Jump to content

Scottish Premiership 22/23 season start

Stand Free!

Ebbe interview in Scotland on Sunday


Kowalski
 Share

Recommended Posts

Dane who became a Don

 

Much-loved former boss predicts Aberdeen will find it tough against Copenhagen

 

PERHAPS a few Aberdeen fans will be tempted to reach to the very back of their clothes' drawers and really go Danish for Copenhagen's visit to Pittodrie on Thursday night. They could do so by dusting down the T-shirts emblazoned with the face of their only manager from that Scandinavian country. The ones that read 'the witticisms of Ebbe' below a choice aphorism from said Skovdahl.

 

Such utterances made more bearable the crackers, calamitous and, always, colourful three-and-a-half year reign of the chain-smoking coach. Five years ago this month his tenure ended, but memories of the period are stirred by the nationality of UEFA Cup opponents that Jimmy Calderwood's side must defeat for Aberdeen to remain in Europe beyond Christmas for the first time in 21 years.

 

"You mean you already have forgotten me?" Skovdahl laughs when told the Copenhagen confrontation had brought him to mind. "I still pay attention to Aberdeen's results because I really enjoyed my stay. I think fondly of the special relationship I had with the supporters. I know we had many disappointments on the pitch and many down moments, but we also had little joy ones."

 

Gentle, affable and immensely likeable, Skovdahl's charm – which remains as winning in the retired 62-year-old as ever – centred around his ability to remain phlegmatic as the flames singed his lugs. And his ear for an adage. He was pilloried in the press for some monumental maulings – in particular to Celtic – but, perhaps masochistically or through sheer contrariness, west of Scotland media-whacking made Aberdeen fans rally round him all the more.

 

"I loved people's passion in Scotland," he says. "It was not so different from Denmark. I loved that you could be walking down the street and a fan would jump up to you and scream: 'Get on with it!'."

 

Scribes and supporters alike, meanwhile, loved the little pocket phrasebook that seemed wedged in his brain.

 

"The operation was a success, but the patient died in theatre" line that followed a defensive display resulting in a 2-0 defeat at Celtic Park in September 2001 and his contention that "statistics are like mini-skirts in that they give you good ideas but hide the most important parts" have entered football folklore, along with his caution that you "don't sell the fur until you have shot the bear".

 

He takes credit for none of these, however.

 

"The ones about the operation and fur are Danish sayings," he reveals. "You have to be careful about translating these in to other languages but I said that about the success of losing 2-0 because we set-out 5-4-1 after losing 7-0, 5-1 and 6-0 on our three previous games at Celtic. We just had to do something different and I told the players I would take the beating if it all went wrong. I learned the statistics saying in Scotland, but I do believe that."

 

The statistics pertaining to his time in Scotland are not eye-catching. A five-times title winner across three stints with Brondby before pitching up at Pittodrie in the summer of 1999, the need to hack away at costs helped fell his hopes of making Aberdeen competitive. Initially, at least. The bite-sized biog of the Dane at the Dons is that it took seven games for his team to register a goal and nine games to post a win in a first season that would have resulted in relegation but for Falkirk not meeting SPL ground requirements. The shafts of light in that gloomy campaign were provided by cup runs – though ultimately Rangers beat them 4-0 in the Scottish Cup final after they were defeated by Celtic in the CIS showpiece.

 

The next season brought the ignominy of Bohemians turfing the Pittodrie side out of the UEFA Cup, before they stabilised to finish seventh. What underpinned that league position was equalling Alex Ferguson's record of nine home wins, courtesy of a 2-0 win over Celtic. In the next campaign matters improved still further. The effectiveness of signings such as forwards Arild Stavrum, Hicham Zerouali, midfielder Roberto Bisconti and Danish international keeper Peter Kjaer was reflected in a fourth-place finish. But as quickly as Skovdahl seemed to have moulded an adventurous, if unpredictable, team, the club's state of penury pulled it apart.

 

He accepted a near 40% wage cut but Robbie Winters and Stavrum, the team's two main goal suppliers, were enticed away. And, after only a last minute goal ended their courageous efforts in the UEFA Cup against Hertha Berlin, domestic fortunes plummeted. At the end of November 2002 a small section of supporters called for his head following a 2-1 defeat against Partick Thistle. Skovdahl served it up a week later.

