mindset. The defensive line-ups against bigger budget opposition. It categorically doesn’t work. If you have Miller, McLeish, McKimmie, Robertson and big Joe in goal, fair enough, they could defend all day. But our, at best, journeymen defenders cannot play a defensive game, and as soon as they have conceded a goal, their heads go down and the team are finished. Something countless Scotland managers haven’t understood.

And how much better might our defence have been for a potential backs to the wall break away display, had we had a regular, and very talented, left back playing? A Shinnie shaped left back, instead of Considine (a centre-half) or a temp on loan player, who’s real loyalty is to his parent club.

Start managing the team you have, not the team you wish to have at your disposal.

The Cup Winners’ Cup Final, into extra time against Real Madrid, it’s 1-1. A superb Aberdeen defence, a fifty fifty chance if they could get to penalty kicks, did they defend, did they sit back and show Real Madrid the respect their reputation deserved? No, they went for it.

If you lose after attacking a club with a far bigger budget, we will always forgive, if you play defensive, and monumentally screw up, then you will get exactly what you deserve. And that’s what happened at Ibrox last week, and for Alex Smith at the same venue.

You need to sort things out quickly McInnes. You deserve that chance. Those will be your training facilities, the training facilities that you made happen, irrespective of the name that goes on them. But time is running out. So get it sorted.

Yep, I’m a happy clapper.

happy-clapper-aberdeenfc
Happy Clapper Aberdeen fc

Well wasn’t that fun.

I kind of got the European catastrofuck. It just landed badly. A rub of the green in Croatia, playing a team determined to get revenge, too many new players, not training properly to be ready for or recover from games, ground fitness work going in for the season, but that St Johnstone second half performance, this far into the season?

We were not playing well prior to the international break, but we were playing better than we had been, and momentum was building. So presumably the international break was a good chance to push on with training, with developing the team, the style, the understanding, the not hoofing it up the park.

So why have they fucking regressed?

Then there’s James Wilson. Why in the mother of fuck of fucking stubbornness persuade the guy to stay then not play him. This level of absurd stubbornness isn’t a new thing from McInnes. What’s that definition of insanity again, doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

So far we’ve played no team of note this season, what might happen if a decent team gets hold of us is deeply concerning. The trough in our form graph is getting longer and longer, and appears more like the norm than the exception. The excitement of that first Mcinnes team appears further and further away all the time.

It can still be fixed, but he needs to sort things out very quickly, because when the crowd really turns, there will be no going back.

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Anyways, art is good for the soul, and retail therapy can cheer you up no end, so shopping for art must be the best possible thing to cheer up a pissed off Dandy. It’s an ill wind… here’s the newly updated poster shop.

And the FREE Gothenburg 83 Fans’ stories book

connor mclennan aberdeenfc

The phrase ‘bite us in the arse’ will get repeated, repeatedly, about Stevie May. If it goes well for Stevie May, it will be a mistake to have sold him by McInnes. If it doesn’t go well for May, it will have been a mistake by McInnes to have signed him.

Stevie May will get a warm welcome from a large section of the Aberdeen support. He may get a warm round of applause when substituted. Some supporters will go ballistic at this, and will happily attack the ‘happy clappers’. This will be ‘everything that’s wrong with our club’, and will also be the fault of McInnes.

‘Connor McLennan must start’. As must Bruce Anderson and James Wilson, and Big Sam but not Curtis Main.

On the back of a superb TWELVE MINUTE cameo, McLennan must start. Connor McLennan is magnificent and his 12 minute contribution to Scotland’s result was superb.

A brilliant achievement from him, but when fit, doesn’t he pretty much always start… He’s a work in progress. They watch him in training, every day. Every day.

Also, logically, on the back of that performance, and bearing in mind he has flown to and from Croatia this week, wouldn’t the smart thing to do be, BRING HIM ON WITH 12 MINUTES TO GO against St Johnstone.

If he plays well, it’s McInnes’s fault for not playing him enough, if he doesn’t it’s McInnes’s fault for not using him properly.

Win, lose or draw, ‘McInnes bad’.
*Post match up-date. We drew, it was shite. They need to improve quick or it’s gonna be a tough old season.
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beer fries
Copyright © Laurent Malbecq https://www.pinterest.dk/pin/235242780505875026/

I feel less angry about the state of the Scotland National team than probably any time in the past. It’s not that I just don’t care anymore, it’s that Steve Clarke is there, he may well be able to do something about it eventually. He is also honest and forthright enough, to say what must be very, very wrong with Scottish football, and hopefully how it came about, and how it can be improved.

