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Saturday 2nd March 2024:  kick-off 3pm

Scottish Premiership - St Mirren v  Aberdeen

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The Brown Ultimatum


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Craig Brown has been Aberdeen manager for about 2 years now.  He is 72 years old and he wont go on forever.  His contract is up very soon and Stewart Milne has been cagey about his thoughts as to offering a new one.

 

Aberdeen FC have played some good football this season without really hitting the heights that some might say they deserve; 7 wins (only 3 at home) and 25 goals in 20 league games is not scintillating form.

 

He has steadied the ship after the McGhee debacle, he has made us harder to beat.  Everything is relative though.  The team that Jimmy Calderwood had finish in fourth and qualify for Europe was unquestionably in decline, but was nowhere near as bad as what it became under McGhee, with similar personnel.  McGhee turned that team to shit.  It would be interesting to see what Craig Brown would've done with that team, which was undeniably better than the one he eventually got from McGhee.

 

What I'm ultimately driving at is - has Brown actually improved us so greatly that he deserves a new contract at his time of life?  Whilst I am certain that we wont finish in as poor a position this season as we have for the past three, we are currently as close to the bottom of the league as we are to the top, and also only 2 points clear of the 9th place we finished in for the past 3 seasons.

 

Unless we round the year off with a cup win or a 2nd place finish, I think it makes sense for the board to let Brown go at the end of the season in favour of a younger man.

 

Thoughts?

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Only if that younger man represents an improvement. If punting Calderwood taught us anything, it's that change shouldn't be made for change's sake. Brown is doing a decent job - although the tight league makes it difficult to be too conclusive - and I think it'd be a little churlish and short-sighted to be rid of him if he just missed out on the top two, despite making significant progress.

 

That said, the board should certainly be considering who might take over eventually. At the very least they have to ensure that the next appointment is well though out, and not just an endorsment of someone whose stock is coincidentally high whenever we find ourselves in the manager-less lurch again.

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What I would like to see is Brown to be retained (as Azteca points out) should we finish just outside the top 2, I would even probably suggest top 6 and a cup win, only on the proviso that a younger manager be brought in as his assistant with view to taking over the following season. That way we would at least retain some continuity which has crucially been lacking between the managerial appointments over the years.  I would like to think that it would also allow players to get to know the future manager and understand their methods rather than being dumped in the deep end a la McGhee.

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The way I see it is that almost all SPL clubs lose a large proportion of their best players every summer.  Football and the finances of it have changed so much in this country over the past ten or so years that "progress" in the conventional sense can't be measured in the way it was before.

 

In this past summer, only ourselves and Hibs could be said to have brought in players that made the squad better than the year previous (some may argue ICT also).  Back in the day, a team would lose 3 players in the summer and replace them adequately.  These days, with freedom of contract, no transfer finance and a reliance on loan deals and short-term contracts, football squads drastically change from one season to the next, take this team line-up from September 2011 for example (chosen at random):

 

 

    20 Gonzalez

    03 Foster

    05 Mawene

    06 Considine

    08 Milsom

    11 Arnason

    16 Osbourne

    17 Fyvie (Pawlett - 77' )

    22 Jack (Clark - 81' )

    09 Vernon

    14 Fallon (Chalali - 71' )

 

Six of the 14 players involved in that game are no longer with AFC (and it is interesting to note that the four players from that side that Brown brought in have all left too) and one is out on loan.  This I imagine is fairly standard throughout the SPL.  My point is, is that progress year on year, unless it is significantly better or worse, is irrelevant with short-termism and high turnover of players. What you're looking for is peak performance with a group of players.

 

That is obviously different if a club retains all of its players, but Aberdeen FC are demonstrably unable to do that anymore.  The days of us being a top-4 team every year are long gone.  The finances of the league are now so competitive that a player will rather live in the central belt and play for Motherwell or St Mirren than come to Aberdeen for an extra £200 a week when there's no guarantee AFC will be that top-4 team they were formerly known as.  This is the reason why a certain type of football manager who can consistently obtain top-4 finishes should be worth his weight in gold in the current climate.  We had someone like that, and as Azteca points out, we should be careful what we wish for.

 

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I agree that our transitional phases could be a lot smoother Manc, but in reality I don't think bringing in an assaistant as a sort of apprentice is a practical approach. For starters, managers like to have their own people around them, and anyone coming in would probably feel a little undermined to have to serve under a predecessor (albeit one as experienced as Broon) before taking over for themselves.

 

To be honest, McGhee could've been phased in over five years, worked his way up through any number of roles or parachuted into the centre-circle half an hour before kick-off against Sigma; he'd still have been an unmitigated pile of horseshite. More worthwhile putting in the hours before Brown's inevitable departure to find a manager who'd be a good fit for the club. And who won't take every fucker back when defending corners.

 

Edit: Good points too BTR. Although, with such increased player turnover, even more caution should be taken when dealing with managers, lest we end up in some perpetual whirlpool of 'transition' where managers and playing staff don't stick around long enough to put a run of 38 decent games together.

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If Paul Hartley or Derek Adams were willing to come then it'd be worth going for one of them. Otherwise I'm not sure who's a realistic option other than managers who've failed elsewhere or are a less promising lower league coach than Hartley himself.

