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Scottish Premiership 22/23 season start

Stand Free!

City of Aberdeen has fallen out of love with its club - Graham Spiers


BobbyBiscuit
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Every staging post in the decline of Aberdeen FC has been painful: the bitter defeats, poor attendances, the lack of funds. While Raith Rovers’ 1-0 win in the Active Nation Scottish Cup fifth-round replay on Tuesday night was a moment of joy for the Fifers — and no doubt for Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, — it represented another nail in the Aberdeen’s coffin.

 

There is growing evidence that this is a city highly disenchanted with its once proud football club. The local Press and Journal confirmed as much yesterday when it stated: “The Dons season has ended, and so too, perhaps, has much of the love affair between a city and its team.â€

 

For those who follow and admire the Scottish game, this remorseless disintegration of the “Dandy Dons†has been a pitiful story to observe. There were bitter recriminations across the city yesterday — indeed, across the whole Grampian region — at this latest embarrassment.

 

Stewart Milne, the colossally rich Aberdeen chairman, was again targeted for his perceived lack of investment in the club; Willie Miller, Aberdeen’s director of football, was being panned on various message boards for his role in the saga. And there is something extremely painful going on in Scotland’s footballing north-east when Miller, arguably Aberdeen’s greatest player, is trashed like this.

 

The defeat by Raith can only be added to Aberdeen’s grim toll of cup reverses at the hands of lower-league opponents in recent years. Queen’s Park, Queen of the South, Dunfermline Athletic, Dundee and now the little Kirkcaldy club have all plunged a knife into the Dons.

 

When one supporter allegedly spat at Mark McGhee, the manager, as he left his dugout at full-time on Tuesday, it summed up the whole despicable mess. As beyond the pale as this act was, it captured a club growing sick of themselves.

 

Is the city of Aberdeen giving up on its team? Over the decades attendances at Pittodrie have always been a cause for concern. Infamously, Alex Ferguson vehemently complained that, even when his team were closing in on both European and domestic honours in 1983, Pittodrie would still sometimes house only 17,000 for certain games — this from a north-east hinterland of almost 500,000.

 

Yet more recent attendances do suggest a local falling out of love with the club. On Tuesday only 8,129 were at Pittodrie, and 700 of those had travelled north from Kirkcaldy. Only 8,226 turned up to watch Aberdeen face Heart of Midlothian in the Scottish Cup last month, while crowds of 9,000 have not been unusual for league games this season.

 

And it is set to get worse, with the gag already doing the rounds that Aberdeen’s end-of-season party is to be held in the city’s Beach Ballroom tomorrow night.

 

Aberdeen supporters unleashed an outpouring of anger yesterday. “Second-rate board, second-rate team, and a support that tolerates an element among it which other great clubs never would,†one fan, Lawrence Fraser, said. Another, Ian Stewart, said: “The team is rubbish. I haven’t been a regular at Pittodrie since 1992 and I won’t be back until we have a team that is properly funded and with players of quality.†A third fan simply wrote: “It has been ten years of frustration and anger.â€

 

The question of a fresh investment in Aberdeen is one that will not go away. Milne’s personal wealth is put at in excess of £400 million, with his company, the Stewart Milne Group, having turned over between £300 million and £400 million of annual business in recent years.

 

Given such wealth, the recurring complaint against Milne by many Aberdeen fans is that he is downright stingy towards the club he owns, McGhee being regularly open about the sort of salary he can offer players — such as Jerel Ifil — is on a par with the third tier of English football.

 

Against this, Milne cannot simply throw his money around. In the past 18 months his group has recorded a £27 million loss, and 400 employees have had to be laid off during the recession.

 

The Milne argument is only one of many bitter disputes engulfing Aberdeen. McGhee, meanwhile, will soldier on, though his words yesterday were ominous.

 

“There seems to be a weak mentality at the club,†he said. “Tuesday was embarrassing and humiliating for the manner in which we were outfought by Raith.

