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Brilliant article in The Herald (again)


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NO-ONE should be foolish enough to describe the Aberdeen job as a poisoned

chalice. At least a chalice looks beautiful when it’s presented. At least the

poison is discovered later as a horrible shock. Say this much about the Aberdeen

job: there’s no deceit about what the next manager is being handed when he takes

over at Pittodrie. If he doesn’t know the web of problems he’s walking into he’s

too thick to deserve the position in the first place, or to have any chance of

resuscitating the place.

 

When interviews begin with a view to an appointment early next week, chairman

Stewart Milne, director of football Willie Miller and chief executive Duncan

Fraser will give it a sales pitch about a fine youth system and the club’s

potential and its massive room for improvement and how the fans will respond to

a winning team in a one-club city. They’ll talk of a planned move to a new

ground. The usual. The response they get to all of that from the other side of

the table might go a long way to determining whether or not Aberdeen are

relegated soon.

 

If the interviewee sits there smiling and nodding his head, eager to please,

Milne and the others could end up writing Aberdeen’s suicide note as an SPL

club. If he comes back at them, plays hardball and cuts to the chase about what

they’re going to give him beyond platitudes, they might have found a guy with

the right stuff. The right man for Aberdeen is the one who is going to

challenge, question and pressurise Milne, Fraser and Miller and leave them

feeling that they need to raise their own game. He’s going to give Milne a

feeling about releasing funds for new signings that he seems only to get when

it’s time to sack another management team: “I don’t want to spend money on this,

but now I don’t see any other way…”

 

It’s worth saying at this point that Milne and his directors can not be

criticised for the last two appointments they made when they were head-hunting a

manager in 2004 and 2009. Jimmy Calderwood was bought out of a contract at

Dunfermline and was successful; Mark McGhee was bought out of a contract at

Motherwell and failed, but at the time he was a sensible, obvious and popular

appointment.

 

Now the right man for Aberdeen will be the one who refuses to come unless he’s

given tools to do the job. Inexperienced and out-of-work managers tend to say

whatever’s needed to land a position. Those who are already in work, or are

wealthy, experienced and shrewd enough to read the runes around a deeply flawed

and troubled club like Aberdeen, shy away if they think a chairman like Milne is

making empty promises. Unless he can guarantee that funds will be made available

to turnaround a feckless squad there are good managers – potentially great

Aberdeen managers – who won’t touch the place with a bargepole.

 

Milne surely understands that by now. In the last decade he has appointed Steve

Paterson and Mark McGhee and given them peanuts to spend. Both failed. He also

appointed Ebbe Skovdahl and Jimmy Calderwood and gave them money. Skovdahl still

made a mess of things but Calderwood generally did well. It’s not rocket

science. If a club releases the money to sign Barry Nicholson and Steve Lovell

(who cost £500,000 in fees), and wages for seasoned campaigners such as Scott

Severin, Lee Miller and Jamie Smith they will have a spine of solid players and

probably be nearer the top end of the SPL than the bottom. If they don’t,

they’ll be large club acting, losing and squirming around in the grubber like a

small one.

 

Last Thursday the television crews were camped outside Pittodrie yet again, this

time trying to piece together reaction to McGhee’s dismissal. They didn’t get

much but they recorded footage which disgusted plenty of a fanbase which already

feels alienated by an inert club. Players being quietly relieved that McGhee had

been given his jotters is par for the course in these circumstances, but the

sight of them gently larking about in the snow, apparently unaffected by the

week’s events, said everything about the dressing room the next manager is

taking on. The immaturity and lack of professionalism was staggering. No wonder

Paul Hartley stands head and shoulders above the rest when they don’t have the

sense to think that after six straight defeats - including the heaviest in the

club’s history - it might not look too good to clown around when the cameras are

on.

 

A soft, complacent, cheap and desperately unimpressive squad needs to be gutted

at Aberdeen and no amount of boardroom soft soap about youth development,

potential and a new stadium is going to change the fact it will need a bit of

investment to land another two or three like Hartley. The current group may

record some improved results now that they are rid of a manager who wouldn’t

tuck them in at night and read a bedtime story, but they aren’t good enough for

it to last. They already have a First Division defence.

