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The "cancer" eating Aberdeen Football Club


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Since Saturday, increasing numbers have been using this phrase and it appears to cover many things within AFC.  I was wondering if it was an actual quantifiable thing within our club, or is it many things to many people.

 

To begin with, is it the board, the squeezing of the player budget year on year in the drive to lower our debt, whislt clearly at the cost of quality on the pitch.  Is it the boards acceptance in the now regular disgraceful results such as Saturday, will happen with the above budget plan?  Is it the running down of Pittodrie for an ego trip type new stadium? Or is it the lack of investment in other ares such as training facilities, now surpassed by many other clubs?  Maybe its the bloody minded refusal to continue as before without introspecive thought and therefore change at the highest level never happens.

 

 

Is the erosion of quality in the club coming from the players?  Money hungry journeymen with the occasional glimpse of skill that seems to make up our team that do nothing to progress or protect our youth players that are now drip feeding our squad. Players that having  numerous clubs under thier belt feel nothing or care nothing about the club, its history or its fans, therefore when the going gets tough,  there has not been a lifting in standard of play to dig the team out of a mess. On the stand, this comes accross as bad, unprofessional attitudes.  (jackie mcnamara anyone)?

 

Maybe its us, the fans and supporters who expect too much from AFC? We are continually told that 1983 was a long time ago and we should stop living in the past.  Usually by old firm biased red top hacks. Maybe we expect success, or relative success too quickly and don't allow a manger to build a squad over a number of transfer windows, as maybe it will take 3 or 4 summer transfer windows in this day and age to build a better quality team on a shoestring.

 

Do we get on the backs of players too readily so it affects thier fragile confidence, are we not vocal enough in what we accept as a modern minimum standard for Aberdeen Football Club?

 

There seems to be a plethora of horrendous things happening within AFC that seem to be making and developing this cancer eating away at the soul of the club and I wonder if it may come to a head tonight against Caley.  If we lose a goal first, the crowd that is there, I dont believe it will be a big crowd.  Around 3k  will turn and I believe Wdnesday's papers may be even more interesting than Sunday's.

 

So, what are your thought's about what the cancer within the cub are? >:(

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It is all of the above though. Money-wise, shite. Player's actually giving a fuck, shite. Facilities, shite.

 

And we've been getting on the players backs too much for a few years now. Even the season we finished 4th had a fair few games where the players seemed to shit it in the face of the abuse they got. Add to that the lack of support on show last time we played el hunnerino. 1 goal down you'd expect a hell of a noise but there was nothing.

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To begin with, is it the board, the squeezing of the player budget year on year in the drive to lower our debt, whislt clearly at the cost of quality on the pitch.  Is it the boards acceptance in the now regular disgraceful results such as Saturday, will happen with the above budget plan?  Is it the running down of Pittodrie for an ego trip type new stadium? Or is it the lack of investment in other ares such as training facilities, now surpassed by many other clubs?  Maybe its the bloody minded refusal to continue as before without introspecive thought and therefore change at the highest level never happens.

 

This is a massive factor in it, and makes up the guts of why we are what we are now. They've sucked the passion from the fans who have grown so exasperated over the years that for many there was nothing left to do other than walk away. Chris Anderson must be turning in his grave.

 

Is the erosion of quality in the club coming from the players?  Money hungry journeymen with the occasional glimpse of skill that seems to make up our team that do nothing to progress or protect our youth players that are now drip feeding our squad. Players that having  numerous clubs under thier belt feel nothing or care nothing about the club, its history or its fans, therefore when the going gets tough,  there has not been a lifting in standard of play to dig the team out of a mess. On the stand, this comes accross as bad, unprofessional attitudes.  (jackie mcnamara anyone)?

 

To put this bluntly, players are paid too much these days and all the power (because of Bosman) is with them. There is no fear factor anymore for them. Don't perform well at a middling club? Another middling club in the same league or equivalent will pick you up and probably give you a few hundred quid a week extra to boot because there was no transfer fee to pay for your "services". Because they get an exceptional wage, they believe they are exceptional at their profession. Nothing could be further from the truth. But this changes their attitudes, which then reflects on the pitch because they think they've got it made.

 

 

Maybe its us, the fans and supporters who expect too much from AFC? We are continually told that 1983 was a long time ago and we should stop living in the past.  Usually by old firm biased red top hacks. Maybe we expect success, or relative success too quickly and don't allow a manger to build a squad over a number of transfer windows, as maybe it will take 3 or 4 summer transfer windows in this day and age to build a better quality team on a shoestring.

 

Do we get on the backs of players too readily so it affects thier fragile confidence, are we not vocal enough in what we accept as a modern minimum standard for Aberdeen Football Club?

