big-sam

There’s a lot of flack aimed at Sam Cosgrove on social media at the moment for missing some chances against RoPS. Worth just looking back at last season for an overview on Big Sam.

Last season we started poorly, and never really dug our way out of it. We were not in, or near relegation, or even missing a top six place, as in many of the seasons pre-McInnes, but we were largely not playing as well as we had been under McInnes.

The lack of goals exacerbated the problem, our forwards Cosgrove, May and Wilson all wilted under the pressure. Our midfield, led by the left back who wouldn’t play left back, were creating nothing. Chances weren’t being missed, they weren’t even created during the early part of the season.

Cosgrove’s link up play was always good. He could hold and lay off the ball well. There was a player there. With the pressure building and considerable negativity and pressure hitting the team from the terraces and social media, Big Sam started to find the back of the net. This would lead to 21 goals for the season. We had a proper number nine. Rough at the edges, but young, learning and improving.

He started scoring as the Ballon d’Or nickname was taking off. The nickname that was designed to ridicule and destroy him (an act of cuntery) then became fun. We are laughing at him for being shit by giving him an ironic nickname, and it turns out he’s actually quite good… wait a minute, who’s the idiot in this scenario?

So let’s remember what the 21 year old Sam Cosgrove achieved last year. While Wilson and May caved under the pressure – and I like them both – it was Cosgrove who shouldered the responsibility took all the flack, and delivered.

He missed a few chances against RoPS, but with the penalty kick, he again took the responsibility. Cosgrove is the real deal. He has earned that chance to lead the line, and re-sharpen the killer touch for a while yet. We need to be better at backing our players.

european-song

As I have been putting together the book of your stories of Gothenburg 83, this has triggered some of my own long forgotten memories of that time – by the way George RR Martin has been in touch regarding the book, asking me why it’s not done yet.

The European song, the white vinyl, I had the single. But that wasn’t my European song. Fifteen year old me, living in the home of the stepmother from hell (Buckie), had introverted completely into myself, and only football and music mattered. My world was locked in.

My version was a little more European than The European Song, and begins just as couthie (if that’s the word), and also significantly for how my brain made the switch, I had it on the album, in red vinyl. This was my European song. The song I will forever link with Gothenburg. The one piece of light, in a dark, abusive world.

Thanks Sir Alex. Crank it up.

james wilson aberdeen

Imagine just one day of being a blond, blue-eyed 21 year old multi-millionaire Manchester Utd player. To walk into the colosseum of Old Trafford knowing 70000 people are coming to watch you, with a worldwide audience of hundreds of millions. The pressure, the excitement, the adrenalin. Plus all the perks. All the perks.

Just to experience one day of that.

If you look into James Wilson’s face, you can almost see it. The face is young, but the eyes, the eyes have seen stuff. Experienced stuff that you and I…

Carry on Buckie

I will now share a story I shouldn’t. In the late seventies my father managed a hotel in Buckie. Staying in the hotel as their base during pre-season training and friendlies for a week, was Motherwell. Then managed by Jim McLean’s brother Willie. There were a fair few ‘shenanigans’.

Between double training sessions, the players were to rest in their rooms. Willie McLean did a room check at midday one day. There was a woman in every room. Prompted by me, my dear old Dad recalled the story to me from his care home not long before he died. ‘I could still bribe half the women in Buckie to this day…’ with a wicked lopsided smile. Easy ladies, the gentleman that he was never told. Despite my attempts. My mother said ‘they were virtually queuing for it on the back fire escape’. Then adding with a look of exasperation ‘For Motherwell players!’ Aye, my Mum knew her fitba.

Anyways the point being, I forget. Oh yeah, to have been a young Manchester Utd footballer.

Carry on James

Last season must have been incredibly hard for Wilson. Psychologically, that contract running down, fears of another long term injury, desperate to prove his worth, and carrying the ‘Manchester Utd player’ tag around all the time. A long slow slide from the peaks of playing for Man Utd, the next big thing to almost being out of football. There’s a very nice bank account by way of compensation, but not easy to deal with.

