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What Aberdeen need now is another Ally MacLeod - The Herald


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This is the rest of the Harry Reid article which had the section about Willie in it:

 

There has been a lot of talk over the past few days about Aberdeen having lost more than just a manager.

 

They are alleged to have “lost” their home city. Well, writing as a long-suffering Aberdeen fan of around 50 years standing, I can safely state that Aberdeen FC have rarely “won” their home city.

 

Part of the reason for this is that Aberdeen is a one-club city. This is often regarded as an advantage. But I’ve often thought that the situation in Glasgow (obviously) or Edinburgh or even Dundee, where you have clubs who are intense rivals, providing an ongoing tribal spirit and loyalty, might be preferable.

 

Indeed the only sustained period that I can recall the city and the club getting along pretty well was between 1975 and 1986, when an extraordinary triumvirate of managers – Ally MacLeod, Billy McNeill and, of course, Alex Ferguson – transformed the club. I can hear chuckles of derision. Ally MacLeod? But yes, Ally was just what Aberdeen needed in November 1975.

 

The club was in the most dismal of doldrums and attendances were pathetic, around 5000. Ally breezed in, with his infectious cheeky chappy persona, and his often absurd gimmicks, but somehow the city took to him. He gave everyone a laugh. He had no idea of tactics, although he signed one or two not bad players and he actually won a trophy for the club. But in his ridiculous way he undoubtedly made Pittodrie a brighter, livelier place, and that is no easy achievement.

 

Then Scotland came calling and Ally was off to manage the national team. Just in time, from Aberdeen’s point of view – just before Ally was found out, as he undoubtedly would have been. Scotland’s loss was Aberdeen’s gain. But over a whirlwind, crazy 20 months, he fairly cheered the club – and the city – up.

 

Then came McNeill’s solitary season. The man had an aura; everyone respected him. He made two superb signings, for peanuts – Gordon Strachan and Steve Archibald – and then he was off to his spiritual home at Celtic Park. Next came a genius, Alex Ferguson, on his way to becoming the best manager in the whole of Europe. He had a good platform to build on.

 

Before these three remarkable but very different men left their imprint on the club, Aberdeen was languishing in what, alas. might well be its natural condition. That is mid table, or even down table, mediocrity.

 

For some reason, games against Clyde were often the worst. I can still recall clearly a ghastly defeat by those opponents in a league game exactly 46 years ago. The Pittodrie attendance was less than 3000, but the crowd made a lot of noise – not supporting the feckless team, of course not. Rather the “supporters” abused the hapless manager Tommy Pearson and the local players in the team – who were always treated far worse than imports from Glasgow or wherever – such as Ernie Winchester and Doug Coutts. As Clyde knocked in three goals with insolent ease, the spite and venom directed at Pearson reached a quite horrible level.

 

A couple of years later, and the club was undergoing one of its occasional “revivals”, this time under Eddie Turnbull. But Eddie was too dour to reach any real affinity with the home fans, perhaps because most of them had already taken dourness to world-class levels. Turnbull was feared and was a superb coach but he did not inspire positivity in the club or the city.

 

From this particular era, I remember a grim 1-1 draw with Clyde. Towards the end an old man, standing near me, had enough. He turned and left, pausing only to enunciate one rasped, bitter word: “Putrid”. And then he spat, hard. The icy wind caught the gob. It described a weird parabola and then splattered spectacularly against the Merkland Road wall. That was the most exciting thing I’d seen all afternoon, and it captured the true spirit of Pittodrie, then and now. And yet somehow I manage to love the place. I can’t think of anywhere in the world that means more to me.

 

Aberdeen’s most loyal and steadfast fans have always come not from the city, but from its huge agricultural hinterland. Aberdeen has also had the benefit of a fine away support, many of whom live well away from Pittodrie. They too have shown much loyalty and spirit over recent years. In the second league game this season, in Perth, when the Dons had a fluky win over St Johnstone, there were 4000 of them inside McDiarmid Park.

 

That day there was palpable sense of need, an almost tangible longing for some kind of genuine revival. Yet just a month later at Motherwell there were only a few hundred Aberdeen fans present. They are seeping away fast and it will require someone special to bring them back.

 

The current favourite to succeed Mark McGhee is Billy Stark. He is an excellent coach, and served Aberdeen well as an intelligent goalscoring midfielder towards the end of the Ferguson era. In season 1984/85 he scored a remarkable 20 goals (in only 38 appearances) from midfield. He was a player who was too often underestimated, by Aberdeen fans and opponents alike.

 

But he is a quiet man; his style is not raucous or outrageous. He is no Ally MacLeod. He is too introverted to arrive in Aberdeen and shake the place up. Whether we like it or not, and I don’t particularly, what Aberdeen need right now is a new Ally, someone who will breeze in, provide great crazy dollops of life and spirit and hope, no matter how implausibly and – most important of all – bring a little heart and soul to that most grim of places.

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Superb article on a number of counts:

 

Even I am to young to remember the games against Clyde that the writer refers to, but I do remember Ally taking over the reins and doing exactly what he subserquently did to supporters of the national team........ installing  a sense of pride and belief that we could be winners. His success in charge of the team that beat "ra Celtic by ra way big chap" was the first trophy I saw us win. I'm proud to say I'm seen all other through until the last in '95.

