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McGhee's pedigree makes him right man for Aberdeen job, says Irvine


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http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/sport/Moira-Gordon-McGhee39s-pedigree-makes.5342002.jp

 

Moira Gordon: McGhee's pedigree makes him right man for Aberdeen job, says Irvine

 

Published Date: 07 June 2009

By Moira Gordon

 

THE SCOTTISH Premier League should brace itself for a summer of managerial upheaval, says former Aberdeen defender Brian Irvine. But not just because the homegrown managers are seen as the cheaper option.

 

With three vacancies at the start of the weekend as Celtic, Aberdeen and Hibs sought out new bosses, there were a number of names being linked with more than one of the posts. Celtic now look as if they will appoint Tony Mowbray this week, with Aberdeen also set to unveil Mark McGhee as their new manager, thus creating another vacancy, at Motherwell.

 

Irvine believes the range of native candidates is an indication of the quality of the coaches currently operating in Scotland.

 

"I think there was a time when we all assumed that foreign managers were the answer. It was the same with players but now we have more Scottish players in our game again and I think clubs are realising what homegrown managers have to offer. Only one manager was sacked during what was an exciting and meaningful season with a lot of close games and battles for the title, for Europe and for relegation, and I think that shows that, on the whole, chairmen have been happy with the job their managers have been doing. If they weren't doing a good job there wouldn't be so many current SPL managers being linked with the vacancies we have and when they are filled, I think it will lead to other positions coming up within the league."

 

McGhee, Craig Levein and John Hughes have each been shortlisted for at least two of the three jobs and if any were to move on, Irvine believes they would be replaced by others who are earning their stripes further down the league table or in the First Division.

 

"I think everyone is waiting to see what happens at Celtic," he said before it became apparent that Tony Mowbray is now almost a certainty for the Parkhead job. "I think it will have a knock-on effect and we could be talking about management jobs all summer. At the moment it is all about waiting but once Celtic move, I think others will move quickly."

 

But he says that while Croatian Slaven Bilic and Spaniard Roberto Martinez are among those who were associated with the Parkhead post at one points, there is no harm in clubs looking for their new gaffers closer to home.

 

"They understand the league and the clubs and they know what the fans want. Supporters can relate to them and that will help them get off and running quicker and the likes of John Hughes, Craig Levein and Mark McGhee have been doing a very good job."

 

Irvine, who has his A licence and has been gaining experience in America, has himself been in touch with Aberdeen director of football Willie Miller offering his own services as a coach, although not as head coach. He believes that McGhee will be a popular successor to Jimmy Calderwood, despite the fact he has kept Aberdeen waiting as the Parkhead board decided their new appointment.

 

"The fans are beginning to get slightly fed up now. No one likes the waiting or being made to feel second best but the majority would still be behind McGhee. Two weeks has seemed a long time but if this was during the season, the two weeks would have felt more like two months. Because it is the close season, people are willing to be more patient and players are not too bothered because most of them are away on holiday but I think everyone will want this sorted out soon."

 

When the current Motherwell manager does get the nod, he will arrive at the club with his eyes wide open. Irvine believes that is one of the perks of landing a former player with the vast and varied managerial experience possessed by McGhee. "Knowing the club is not the most important thing but if you can get that as well as a good manager then the fans will rally round them and find it easier to get behind them. It maybe shouldn't be that way but it is and I think that helps clubs keep their identity and everyone feels like they are in it together. If it's not the manager himself, then it helps if some of his coaching staff have that link and have played at the club or supported it."

 

Adding people such as himself to the coaching set-up would be one way of doing that. "But I realise that most managers want to bring in their own men, people they know and trust not just to do a good job but not to undermine them behind their back. That's understandable."

 

But Calderwood's replacement should be well appraised of the supporters' desires and will have to wise-up to the need to deliver cup final places and, sooner rather than later, silverware. "I rated Jimmy and thought he did a good job. It will be hard to do better or be more consistent than Jimmy was when it came to the league but the fans want success in the cups. The new manager will have to realise that and that's where being able to relate to the fans and (their] priorities will help. The good thing is that there is European football to look forward to and another good run in that will help the new manager, definitely, but realistically it's about what they do in the cup competitions."