 

This may be controversial, but I don't think we expect enough. There are so many fans who have never seen us win anything or come remotely close to it to have their expectations set at anything higher than "Top Six".  Reasonable expectation is expecting your team not to lose 9 goals in a game without reply. If that is unreasonable then I'd maybe be best off just forgetting this whole thing.  Aim for the top and you may never get there but you never stop trying. Aim for the middle and the best you'll ever do is the middle. If that is the expectation then what's the point?

 

Your point about not giving managers time is a fair one but I would say that we are not alone in that these days and is just the nature of the game now and it is possible we all fear being left behind if we don't remove managers after a bad 18 months. In saying that, JC got 5 years (more than average in Britain now by quite a distance) and did well in that time but he had a very good first season to build from. had that first season been relatively poor how long would he have got?

 

Getting on player's backs... this is nothing new at Pittodrie. In my time, I've seen Billy Stark, Bobby Connor and Jim Bett (yeah, it's amazing how many people forget this, but Bett got huge stick especially at away matches) get pelters on an almost weekly basis. They just got on with their job. But again, that players these days seem to be unable to react in the desired way to this is a sign that they are a bunch of pampered Prima Donas.  It's part of the territory, they get plenty of praise and reward when doing the job properly, that's the other side of the coin and it should be motivation but too many take the easy way out and sulk.

 

 

 

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This may be controversial, but I don't think we expect enough. There are so many fans who have never seen us win anything or come remotely close to it to have their expectations set at anything higher than "Top Six". 

 

I'd echo that. We kind of send out the message that, "it's ok for you to be mediocre because we don't expect to challenge the OF." Then at the same time we hurl abuse at the team for playing to that exact level.

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I suppose another way to think about it, if you were writing a letter of complaint to Aberdeen Football Club, as a supporter what would you say?

 

Maybe as  supporters, we need to make a statement as to what WE expect from the club?  Like a mission statement or something?

 

I started to write an email airing my views to the club this morning, but I got as far as "Aberdeen FC are shit" and didn't think that was a constructive opening line.  Couldn't think what else to write. . . . . . . .

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I'm sure I've written similar things as the OP before, as have others.  There are so many things wrong with afc but for me the club just doesn't know what it's aims and reason for being are any more.  I suspect many fans are in a similar position.  There is that continual pull between wanting stability, living within our means and a longterm future, which probably accepts that we are just another Motherwell or United. Destined never to achieve anything of note but might manage a wee European trip a couple of times a decade and trophy every 20-30years. And then wanting afc to be a cut above these also rans, in Europe more seasons that not, cup finals a few times a decade and a cup win more frequently than one every 15yrs (and counting).  You could say we aren't hitting the hights of even a United or Well at the moment, but if our aim is at that level we will have many seasons like this.

 

On top of that we have prevaricated over the stadium issue for nigh on 15years and are only now even beginning the process of getting proper training facilities (one of the few positives in the last 2-3 years). 

 

There can be no doubt Pittodrie is a thoroughly miserable place for 90% of matches and has been for years and years.  There was a brief spell when the combination of the new ultras group and relative onfield success under Jimmy led to a genuine sense of atmosphere at the old ground for perhaps the first time since the 90s but it was too brief.  We the fans must shoulder some of that blame but if you look around most Scottish (and indeed English) grounds the home support is muted at best for most of the 90mins.  Perhaps the new stadium (sic) will give fans a boost and I dare say people will look forward to going to a spanking new stadium, all enclosed, with modern up to date facilities rather than sitting in the driving wind and rain of the South Stand, the shed of the Merkie or the fire trap with rugs in the Main but then will the Stadium issue not just prove to be a massive distraction financially and emotionally over the next 5-10 years.

 

The club need to make clear, unequivicol statements about what it sees as the future for afc, where they see the club being in 5, 10 years time and how the aim to get there.  We need to build on the bright shoots that are beginning to peep through in the Youth System and that means ensuring who ever the next manager is has a record and commitment to youth development and of getting the most from young players as too many of them lose their way at Pittodrie.  Willie Miller and/or the club need to make a case for why we are paying for essenitally two chief executives in the form of Willie and Duncan Fraser, showing clearly the benefit on and off the pitch.

 

These are important issues but ultimately the biggest problem is Scottish Football as a whole.  The game is stale, if not rotten to the core.  The pursuit of the big buck in the last 15yrs by all clubs at the top of Scottish Football and the formation of the SPL has skewed an already lopsided league so heavily in favour of the two big Glasgow Clubs.  The TV deals and constant media coverage of everything the OF do or say has resulted in the biggest average crowds in decades (maybe ever) at the OF while every other club has seen support seep away due the sheer relentless barrage of OF domination.  There are lots of suggested cures to this problem but none of them easy and less of them likely.  Alot will depend on the OF realising even their fans won't continue to pay to watch such an unattractive, unbalanced league forever.  I'm not holding my breath.

 

So, in answer to the original question, the "cancer" at the core of the club is (in no particular order): The board and directors of the club, the fans, the "stadium issue" and the whole of Scottish Football.

