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Spiers again - Wake up call for McGhee?


BobbyBiscuit
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Pitiful Aberdeen are the Nottingham Forest of Scotland

Graham Spiers

 

*

 

 

It is always worrying every time you hear a manager confess that he has just asked his failing players if they think there is anything he should be doing differently or better. Mark McGhee is only the latest to perform such an act, which is a sure sign that the Aberdeen manager is now under a heap of pressure.

 

McGhee’s team have lost four and drawn three of their last seven matches — a truly miserable run. Of course, a further nadir was reached in last week’s elimination from the Active Nation Scottish Cup by Raith Rovers at Pittodrie, but a wider gloom is now closing in on McGhee and his players. Bluntly, the Dons manager will be sacked if he carries on like this.

 

Maybe this was why a grim McGhee emerged from the bowels of Falkirk Stadium after the 3-1 defeat to the Bairns on Saturday to make the following, doomed pronouncement. “I’ve just asked the players if they feel there is anything that I could be doing differently,†McGhee said. “By this I mean, the way I do things, and the things that I ask them to do. We had a brilliant, frank discussion.â€

 

For some inexplicable reason, when I heard McGhee speak like this, it took me straight back to 1993 and to another SPL manager — and a thoroughly doomed one, as it transpired — who also spoke in such terms.

 

It is now long-forgotten — except by the long-suffering Stuart Cosgroves of this world — that John McClelland, the former Leeds United, Watford and Rangers player, was once the manager of St Johnstone. It was an inauspicious period in the Saints history, with McClelland’s style of management quickly nosediving among his players and the club’s supporters.

 

After one particularly bleak afternoon at McDiarmid Park following another Saints defeat, I always remember what McClellland said to us at the post-match press conference. “I’ve just spoken to my players and I’ve asked them, ‘Is there something that you think I could be doing better or different?’ †he said. “I’ve had my say, now it is the turn of the players.â€

 

It proved not to be a useful exercise, trying to get the St Johnstone players to diagnose why McClelland was being such a failure. He was gone within three weeks.

 

It seems to me a sorry pass to reach when, having bawled your players out, you then go to them for the remedy. No doubt Mark McGhee feels this is a novel or refreshing way to go, and I don’t blame him for groping around in the dark in trying to find a solution. The dismal Dons look utterly hopeless these days and it must be galling for their hardworking manager.

 

Aberdeen as a club must be driving their fans away in their droves. Indeed, you can already see the anecdotal evidence of it, with crowds this season of 8,000 and 9,000 now being evident at Pittodrie. Against this, McGhee must feel distraught that he has next to no money with which to rebuild his team.

 

“We’ll hopefully get to the summer and then be able to make the necessary changes that are required for the club,†the Aberdeen manager said on Saturday night. By this, did McGhee mean “changes for the better� And with what? With a standard of player salary that you would find at the likes of Gillingham and Southend?

 

There is one ray of light for Aberdeen amid all this gloom, and it can be found 400 miles to the south of the Granite City. Nottingham Forest are very similar to the Dons, in terms of a golden period over a quarter of a century ago that established the club among the elite of Britain and Europe. Since then Forest, like Aberdeen, have rued their cruel fate, and never been fully able to accept their fall from grace.

 

Yet Forest have now found the answer and it is quite startling. Principally, it is not to do with money. It is to do with having a keen, bright, effective manager at the helm. Billy Davies, in relative terms, has had no war-chest to open at Forest, yet this gifted manager, just as he did at Derby County, has hoisted Forest back among the contenders for promotion to the Barclays Premier League.

 

For Forest supporters there is no other place to be; and many of those will say that, with their club’s incredible pedigree, Forest should be regulars among the English Premier League’s top ten. It is the same with Aberdeen, whose fans, while not being deluded that 1983 can ever be repeated, also see their club as among the Scottish elite, and want back there.

 

The Billy Davies experience in Nottingham is telling for Aberdeen. A good manager can make an enormous difference to a club, with his craft and his ideas. Mark McGhee, in looking for a solution, should try racking his own brains more, rather than those of his players.