 

McGhee, moving from another SPL club, will be well aware of that situation and Irvine says there are several names who could have risen to challenge. "I think as a nation we go through phases when we knock our players and also our managers but then we realise that they are not so bad. Scottish managers have not done so badly down south and the clubs have not wanted to give up the ones that have been mentioned for the Celtic job so maybe we should give our coaches a bit more credit. They are not just a cheap option for clubs up here. They are a good option."

 

The fact they are queuing up for them suggest boards are, apparently, realising that too.

 

McGHEE IN FRAME FOR DONS

 

TONY Mowbray's likely appointment at Celtic has cleared the way for Aberdeen to bring in Mark McGhee, who is expected to be unveiled as the Pittodrie club's new manager in midweek.

 

McGhee, the Motherwell manager, was one of the candidates being considered for the top job at Parkhead. However, Celtic have opted for Mowbray and are now haggling over compensation with West Bromwich Albion.

 

McGhee, 52, was an outstanding player for the all-conquering Aberdeen side of the 1980s and admitted the lure of returning was too strong to resist.

 

"For me, there is an element of sentimentality attached to the Aberdeen job," McGhee said. "This is an opportunity to manage a club where I had fantastic success and memories as a player. The same would have applied at Celtic. So there is an element of going home about the Aberdeen job for me and I quite like that."

 

McGhee is expected to sign a two-year contract, although a compensation deal still has to be done between Aberdeen and Motherwell which is likely to be in the region of £200,000. "There is compensation to agree but the talks were encouraging," McGhee confirmed.

 

The former striker will succeed Jimmy Calderwood who left the club suddenly on the final day of the season after guiding Aberdeen into the Europa League with a victory over Hibernian. McGhee will bring with him his assistant from Motherwell, Scott Leitch, and may also target some of his former charges at Fir Park. The impressive midfielder Stephen Hughes is out of contract and would be one obvious signing for McGhee and there will also be speculation that he will move for Scotland international David Clarkson.

 

Calderwood enjoyed consistently high league finishes in his time at Aberdeen but was undone by some poor results in the domestic cup competitions. McGhee will hope to remedy this by landing Aberdeen their first trophy since the 1995-96 season.

 

The barren run is a far cry from the days when McGhee was leading the Aberdeen attack. He helped the club win the Scottish Cup on three successive occasions between 1982 and 1984, defeating the Old Firm in each of the finals and scoring in two of them. McGhee can also boast a couple of championship medals with Aberdeen and play-ed in the 1983 Cup-Winners' Cup final win over Real Madrid in Gothenburg.

 

A return to those glory days may be some way off, but any sort of success will be warmly welcomed by the Pittodrie faithful.

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Irvine, who has his A licence and has been gaining experience in America, has himself been in touch with Aberdeen director of football Willie Miller offering his own services as a coach, although not as head coach.

 

That's the bit that caught my attention! Dobbin for defensive coach :thumbsup:

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Bobby, let's face it. He could teach most SPL defences a thing or two!

 

He may have played with all his heart and soul for us Reekster, but by and large Dobbin was a bombscare. He was called Dobbin for a reason. As the Northern Light once commented on him;

 

Irvine is living proof that you can lead a horse to water but can't make a centre half out of it.

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He may have played with all his heart and soul for us Reekster, but by and large Dobbin was a bombscare. He was called Dobbin for a reason. As the Northern Light once commented on him;

 

Irvine is living proof that you can lead a horse to water but can't make a centre half out of it.

 

Aye, but country miles ahead of Diamond and Considine IMHO.

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Aye, but country miles ahead of Diamond and Considine IMHO.

 

+1

 

Pretty much what I was going to post Kow.

