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Q&A with Eoin Jess

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Dons legend Jess offers advice to starlet Sone

Jess lifts lid on troubled times


By Sean Wallace


Published: 06/12/2008


TEN years ago on Monday, a beleaguered Alex Miller walked out of Pittodrie after just a year in charge.


The sixth managerial casualty since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure in 1986, his exit brutally illustrated a club in freefall.


We met up with Dons legend Eoin Jess who played under Miller.


The 37-year-old lifts the lid on Miller’s exit, and gives valuable advice to Sone Aluko, dubbed the ‘new Jess’ by the Red Army.


Q You were an integral part of Alex Miller’s squad, what are your thoughts on his Pittodrie departure?


A No player wants to see their manager go, but a club needs stability above all else.


The bottom line is that we were not getting results, and when that happens the manager will inevitably lose his job.


It was a difficult time for Aberdeen, it was tough on the players too, but the manager is always the one who suffers the flak.


That is what happened with Alex Miller, but the players were giving their all out on the pitch.


Aberdeen were struggling and no player would ever go out there on a Saturday not trying to perform well.


When you do not get a few results, lack of confidence starts to seep in and it is a vicious circle.


Managers need a little bit of time to settle in.


Sometimes that does not happen because the results are bad, and Alex Miller was only there for a year. It cost him his job.


Q Have Aberdeen found that stability now with Jimmy Calderwood?


A Yes. He has been at the club for four-and-a-half years now which is the longest period since Sir Alex Ferguson.


That stability is definitely there and Calderwood got them back into Europe with some exciting games against the likes of Bayern Munich.


Okay, it has been difficult this year due to a slow stat that saw Aberdeen bottom of the SPL at one point.


But they have picked up recently and hopefully are back on track.


Q Aberdeen fans are hailing Sone Aluko as the new Eoin Jess.


Does that expectation create added pressure, and can he cope with it?


A I don’t know if being compared to me is a good or bad thing.


Whether Sone feels the pressure and expectation of the fans is up to him, it all comes down to the individual player’s character.


There is no doubting his ability, and I am sure the people at Aberdeen will keep him grounded.


For a teenager to be tipped as the bright hope can be difficult, but he seems to be coping with it well.


Q Do you have any advice for Sone?


A Enjoy it. He has made a great impact since arriving from Birmingham and Sone should make the most of that.


When I was a young kid I wouldn’t say I necessarily thrived on all the attention. But it was certainly nice to have all the publicity.


Thankfully, I have always been level headed and just got on with things.


I didn’t let all the attention and expectation affect me, and that is the best advice I could give to Sone, just keep working hard and keep your feet on the ground. Although I do not know the kid, it looks like he is doing that – which is great for Aberdeen.


Q Is there more talent like Aluko to be unearthed in England?


A Yes, as clubs in England do look to put players out on loan to give them experience of playing at first team level. Whether they would all be good enough to play regularly in the SPL is another thing. But that is up to the Aberdeen management to pick up the right players.


They have already done that with Sone, who was a great signing from Birmingham.


Q Could Nottingham Forest provide young talent for the Dons?


A At Nottingham Forest, we have some good young players who could potentially go out on loan moves. But that would be for Jimmy Calderwood and his coaching team to decide.


Aberdeen have already brought in a couple of English players which shows that they have done their scouting homework.


The Forest manager Colin Calderwood looks to put some of the reserve players and under-18s out on loan to local clubs around the Nottingham area.


There are a lot of good young players and our under-18s beat West Ham 3-1 earlier this week which was a great result.


Forest are very similar to Aberdeen, in that we like to promote young players through the ranks.


There are five players within the current first team squad who have progressed through the young ranks.


Q You have taken your first steps into coaching. Would you ever like to coach at Pittodrie?


A You can never say never. I am learning my trade in a really good environment at Forest, working with the under-16s and taking some reserve games.


Whether I am any good or not remains to be seen but I am going through the right channels and learning every day.


It is totally different to playing.


I will know when the time is right to step up into management, whether that be in Scotland, England or elsewhere.

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Guest swaddon

I have never once heard of Aluko being the 'new Jess'.


Me neither. They are two different players in different eras of the game, there is no comparison. That's like saying Lee Miller is the new Duncan Shearer.

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Id say the best advice he should give sone is 'dont be a twat and start claiming aged 30 that you havent yet reached yer potential, and then go on to alienate yourself so much at another club that you recieve more abuse from your own fans than the away supporters.


Also be realistic in your own potential so you dont look really stupid when you end up playing lower league english football



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I have never once heard of Aluko being the 'new Jess'.


I said that Aluko reminded me of a certain Eoin Jess on AFC Chat, I never said he is the NEW Jess, I said he reminded me of him!

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