 

"It was terrible what happened to us in Ireland and I was just so disappointed we could not see the job through in Berlin. But I have good feelings about the (CIS] cup semi-final win over Rangers in my first season and look back on the 2-0 win over Celtic the next season with such

fondness. With the snow and the Christmas feel, it seemed the whole city was full of joy and hope."

 

Delight among the denizens of Aberdeen will far exceed their jubilation six years ago if Copenhagen are vanquished. An outcome he believes isn't the likeliest. "If the supporters are really wound up in the stadium, Aberdeen have a chance," Skovdahl says. "But it should be understood the game means as much to Copenhagen. And they are strong in ways that will cancel out advantages Aberdeen might think they could have playing a British style. They are very strong in the air in their own penalty box and at set-pieces and have a striker in Marcus Allback who can create goals from nothing. The second ball always seems to fall for him. Jimmy Calderwood has brought some good players to the club but they will all have to play at their best to get through. I will definitely be hoping they do."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Loved that man! He was legendary (there's another debate). I had a number of chats with him at various evenings around the country, and he's an absolute gentleman with a brilliant sense of humour.

 

I don't like the idea that it was his team that took seven games to score and nine games to win. I put that down to taking nine games to hault the freefall that Alex Miller started at Aberdeen.

 

I think with the budget that JC has had to play with, Skovdahl could've done something really spectacular with the Dons. At least he played players in their most effective positions! When he bought a central midfielder, he played in in central midfield! He didn't shove them out on the wing or shove them in defence.

 

I don't care what others say. Ebbe has a special place in my memories of Aberdeen Football Club.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For the same reasons you rate the man, I have to say that's where I found him to be lacking somewhat.

 

Results under him were just too inconsistant.  Sure he got us in Europe, 2 cup finals, 4th place finish and the 9 in a row at home.  But we were also beaten 5(?) times in one season by Livi, regularly clocked up cricket score defeats against Celtic and arguably did the worst piece of business in football when he swapped Billy Dodds plus cash for Robbie Winters.

 

We do however agree he was a funny guy and we all remember his witty remarks after games.  Let's face it, you'd have to have a sense of humour to sign Ben Thornley.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

arguably did the worst piece of business in football when he swapped Billy Dodds plus cash for Robbie Winters.

 

 

It was Alex Miller who conducted that abysmal piece of business min. I met Ebbe a couple of times and he is a top top bloke. I have to agree though that he just didn't get the results.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Aye it was definitely Alex Miller  >:D

 

I have fond memories of Ebbe's time, mainly because of the two cup finals and a great trip to Berlin, but some of his results were truly awful.  JC is going through a bad patch at the moment (mainly away fixtures in the league) but its never as bad as it was under some of Ebbe's reign.  He was a top bloke though and had a great sense of humour.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Results under him were just too inconsistant.  Sure he got us in Europe, 2 cup finals, 4th place finish and the 9 in a row at home.  But we were also beaten 5(?) times in one season by Livi, regularly clocked up cricket score defeats against Celtic and arguably did the worst piece of business in football when he swapped Billy Dodds plus cash for Robbie Winters.

 

Firstly, we PLAYED Livi five times in one season. But we never lost to them five times. We lost to them three times in nine meetings during Skovdahl's tenure:

 

Scottish League Cup Aberdeen 1-0 Livingston 17-08-1999 

Scottish FA Cup Livingston 0-0 Aberdeen 17-02-2001

Scottish FA Cup Aberdeen 0-1 Livingston 06-03-2001

Scottish League Cup Aberdeen 1-6 Livingston 09-10-2001 

Scottish Premier Aberdeen 0-3 Livingston 02-01-2002

Scottish FA Cup Aberdeen 2-0 Livingston 26-01-2002

Scottish Premier Livingston 0-0 Aberdeen 23-03-2002 

Scottish Premier Aberdeen 3-0 Livingston 20-04-2002 

Scottish Premier Livingston 1-2 Aberdeen 22-09-2002

 

Admittedly we faired horrendously against Celtic during his time, with 22-12-01 being an exception. But we managed good results against every other club. Our 2-2 draw with the huns was the biggest bounce Pittodrie had seen for half a decade!

 

And the Dodds-Winters transfer was well before Ebbe time. This was the work of Alex Miller, some ten months before Skovdahl got the Pittodrie job. I actually thought Winters was a quality acquisition for us. Just a shame Dodds had to go the other way, because a Dodds/Winters striking partnership would've been worth paying to see!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I worked with an ex Don player for a good few months earlier this year who played under Ebbe and the stories he told of him were hilarious and fit in with his character that we knew.