Irvine would walk straight into our team nowadays, and I say that even after taking into consideration his somewhat limited ability

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Aye, but country miles ahead of Diamond and Considine IMHO.

 

Really, Kow? That surprises me. I wouldn't have said he was.  there was a big chunk of his time at Aberdeen where we'd play McKimmie as a centre half rather than have Irvine there. And then Smith would play ahead of him a lot and even remember van de Ven being preferred there too occassionally.

 

I always feel that there is a lot of warm nostalgia directed towards Irvine because he loved the club and gave his all and battled back from MS, but he was largely a poor player in my opinion. I like the guy, but as a player at the time I wouldn't have lost any sleep had he been sold early in his Dons career.

 

I also have an inkling that he may be "too nice" a guy to be a coach.

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Really, Kow? That surprises me. I wouldn't have said he was.  there was a big chunk of his time at Aberdeen where we'd play McKimmie as a centre half rather than have Irvine there. And then Smith would play ahead of him a lot and even remember van de Ven being preferred there too occassionally.

 

I always feel that there is a lot of warm nostalgia directed towards Irvine because he loved the club and gave his all and battled back from MS, but he was largely a poor player in my opinion. I like the guy, but as a player at the time I wouldn't have lost any sleep had he been sold early in his Dons career.

 

I also have an inkling that he may be "too nice" a guy to be a coach.

He could lead prayers before training though.....

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he didn't really battle back he just kind of continued to play after being diagnosed as being an MS sufferer.

 

It's not like as soon as you are told you have MS that you suddenly can't do stuff.

 

It is a gradual thing. Some people it effects quicker than others though.

 

he had a fair time out of the game FJ.

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Really, Kow? That surprises me. I wouldn't have said he was.  there was a big chunk of his time at Aberdeen where we'd play McKimmie as a centre half rather than have Irvine there. And then Smith would play ahead of him a lot and even remember van de Ven being preferred there too occassionally.

 

I always feel that there is a lot of warm nostalgia directed towards Irvine because he loved the club and gave his all and battled back from MS, but he was largely a poor player in my opinion. I like the guy, but as a player at the time I wouldn't have lost any sleep had he been sold early in his Dons career.

 

I also have an inkling that he may be "too nice" a guy to be a coach.

 

I agree with Kowalski. Irvine actually went on to be a consistently decent defender.

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I agree with Kowalski. Irvine actually went on to be a consistently decent defender.

 

Depends on your definition of decent, Sharpie.  ;)

 

I knew it wouldn't be a popular point of view, but thought I'd put it out there anyway. I'm really just killing time until Bobo comes on so I can get stuck into Billy Dodds again...

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Irvine was class!!! played a massive role in keeping us in the premier, in the relegation season! scored a total screamer against celtic in the run in!!...

 

he shuld be part of the set up! if u could trust anyone to put there heart and soul into aberdeen football club its brian irvine!...

 

and there is no debate, he was ten times the player diamond or considine will ever be!...

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Irvine was class!!! played a massive role in keeping us in the premier, in the relegation season! scored a total screamer against celtic in the run in!!...

 

he shuld be part of the set up! if u could trust anyone to put there heart and soul into aberdeen football club its brian irvine!...

 

and there is no debate, he was ten times the player diamond or considine will ever be!...

 

He was also a big reason why we were down there in the first place!

 

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Here me out with this one, but Brian Irvine was very similar in ability and effort to Darren Mackie.

 

Mackie is a very average forward/squad player who plays some stinkers but has scored a few very important goals for us. Loves the club and will do anything for us.

 

Brian was a very average central defender, although you could say we were spoiled with McLeish and Miller. I always saw him as too nice of a defender, was slow, tended to over commit and get beaten, but came up with a big goal here and there. However, he had some absolute stinkers and guifted a fair few goals. However, he is/was a tremendously nice guy, religious, and would do anything for AFC so very difficult to give him dogs abuse since he was very popular and did wear his heart on the jersey.

 

As was mentioned, he was at the heart of the defence when we fought relegation - coincidence?

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