Now those negative pressures are off. He’s an Aberdeen player, he’s familiar with the people, he knows he’s wanted, he can get on with playing football. And he may well become a very large fish in a small to medium sized pond. Here’s hoping.

p.s. If you know any women from Buckie, late fifties, early sixties, ask them about Motherwell. And see if their eyes light up.

Gothenburg map

I wasn’t in Gothenburg, I don’t have any good anecdotes, but just a few silly memories I’ll share here.

I was 15 at the time.

Number 1.

Involves my dear old Dad, who passed away last year. Me and my Dad were maybe going. I really didn’t think we could, times were exceptionally difficult, it was the worst time in my life. He had a business that was struggling and I was psychologically, barely surviving as an exceptionally unwelcome guest in the home of the step mother from hell.

But out of all that, there was the fitba! So as the day is getting closer, in the kitchen of his restaurant, he took me to one side. We aren’t going. And then he said the most brilliant thing. ‘We will try and go to next year’s final’.

That was all I needed. And what is so lovely about that, not just a great Dad, being a great Dad, but our team was so flipping good, we could make plans for the following year’s Cup Winners Cup final!

And if you know the history(!) only a bribed referee stopped that final happening.

Number 2.

The ten year anniversary. I lived in London in 1993. The Cup Winners Cup final was at Wembley. I went along as our unofficial representative. Serie A team Parma with Sweden’s Thomas Brolin beat Royal Antwerp. I thought a lot of Aberdeen during the game. Trying to put them into that spectacle. It was already a world away. Wondering at the achievement from a decade previous.

Number 3.

Gothenburg. I did the pilgrimage.  In the nineties. Interrailing in February alone, like a madman. It was fab. Travelling between Stockholm and Hamburg. Quite the train journey, with a planned hour and a half break in Gothenburg to see the Ullevi. 

Tourist information at Gothenburg train station, the most beautiful blond Scandinavian stereotype I’ve seen in my life is at the desk.

How do I get to the Ullevi Stadium?

No you can’t go. There is no game, it is closed.

No you don’t understand. And, I don’t have long, my train is leaving shortly. I want to go to the Ullevi.

No there is no game today. No Ullevi today.

In a hurry, just want to see the stadium.

Not today. Bored blond goddess, keeps explaining, there is nothing happening there.

Eventually I explain the whole Aberdeen, Real Madrid, by far the greatest team, Johnny Hewitt and my next train is soon. I just want to see the empty stadium.

Not for the first or last time in my life, an attractive blond woman’s eyes glaze over as I explain something important.

With a cold dead stare, she points in the direction of the Ullevi. (within walking distance of the train station!!)

At the stadium. Oh yes. Just wow!

Would you believe, but it was closed. High on, I don’t know, Gothenburg fever, Ullevi magic dust, Fergie’s pre-match talk still lingering in the Swedish air, I come up with a cunning plan.

If I get stopped by security, then explain the whole Johnny Hewitt thing, they’ll take pity on me, before ye know it I’ll be at the centre circle. May even get to kick a fitba on the turf.

I am prepared to act like a nuts loner, to get inside the Ullevi. I’m not even sure myself at this point if I’m acting.

So in an effort to alert security to me being there, I attempt to climb a very large gate. Very unconvincingly. Again and again I try to get in, and again and again I slip down after getting about a third of the way up. 

Where’s the effin’ security?!

Nothing. After close to an hour of this fuckwittery ’shenanigans’ I head for my train. 

I reached the Ullevi. I saw the hallowed stadium, the beautiful Swedish curves. I touched the walls. I could see inside through the gate. I saw the pitch. I slid down the gate loads of times. There’s probably an amusing CCTV video somewhere. I beamed a huge smile passing the tourist information desk at the station. She blanked me.

So that’s me and Gothenburg. Without me even delving into my Zlatan anecdote which is kind of, almost related.