We used to create talented world class footballers in Scotland. Up to and throughout the 70s and into the 80s, but it stopped very suddenly somewhere about the late 80s.

Perhaps it had stopped earlier, and had been disguised by the brilliance of Alex Ferguson and Jim McLean in developing talent at Aberdeen FC and Dundee Utd. Scotland wasn’t developing talent anymore, two individuals had their own ‘football factories’. The Old Firm buying foreign players in the late 80s, regularly playing without a Scot in the team, other teams following, including Aberdeen, purchasing foreign ready made players rather than developing their own, exasperated the situation.

While the change in signing policies affected the game, and those in charge of the game had neither the intelligence, skills or foresight to do anything about the issues, I believe there was another contributing factor. A cold dark aspect many won’t like or agree with. Scottish football got infiltrated by a small band of careerists. Highly skilled at promoting themselves, name-dropping Ferguson, McLean and Stein, and bemoaning computer game distractions, obesity, and it not being like the good old days anymore.

But ultimately like all careerists, shit at the job they were supposed to be doing, coaching, developing talent, and learning what the rest of Europe was doing to develop talent, and taking those techniques back to the Scottish game. The Largs mafia really got a hold of senior positions about 1986. Just because they may have qualified for the odd tournament, doesn’t mean it wasn’t the previous generations ground work responsible for that. While their ground work led to the current mess, which is decades old. For some of you, these people are heroes, and some of them still reappear in the media from time to time, to re-write history again, from the point of view of their own highly polished, highly dishonest CVs.

While Scotland went backwards other parts of the world found new ways to develop talent for a different age. Learning from each other in different countries, and then further adding their own ideas. For example a number of Danish clubs have links to Ajax, who have links to Barcelona. Successful countries have occasional down periods, then a new wave of talent comes through again. When was the last Scottish wave of talent? Belgium, population 11 million, didn’t accidentally develop all that talent. Chips are part of their national dish. They like a beer. They have the same computer games, and issues with rising amounts of obesity. They aren’t better than us, but the people in charge of their football are better than ours.


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roy-keane-alex-ferguson

Roy Keane has been doing his attack dog impression on Sir Alex Ferguson again. Two fascinating characters to take a look at.

I’m sure Sir Alex isn’t perfect. I’m sure he couldn’t have been so successful without a cold ruthless streak. But having been ensconced in my own Gothenburg bubble the last couple of months (the free Gothenburg 83 book here) I’ve found myself thinking on that achievement. From one of the stories I learned that Ferguson saw the St Clair off at Aberdeen Harbour. This was new to me. Got me thinking how clever that was. 500 supporters travelling to a game on a 27 hour journey, that was going to be one mighty bonded unit when it arrived in Gothenburg. A solid block of the support, that would be so important for the game. Why not increase that bonding, hype it to the maximum, to show they were part of the team, before they left. See them off.

As most people are aware he and McGhee meet them back at the harbour. Why did he do that? There was no 24 hour media then. It was nothing more than a local news story at the time. His reputation was made well before Gothenburg as one of the most highly sought managers in the UK. Gothenburg had just become the cherry on the cake, that would in the opinion of Hugh McIlvanney (admittedly his friend) mark him down as the greatest ever British football manager, for that achievement alone. Ferguson was already a god to those on the St Clair, could those on the St Clair returning victorious to Aberdeen Harbour have loved him anymore than they already did?

But he did it. With nothing to gain. Thanking those supporters personally for their help on that momentous occasion. Doing nice things for people without seeking anything in return, surely that is a mark of a good person.

Keane now, is a beaut to analyse. One of his favourites for attacking Ferguson is on being asked who was the best manager he had during his career. He answers Brian Clough, very smugly. Ferguson signed him from Forrest. What the far less intelligent than he thinks Keane does there without realising, is remind everyone he was managed by two of the greatest football managers ever, and yet, the would be football manager, learned precisely fuck all. He has some charisma, he was a brilliant footballer, but ultimately, he’s an idiot.

From the video, he tries to criticise Ferguson’s man-management, in respect to how Keane felt he was treated at the end of his time at Utd. Singularly unaware even to this day, the expert in man-management was managing the team he had for the next game, the next few months, hence the necessity of having to remove the rotten apple who was causing trouble for team spirit while the team wasn’t performing well. Football teams go in cycles, a new one was being put together.