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Was it nay Donald who decided to build the RDS and start us on the road to debt?  Utter incompetent baffoon. Some would say it all started to go tits up when Chris Anderson died and things have never been the same since!

 

The RDS isn't actually the reason we're in debt though, apparently. We got a fairly sizeable grant to put towards that or so I read a while ago anyway.

 

Ian Donald was a weak Chairman who felt intimidated by his father's legacy. Perhaps understandable though. I just never got the impression he was strong enough to lead us in the way his father and Chris Anderson had.

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The RDS isn't actually the reason we're in debt though, apparently. We got a fairly sizeable grant to put towards that or so I read a while ago anyway.

 

Ian Donald was a weak Chairman who felt intimidated by his father's legacy. Perhaps understandable though. I just never got the impression he was strong enough to lead us in the way his father and Chris Anderson had.

 

Yep completely agree, Ian got shot of the chairmanship as soon as the going got tough.  His father must be spinning like a fucking ballerina in his grave by now

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Was it not around the same time that we put money into building the ridiculously sized RDS, that Alex Miller happened, the following dodds/winters + cash + pay Dodds' wages happened, One Million pound man paul bernard, Craig Hignetts massive wages etc etc?  All massive factors in a short space of time that the club still cannot recover from.

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I think you are right Sheepheid. I think to some extent our issues are down to circumstance. During the period football encountered an economic revolution Aberdeen were challenging for honours. Then all of a sudden, due to the worldwide and national fanbase that the Old Firm have they started to grow and grow. Aberdeen supporters were accustomed to challenging and beating the Old Firm and so it was percieved by most, including probably most of the support, that we could and should match them. This was the speculate to accumulate era. Nobody at all thought this was the wrong thing to do at the time and now we find ourselves in horrendous debt because of that period in history. The fact that the redistribtion of wealth in Scottish football is skewed toward the Old Firm is a contributory factor as well.

 

Add the fact that we are ultra skint to the fact that many, rightly so, believe that we should still be up toward the top end of the league and winning cups then that creates a lot of pressure. A pressure which McGhee and all those who have gone before cannot handle. The facts are though that the budget is probably toward the top of the 'bottom 10' in the SPL. McGhee chose to spend it how he saw fit. The fact that Ifil is one of our top earners speaks volumes. I think a lot is being made of this 'cancer' and I believe the cancer is actually the pressure that the management are not able to deal with. Calderwood is proof that a certain calibre of manager can be good enough to make a difference at Aberdeen. Yes McGhee has had a horrendous run with injuries but at the same time he is the guy who gave Ifil such a lucrative contract and decided that football doesn't need to be played with full backs.

 

So in short, yes we all know there are problems but every other club outwith the Old Firm are working with their hands ties behind their backs. I think in this case McGhee was a poor choice as manager.

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Was it not around the same time that we put money into building the ridiculously sized RDS, that Alex Miller happened, the following dodds/winters + cash + pay Dodds' wages happened, One Million pound man paul bernard, Craig Hignetts massive wages etc etc?  All massive factors in a short space of time that the club still cannot recover from.

 

No, not really. The RDS was built for the start of 93/94. Alex Miller didn't arrive until the 97/98 season.  Hignett was in 98.

Bernard was in 1995 and it would have been £1m well spent had he stayed fit.

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No, not really. The RDS was built for the start of 93/94. Alex Miller didn't arrive until the 97/98 season.  Hignett was in 98.

Bernard was in 1995 and it would have been £1m well spent had he stayed fit.

 

Other than we couldn't really afford it Bobby. But as I say, nobody gave two hoots at the time.

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Other than we couldn't really afford it Bobby. But as I say, nobody gave two hoots at the time.

 

Well, possibly true, I can't quite remember how things were at that point financially but I think it was a statement of intent from the board, they bowed to fan pressure a bit by spending a lot on the one player. Bernard was a cracking player, both parties were just horrendously unlucky in that he was injured so often.

 

What we definitely couldn't afford was the £750k on Windass (why on earth pay that sort of money for a Hull player, a club who were so desperate for cash we could have got him for a lot, lot cheaper), the money given for Winters, £400k for Pepper, £1m+ for the Bulgarians, £800k for Brian O'Neil, £8k a week plus £50k every 2 months for Hignett which despite what anyone says was a shocking bit of business for someone who played well in 3 matches out of 8 and got sent off in another, we couldn't afford to let someone like Stephen Glass leave for fuck all but we did at the start of Bosman...

 

And we can take this further back... we couldn't afford - either financially or in pure footballing matters - to replace guys like Alex McLeish, Paul Mason, Lee Richardson and Jim Bett with John Inglis, Joe Miller, Peter Hetherston and Ray McKinnon. That was the start of it. Had the board backed Willie Miller with the proper funds he needed, all of this could be so very, very different.

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