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Well written.

 

Are we having a 3 week countdown?

 

That could very well be the reality of the situation. If the board were weak enough to cave under the pressure of 10 or so loudmouths waving their post it notes outside pittodrie last season then they'll never cope with what might happen if we don't get results in our next 3-4 games.

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That could very well be the reality of the situation. If the board were weak enough to cave under the pressure of 10 or so loudmouths waving their post it notes outside pittodrie last season then they'll never cope with what might happen if we don't get results in our next 3-4 games.

 

If we dont get results in the next 3-4 games as you say, we will have to call the men in white coats to take away McGhee as hes already on the verge of breaking down!

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Its made the main site now; good news? - PUSH IT!

 

http://www.afc.premiumtv.co.uk/articles/20100223/mark-mcghee-says-thank-you-_2212158_1975083

 

Aberdeen manager Mark McGhee publically wants to thank all the people who have taken time to email him offering support.

 

Mark told RedWeb "Up until today I have personally been answering all the emails sent in by supporters however due to the overwhelming volume of emails which I received this afternoon I have had to draft this generic response. I have taken the time to read all the emails and I truly appreciate the support.

 

"Rest assured I remain totally committed to the job I came here to do."

 

Mark also took time out to speak with RedTV this afternoon.

 

"First of all there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the meeting we had in the dressing room after the game on Saturday was a hugely positive thing.

 

"Somebody tried to put a spin on it this morning in the papers that the feedback I had from the players was in some way critical of me and my methods. This is not the case.

 

"There was some positive observations. Some of which I had to go away and think 'ok' what do I do about that. There was nothing offensive, nothing I had any worries about and I came out of the dressing room very positive. The way that has manifested itself today is that we all arrived back at training in a really determined and positive frame of mind. The training was good, the boys were vocal. There appears to be a determination about them to get it right for Saturday.

 

"I am aware that a lot of people have taken the time to email the club today giving their support to me. So those that are emailing in support I appreciate it and I thank them for that sincerely.

 

"I also appreciate there will be people out there who have not emailed in who have doubts but I am very focussed and determined as to what I am doing here and what I came here to do and none of that has changed.

 

"I sat at lunchtime and went through some of the stats. We went through a run of games since the 2nd of January. We have won 4, drawn 3 and lost 5. In those 5 was the defeat against Falkirk and Raith Rovers, one against Motherwell and one against St Mirren. Certainly the Falkirk and Raith Rovers games are games we should not be losing so that was hugely disappointing. Mark at the Sport Village

 

"You have to say also that we have played Dundee United, Hearts, Celtic, Hibs and we haven't lost so there is a huge amount of positives to be taken from that. So I am not getting carried away. I am also not getting blinded by good results or distracted by bad results.

 

"Some people in the press chose to be a little mischievous and we just have to live with that. It is because of the type of club and size of club that Aberdeen is but I remain very focussed on what I am doing here.

 

"I always said it would be a transitional season. I expected better results in some circumstances but as I say we have just come out of a run of 12 games where people like Mark Kerr, Darren Mackie, Jamie Langfield, Foster, Mulgrew having played the majority of those games - 11 or 12. The games have been played in difficult conditions in terms of the weather and the pitches. We have trained in dreadful conditions. A lot of the time we have not been able to train properly because of the snow and ice and freezing conditions we have suffered in the area over the last two months.

 

"That has not helped us. We came into the Raith Rovers game having had two big games against Hibs and Celtic before. You have to wonder about the consequences about having to play the amount of games we have in a short space of time with the amount of players we have at our disposal.

 

"Our preparation on Saturday has again been hit by the weather. We trained this morning at the sports village, which is a fantastic facility, but you can't do that too often and some of the players are unable to train on the surface due to injuries they are carrying.

 

"There are a lot of things that means we can't just make sweeping statements about attitude and all that. I was the first after the Raith game to be critical, but we have to be a little careful.

 

"The important thing for the supporters to know is that there was a really positive atmosphere and positive attitude at training this morning. Anything they read about dissent or this business or criticism is absolute rubbish."