The book is coming along, of your Gothenburg stories. My stories are not going into the book, your stories are bound to be better than that. Get writing. iain@thedandydons.com you’ve a couple of weeks tops.

gothenburg

As those who were in Gothenburg and experienced the glory of 1983 are not getting any younger, this is to collect as many stories, anecdotes, good, bad, funny, serious whatever as possible. Those that were there, the journey, the day after, those that were on an oil rig, back in Aberdeen watching on telly, at the day they came back with the trophy, everything Gothenburg. Stories from Munich, Sion, all that led to and became The Glory of Gothenburg documented permanently. Not match reports, not about the games or players, about the supporters, by the supporters.

Stories can be shared publicly in the comments, or can be messaged, or emailed to The Dandy Dons. They could be in as anonymous, or by name.

The collected stories will be released as a free to download PDF. I have had a brief look at other places for free content, perhaps ISSUU, Amazon and iBooks appear a bit tricky with free content.

Originally I’d thought about making it for sale with all proceeds going to the Afc Community Trust, but don’t think you should have to pay to read your own stories.

If a company is interested in sponsoring it. Logo on the front, a full page advert inside, obviously you’d get to read it first to check it was okay, in return for a donation to the community trust. Then get in touch if interested. You would be paying directly to the Community Trust.

There is still time to get your stories in. It could be just a couple of sentences, a whole page or a chapter if you have something to say. Middle of July is when I’d like it in. As deadlines concentrate the mind!

If you want to get in touch directly, do it here iain@thedandydons.com.

It’s just a book for supporters, nothing else. No one will make money out of your stories.

ash taylor aberdeen

I don’t have a strong Ash Taylor opinion. We’ve signed a squad player, probably Reynolds replacement. It makes sense if you are a football manager, if you have worked with someone, you know what they are like. There are always unknowns with a new person, however much research you do.

One observation on Ash Taylor, that may be complete nonsense, that relates to McInnes and looking to understand his methods, is Ash Taylor’s physique. He isn’t just big, he’s an athlete. Look at Shay, the fun guy, the joker, look at his physique when he takes his shirt off. Considine, Stevie May is another one, none of them in my exceptionally ignorant opinion, enjoy a pint or six after training. Nor do they enjoy the occasional mock chop supper. They are athletes who take their profession incredibly seriously. All day, every day, to be in peak physical condition.

I guess wherever you are in terms of talent, if you are as dedicated to your job as to always eat correctly and train at 100%, that GPS that’s on their backs means they can never shirk in training, never hide, never quietly nurse a hangover while going through the motions, you bring a certain amount of professionalism to a team than an exceptionally talented but less dedicated person may bring.

What sort of team while performing badly as they did last season would still get to a cup final and a semi-final? A very, very fit, very disciplined one.

Social media watching

But fascinating, to me in the signing of Ash Taylor, has been watching the Aberdeen FC’s support reaction. Football is about opinions, how boring it would be if we all agreed.

There is a fair bit of negativity about Ash Taylor on social media. Where there is negativity it is incredibly strong. There is an element who truly do not rate him, and are very vociferous in their pronouncements. They are as entitled to their opinions as anyone else. As I remember it was the same when he played. A very significant element didn’t rate him.

When I posted this pretty insignificant meme, when he left, it picked up over 500 likes on the Facebook page. That surprised me at the time. The longer working with social media, you get a feel for reactions. What is, and isn’t expected. He was considerably more popular than I thought.

I posted it again when he re-signed, and said ‘this got 500 likes when he left, no pressure’. At time of writing it’s sitting on about 430 likes. Two years on and Facebook’s algorithm has dramatically changed, it’s harder and harder to reach the page’s audience without paying for the privilege, (thanks Zuckerberg, just how many billions do you need?). This makes the new post, much bigger, much more popular than the one of two years ago.

What does that show in this very unscientific study? What I have learned from social media is the Aberdeen support like positivity. A positive post will always be a far more successful post.