 

The irony for Milne, Miller and Fraser is that the guy who is likely to impress

them most in this week’s interviews is the one who will be fully up to speed

with where they’ve gone wrong in the past. And he’s the one who won’t be shy

about putting them in their place about what needs to happen in the 2011

transfer windows.

 

Milne’s job this week is to get the right man in a room and then accept he might

not like what he hears. If he tries to do things on the cheap again Aberdeen

will turn to ashes in his hands.

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Great read again. I really hope that Milne actually reads it as you can't say that any of it is incorrect. I think the recent events have shown how much Aberdeen means to Scotland. Please Milne and gang, make it better. Show us that you are all worthy stewards of our club.

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The more of these types of insights we see appearing in the press the more it just makes me feel depressed about how little our senior management team seem to know about the problems and more importantly, the solutions to lifting the club out of the shit. You just know that our financial restrictions and incompetence are highly likely to secure yet another failure. Sheeeesht, I'm baked with this already.

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The more of these types of insights we see appearing in the press the more it just makes me feel depressed about how little our senior management team seem to know about the problems and more importantly, the solutions to lifting the club out of the shit.

what i also find quite disturbing is the apparent lack of professionalism show by the players
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what i also find quite disturbing is the apparent lack of professionalism show by the players

 

Fair point but the behaviour of players is a direct result of the culture at the club and the keepers of this culture are the very same senior management team. If you tolerate nonsense it will breed and grow. These moronic footballers who masquerade as 'professionals'......no, even adults, need to be managed to be professional. Somewhere in the bowels of AFC they are being told its OK to act like fucksticks. It's unacceptable.

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The more of these types of insights we see appearing in the press the more it just makes me feel depressed about how little our senior management team seem to know about the problems and more importantly, the solutions to lifting the club out of the shit. You just know that our financial restrictions and incompetence are highly likely to secure yet another failure. Sheeeesht, I'm baked with this already.

 

Also depresses me to see I'm not articulate enough to express what I feel about the club.

 

Who wrote that anyway BB?

 

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Fair point but the behaviour of players is a direct result of the culture at the club and the keepers of this culture are the very same senior management team. If you tolerate nonsense it will breed and grow. These moronic footballers who masquerade as 'professionals'......no, even adults, need to be managed to be professional. Somewhere in the bowels of AFC they are being told its OK to act like fucksticks. It's unacceptable.

 

I'm now imagining its written above the tunnel in a 'This is Anfield' style.

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I fear it might as well be Az.

 

There is an increasing amount of opinion emerging that the nice guy appointment (like Stark might be?) is not what is needed at Aberdeen. While I agree that we need a deeper strength I also worry about the tough guy approach. McGhee was unable to bully the players into performing while JCs slightly cheeky weegie approach was more accepted by a number of players. The difficulty with JCs approach is that he fostered a spirit of togetherness behind all the wrong values. McGhee didn't even manage to foster any kind of spirit at all. We have to find someone who will bring immediate respect but also be able to create a bit of a sense of fun within the context of professionalism. That's a big ask of a manager who will also come cheap and want a challenge. I'm moving more towards a Craig Brown/Jim Jeffries type character who has been around a bit with someone like Hartley with him. Jocky Scott might be the most likely bet in that camp.

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I fear it might as well be Az.

 

There is an increasing amount of opinion emerging that the nice guy appointment (like Stark might be?) is not what is needed at Aberdeen. While I agree that we need a deeper strength I also worry about the tough guy approach. McGhee was unable to bully the players into performing while JCs slightly cheeky weegie approach was more accepted by a number of players. The difficulty with JCs approach is that he fostered a spirit of togetherness behind all the wrong values. McGhee didn't even manage to foster any kind of spirit at all. We have to find someone who will bring immediate respect but also be able to create a bit of a sense of fun within the context of professionalism. That's a big ask of a manager who will also come cheap and want a challenge. I'm moving more towards a Craig Brown/Jim Jeffries type character who has been around a bit with someone like Hartley with him. Jocky Scott might be the most likely bet in that camp.

 

I'm tending towards the old head/young gun, good cop/bad cop idea too.  I just think it's far too big a job for one man to undertake and I'm would like to see something along the lines of a Jocky Scott and Eoin Jess dream team.

 

I don't like going for legends because it's easy for them to end up ruining their reputation but at least Shearer walked away without having tarnished his due to his joint venture.

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