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Sunday Herald: McGhee needs players to put their backs into it

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Frank Gilfeather



8 Aug 2010


If Mark McGhee is reluctant to make predictions over how his new-look Aberdeen squad will shape up in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League this season, it is perfectly understandable.


After all, his assertion on day one of his appointment at Pittodrie little over a year ago that a third-place finish would be his goal, began to look more misjudged the longer the season progressed until even the revised forecast of a top-six spot fell short of the mark.


As the realisation took hold that too many of his side no longer wished to be in the north-east, McGhee’s thoughts turned to 2010-11, and how he could restore lost pride at a club rumoured to have sold fewer than 3500 season tickets for the new term.


“We’ve brought in some players and expectations will be higher again,” he said. “I can only do what I can. I feel I’ve spent the money I had available to me as best as I possibly could, better than anyone would have expected.


“Now I have to see how that manifests itself in performances. That’s all I can do and see where it takes us and suffer the consequences, one way or another.


“If it works out, brillia nt – if it doesn’t, we’ll see what happens. I’m relaxed about that.


“There will be pressure but it’s not pressure that will affect my daily life.”


McGhee’s return to Pittodrie, where he was a key member of the all-conquering Aberdeen side under Sir Alex Ferguson, was greeted with optimism, but whether he is given the time he needs to appease a dwindling fanbase, displeased that their team are now ranked among the also-rans of the SPL, remains to be seen.


He has raided the dole queues of England’s lower leagues for players, desperate to effect the change in attitude he needs at the club. In Paul Hartley, the former Hearts and Celtic playmaker, however, he believes he has brought on board someone capable of making a difference.


Gone are Mark Kerr, Charlie Mulgrew and Gary McDonald, all of whom appeared to lack the appetite for battle in the second half of last season.


McGhee was unprepared to argue that his new signings – including the former Oldham striker Scott Vernon and, in midfield, Yoann Folly, who started his career with St Etienne and had spells at Southampton, Sheffield Wednesday and Plymouth – were better than those defectors.


“But,” he added, “I think we’ve signed players who are in a better state of mind in the sense that the others all saw themselves as leaving and therefore weren’t entirely focused on what was happening a Pittodrie.


“From that point of view, I think we’re in a better state.”


McGhee pointed to the two Edinburgh clubs as the main rivals to the Old Firm this year. However, he didn’t visualise either being able to split the big two.


“Hearts have made good additions, like Darren Barr and Kevin Kyle, two players we would have liked,” he said. “I think they’ll be up there and that we’ll have to chase them to the line.


“Hibs have kept their squad pretty much together and added a couple I’m not too familiar with and therefore don’t know what kind of impact they’ll have but I’d expect them to be competitive again.


“Motherwell, like us, lost key players and had to replace them for less money.


“Therefore, it is difficult to know how good Motherwell will be but Craig Brown and Archie Knox will make the best of them.


“The other sides are mostly managed by young, ambitious managers who will work doubly hard to keep improving season on season, like St Johnstone and Hamilton and teams like that.


“But the power base in the SPL won’t change. Rangers have still got good players, though maybe not as many or as good as they’ve had.


“They’ll do well to finish above Celtic this season, but the rest of us will still be chasing the Old Firm.”

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Dont recall a major effort by the club to attract new season ticket holders or to keep the old ones.

A season in which the fans were openly criticised by the players, management and club.

Several reports of players openly stating they couldnt give a shit about playing for the club

Getting dumped out of the cups by Raith Rovers, Sigma, Dundee and not even looking close to challenging for a top half finish.

A season in which I was given a free ticket to the 3-1 defeat at Falkirk from one of the clubs staff because he would rather have wandered around the town that watch the game. (Wonder how many other staff tickets were given away that day or any day for that matter?)

A pre season record which reads won 2, drawn 2, lost 3 which from what i can gather the team appear to look just as dis-interested as last season.


I used to get postal requests for me and my dad to consider buying our season tickets again. Neither of us have heard anything from the club even though they have our details on the database.






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Guest donindundonald



OH SHITE I LEFT MY CAPS LOCK ON.... ah thats better  ;D

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