I’d say the much more silent majority of the Aberdeen support, either quite like Big Ash the footballer, or will always back an Aberdeen player when they sign.

I also think this is a pretty good general rule on the Aberdeen FC support. Not a group of moaners, but in general a positive and supportive group of people who back their football team. Albeit they don’t shout about it on social media.

Of those criticising Taylor, as I said they are perfectly entitled to that opinion, but some, a minority within that group, I stress again, a minority within the ones criticising Taylor, who are hoping he fails, hoping McInnes fails, who bandy about the phrase ‘happy clappers’ to go after elements in the Aberdeen support, are people who in my opinion, badly need to feel superior to the people around them. This oozing sense of superiority they so need, as they are, as any psychologist would say, just fucking arseholes.

You might like this https://thedandydons.com/the-cup-winners-cup-1983-important-facts/

cup winners cup 1983

Some facts about the 1983 Cup Winners Cup. Maybe you know them all, maybe you don’t.

question

I appreciate people don’t like negativity. Everyone loves the club, and wants everything to go well, including me. This is arguably the biggest decision in Aberdeen FC’s history. Surely it’s worth looking at. I think we are all aware in a Donald Trump, Nigel Farage, Tommy Robinson, Theresa May world, there are no journalists anymore, at any rate responsible ones. There are none who would ever question a super rich member of society who has a large advertising account for his company. Doesn’t mean he’s bad, but if he were, don’t expect the press, local or national to point it out.

This very insignificant blog, from this very insignificant supporter (albeit damned talented and a winning smile) can be read by a couple of hundred people, or sometimes several thousand. The two articles on the stadium are into several thousands each, and still being read. (specially for the Afc employee with the Mention account)

Doesn’t mean people agree with my concerns. And also I don’t want to be right. I want the new stadium to be a huge success, something we are all proud of and the match day experience to be so amazing we make plans to enlarge inside five years.

The comments on Facebook. Also interesting. Not one disagreeing with my calculations. Some insults. Some blind hope, some, let’s wait and see (aye cause we can put it back like an M&S jumper if we don’t like it), some beautifully trusting faith in Aberdeen Council and Aberdeen directors to have ‘sorted it all out’. Would you be interested in this snakeskin oil by any chance? And a brilliant, ‘it’s just part of being a real supporter’, as if getting to, or out of a game ought to be like an SAS survival course. Or you’re not a ‘real supporter’.

All I’ve done is tried to point out something that has concerned me all along in this process. I have watched and listened to the Aberdeen FC directors with keen interest. Whereby we got to see the other directors (pre Cormack) as spokespeople for the move for a while, (justifying changing a bulb in a floodlight as reason to move) as I guess it appeared they thought Stewartie fronting it may raise concerns? Then Stewartie was back to front it…

During communications the training facilities kept being interchanged with the stadium as if they were one and the same. Very few football clubs have their training facilities next to their stadium. The word ‘landlocked’ got dished out again and again. As I said in the first article, why weren’t we moving because we were ‘landlocked’ last time? Why has this word only come out of Pittodrie in the last eighteen months? Do a Google search on ‘Pittodrie landlocked’. See how far that phrase goes back. Aberdeen FC under Stewart Milne have been ‘moving’ for twenty odd years.

We’ve all in life spotted a liar when they change their story.

Doesn’t mean it’s a lie, but it could do with explaining. There were other odd comments. ‘Well it’s not the ideal place, but we’ll just have to get on with it’.

From the person who applied for planning permission!? Seriously, is no one else questioning that?!

There was another one along the lines of, in this area we need to be quiet and the building needs to be discreet to respect the neighbours.

Why in the mother of fuck would you put a fucking football stadium there then?! It’s not a new patio. It’s a football stadium. A focal point and place of pride for a city, a region, the whole north east of Scotland.

An awful lot of the duplicity and manipulation that is clear in the selling of this project, ought to have far more people questioning it. Aberdeen Journals aren’t going to do it.

