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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.

Not only do I not know if my concerns are correct, I genuinely hope they are wrong. I’d love to love Stewart Milne. 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 (on part 2). 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