‘But I had done much worse’. Yes they had humoured you while you were a great player and the team was successful with you in it, you daft, self-entitled prick.

There is a real fight going on inside Roy Keane. And I suspect some of his other former players who went into management. The self belief that Ferguson encouraged and developed, that winning mentality that was fostered, that never giving up, never lying down, always fighting to the last, created some less than nice personality traits.

Gary Neville the peacemaker, a seemingly balanced and self aware individual, and I’d say a fair bit more intelligent than any of the others on that stage, still had that self belief to think he could be successful in Spain, in La Liga, without having managed before, or learned the language.

In fact it could be said the self belief Ferguson drilled into his players was similar to what (tax-free status) Eton drills into their pupils. Whereby a low functioning, sociopath with an upper-class accent, a tiny amount of charisma, and no work ethic or talent can see it as his god given right to be Prime Minister. Unlike Eton, the self belief that Ferguson got into his players led to developing great footballers and great football teams, again and again.

Keane is still playing for Ferguson in his head, still fighting the battles that never really existed. Someone needs to try switching him off, then on again.


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jonny-hayes-aberdeen
Jonny Hayes Aberdeen

The window is closed. Way hay. From what I saw on Twitter, quite a few were hoping for the return of Jonny Hayes. Helped along by someone insisting ‘they knew something’, and ‘it was definitely going to happen’. Well maybe it nearly happened, one never knows, but really? Did it nearly happen? Should we have been excited about the prospect?

Not for a second criticising Jonny Hayes. Comes over like a lovely bloke, and he was magnificent in an Aberdeen shirt, once McInnes got hold of him. But let’s remember, he left, for money. Quite understandably so, at that stage in his career. He has no idea what awaits after football, he, like all of them, need to maximise their income while they have the chance. Why would he end that stonking salary now? Would he have joined us on loan? Then he couldn’t play them. I think we’ve learned from that one. So, for financial reasons, I don’t think he was ever coming back, at the moment.

Then there’s football. This happens a lot, a player’s former reputation excites fans rather than what he’d actually be. He’s a couple of years older, at an age where pace starts to slip away. A big part of his game. And in the mean time, he suffered a broken leg, which will also have taken a toll on his speed/acceleration.

Still a very good footballer. But not the player we sold. We very much got the best out of him. Selling him at exactly the right time, for a considerable amount of cash, which those with a ‘Everything McInnes bad’ attitude will carefully forget.

Also we have McLennan, McGinn, Wright, Hedges, and possibly Wilson for the wings. Is five not enough? We needed another one? Perhaps Hayes as fullback, where he will presumably be moving to for the latter part of his career. Hayes was a great player, and was a great servant to the club, but just because McGinn came back, doesn’t mean Hayes would.

McGinn was only gone half a season. A bad thigh tear would have lasted that long. It’s almost like he didn’t leave. Had a long holiday in South Korea, earned presumably a huge amount of money on a paid off contract, decided South Korean hotdogs were not nearly as good as mock chop suppers, and came back, to what is definitely, oh yes it is Niall, his favourite club.
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bruce-anderson-aberdeen

There used to be a thing with Wayne Rooney. In my opinion, one of the most over-rated players in English football. Despite incredible talent, virtually never improved as a player unlike his team mate Ronaldo. He was unreliable, not a team player (team players don’t argue with referees on a yellow) often profligate in front of goal, and I’d say the latter years of Ferguson’s Man Utd would have won far more without him around.

Whenever Rooney was out injured for a period of time, his reputation got bigger and bigger. The longer people didn’t see him, just how bang fucking average he was, at that level, the more highly he was rated.

Bruce Anderson has played very few minutes for Aberdeen FC. And is for many a cross between Puskas and the second coming of Christ. Should he play, should he start? Or why might he not be starting?

There are two positions in football where confidence is everything. Goalkeeper and centre forward. You make a mistake, and you have cost a game, from which you could lose form for weeks or months, or possibly never recover. Left back, midfield, winger, you can make mistakes, you’ll get chances in a game to redeem yourself.

Why else might he not be starting? Well the awkward truth, you might be the reason. The Aberdeen FC support. Full of love and positivity for him, when you’ve not seen that much of him. How long did it take collectively, to decide on Big Sam. On Stockley, on Main? How many minutes, exactly? Before like Roman emperors, the thumbs down sign appeared, and that player was the subject of immense derision and negativity. Was it a full game? Maybe a game and a half. The Balon D’Or nickname, was not created out of affection. It was created to ridicule and destroy him.

