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Leighton interview in the Herald


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http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/spl/aberdeen/pain-of-being-sacked-by-old-friend-mark-mcghee-will-never-go-away-admits-aberdeen-legend-jim-leighton-1.1012739

 

Pain of being sacked by old friend Mark McGhee will never go away, admits Aberdeen legend Jim Leighton

 

 

Coming face to face with Jim Leighton can make a reporter feel the way strikers used to.

 

This is a man who has made an art form of not giving anything away. You don’t expect to get much out of Leighton, especially when there are questions to ask about something which is still painfully raw for him. The way he was sacked by his old Aberdeen mucker Mark McGhee earlier this season is the elephant in the corner of his net. Put it this way, before BBC Radio Scotland took him on as a pundit they asked whether he felt comfortable about going back to Pittodrie to give an unbiased view of McGhee’s team. Of course, he told them. Why wouldn’t he?

 

Leighton has always seemed a deep, introspective sort of guy. A man who carried his setbacks heavily. That’s an impression shaped by the media, of course, when in actual fact hardly any journalists know him. He kept his distance during a hugely distinguished career which flung him reluctantly into the limelight.

 

When Aberdeen were in their 1980s pomp, Leighton won everything up to and including the European Cup Winners’ Cup. His total of 91 Scotland caps is bettered only by Kenny Dalglish.

 

People know all of that. What is unusual about Leighton is that the lows of his career also seem disproportionately vivid. Being dropped by Sir Alex Ferguson for the 1990 FA Cup final replay. Some lost seasons. Craig Brown choosing Andy Goram ahead of him for Scotland’s Euro 96 team. And, seven months ago, being told by McGhee that his nine years as Aberdeen’s goalkeeping coach were over. Each of them was a blow which left this extraordinary goalkeeper struggling even to catch his breath. He will always bear the hurt of them.

 

He had been at Aberdeen for years, went back decades with McGhee. He hadn’t sensed what was coming when the manager, not long in the job, pulled him aside and broke the news he was being sacked. McGhee swallowed hard before making that decision because he knew it would be devastating for Leighton.

 

“Being in football is all I’ve known since 16, 17,†said Leighton. “It was a wee bit of a hammer blow for me when it came. It still, it still … I still feel really sad about it. I’ve had a lot of knocks in the game and this is one that will never go away. This one really hurt me quite badly. As much as anything has.

 

“When you’re a player there’s always another game around the corner or you can move on to another team. But I like living in Aberdeen too much. It’s very difficult to want to move elsewhere. I didn’t deserve to be in a job for life. Nobody deserves to be in a job for life.But I was very disappointed to leave the club when and how I did. But that’s life. This is an industry where people move on quite regularly.

 

“It wasn’t exactly the way I would have wanted to leave. The timing of it wasn’t particularly good for me. The season had started and there were other jobs which had been available which I could have gone for in the summer. But it’s done and there’s nothing I can do about it. I just have to move on.â€

 

He has not been in McGhee’s company since then – “I haven’t seen him, so I would rather not go down that route†– but he has been a regular at Pittodrie having accepted the BBC’s invitation to be a summariser at Aberdeen games.

 

Had it crossed his mind to turn the offer down and stay away from Pittodrie? “They asked me that question, but why shouldn’t I? I had 25 years working for the club. I’ve nothing to hide away from. It’s not as if I didn’t have a good relationship with the players or directors or supporters or anything like that. So why should I hide away? I can walk in and out the door with my head held high. That will never change.â€

 

A microphone, a captive audience and a struggling Aberdeen team: if he had chosen to use it, the platform was there to stick the boot into the man who sacked him. That’s not Leighton’s style. He has taken no satisfaction from Aberdeen’s recent tribulations.

 

“I really enjoy the BBC work. It gives you a totally different outlook and perspective on things. I haven’t really found doing the Aberdeen games to be a problem at all. But I’m an Aberdeen fan. I’ll always be an Aberdeen fan.

