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Does Nobody Care Anymore?


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When I was a lad, a tiny wee lad, I remember the anticipation and excitement of getting my first Dons strip - xmas 1988 and I remember the celophane wrapping, the static coming off the shirt as I took it out of the plastic, and the never-wanting-to-wear-anything-else-ever-again feeling.  I remember my granny taking me down to the old club shop in the basement of Crombie Sports in Bridge Street and being awe-struck at the red and white paraphernalia on offer.  As a boy it would make you feel ten feet tall going out to play with your pals in your team's new strip.  Every other summer from there on in I would have saved my money to buy the next new strip, home and away, maybe the odd track suit, schoolbag, windcheater chucked in as well.

 

Has our football club lost its lustre, or maybe more pertinently, have the people who run it lost sight of the reasons why they do it?  The club of course has to ride the financial storm but is years and years of abject misery on the pitch how we pay for keeping our club's head above the water?  We always hear of "unrealistic expectations" but nothing could be more inaccurate.  Almost every other club in the SPL has had more relative domestic success than us over the last ten years through cup wins, cup final appearances.  It is little wonder that our fans are typecast as being miserable when we have little to cheer about and then we are told we have to "live within our means" all the time, whilst watching the likes of those big-spenders Falkirk and Dunfermline reach cup finals?

 

Football isn't played on financial accounts and balance sheets.  Good football clubs employ good football managers  who in turn know how to get the best out of their players, regardless of how much these players cost or are paid.  If we as fans felt that our players were giving their best every week then there would be no real problem.  Time after time, our managers fail to get the best out of the players.  The excitement seems to have come more from not knowing from one week to the next if we are going to lose at home to Hamilton or beat Celtic at Parkhead, rather than any level of consistency or expectancy.

 

Stewart Milne has presided over these lean years employing one dud manager after another.  The best appointment of his, Jimmy Calderwood, did of course reach the end of his shelf life, if that shelf life is judged on requiring a new man to take us to another level.  I think we wanted to be able to look on McGhee's appointment with the view that "Calderwood had taken us as far as he can", and that McGhee could move us forward and give us back some excitement.  It hasn't happened, and despite him having signed a handful of decent players this summer, I don't think it is going to happen either.  I do think we have the nucleus of a good squad with the likes of Aluko, Fyvie, Paton, Folly, Hartley, Considine, Pawlett and a few others, but McGhee doesn't fill me with excitement or anticipation that he is going to be the man to whip us all into a frenzy and take us forward.

 

I know we are not Barcelona and we are not necessarily a hugely attractive proposition to any aspiring football manager, I know we also can't afford to keep sacking managers on a whim, but if there is anything that can fire up our support it is a sign that those in charge care about what is happening.  If they take their eyes of the debt and the fucking new stadium for one minute, they will see a once proud club that formerly showed their wares in the most civilised of good company now flashing their knickers down on Regent Quay and getting no takers.  I don't believe that McGhee has been set a high enough target.  Nobody seems to care enough to do what is necessary - speculate to accumulate if only for one transfer window and give the manager a remit to make top 6 and the cup final or die.  Set the target and achieve it.  Fail and face the consequences.  The heart of the issue is that football teams exist to compete, and ours just doesn't.

 

I am worried, really worried about where our club is going.  I am worried that if and when I get round to getting my boy his first Aberdeen strip, if he'll be as excited as I was, or just plain embarrassed.

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I know the feeling your going through with the kids bit , living in France I took my son to a sports shop in Bordeaux where he picked up a certain alleged Scottish football top with a big smile on his face saying can I get this dad. I felt really bad telling him no bloody way and wanted to make up for it by giving him a Aberdeen strip to wear at Pe, which he replied simply by saying he didn't really want it as their crap and never win anything, I still got it for him but in future I fear he will go support a more glorified team :( which sadly I don't think will be ours

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That will always be the case, growing up in early 90's I knew many Aberdeen and Rangers fans but only 1 Celtic fan in pretty much the whole school (when they weren't even finishing 2nd) and I knew 1 Chelsea fan, now look at the kids, its all Chelsea and Celtic coz they are winning now. You just got to hope they see sense when they are old enough to fully understand and dont want to associate themselves with tinky Glasgow clubs.

 

Re the original point - Its hard to care when the faults with the squad seem obvious and easily fixed. I think 10,000 people since the Hamilton game have been saying swap Pawlett and Maguire but it didn't happen.

