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P&J: Aberdeen sack Calderwood

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Aberdeen sack Calderwood



By Paul Third


Published: 25/05/2009


Jimmy Calderwood and his Aberdeen management team were last night sacked in a dramatic final day of the SPL season.


The Press and Journal understands the Dons manager, his assistant Jimmy Nicholl and reserve coach Sandy Clark were told the news before the 2-1 victory against Hibs which saw Aberdeen qualify for the Europa League. The announcement came an hour after goals from Lee Miller and Charlie Mulgrew had earned the Dons a return to Europe at the expense of Dundee United.


Motherwell manager Mark McGhee is the early favourite to take over from Calderwood, with Wigan assistant manager Eric Black also being linked with the vacant post. Both are former Aberdeen players.


Calderwood, 54, had been under pressure to deliver European football following another awful Scottish Cup exit against First Division opposition, with his former club Dunfermline eliminating the Dons in a quarter-finals shootout.


Coming on the back of a semi-final exit to Queen of the South a year ago and a previous exit to Queen’s Park in the League Cup, it is clear the manager’s failure to deliver a trophy in his tenure has been the factor in the club’s decision.


Dons chairman Stewart Milne said the decision to change the manager had been made before the final match. Milne said: “We jointly believe this is the right time for Jimmy and his team to part company with Aberdeen. He has been here five years. We believe it is time to make a change and Jimmy agrees. The decision was made a few days ago.â€


Calderwood left Pittodrie for the final time yesterday without speaking to reporters but had earlier hinted at his frustration at being unable to compete with second and third-tier clubs in England.


Captain Scott Severin has also played his final game for the club. Calderwood said: “If you look at the players we have lost in the last few years, we could have had a magnificent team.â€


The club claims the decision to part company with Calderwood and his team is by mutual consent.


Dons defender Richard Foster reportedly called Calderwood brainless on the training ground – but believes the Aberdeen board has made a mistake.


Foster was dropped by Calderwood following a training-ground argument earlier in the season, but is sad to see Calderwood leave – especially following a successful end to the campaign.


Foster said: “I think the board has made a mistake. I don't see how you can sack or ask a successful manager to leave. If you look at the money and the games which will come with being in Europe, it is strange, but that's football.


“It is a sad ending to a good day. We were all buzzing at getting into Europe and we have just been told the management team are leaving. To hear the news after finishing fourth and getting into Europe is strange.


“There was mixed opinion of him during his time here, but supporters pay their money and they deserve their say. We have got into Europe twice and the only thing you can be critical of is the cup record.


“But I think it unfair to judge him on what has happened in the cups.â€


For a day which should have been one for celebration, player after player made the trip down the concourse within the Richard Donald Stand looking as if they had left a wake.


Stuart Duff, who was brought to Pittodrie by Calderwood last season, was clearly in shock at hearing the news he would be playing for a new manager next season.


Duff said: “He didn't go into the details of what has happened.


“He wished us all the best and on behalf of the players I would like to thank him for everything he has done at the club. He will do a good job at whatever club he goes to next.


“We only found out after the game and obviously it has taken the shine off what was a good day for us.


“He thanked everybody at the club and I think it was quite hard for him to find the words as he was very emotional. I have a lot to thank him for as he has been brilliant for me.


“There were rumours going about before the game, but it is still a shock.


“The timing is a bit strange and I don't know what we will do about a new manager.


“The players were chuffed to bits to get into Europe but the manager going takes the shine off. I am lost for words.â€

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