I suspect quite a few of the larger social media presences have their eyes on the Chris Gavin Afc career strategy. There may be a job somewhere later on down the line. Or it may be they are concerned at losing an element of their audience. My audience definitely falls on any criticism of Milne.

Why is everyone so trusting of a multi-millionaire? Who’s track record at Pittodrie doesn’t stand up to analysis? This is the biggest decision in Aberdeen FC’s history. The biggest decision, and we are being led off a cliff, like sheep.

If you’re all happy great. If you live in Huntly, Inverness, Westhill, Arbroath or wherever and not only does it not affect you, but the journey will be better, brilliant. Fill yer boots. But it appears to me a very loyal, very important section of the Aberdeen FC support, that could be considerably bigger than the 3000 I guesstimated in my calculations are being thrown away. Also if you think you’ll get out of that stadium in your car inside an hour and a half, well you might be in for a shock. Because none of this is being planned from any sort of transport perspective.

The biggest decision in the history of Aberdeen Football Club. Location, location, location.

I will not mention the new stadium or the decision making behind the new stadium, in any negative context ever again, forever and ever, so help me Willie Miller. Amen. Because I don’t like upsetting people.

Part1: Cove Rangers and the end of being a one city team

Part 2: Parking the bus – The new stadium, how many, how long a wait?

bus-stop-sign
bus stop

Following the article on Cove Rangers and the new stadium, a good question appeared in the comments. ‘Just how many buses will be required?’

Let’s presume the same people are going to the new stadium. Let’s say a game against Hearts, Saturday 3pm. Fifteen thousand Aberdeen supporters. How many of those would not have their own transport, and would need to get back to Union Street, either to get to where they live in the city, or get to the train/bus station, or to begin Saturday night. How many might that be of the 15000 Aberdeen supporters?

Might it be 3000? I’d say that’s a conservative guess. It may well be more than double that.

How many people can you get in a double decker bus? I did a bit of Googling, and let’s say 100 people. That’s going to be one very uncomfortable journey for all concerned, but transport is transport, and a handy number for arithmetic.

That would be 30 buses needed immediately after a game, to move that section of the support quickly and efficiently. Are 30 buses going to be waiting outside the stadium after the game? Or more likely in my opinion, ten buses, planning to make three journeys shuttling the support back. How long after the final whistle will that third journey begin?

Google puts a car journey between Westhill and Union street at about 17 minutes. So enough time after the full time whistle to get to the buses, the first shuttle buses leave at 5pm. Let’s presume, rather optimistically, this bus doesn’t stop between the stadium and Union Street. Call it 20 minutes. A 5 minute turnaround, twenty more minutes, back to the stadium. Fifteen minutes to fill up that bus, 6pm the second shuttle buses leave, 75 minutes after the full time whistle. Same journey, back they come for the third shuttle journey. Leaving Kingswells at 7pm arriving on Union Street at 7.20pm. After you’ve waited in line (or you’ll lose your place) for how long after the match?

Now take all those figures, drop them into a midweek twenty thousand capacity game finishing at 9.15pm, in the dark, below freezing, and someone underestimated the crowd. How many buses will be there?

They gonna go back to the shiny new stadium? Would you ever run that risk again? As I said here, this element of the support is being thrown away, under the bus. A new stadium will have shiny new object syndrome for a bit, geographically it will be easier for others to get there, and get out. But the solid block from the city will be difficult to replicate. As will their loyalty. One nasty downturn in league form, a poor managerial choice, those new supporters going to hang around?

Only a fool would trust a multi-millionaire. There is a reason these people got so wealthy.

Part one here: Cove Rangers and the end of being a one city team

Part three: Questioning the narrative.

I am of mixed North Eastness. I am an Aberdonian by birth, but also grew up in Huntly and Buckie, and watched a fair bit of Highland League football as well as visits to Pittodrie as a kid.