We were good against Hamilton, even though it was penalties we looked like we'd score, same at the start of the Killie game, apart from that and a spell vs Rangers we have been embarrassingly poor

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An excellent post bloo_toon_red, I don't think i could have put it any better. Living down here in Ayr i have to face countless hordes of toothless minks asking me every Monday morning " Whit happened tae yer team at the weekend ?" usually followed by some sniggers, it fuckin' makes my blood boil because, like you, I KNOW there is a team there, a team that should be wiping the floor with the likes of yer Hamiltons and yer Hibs .......but we're not.

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An excellent post bloo_toon_red, I don't think i could have put it any better. Living down here in Ayr i have to face countless hordes of toothless minks asking me every Monday morning " Whit happened tae yer team at the weekend ?" usually followed by some sniggers, it fuckin' makes my blood boil because, like you, I KNOW there is a team there, a team that should be wiping the floor with the likes of yer Hamiltons and yer Hibs .......but we're not.

 

Let me guess, they don't support Ayr Utd  :hammer:

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I think the fans still care, I just think they have given up expecting those in charge of the club to care. It's shit supporting Aberdeen these days, we convince ourselves year on year that the OF are getting weaker and we will close the gap, that this year we will win a cup, but it never happens and lets face it, it could quite conceivably be another 15 years without a trophy for us or another 25 years without another non-OF team winning the league. Bosman and Murdoch killed Scottish football. You say "football isn't played on financial accounts and balance sheets", I disagree, and that saddens me because it shouldn't be, it should be about "good managers getting the best out of their players". Look at the shite that have managed the OF recently and still they are what? 8 points clear after 7 games??

 

In a way I'm lucky not living at home, at least in England I won't have to force supporting Aberdeen on my son, don't get me wrong he's had a strip and I'll likely get him another for Christmas and he'll get taken to Pittodrie when I'm home next and I've taken him to Cheltenham down here (which I'm convinced has to be slightly less painful than supporting Aberdeen with the paint pot and a realistic possibility of winning a league or play-off final). I don't want to encourage him to be a Pot Hunter but at the same time I don't want him to endure the misery of supporting a team or teams that are going to win the square root of fuck all, so I've been considering taking to an Arsenal (or A.N Other EPL top EPL side that's not the english huns). If I'd suggested that to myself 5 years ago I'd punched myself in the face but all his little mates support Arsenal, Chelsea, etc and therefore it's inevitable anyway. So fuck knows what I'd do if I was still at home, I'd hate for him to have to be at school with a load of OF wannabe's as I'm sure a lot of Aberdeen schools are nowadays.

 

I don't know what the answer is but I can't see anything changing while the the club remains under its present control or while the SPL and SFL remain in their current guise. I've thought for a long time that there needs to be a complete restructure of Scottish football in it's entirety, a year zero if you like, but despite there being "no money" in Scottish football there is still too much of it floating around for the self protectionists at the top to step of their gravy train and allow it to happen.

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btr, spot on!

 

I can remember being the only kid with a Dons top in Thurso in the late 70s, and I fear that's where we're going to be again. A bit of a "joke" team with at least some past glories (Hibs anyone?) but back to season after season of mid-table mediocrity with the occasional (I hope it's occasional) relegation scare thrown in. Wins against the of will become a cause for clebration due to rarity rather than because "We're the famous Aberdeen" and we'll be looking to keep pace wi the clubs from Embra, Dundee, Motherwell and, in all likihood, ICT.

 

Will that diminish my support?

No!

Will it affect crowds?

Yip!

The knock on effect.......Hartley will probabky be the kast "name" we sign for a long time, managers will come and go, each time being a (probable) step "down" unless we get really lucky and unearth another gem.......and we'll be the club that fosters (no pun intended) the young talent that goes on to achieve elsewhere.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please God I'm wrong, but I can still remember the fall-out after 1970 and how long it took to repair the damage (and we were so lucky to have found some manager gadgie called, err, Ferguson!)

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How do we get the excitement factor back then?

 

1) on the pitch?

2) get things sorted at board level?

3) what happens to the SPL and general set-up?

 

1) Only really going to be sorted with radical shake-up of the entire club.  The youth policy is a good start, it also needs a manager who has the correct attitude, players who have the necessary character to fight for AFC and a board structure that is wholly oriented towards success and not mediocrity for the sake of balancing the books.  Our club has become so absolutely risk averse that they seem to adopt the policy "plan for the worst and hope for the best".  To save the club from extinction, that's fine, but football for most is a form of escapism from the everyday mundane, a hobby/pastime, but it's as if our club is run by the tory government.

 

2) I think we (all of Scottish clubs) need to go to a German system of ownership, fans need to obtain greater control over their clubs and get the boardroom cronies in their place - Milne can continue to use AFC as a vehicle to further his own business interests if he likes, but he'd then be answerable to us and not the other way around.