 

“Something is obviously inherently wrong at the club and it is my job to try to fix it. Somehow, I need to try to bring players in who have the sort of mentality that would not allow a defeat like this to happen.â€

 

The obvious problem is, for the sort of players’ salaries that you will also find at Wycombe Wanderers, Stockport County and Carlisle United, where will McGhee find such bar-raising footballers for Aberdeen? It seems that this football club is in an inexorable downward spiral, with its own civic kith and kin at various points of giving up on it.

 

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Spot on really, which is why the cups have been so important to us in recent years. We need something big to reclaim the many thousands of disenchanted supporters, and a trophy is one of the few possibilities. It would take something like this, a marquee signing or a change of ownership to get some much needed fervour amongst the support once again. At present though, anything of this ilk seems incredibly remote.

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Spiers has the capacity to write a decent article every now and again, in amongst some of the shite he is capable of spouting off. Think this is one of his better articles of recent times and pretty much on the button. Difficult to argue with, although I'm sure some will

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I'd add, rather inaccurate title as alot of Aberdeen fans are not from "City of Aberdeen"

Yeah but presumably a lot of them have moved away from the area so although not living there just now ala glasgow sheep still actually from Aberdeen.

 

The thing is its not really about anyone who isn't from the city, for me it sums up what I posted elsewhere that its the people of Aberdeen who don't even bother going to games that are killing the club by not attending games. Whilst I do not expect sell out crowds we should be at least getting 15,000 each week and the difference this would make to the club is massive. I have so much respect for those I witness travelling up on trains/buses to continue to support the team as I have done myself over a number of years. It is the folk that sit watching Man Utd in Archie Simpsons before a match who won't even trundle along to Pittodrie that get my back up.

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The team is rubbish. I haven’t been a regular at Pittodrie since 1992 and I won’t be back until we have a team that is properly funded and with players of quality.

 

... because your continued financial support of the football club is obviously helping to "properly fun" the club?!! It's a good article, but why the fuck did Spiers choose to quote this muppet?

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Yeah but presumably a lot of them have moved away from the area so although not living there just now ala glasgow sheep still actually from Aberdeen.

 

The thing is its not really about anyone who isn't from the city, for me it sums up what I posted elsewhere that its the people of Aberdeen who don't even bother going to games that are killing the club by not attending games. Whilst I do not expect sell out crowds we should be at least getting 15,000 each week and the difference this would make to the club is massive. I have so much respect for those I witness travelling up on trains/buses to continue to support the team as I have done myself over a number of years. It is the folk that sit watching Man Utd in Archie Simpsons before a match who won't even trundle along to Pittodrie that get my back up.

 

 

+1  :thumbsup:

And still plenty of our support see fit to pour scorn on our central belt supporters

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A strange phenomenon that.  I reckon we must be the only club in the world who has fans who don't want other fans to support the club because of where they are from. Mental.

 

A phenomenon I have had first hand of experience of in Berlin for the Hertha game.

Still got family in Aberdeenshire, but got into an argument with somel ittle prick who told me I shouldn't be there as I didn't have an Aberdeen accent.

 

 

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I think the implication is that as Scotland's largest one-club-town the place should be totally enamoured with AFC. At the moment its easy to see why that isn't the case just now.

 

Personally I'm proud to have a large central belt following - it makes for a good away support when there are games in the region and serves as a fly in the Old Firm dominated ointment.

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A phenomenon I have had first hand of experience of in Berlin for the Hertha game.

Still got family in Aberdeenshire, but got into an argument with somel ittle prick who told me I shouldn't be there as I didn't have an Aberdeen accent.

 

Berlin was bad for that. I felt decidedly uneasy because of the attitude of some AFC "fans" towards weegies.

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A strange phenomenon that.  I reckon we must be the only club in the world who has fans who don't want other fans to support the club because of where they are from. Mental.

 

Football's changed, I think personally folk should support their local football team but as Ian said its not about where you're from, its about where you're at :)

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