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Times: Crunch time for Jimmy Calderwood as Aberdeen plumb the depths


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http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/football/scotland/article4895562.ece

 

From The Times

October 7, 2008

Crunch time for Jimmy Calderwood as Aberdeen plumb the depths

Graham Spiers

 

At some point over the next few weeks, unless there is a sudden and remarkable transformation in Aberdeen’s fortunes, three key figures at Pittodrie will gather rather nervously around a table - perhaps even a dinner table – to discuss the vexed issue of whether to sack their manager.

 

Willie Miller, Aberdeen’s director of football, will lead the debate, along with Stewart Milne, the chairman, and Duncan Fraser, the managing director, and their business will be the fate of Jimmy Calderwood. The manager, amid all his success, has never fully shaken off a capacity for occasional calamity at Pittodrie, and right now he is mired in his worst one of the lot.

 

Aberdeen, humiliatingly, find themselves bottom of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League for the first time in eight years. The club have taken just seven points from their opening eight league matches and were ignominiously bundled out of the CIS Insurance Cup two weeks ago by Kilmarnock. The 2-1 home loss against Hibernian on Saturday meant that Calderwood’s team had lost five straight games in a row, the latest before a paltry crowd of 10,793. It won’t be allowed to go on.

 

While supporters are restless, former players-turned-pundits such as Joe Harper are starting to snipe from the sidelines. Speaking to Calderwood yesterday, it was impossible not to utter the words “the sack†in conversation with him, and they elicited the following response.

 

“That would amaze me,†Calderwood said at the suggestion that his dismissal might be in the pipeline. “I’m not stupid, I know that things like this situation can’t go on for long.

 

“But I know the people at this club, they’re good people, and they know my track record in football. Me and Jimmy [Nicholl, the assistant manager] have done pretty well since we’ve been at Aberdeen and I think we can probably be regarded as among the most consistent managers there have been in Scottish football over the past eight years, in terms of cup finals, semi-finals and top-six finishes.

 

“The sack is not something I’ve ever had to face – I’ve always been able to make my own choices in football. But I’m not complacent, I know there is a big job to get done here.

 

“And while I feel I’ve done well, some bad results have hurt me and the club. Losing to Queen of the South last season in the Scottish Cup semi-final was a bad one. And before that we’d done things like lose to Queen’s Park in the League Cup. So there have been sore ones.â€

 

By general consent Calderwood has restored Aberdeen from their gruesome, breast-beating days of the 1990s, when crisis was almost permanently on tap around Pittodrie. On top of that, it is just eight months since fans were savouring a 2-2 draw with Bayern Munich at home in the Uefa Cup. The bunting that was out that night around the city couldn’t have been greater had Charlie Chaplin been back in town.

 

Yet football lives for the moment, and patience is now wearing thin. Calderwood is taking a savaging on supporters websites, and the town’s local paper has been plastered with disparaging comments from fans about the team and its “inept†manager. As Calderwood admitted yesterday, he has a battle on his hands.

 

“The way our luck has been going, I just knew that St Mirren were going to beat Rangers on Sunday and shove us to the bottom of the league,†he said. “It’s not a nice feeling, and it’s not somethng I’m familiar with. This is a new experience for me, but I’m telling you, we’ll get out of this situation, don’t worry about it.

 

“The daft thing is, I know the team can play well. We actually played okay on Saturday, and we played well against Rangers at Pittodrie [a 1-1 draw in August], and did well, too, against Celtic when we lost 3-2 at Parkhead . So we know we can do it, but it’s a question of cutting out the individual errors that have cost us dear in most of these games.

 

“As for the fans, one problem we have is that some of them still think we should be up there with the giants. Now I’m not accepting the current situation for a moment, but I just feel we need to be realistic. I’ve said it a few times now that when you look at the players that have had to leave the club recently – like Russell Anderson, Barry Nicholson, Chris Clark and Kevin McNaughton – then these have been hard guys to replace. And it’s not as if Aberdeen have a divine right to be up there challenging all the time, even though that remains our goal every season.

 

“This is a fabulous club, and the people that are running it know that me and Jimmy have done fairly well here. So I’ve no fears about that. But of course we have to improve, there’s no getting away from that. If we don’t improve, then the crowds will dwindle, and that won’t help anyone.â€

 

It has been claimed, perhaps a touch theatrically, that Calderwood is “a dead man walkingâ€. Well, every manager bites the dust eventually, though Calderwood and his players will need to get a result against Falkirk in their next league game on Saturday week if a full-blown lynch mob is not to be unleashed. The club’s directors, meanwhile, are getting queasy.

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"The longer it goes for us to win the harder it is going to be, but the supporters have been brilliant and I think they can see the effort being put in."

 

Calderwood in the P&J

 

 

"As for the fans, one problem we have is that some of them still think we should be up there with the giants. Now I’m not accepting the current situation for a moment, but I just feel we need to be realistic".

 

Calderwood in the Times

 

Is it just me or do these two quotes contradict one another?  ???

 

 

 

 

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“But I know the people at this club, they’re good people, and they know my track record in football. Me and Jimmy [Nicholl, the assistant manager] have done pretty well since we’ve been at Aberdeen and I think we can probably be regarded as among the most consistent managers there have been in Scottish football over the past eight years, in terms of cup finals, semi-finals and top-six finishes.

 

I really wish Calderwood, and some on here, would stop bleating on about Calderwood getting us to semi-finals like it is some sort of an achievement.  ::)

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I really wish Calderwood, and some on here, would stop bleating on about Calderwood getting us to semi-finals like it is some sort of an achievement.  ::)

 

Considering we're not one of the best two teams in the country, semi-finals are the yardstick we should be measured by.  To get to the final four of a competition is an achievement at any level, you often hear players talk about semi finals being harder than finals.

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Guest Caroline B

I expect that this shall be one of many articles written in the next wee while that mask a willingness to goad Aberdeen fans into taking action.

Sure, we are none too pleased about the current situation at Pittodrie, but some of the nonsense wasting ink on rags and broadsheets is just terrible.

 

If you read too many of these articles then the underlaying current seems to be that these papers want nothing less than a lynch mob outside the main entrance of Pittodrie calling for Calderwood's head.

 

Lets not forget that these scenes would help sell the product that these chinless wonders punt.

 

Spiers is normally a decent kind of journo, but I think he's bought into the tabloid mentality slightly by misjudging the Aberdeen fans mood. I have no doubt that if we don't start getting results soon, then the tabloids will have their way and some fans will buy into the inuendo of the press.

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