 

3) I think we need to radically shake-up the SPL, and I'm not talking about simple league reconstruction, I think there needs to be something completely new.  A move to summer football for a start and a compulsory changeover to 4th generation surfaces (that is the grass/artificial weave which is being used more widespread as the new pitch at Wembley), a play-off/group stage/knock-out aspect to the league set-up, no more having to play every team 4 times over a league season, league cup to be abolished in favour of an U-23 competition/league.

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Ok I haven't ready any of the other stuff in this thread but some interesting points:

 

 

How do we get the excitement factor back then?

 

1) on the pitch?

2) get things sorted at board level?

3) what happens to the SPL and general set-up?

 

1) Only really going to be sorted with radical shake-up of the entire club.  The youth policy is a good start, it also needs a manager who has the correct attitude, players who have the necessary character to fight for AFC and a board structure that is wholly oriented towards success and not mediocrity for the sake of balancing the books.  Our club has become so absolutely risk averse that they seem to adopt the policy "plan for the worst and hope for the best".  To save the club from extinction, that's fine, but football for most is a form of escapism from the everyday mundane, a hobby/pastime, but it's as if our club is run by the tory government.

 

I think this is all very well and something that alot of folk would subscribe to but the history of "speculate to accumulate" in Scottish football is one of debts, more debts and administration.  Given that realistically any club like afc would need several millions invested to make a serious dent into the OF dominance it would seem reckless beyond belief to do such a thing, especially at time our debt is rising, the economy is still struggling and we have a new stadium to finance (somehow).  You could argue a moderate investment would see us coming/challenging for 3rd but I think we have seen that even this had a fairly limited effect on crowds and excitment in the recent past.

 

A manager with vision, drive, enthusiasm and most importantly tha ability to articulate that to the fans and public at large maybe enough to add a bit of spice back to proceedings.  MM doesn't appear to be that guy but on our budget and with our fans who is?

 

The emergence of the likes of Pawlett and Fyvie have been as exciting as anything at Pittodrie in recent times and something we are hopefully building on, however we need to start making them out of something more resiliant than papermachae so we can get 2 or 3 good seasons out of them before cashing in proper, Hibs style, big bucks.

 

2) I think we (all of Scottish clubs) need to go to a German system of ownership, fans need to obtain greater control over their clubs and get the boardroom cronies in their place - Milne can continue to use AFC as a vehicle to further his own business interests if he likes, but he'd then be answerable to us and not the other way around.

 

Absolutely.  Whether that is achievable (look at the abuse the likes of the Trust and Ultras get) I'm not sure, and questions have to be asked about what Chris Gavin actually does, but in theory a must for clubs like Aberdeen to survive in any meaningful form.

 

3) I think we need to radically shake-up the SPL, and I'm not talking about simple league reconstruction, I think there needs to be something completely new.  A move to summer football for a start and a compulsory changeover to 4th generation surfaces (that is the grass/artificial weave which is being used more widespread as the new pitch at Wembley), a play-off/group stage/knock-out aspect to the league set-up, no more having to play every team 4 times over a league season, league cup to be abolished in favour of an U-23 competition/league.

 

I used to be dead set against summer football but can't see any good reason why not.  Aswell as allowing us to play football during the best months of the year it will boost our clubs European chances given that we will all (OF included) soon be entering in June/July.  At the very least youth football should be played exclusively in the summer NOW.

 

Also intrigued by the playoff idea.  I think fans and the media would almost universally hate the idea but watching the Super League grand final at the weekend which followed a series of packed out, thrill a minute eliminators suggests to me it is something Scottish Football should seriously consider.  They also changed to a summer season and get a hell of a lot more exposure on Sky and the likes because of it.

 

I have to say I hate the idea of the League Cup being scrapped.  Just because the EPL sides don't give a fuck about their league cup doesn't mean there is any reason we should feel the same.  SPL clubs still put out full sides for these games, it comes with a bigger prize purse than the Scottish Cup and is a great chance for a non old firm team to get there hands on a trophy at a packed out Hampden.  They should make changes, primarily returning it to the format c1980-90s when the final was in November with early rounds on Saturdays but should they scrap it?  No, never.

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the history of "speculate to accumulate" in Scottish football is one of debts, more debts and administration.  Given that realistically any club like afc would need several millions invested to make a serious dent into the OF dominance it would seem reckless beyond belief to do such a thing, especially at time our debt is rising, the economy is still struggling and we have a new stadium to finance (somehow).  You could argue a moderate investment would see us coming/challenging for 3rd but I think we have seen that even this had a fairly limited effect on crowds and excitment in the recent past.