 

width=249 height=212http://www.afc.premiumtv.co.uk/javaImages/c/a9/0,,10284~8628492,00.jpg[/img]

 

And Stewart what are you doing??

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"I sat at lunchtime and went through some of the stats. We went through a run of games since the 2nd of January. We have won 4, drawn 3 and lost 5. In those 5 was the defeat against Falkirk and Raith Rovers, one against Motherwell and one against St Mirren. Certainly the Falkirk and Raith Rovers games are games we should not be losing so that was hugely disappointing"

 

Motherwell and St Mirren are games we should not be losing either!

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I read the comments as...

 

"blah, blah, blah... excuses, excuses, excuses... get the excuses in early for Saturday... everything is rosy down Pittodrie way"

 

What a load of shite

 

Pretty much how I read it too. We've heard it all before. The proof is in the pudding...or in this case, on the pitch.

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I thought it was shite and confused shite at that.

 

Going away to think about the positives, continuing to do what he's doing and came to do and not getting carried away at the positives that came from not losing, GREAT STUFF!

 

Not to mention the weather, what with Aberdeen being those extra 70 miles closer to the Arctic circle than Fife.  ::)

 

Don't forget the injuries that mean players can't train on state of the art facilities.  ::)

 

We also have the "transitional season". Was that originally a McGhee quote or is this something he's picked up from the overwhelming volume of emails he's received?

 

Either way, in my opinion, this article is on a par with a "Deek Dung - I can be Aberdeen's 20 goal a season striker" or a "Ricky Foster - We'll show fans how much cup defeat has hurt us" article.

 

As Manc and Jaeger have said the proof will be on the park, over the next couple of weeks.

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OMG are you not joining in the 'send Mark a love letter thread' on mad?  :o :o

 

They are as delusional an Al'qaeda suicide bomber who thinks they are getting 72 virgins once he blows his bollocks off from a nappy bomb on a plane!

 

I sent McGhee a message of support after the spitting incident. I think you are being patronising mizer, referring to these messages of support as "send Mark a love letter"

 

I'm far from delusional. Surely you were appalled at an apparent Aberdeen fan spitting on McGhee? As much as JC was derided by many, no-one ever spat on him.

 

McGhee can only urinate with the penis(es) he has inherited, and by recent reports some seem hell bent on spitting the dummy. I acknowledge his signings haven't been good; Ifil (I blame those at Hull  ;) ) , Grassi, never been same since facial injury and think even I could do better! MacLean and Paterson good loan deals, former especially intelligent play. Nae surprised to read we can't afford to keep them, especially after £20K wasn't available for JOB.

 

 

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I sent McGhee a message of support after the spitting incident. I think you are being patronising mizer, referring to these messages of support as "send Mark a love letter"

 

I'm far from delusional. Surely you were appalled at an apparent Aberdeen fan spitting on McGhee? As much as JC was derided by many, no-one ever spat on him.

 

McGhee can only urinate with the penis(es) he has inherited, and by recent reports some seem hell bent on spitting the dummy. I acknowledge his signings haven't been good; Ifil (I blame those at Hull  ;) ) , Grassi, never been same since facial injury and think even I could do better! MacLean and Paterson good loan deals, former especially intelligent play. Nae surprised to read we can't afford to keep them, especially after £20K wasn't available for JOB.

 

You should have used the word alleged before the words "spitting incident" as yet to see any hard evidence that this actually occurred. Still not convinced that it was not a brilliant ploy from MM to deflect attention from another cup failure. As for the £20K for O'Brien no chance Motherwell would have accepted a bid of this level so that was another brilliant bit of spin from MM. Lastly Grassi was pish before the face injury. In fact in the Dundee game their winger had been in the process of ripping him a new one when he got hurt.

 

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  • 1 month later...

Going over old ground in today's paper:

 

How do you think Jimmy Calderwood feels now? The man who was binned by Aberdeen, if not in indignity, then certainly with feelings of a grave injustice, yesterday proves to be the one who comes back ten months later to deny officially the Dons a top-six place this season.