 

Remember being disappointed when McLeod left and McNeill took over, but that disappeared quickly when within weeks of thr season starting we beat Ra Celtic at Pittodrie to go top of the league. A lot of folk forget that it was McNeil that signed both Archibald and Strachan ( what a couple of great bits of business ).

 

And so we fast forward a number of years to Stark, incredible to think he scored 20 goals from midfield but was still a target for the boo boys in our support. Do you imagine Foster or Maguire getting it in the neck for that sort of goal scoring return.....ffs we'd kill nowadays for a striker that could deliver that. No doubt about nostaglia rules folks.

 

Great article Bobby and thanks for posting it mate.

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Superb article on a number of counts:

 

Even I am to young to remember the games against Clyde that the writer refers to, but I do remember Ally taking over the reins and doing exactly what he subserquently did to supporters of the national team........ installing  a sense of pride and belief that we could be winners. His success in charge of the team that beat "ra Celtic by ra way big chap" was the first trophy I saw us win. I'm proud to say I'm seen all other through until the last in '95.

 

Remember being disappointed when McLeod left and McNeill took over, but that disappeared quickly when within weeks of thr season starting we beat Ra Celtic at Pittodrie to go top of the league. A lot of folk forget that it was McNeil that signed both Archibald and Strachan ( what a couple of great bits of business ).

 

And so we fast forward a number of years to Stark, incredible to think he scored 20 goals from midfield but was still a target for the boo boys in our support. Do you imagine Foster or Maguire getting it in the neck for that sort of goal scoring return.....ffs we'd kill nowadays for a striker that could deliver that. No doubt about nostaglia rules folks.

 

Great article Bobby and thanks for posting it mate.

 

No bother Al. Any semblance of pride or belief has evaporated in the last couple of seasons in particular - as many have said on here, had we built on the group of players we had we could have had something to be proud of. But when managers and board members are continually tempering any sort of enthusiasm by their low level targets and their own lack of belief in the club as a whole it's no wonder the support dwindles and those who stay become so apathetic.

 

MacLeod is a bit of a figure of fun in many ways which is a shame, the whole Scotland 78 thing is always connected, but this is such a Scottish atttitude to it; look at the squad of players Scotland had then - Dalglish, Souness, McGrain, Gemmell, Jordan. Why go to a World Cup with players like that and not aim to win it? Ok he was over the top with it but you should always aim for the sky.

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I can clearly remember that cup semi against the hun and MacLeod going tonto on the touchline. After the snorefest of Bonthrone (who TBH was not a bad manager) it was an amazing turn around.

 

My first trip to Hampden to see them win a final that if it wisnae for Willie Miller and Bobby Clark we'd have lost. MAGIC times! :thumbsup:

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Superb article on a number of counts:

 

Even I am to young to remember the games against Clyde that the writer refers to, but I do remember Ally taking over the reins and doing exactly what he subserquently did to supporters of the national team........ installing  a sense of pride and belief that we could be winners. His success in charge of the team that beat "ra Celtic by ra way big chap" was the first trophy I saw us win. I'm proud to say I'm seen all other through until the last in '95.

 

Remember being disappointed when McLeod left and McNeill took over, but that disappeared quickly when within weeks of thr season starting we beat Ra Celtic at Pittodrie to go top of the league. A lot of folk forget that it was McNeil that signed both Archibald and Strachan ( what a couple of great bits of business ).

 

And so we fast forward a number of years to Stark, incredible to think he scored 20 goals from midfield but was still a target for the boo boys in our support. Do you imagine Foster or Maguire getting it in the neck for that sort of goal scoring return.....ffs we'd kill nowadays for a striker that could deliver that. No doubt about nostaglia rules folks.

 

Great article Bobby and thanks for posting it mate.

 

Spot on Al. Lost count of the number of games that we won 2-0 with the scorers being Stark and McDougall, great times. As you say Stark used to get it in the neck off some of our moronic fans as did Bett (lazy apparently) and Connor (useless allegedly) a few years later. A midfield with those 3 and a ball winner in it would run amok nowadays (and probably still be criticised by some of our 'knowledgeable' supporters)

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Yeah I was looking for that too.

The Herald seem to put little up onto their website these days, piece of pish

 

Some interesting bits in it about Meldrum being the one taking the training on Sundays; Billy Stark and Craig Levein unable to hold a civil conversation and also has a fair dig at McGhee for sacking Leighton but does mention that Jim refused to call McGhee "gaffer" which irked McGhee considerably.

 

Also, Billy Dodds' bit in the Herald, he said he was in tears the day Willie got the sack because he hadn't been able "to hit a barn door" that season and had huge respect for Miller but his form changed once Willie left  :-\

He believes our players could now start performing that there's a change of manager.

He also noted that night will follow day and that he believed the world was kinda round.

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There's a really good, lengthy article in today's herald by Bryan Cooney. Don't necessarily agree with it all but it's well worth a read. Doesn't appear to be on their website yet though.

 

I read that too, some interesting points regarding the board which seem to have been skimmed over elsewhere.

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