 

“It saddens me to see the results and what’s happening at the moment. But hopefully Aberdeen can turn the corner soon and get back to where we all would like them to be. I’ve never been critical of the team or the management. I like to comment on what I see at the time. I don’t like people being very critical, especially about individuals. I’m always nice to people … I think.â€

 

He could not be nicer about Craig Gordon. Scotland’s first-choice keeper has 40 caps at the age of 27 and is on course eventually to overtake Leighton’s 91 appearances and maybe Dalglish’s 102: “That’s what records are there for, to be beaten. He’s had a phenomenal career so far. If he’s fortunate with injuries there’s no reason why he can’t go past me and go a long way past. If that does happen, it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy than Craig Gordon. If he goes on to do what we hope and believe he will do – for whatever club he’s at and also his country – there will be no-one happier than myself.â€

 

Gordon’s clean-living professionalism appeals to Leighton. What about Allan McGregor? In terms of their “private†lives Gordon is the sober Leighton to McGregor’s louche Andy Goram. All Leighton sees is only another talented goalkeeper. “I don’t think anyone would have any doubt that at this moment in time Craig Gordon would be ahead of Allan, and that’s not to be disrespectful of Allan. But the more experience Allan gets at international level the better. He has been playing well for Rangers. He’s had very little experience with Scotland but he will put pressure on Craig. Craig knows that if he does have a wee slump in form or whatever, Allan’s there to take over.â€

 

Leighton was in his element this week. He was in Glasgow to help oversee an SFA course on goalkeeper coaching. McGregor, Paul Gallacher, Alan Combe and Chris Woods were among around 20 goalkeepers being shown training drills and specialist coaching techniques at Lesser Hampden. The SFA were pleased at the high level of turnout from experienced, well-known goalkeepers who intend to remain in the game once they’ve finished playing, as Leighton has done. Now 51, it is almost 11 years since he hung up his gloves. Since leaving his Pittodrie coaching role, he has occupied himself with his goalkeeping clinics in Aberdeen, the BBC work and, since last month, part-time coaching duties with Huntly.

 

Despite the SFA’s impressive commitment to create goalkeeper coaches, there aren’t many job vacancies for a full-time one who doesn’t want to leave Aberdeen and can’t get work at Pittodrie. Leighton smiled. “I don’t really foresee myself moving. Aberdeen has a lot of things going against it, but it also has an awful lot of things going for it.â€

 

Having figured out all the angles he has taken his position. Same as always.

 

 

Its quite a shock to read an article about Aberdeen which is actually well written, informative and interesting.

 

 

 

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http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/spl/aberdeen/pain-of-being-sacked-by-old-friend-mark-mcghee-will-never-go-away-admits-aberdeen-legend-jim-leighton-1.1012739

 

Its quite a shock to read an article about Aberdeen which is actually well written, informative and interesting.

 

Agreed, he's given a good interview there.

I personally hope his time with the club has not finished.

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Guest rocket debris

Here's an acid test. Hands up who would invite Leighton and his horse wife to their house for dinner?

 

The boy has the personality of a shortbread tin and a bitterness bigger than Texas. Who gives a fuck what he says. There was no job for him. It was jobs for the boys and AFC can ill afford to spunk wages on anyone, let alone an arsehole like him. 

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Here's an acid test. Hands up who would invite Leighton and his horse wife to their house for dinner?

 

The boy has the personality of a shortbread tin and a bitterness bigger than Texas. Who gives a fuck what he says. There was no job for him. It was jobs for the boys and AFC can ill afford to spunk wages on anyone, let alone an arsehole like him.

 

I'm almost positive that he is divorced. I also don't own a house to invite him round.

 

Who gives a fuck if he has no personality and is bitter? He was a good goalkeeping coach, much better than what we have now, thats the only thing that matters. I can't in all honesty say i'd invite any of the staff down Pittodrie way for dinner, individually i'd say they're all arseholes to a man, but when they come together they represent something much more important than that.

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Here's an acid test. Hands up who would invite Leighton and his horse wife to their house for dinner?

 

The boy has the personality of a shortbread tin and a bitterness bigger than Texas. Who gives a fuck what he says. There was no job for him. It was jobs for the boys and AFC can ill afford to spunk wages on anyone, let alone an arsehole like him.

 

Did he blank you too?

 

Why do you put so much stock into whether Aberdeen players (and in particular Aberdeen legends it seems) have fantastic personalities?  Who cares?

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Here's an acid test. Hands up who would invite Leighton and his horse wife to their house for dinner?

 

The boy has the personality of a shortbread tin and a bitterness bigger than Texas. Who gives a fuck what he says. There was no job for him. It was jobs for the boys and AFC can ill afford to spunk wages on anyone, let alone an arsehole like him.