So would you give Bruce six or seven games without scoring to find himself at this level? I don’t think the collective Afc support would. That’s why they get put out on loan, or used as impact subs. They don’t play him, to protect him from you, and I , the Aberdeen FC support. Confidence is everything in football. Particularly at that age. I remember a young Willie Falconer getting pelters from the Merkland End while warming up, before coming on as sub. He was 19 years old at the time. He went onto a fine career, but not with Aberdeen.

The players also play football every day, and are being monitored every day, we only get to see the tip of the iceberg. He plays when the manager decides, and any other opinion, is just wrong.

willie-miller-aberdeen

Dave Cormack has been at the club for a while now. Time for a closer look.

I should probably start with I have no doubt Dave Cormack is a good bloke, a passionate Dandy, exceptionally intelligent, exceptionally hard working, he will have some incredible talents that got him where he is today. He also, much like the rest of us, won’t like being criticised. Albeit, as with Stewart Milne, if he is a bit thin skinned, he can afford to go out and buy a thicker one.

The thing about Dave though, well at the time of writing it’s been an interesting few days regarding the naming of the training hub thang. I have no particular opinion on it, but it was interesting to observe the reactions. In retrospect, maybe it could have been announced with a little more subtlety. Perhaps a big old reminder of what he had financially contributed could have been gently dropped into a story 48 hours before the announcement. Everything is easy in retrospect.

You pay for it, you can paint it pink and call it Ermentrude if you want. Looking at the supporter reaction, it was more how long he had been associated with the club, that was an issue for those who had a problem, plus those associated with the club not appearing to have been honoured via a naming.

The following day was the pitch naming competition. Ouch. I wonder if that was planned, or at least rushed forward due to concerns at some of the backlash towards Cormack. I personally found this part, unbelievably insensitive. As I put into the meme on WIllie Miller’s achievements with the club. Let me just take that apart.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s name is not on the list, so we can deduct something bigger, one should hope, stand sized is planned there. Then nothing is planned for Willie Miller. Nothing. This deeply concerns me as to just who is in charge of our club.

Presumably there will be a Gothenburg Greats’ Stand. I’d imagine Dick Donald, or Donald Family stand will come too. Leaving one stand for? Who knows… There will of course be corners, bars, hot dog stands, walkways, and enormous bus queues to name after former players and managers. And hopefully a Teddy Scott pavilion at the training centre shouldn’t be beyond someone to come up with.

The number 6 should be retired from our club, and should already have happened. I personally think there ought to be a Miller and McLeish Stand. The central defensive partnership locked together forever. No disrespect to all the greats who left to go to better things, those two gave their entire careers to Aberdeen FC, and could have left a number of times. What they won together is phenomenal. There ought to be a statue of Willie with the trophy outside the stadium, and when Scotland gains independence from an openly corrupt Westminster, Union Street to become Willie Miller Avenue. It’s good having your own blog.

There is a serious point there though. Also Pittodrie has three stands, with no names. Nothing since the Dick Donald monstrosity was put up. Nothing to commemorate Chris Anderson, or anyone else associated with the club. They could have named the stands, and taken the names with them. We’ve already lost a Gothenburg Great. Sir Alex Ferguson has suffered a stroke and is 77 years old. Peter Weir only went into the Hall of Fame last year. Eric Black isn’t in yet. If anything happens to these people without them seeing what is being done in their honour, then fucking shame on you. Naming stuff after people, isn’t for us, it’s for them, and their families, to honour their achievements.

It all goes back to the uncanny feeling that Aberdeen Football Club has been in mothballs the last 25 years. Because Milne really isn’t interested in football, or Aberdeen FC. I also don’t think he is interested in money. That’s why Milne is so successful in business. He loves the deal, he loves building. I watched Willie Miller being inducted to the Hall of Fame, the body language between Milne and Miller was fascinating. A huge hug from Milne to Miller. Willie’s eyebrows almost went off the top of his head in surprise. Is the Willie Miller oversight, really an oversight?