This far from unusual geographic background gives me a loyalty to the Dons, and to the Highland League, and gives me a pathological loathing of Cove Rangers that is possibly a little irrational.

When Cove applied to The Highland League I so hoped they wouldn’t get accepted. A team from Aberdeen wasn’t what The Highland League was about. They were clearly only going to use it as a stepping stone.

And here we are all those years later, Cove appear to be about to join the league. Just as Aberdeen are about to move their stadium. More than twice the distance that Cove’s stadium will be from Aberdeen city centre.

I came up with the slogan One City, One Team… Not that it matters, but if you look at the Facebook timeline of The Dandy Dons it appears about four years ago. One city, one team, two European Trophies. Just me arsing around.

But the one city, one team concept is incredibly important. Particularly when you see how Dundee is divided with their two teams. And here we have Cove Rangers, what began just a few years after Gothenburg (as a serious concern), a football team created specifically to tap into the Aberdeen support, and coming to fruition just as the decades of mismanagement of Aberdeen FC are coming home to roost.

A swift search on Google Maps has a walk from Cove’s stadium to Union Street, at 56 minutes. And there are pubs on the route. It’s not going to games that is an issue. People arrive at staggered times. It’s leaving stadiums that needs to happen quickly and efficiently, where it may be very cold, and very wet.

Stand at the corner of King Street and Merkland Road after a game at Pittodrie and watch the crowd dissipate into the city after a match. Follow the crowd up to Union Street. Watch it thinning out bit by bit, until you get to Union Street and it merges into the city, into Union street, with all the bus stops, close to a train and bus station and disappears as if by magic.

Now at Kingsford there will not be enough buses waiting at the new stadium to transfer the city based crowd to Union Street. (or those who need to get to the train or bus station). There will be panic, there will be considerable numbers leaving the match early to get on those first buses, there will be considerable numbers waiting for the buses to return for the next journey, or the one after. As the bus company needs to make money. It needs to have fewer drivers and buses ferrying people over a long period of time. A whole shift. And you can’t leave the queues as you’ll lose your place, and you can’t start the journey walking as it’s too far. You will only be overtaken by full buses.

Aberdeen FC are throwing a considerable section of the Aberdeen based support, under the bus.

Landlocked

“Pittodrie is landlocked”. Strange because when we were moving twenty years ago to Loirston, we were not landlocked. We were moving, much like St Mirren, St Johnstone and a number of English teams at the time, as our city centre property, had such high value. To sell that land would generate enough money for new land, AND the stadium build. Or close to it.

Well that changed. Pittodrie is worth less than twenty years ago. And may still be falling in value. Retail is dying, city centres no longer highly sought property areas. So they needed a new reason why Aberdeen FC had to move. And landlocked was, hmm, not sure what word to use here. When did you first hear the phrase ‘landlocked’ out of Pittodrie? Try Googling to see when that phrase first came out of Pittodrie.

The falling value of Pittodrie also means the land around Pittodrie is falling in value. To purchase the land wouldn’t be expensive. Who wouldn’t AberDNA a Pittodrie rebuild stand by stand over a number of years. Because all property becomes available again eventually.

It’s as if some people watched Aberdeen V Real Madrid in 1983, and thought, how do I royally fuck that up.

A fascinating article here from 442 magazine on football clubs moving stadium. https://www.fourfourtwo.com/features/how-build-new-stadium-those-who-have

Part 2: Parking the bus – The new stadium, how many, how long a wait?

Part 3: Questioning the narrative

Old Firm colt teams to be allowed to start in the SPFL.

Extra income, extra publicity, extra ‘golden fixtures’ The Old Firm derby 2, the sequel. 8 page Daily Record specials, boasts of ‘colt’ teams getting higher attendances than Premier League teams. An expansion of the franchise. Profits, profits, profits. Religious division. Anti football, anti sport, anti Scottish, anti society.

Scottish football: go right ahead.