 

Imo Brown's main value to us is his ability to attract players - i.e. McGinn and Naysmith at least. I'd have him in WM's old role therefore, if it wasn't going to eat into the playing budget. Can't remember any mention that WM's salary (after compo period is factored in) was going to be added to playing budget, so it'd be a kick in the dick if replacing him suddenly reduced the playing budget.

 

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Brown has improved us however it has to be asked how difficult was it to improve on the cluster fuck that was McGhee.

 

Brown himself has said that our budget is far in excess of what he had at Motherwell and more than most of the rest of the league but in his time he has still only managed to get the team winning just over a 1/3 of his 99 games in charge (34) so is he really doing all that well. Even this season we have only won 7 out of 20 league games maintaining his 1 in 3 win average.

 

Brown has however stabilised the team and we now have a decent platform to build on which is what he is good at. I cannot see him being the manager to take us beyond where we are now which is a mid table side in the league and his habit of bottling big games means we will not win a cup under him. If we want to win something or take a stab at getting regular European football I do think that we need to look elsewhere in the summer.

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Those would be my two choices as well Mav, possibly more-so Hartley as I've always admired his leadership skills and having not left the club that long ago, he would command the respect of all the players (top to bottom).

 

 

I'd also like to think that he would be able to attract the right kind of player to the club, but I guess without taking the plunge we wouldn't know.  I've not seen much of alloa this season, how do they look?

 

 

As you say Jute, as much as I'd love us to win a cup under Brown, I can't see it.  We've bottled far too many games (not that that was much different under many managers) and his tactics sometimes leave me completely bewildered.  I really hope the club have given this some serious thought.  Brown has done what has been asked of him and maybe the end of the season works out for all parties.  I still maintain my original (albeit as Azteca said - idealistic) post would be the situation I would like to see happen,  but accept it is highly unlikely given the reasons stated.  Maybe him moving upstairs would be the best of both worlds?

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btw manc, the one obvious candidate for your scenario would be russell anderson. I wouldn't have a problem with anderson as player-coach or something, learning the ropes from paw broon and archie. If done properly that could be an ideal succession.

 

similarly though, hartley would be my 1st choice if we were simply to replace brown.

 

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Anderson? No. Seriously?

If Brown does go, either end of this season or next then we need an experienced manager to take over, just as he did. No "I'm waiting for a better job offer but, y'know...." like McGhee, but a genuine, experienced manager who can attract players who will benefit the club, no their bank balance. we need someone who's seen to be a long term positive fix.

Who? I don't know, wish I did.

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Its imperative we get the young kids signed on long term contracts. Say (10years) when they come through the youth setup with the additonal clause we would sell them if they do want to leave but only if a set £££% came back in....

 

Are you Jim MacLean?

 

By law I don't think we can get them on contracts that long?

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Not got a problem with a contract for Auld Broon but the names being mentioned, Anderson and Hartley? Really? Deek Adams possibly but can we no have a manager wi a CV longer than one or nae jobs?

 

Agreed.  No idea why there is a clamour for Hartley, and I don't think we should be throwing Anderson in - by all means get him on the coaching staff when he retires, if he is up for it.

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Agreed.  No idea why there is a clamour for Hartley, and I don't think we should be throwing Anderson in - by all means get him on the coaching staff when he retires, if he is up for it.

 

From my P.O.V he was a very successful player and has a winning mentality.  He knows what it's like to win and how to achieve it.  I know that that doesn't necessarily translate to being a successful manager, but he's a person that commands respect across the board.  Agree with your point re: Ando though, defensive coach for sure (if he's up for it).  Hopefully we can retain Brown's services in some capacity at the club regardless of whether he is manager or not.

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Fair enough funster, as I said, it doesn't necessarily translate into being a good manager.  I guess the real point i'm trying to make is that I want someone that has a history or at least an understanding of success and someone that would command respect.  I only say Hartley because he's one of the few I can think of but yes, his CV is somewhat lacking.

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Just out of interest how would folk feel about Butcher as next Dons manager. Not that I am suggesting he will be but he has Caley punching well above their weight again this season and seems to be able to find cheap players who are able to do well in the SPL. However would his previous club (now deceased) go against him.

 

Thoughts?

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Just out of interest how would folk feel about Butcher as next Dons manager. Not that I am suggesting he will be but he has Caley punching well above their weight again this season and seems to be able to find cheap players who are able to do well in the SPL. However would his previous club (now deceased) go against him.

 

Thoughts?

 

I quite like him. Since his Motherwell days I've been waiting for his bubble to burst, waiting for the inevitable relegation scrap but it's never materialised. I've always looked at his transfer dealings with an obnoxious air of "Owain Tudur who?" and writing his team off, but you've got to give him credit, he can certainly spot a player.  He's turned Inverness into a really respectable mid-table team who can hold their own.  For me, he's a better option than Derek Adams.  I don't think we'd be speaking about Adams if he didn't have his AFC connection.

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I too would have no problems with Butcher being our next boss. I have heard certain fans say they'll never watch an Aberdeen game whilst Butcher is in charge.

 

Well if that is based purely on his connections to Scotland's most recently defunct club, then put simply I'd say fuck them.

Don't need that sort of support, and attitudes like that are one step short of the sort of shite that those that followed that mob from Govan thrived upon.

Any colour, creed, sexuality, previous clubs etc......being good enough is the only thing that matters.

 

 

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