This is revealing so much about those in charge of our club. Because it is our club. Milne has put X amount in, Cormack has put X amount in, but the biggest benefactor of all to Aberdeen FC is the supporters, who put in, what is it on a 15 million plus turnover per year, every year? Is it, all of it? It’s our club. Yet no fans’ representative on the board. No liaison officer, on big picture decisions. And while I’ve no doubt a lot of very good people work at Pittodrie, thay are hardly going to risk their jobs stating their opinions on the governance of our club. They can only be surrounded by yes men and women that they have appointed.

So when Cormack announced we could sell out half of Hampden for a semi-final a year back, a number of Afc employees would have known that wasn’t the case off the top of their heads. As it’s their job to know it. But they presumably weren’t consulted…

So a stadium eight miles from the city centre with a highly flawed transport infrastructure. We trust these people why? Oh no, mustn’t criticise the rich men, they may stop funding our club, they may walk away, and we are destroyed like that club that died? That’s the same man who ran up the debt. The same man who destroyed Pittodrie. His company has received an enormous amount of publicity through his association with the club. Like Richard Branson, every time he is in the media, is a free advert. He is the brand. His name on the company, he dresses in all black, the logo on the adverts is black. That’s not coincidental.

And talk of the investment from the US that Cormack has brought in. Investment? So they are investing money with a view to getting all that money back, and a whole lot more. What are they being promised? These people are not local, they are not Afc supporters, they have no emotional connection to our club. So they will want that money back, and then some. What on earth of the club’s future is being mortgaged?

I want to like them, I want to trust them, a training pitch named after Willie Miller, only if he wins the vote, jumps through the hoop, and what of those who lose? They have insulted some legends, just another bad decision, that’s you respecting our legends is it? It points to any scepticism on their suitability to lead our club forward to be bang on the fucking nose.

mcinnes-aberdeen-fc

This was written after Rijeka and before the Dundee game. A few updates in it.

I’ve always backed McInnes, really appreciated what he has done, where we came from. The club’s current finances, compared to under Brown, the training facilities, that let’s face it, no disrespect to Bobby Clark*, but those are, and always will be, The Derek McInnes training facilities. He pushed, he bullied, he demanded, his work paid for, and after a shameful six year wait, he is about to get the training facilities Ebbe Skovdahl was begging for twenty years ago.

*Late update it’s now the Cormack training facilities hub thing. Did I dream a video on Red TV of Cormack telling Bobby Clark it would be named after him?

But right now, that team is rank, rotten awful. Albeit all of two weeks earlier we were deliriously happy against Hearts. This was gently pointed out by Dek in a post match interview, which was declared a dig at the support by the tabloid element in our support.

But the sheer fucking awfulness of those two Rijeka performances and the St Mirren one, on top off last season being ugly. We could have had a down year, if there was a better one around the corner. We need improvement, and we need to see it quickish.

In his defence, we had an exceptionally bad transfer window. Not of his own making. The Ryan Fraser money, that we’d all spent in our fantasy made up teams, never appeared. Getting Stevie May off the books, freeing up a salary for another player, fell apart because an agent did something stupid to someone who is ridiculously stubborn. McKenna not being made captain implies they expected an offer. No proper offer came in, but I suspect a rank, vile neoliberal, arsehole of a club tapped up the agent with a view to a cheap sale before the Scottish window closes.

That is a lot of bad luck. But we should be better. Curtis Main is the new Jim Bêtte noire of the Aberdeen support. This bit, fucking infuriates me. We just did this with Cosgrove. Have you, with the greatest disrespect, fucking cretinous goldfish, learned nothing from Cosgrove. You all thought he was shit. He is now probably a 2 million Championship centre forward*. You thought he was shit, because you made your fucking minds up after about two games. And then you tried to destroy him. And you are doing it again with Curtis Main. You’ve learned nothing. Main will be a cult player before Xmas. There is definitely something there as a squad player, and as McKenna learned from Árnason, it may well be he is part of Cosgrove’s development.

*Update in the three days since I wrote this, Big Sam is now a 50 million Serie A legend to be.

So the point I was going to make, after all he’s done for Aberdeen FC, surely he deserves three months to put together this season’s team. Can we not at least give him that. And if it doesn’t come together, fair enough, it’s time for a change.

I keep hearing the argument ‘he has taken us as far as he can’. Well maybe he has taken us as far as anyone can. And maybe the next manager, or the next five managers judging by Aberdeen’s previous appointments, won’t get close to that.

If you could exit via the gift shop. 27 Dandy t-shirts. 25 Dandy posters. The shop is on fire!