 

It's not just about spending money, it's about doing what is right to win back the AFC support, as mentioned in the original post.  If we are not going to be finishing 3rd in the league, we need to know that the players we sign are going to add value.  It was disclosed that we received a transfer fee of £600,000 for Lee Miller.  As far as I know we didn't pay any transfer fees this summer, probably a couple of big signing-on fees instead.  But it would be good to be trying to sign players that we could conceivably move on for a big fee later.  Yoann Folly could be that player, but in my opinion there was one that got away this summer.

 

One player that came up for grabs this summer was Scott Arfield, who eventually went on to Huddersfield for £300,000.  Now perhaps he had his heart set on a wage rise and a move to the third tier of English football, but wouldn't it have been great to think that we were at least making an effort to sign a player who is one of the most talented young players in the country?  Wouldn't it be great to think that our board was trying to be creative in this regard?  Arfield, with the right coaching and mentoring could very easily have become a £1m+ player and a full international.

 

Hibs paid an undisclosed six-figure fee for Anthony Stokes, only because they knew they would get that money back for him.  Stokes and de Graaf are the only two players Hibs have paid a transfer fee for in years.  Hibs fans knew they were getting a good, exciting player in Stokes and it perpetuated the feel-good factor there, something we have been lacking for a long time, arguably since we signed Aluko.

 

At this juncture, AFC is not going to be competitive and we have to resign ourselves to being a selling club.  So while we try to come to terms with that, let's try and deliver some excitement on the way.

 

Who is the current poster-boy of AFC?  Aluko?  Hartley?  I want us to have eleven poster boys in our team every week.

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An excellent post bloo_toon_red, I don't think i could have put it any better. Living down here in Ayr i have to face countless hordes of toothless minks asking me every Monday morning " Whit happened tae yer team at the weekend ?" usually followed by some sniggers, it fuckin' makes my blood boil because, like you, I KNOW there is a team there, a team that should be wiping the floor with the likes of yer Hamiltons and yer Hibs .......but we're not.

 

Even biding in the granite city, On a Monday morning, I'm bombarded with the "Whit happened tae yer team at the weekend then? " but then that is all the "glory hunting" Gers and Celtic fans that reside and work in the granite city.

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Who is the current poster-boy of AFC?  Aluko?  Hartley?  I want us to have eleven poster boys in our team every week.

 

I get your point but having eleven poster boys in our team isn't realistic. Who does have 11 poster boys? Barcelona? Maybe. Real Madrid? Possibly. Chelsea? Man Utd? No, unless you count Jon Obi Mikel and John O'Shea as poster boys. If we could have say, 5 guys like that and fill the rest of the team with technically sound, solid players then that'd be a huge step forward.  For every Hans Gillhaus and Charlie Nicholas you still need Brian Grant and Stewart McKimmie, ye know?

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It's not just about spending money, it's about doing what is right to win back the AFC support, as mentioned in the original post.  If we are not going to be finishing 3rd in the league, we need to know that the players we sign are going to add value.  It was disclosed that we received a transfer fee of £600,000 for Lee Miller.  As far as I know we didn't pay any transfer fees this summer, probably a couple of big signing-on fees instead.  But it would be good to be trying to sign players that we could conceivably move on for a big fee later.  Yoann Folly could be that player, but in my opinion there was one that got away this summer.

 

One player that came up for grabs this summer was Scott Arfield, who eventually went on to Huddersfield for £300,000.  Now perhaps he had his heart set on a wage rise and a move to the third tier of English football, but wouldn't it have been great to think that we were at least making an effort to sign a player who is one of the most talented young players in the country?  Wouldn't it be great to think that our board was trying to be creative in this regard?  Arfield, with the right coaching and mentoring could very easily have become a £1m+ player and a full international.

 

Hibs paid an undisclosed six-figure fee for Anthony Stokes, only because they knew they would get that money back for him.  Stokes and de Graaf are the only two players Hibs have paid a transfer fee for in years.  Hibs fans knew they were getting a good, exciting player in Stokes and it perpetuated the feel-good factor there, something we have been lacking for a long time, arguably since we signed Aluko.

 

At this juncture, AFC is not going to be competitive and we have to resign ourselves to being a selling club.  So while we try to come to terms with that, let's try and deliver some excitement on the way.

 

Who is the current poster-boy of AFC?  Aluko?  Hartley?  I want us to have eleven poster boys in our team every week.

 

Riordan?

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I don't care.

 

I stopped caring the day after the cup semi at Hampden.

 

I don't tune in to hear the games any more because I'm tired of hearing "shocking", "dire" and "nil" everytime I do.