Ah but football. It’s all about football. These players in our over inflated squads, being paid over inflated wages need a game. A competitive game. Because our squads are uncompetitive, because our philosophy of greed, greed, greed, means we must purchase all the talent around us. Now we demand the game is changed for us to maximise our already enormous income so we can always dominate. A fixed market. Neoliberalism.

No problem then. All proceeds from these games, to be re-distributed to grass roots football. ALL proceeds.

‘Hello league of Ireland. We have two colt teams looking for a league…’

‘We’ll only play away from home’, ‘we’re only doing it for football’. ‘The Scottish media are responsible enough not to allow them to get all the publicity…’

They will say anything to get it started. Stealthily moving the goalposts as it suits them.

Since when has football ever been of interest to either of the Old Firm.

*Old Firm – it does exist. If you accept there are three teams in it. One of them dead.

alex smith northern light

A look at the Alex Smith years, and The Northern Light fanzine.

In life you should learn from your mistakes. If possible, learn from other people’s mistakes. We are currently in the joyful position of watching others, make the same mistakes we made.

Years of watching Sir Alex Ferguson led to years of watching Man Utd. Now we get to see Man Utd post Ferguson.

One of the mistakes Aberdeen FC made repeatedly during the decades of trying to find a football manager was making a decision based on the previous football managerial appointment.

Alex Miller was probably the first of these reactionary decisions. We’d just gone through Willie Miller and Roy Aitken (young inexperienced managers) and that didn’t work, ‘we needed an older, experienced manager’. Hello Alex Miller. Anyone who saw his Hibs team (he was sacked after Hibs supporters campaigned to have him removed) knew it was not just a mistake, it was a shocking decision.

Now we’ll have a foreign manager. After that, now we’ll have a Scottish manager (they were literally announcing this stuff before finding a candidate). Followed by any old crap in desperation, usually from Motherwell, until finally, and definitely not sheer blind luck, definitely not, Aberdeen got a managerial decision correct. (I’m sure we’ll be getting them all right in future, now they’ve got the hang of it, that’s how these things work).

So Man Utd, on the back of internationally renowned, experienced managers Mourinho and Van Gaal not working, what went through someone’s head at Old Trafford. ‘We need a young manager, with Utd in his blood’. The exact opposite of an older experienced outsider manager. Reacting to what was perceived to be wrong before. A reactionary decision.

As opposed to, say, the best person available.

And then there’s the assistant. We know the manager’s not good enough, so we’ll bring in an experienced, big name assistant manager. As everyone knows a not quite good enough manager, with a great assistant, adds up to a brilliant managerial team. Sadly they didn’t announce Solskjær and Phelan as co-managers. Then we’d really be through the looking glass.

A reminder of the series of ‘geniuses’ who were Ferguson’s assistants down the years. Brian Kidd, Steve McClaren, Carlos Queiroz (twice), Archie Knox, and Mike Phelan. All of them praised to the skies while at Utd. It was regularly implied not only were these people crucial to Ferguson’s success, it may all have been down to them.

Weirdly when they left for jobs to do their own thing, the magic seldom, almost never, went with them, yet even more weirdly, pretty much always, stayed with Sir Alex. Funny that.

The ‘highly rated assistant’ is a bit like a recommendation on Linkedin. Worthless.

When Alex Ferguson got the Man Utd job, he’d won the Cup Winners Cup and Super Cup with Aberdeen. He was nearly sacked in the beginning at Utd, but if a manager has done something special, something exceptional, they deserve a little more time. It wasn’t that brave a decision to have kept him in the job.

Solskjær did well at Molde in Norway, and failed badly at Cardiff. One of the world’s wealthiest clubs taking a hell of a risk. I don’t bet, but if I did, I’d be looking at the odds on Solskjær being sacked before Xmas.

And for Aberdeen, when McInnes goes. Do they already have their eyes on possible replacements? They should always be ready, and they should always have back ups, and they should always be updating their monitoring of prospective managers. It’s literally the only job they need to get right.

game day aberdeen

A look at Game day. The rituals and details that make it special.