 

Kilmarnock’s 2-0 win over Aberdeen at Rugby Park must have been a bittersweet one for Calderwood, who still nurses regrets.

 

While Calderwood was seen punching the air at Kilmarnock’s second goal, Mark McGhee, his successor at Pittodrie, was seen to slink a little farther back into his dugout.

 

Because of yesterday’s defeat, Aberdeen now have no chance of a top-six place, and this footballing vignette of right and wrong in Ayrshire told quite a bit about the cruel whims of a football manager’s fate.

 

In the months since Willie Miller, the Aberdeen director of football, had his infamous chat with Calderwood last May, telling him that, in effect, he was being sacked by Aberdeen, the hurt has been evident in the Kilmarnock manager’s eyes. Even when some of us went to see Calderwood on the night he was appointed the Kilmarnock manager in January, he was still saying of his Aberdeen dismissal: “Why? I’m left asking myself, what did I do so wrong?â€

 

Today some will answer that by saying, “not a lot, Jimmyâ€. With Aberdeen now mired in eighth position in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League, Calderwood’s record of third and fourth-place finishes over his five years in the Granite City suddenly seems very respectable indeed.

 

Today, how Aberdeen would crave to know that, next season, they could be guaranteed a top-six place, let alone the higher reaches to which Calderwood habitually took them. This is one man who must feel a certain moral and professional exoneration.

 

Calderwood’s dagger into the heart of his old club yesterday also raises the notion again of the behaviour and attitude of a certain element among the Aberdeen support.

 

I need to be careful here, because every football club has its dubious, extreme element. Moreover, there is a healthy cross-section of Aberdeen fans who are fed-up with Scotland’s West of Scotland-based media waffling on about them in faintly ignorant fashion, and no more so than when we continually drag up the old myth about hordes of them hankering after the Alex Ferguson days.

 

So I will try to avoid the sort of lazy journalism to which Aberdeen Football Club and their fans are recurringly subjected.

 

Nonetheless, a distinct element at Pittodrie never liked Calderwood, and blinded themselves to his achievements with their club in the Scottish Premier League.

 

For a few, it didn’t seem to matter how high in the table he took Aberdeen, they wanted rid of him. In this regard the recent fanning of fans’ websites can produce venom just as much as humour or an enjoyable lunacy. Calderwood, to a degree, was a victim of a strange type of prejudice in Aberdeen.

 

But he also, in another sense, brought a disenchantment upon himself. I wasn’t the only sportswriter to whom Calderwood spoke during his last season at Pittodrie about his desire for a change of scene.

 

Back then in 2008 he felt that he had done enough to move to a bigger, richer club, and that his managerial ticket was pretty hot. To Calderwood, the grass just seemed greener elsewhere, and he wasn’t exactly thinking of Kilmarnock.

 

Perhaps some of this fed through to Willie Miller, the members of the Aberdeen board, and to some of the club’s supporters. Certainly, the feeling somehow grew during the 2008-09 season that a divorce was looming between Calderwood and Aberdeen. But it seems now that both parties are the losers.

 

McGhee will have his own thoughts on all this. McGhee has had various successes in his own managerial career, not least in taking Motherwell to a remarkable third spot in the SPL, so it is senseless to look at Aberdeen’s present malaise and conclude that McGhee himself is a dud.

 

Frankly, the evidence for that, historically, doesn’t stack up. But McGhee and Aberdeen now find themselves in a positon of undiluted misery.

 

Just how do Aberdeen get out of this? McGhee has talked implausibly of getting rid of players and getting “the right ones†in, but how does any Aberdeen manager do that?

 

The club, if not exactly broke, are strapped for cash. Aberdeen have to scour the third and fourth tiers of English football — in other words, where the dross is found — for new players. It is a desperate, dismal fate for such a once-proud club.

 

I just hope McGhee does a good line in magic. He’s going to need rabbits and hats in the weeks and months ahead. As for Calderwood, his regret lingers. 

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