 

I check the scores more out of habit than necessity and it's more of a shock when we win than a surprise when we're defeated.

 

I'm bored about hearing how skint we are, how the debt we had ten years ago is still the same size it was ten years ago whilst we find out one of the richest men in the country chokes the club.

 

I'm sick to the back teeth hearing the city is flooded with strips from other cities when the club clearly isn't interested in attracting the local people it should be relying on.

 

I'm tired reading that the fans want to do this, want to try that, want to speak with such-and-such but only ever get a door slammed in their face.

 

I don't care and why should I?

 

Still, I sleep with a like a little lamb each night, safe in the knowledge that I cared a lot more and for a lot longer that Stuart Milne ever did.

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Took my mate up tae the Utd v Dons game a couple of weeks back, he's no a football fan as such, but i thought i would try and get him intae it none the less, in the couple of hours it took tae get tae Dundee, i filled his head with tales of old, about this "new firm" rivalry the press like tae go on about, about the ugly sisters down the road and the hatred shared between Aberdeen and Rangers, i big'ed up the new look Dons team, pointed out Hartley when he came over tae wave at the away fans and, tae be honest with you, he was enjoying it ..............10 mins later when the score was 0-3, he asks me " how long has this game got tae go ?"......my fucking heart sank like a brick.

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I am rapidly losing interest in everything AFC related. The product on the park is as bad as anything I can remember and it is starting to beg the question with myself, and others I go to the football with, if it is worth the price of a season ticket let alone travelling costs etc involved. Basically we wonder if we would be better going to the pub on a saturday afternoon. At least we would get some enjoyment from that.

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I have been trying to write this post for days, but still struggle to put down what i want to say in words. Of course i still care for the club. I look back at some of the recent memories with great fondness. But then there are also so many of the lowest points of my life as a football fan it gets quite depressing. This is probably the first season i had little expectation for us to do anything of note. I was very pleased with the signings that have been made, minus velicka, but ultimately, the way the club is run and the apparent ineptitude of our manager to utilise the team to it's few strengths would  cause us to have a beige season. If we're lucky. 

 

I have become increasingly disillusioned with everything about the club and like baggy am quite grateful i live outside of scotland for the reason being, i don't have to face the fact that our club is dying a very slow and painful death. I still live in hope that the current board come to their senses and try to inject some money in the summer. Their short sightedness after the european season has cost us an incalculable amount of money. This was the moment to build on the team and potentially bigger fan base. That season ended in failure and we have been decline ever since.

 

Your post bloo toon is spot on but as fans, our hands are ultimately tied. I don't know what the answer is but i wish afc would wake the Fuck up. I still love the club but the management on all levels is pushing the fans away. Sort it out!

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as fans, our hands are ultimately tied

 

Our hands are only tied insofar as Milne has us all over a barrel with his underwriting of the mountain of debt, which he has allowed to accumulate under his miserable tenure as chairman of Aberdeen FC.

 

We as a club are now going through the leanest spell in our post-war history.  We can no longer lay claim to be the so-called third force and our board has made one bad managerial appointment after another.

 

The debt mountain that Milne created meant that following our one season of relative financial success under his stewardship (07-08), no funds were re-invested in the playing staff.  The success unsurprisingly was not compounded and the players signed in 2008 were all effectively sub-standard as a result.

 

Following a period of relative stability under the management of JC, Milne now appears to have extremely low standards for the club.  It is now no longer a case of "well we could get rid of him but who'd take over?", I think the time has come for us to force him out.  I just don't think the fans have the bottle to do it.  We've become apathetic slaves to his regime.  Time to wake up everyone.

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Time to wake up everyone.

 

No offence man, but this is hardly news to any of us.  The problem isn't just Stewart Milne, it's the board itself. The board are apathetic (Martin Gilbert doesn't even bother going to the matches anymore), and because they are, Milne will likely be voted in for the forseeable future.

 

If you are expecting the fans to club together then it's a lovely idea, but essentially we need someone like Jim Cummings to head this up, someone with the wealth behind him and the appropriate experience.

 

Considering the economic climate at present, and the fact it is only likely to get worse with unemployment expected to rise in the coming months/years, where do you expect people to get the cash together not only to continue paying the abhorrent £20+ just for a match ticket every week, but also to contribute sizeable amounts of cash to take part control of a football club that is millions of pounds in debt and which will never make a return on your money?  It's a lovely idea, but people have mortgages, families etc which have to come first.

 

It's fuck all to do with anyone having to waken up. No one is under any sort of illusion that the current predicament is ideal, but without wealthy backers, at this point in time in particular, it is a non starter.

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