 

Was he not sacked to create a positon for one of MM mates from Motherwell so still jobs for the boys.

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Guest rocket debris

Did he blank you too?

 

Why do you put so much stock into whether Aberdeen players (and in particular Aberdeen legends it seems) have fantastic personalities?  Who cares?

Lol. Invented and fabricated, repeated enough and then believed by feeble minds.

 

I agree. Personalities are unimportant, only their competence for the job and whether it adds value. Leighton never had a GK coach. It is a personal opinion of mine that the position is unnecessary.

 

For the record, it is only Leighton, Miller and Strachan that I don't like as humans, yet LOVED them as players. Miller is the best I've ever seen but I didn't agree with his appointment almost 6 years ago and still don't see the value he adds for his 3/4 million or whatever he's earned in this time.

 

The rest of AFC players as people that I've met I like. McLeish was at my wedding and Neale I went to school with.

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Guest rocket debris

Was he not sacked to create a positon for one of MM mates from Motherwell so still jobs for the boys.

JC JN SC & JL = 4.

MM + 2 = 3.

saved head

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Lol. Invented and fabricated, repeated enough and then believed by feeble minds.

 

I agree. Personalities are unimportant, only their competence for the job and whether it adds value. Leighton never had a GK coach. It is a personal opinion of mine that the position is unnecessary.

 

For the record, it is only Leighton, Miller and Strachan that I don't like as humans, yet LOVED them as players. Miller is the best I've ever seen but I didn't agree with his appointment almost 6 years ago and still don't see the value he adds for his 3/4 million or whatever he's earned in this time.

 

The rest of AFC players as people that I've met I like. McLeish was at my wedding and Neale I went to school with.

 

Feeble minds indeed.

 

Going by Langfield's performances this season (without getting into whether he has ever been good or not) certainly suggest that Leighton was doing a good job and certainly not a waste of a wage.

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Guest rocket debris

Feeble minds indeed.

 

Going by Langfield's performances this season (without getting into whether he has ever been good or not) certainly suggest that Leighton was doing a good job and certainly not a waste of a wage.

It doesn't suggest that at all. There is no discernible difference in Langfield this year and before. He's still no better than rank average at best. In fact, he's had a couple of great games that were almost error-free and a good number of games where he hasn't directly cost us points. Our best 3 keepers ever never had a GK coach.

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It doesn't suggest that at all. There is no discernible difference in Langfield this year and before. He's still no better than rank average at best. In fact, he's had a couple of great games that were almost error-free and a good number of games where he hasn't directly cost us points. Our best 3 keepers ever never had a GK coach.

 

I would say there is a pretty big difference between this year and last when it comes to Langfield.  His positioning for a start seems all wrong at times.

And just because our best 3 keepers never had a coach doesn't mean that others don't need it. Langfield doesn't have the natural ability of Leighton or Snelders for instance. And just because they didn't have a GK Coach, doesn't mean they weren't coached at all...

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Guest rocket debris

of course you are, I wasn't aware that I had suggested otherwise. It's called a conversation, and is pretty much the point of the forum. Would you rather I left the last word to you...?

Oh, righto then. In answer to your question, no, you have the last word. You can have the whole forum to yourself if you like.

 

What do you mean by his positioning this year over last? My opinion is that there is no way that Leighton had any influence on Langfield's GK instinct. Positioning is instinct. How do you teach instinct? Do you have examples where his positioning this year was demonstrably inferior?

 

In fact, let's go the whole hog. What can a GK coach provide to an established keeper? Yes, they need to train separately much of the time, but the GK's did it together without the £60k/£80k expense of another head previously.

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Guest rocket debris

MM + SL + JL = 3

MM + SL + CM = 3

 

Same number so do not see the saved head count your talking about. Just a space created on the coaching staff which was filled by MM's mate.

Not unusual is it? Sam Allardyce had 17 at Newcastle. Billy Davies 13 at Derby. CM is not exclusively GK coach.

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Guest rocket debris

Another catastrophic error by Clangers tonight, a mistake that a schoolboy would have gotten his head kicked in for.

 

Did the radio commentators not mention it? Just seen it on SSN and replayed it to make sure. Understanding goalkeeping is the preserve of the minority.

 

Including me, obviously.

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