 

We're all ears....  ;D

 

Watching the Dons in his era i used to LOVE going to the football every week as there was barely a dull game. :thumbsup:

 

I refer you to and earlier post:

 

Scottish League Cup Aberdeen 1-0 Livingston 17-08-1999 

Scottish FA Cup Livingston 0-0 Aberdeen 17-02-2001

Scottish FA Cup Aberdeen 0-1 Livingston 06-03-2001

Scottish League Cup Aberdeen 1-6 Livingston 09-10-2001 

Scottish Premier Aberdeen 0-3 Livingston 02-01-2002

Scottish FA Cup Aberdeen 2-0 Livingston 26-01-2002

Scottish Premier Livingston 0-0 Aberdeen 23-03-2002 

Scottish Premier Aberdeen 3-0 Livingston 20-04-2002 

Scottish Premier Livingston 1-2 Aberdeen 22-09-2002

 

:thumbsup:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

that horrific night we we conceded six goals to Livi :hammer:

 

Were we not four down inside the first half hour or something :o

 

Aye. I was workin. My workmate who used to run the Livi rivals website texted me on the half hour mark to say "FOUR ZERO!!!". I thought it was awesome that Zerouali had finally found his scoring boots again and had knocked four goals past the Livitories. But oh how I was wrong!!!

 

Didn't Derek Whyte lamp a Dons fan outside Pittodrie?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't care what others say. Ebbe has a special place in my memories of Aberdeen Football Club.

 

Aye, I'd agree with that, but then my final games watching the Dons before moving to Korea were when his team was doing reasonably well, and I missed out on it going a bit wrong in the final six months of his reign.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think with the budget that JC has had to play with, Skovdahl could've done something really spectacular with the Dons. At least he played players in their most effective positions! When he bought a central midfielder, he played in in central midfield! He didn't shove them out on the wing or shove them in defence.

 

I don't care what others say. Ebbe has a special place in my memories of Aberdeen Football Club.

Ebbe spent 450K on Zerouali (I think) and had the budget to pay big wages for the likes of Stavrum, Bisconti, Thornley and co.  Not to mention guys like Mayer, who certainly wouldn't have been on buttons.  If Jimmy had the wage budget that Ebbe had, the likes of Barry Nic would be tied down to 5 year deals at the moment.

 

Perversely enough, the time when Ebbe was in charge was probably when I had more fun going to the football than any other (with the exception of the 1990 Scottish Cup final as a 10 year old) because of the interaction you got with the guy :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ebbe spent 450K on Zerouali (I think) and had the budget to pay big wages for the likes of Stavrum, Bisconti, Thornley and co.  Not to mention guys like Mayer, who certainly wouldn't have been on buttons.  If Jimmy had the wage budget that Ebbe had, the likes of Barry Nic would be tied down to 5 year deals at the moment.

 

Perversely enough, the time when Ebbe was in charge was probably when I had more fun going to the football than any other (with the exception of the 1990 Scottish Cup final as a 10 year old) because of the interaction you got with the guy :)

 

I agree with that as well. Even with the pumpings to Celtic, I still enjoyed the period of Ebbes reign more then any since, and the majority of the period before. I thought he was a decent bloke, and brought some decent players to the club. Lets face it... how many of us would prefer Zerouali, Belabed, Bisconti, Stavrum, Kjaer etc in the current team instead of the likes of: Byrne, Young, Langfield, Lovell etc etc

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are several quotes in this thread that just make me think that folk are far too nostalgie about the Ebbe era for their own good as it just makes them talk rubbish.

 

"2-2 draw with Huns biggest bounce in half a decade"

 

I refer you to beating Celtic 3-2 at Todders in one of Alex Miller's first games (Perry, Blinker og and Hignett)

 

budget comparisons with Ebbe and Calderwood.

 

Deary me, Calderwood has had buttons compared to Ebbe.

 

Under Ebbe we were a joke, for quite some time. I never went to Glasgow thinking we would get anything under him, there was never any sign of consistency and top half finishes year after year.

 

I liked the guy at the time and certain things about his character I look back on fondly but ultimately his time in charge of Aberdeen was probably one of our worst spells ever.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"2-2 draw with Huns biggest bounce in half a decade"

 

I refer you to beating Celtic 3-2 at Todders in one of Alex Miller's first games (Perry, Blinker og and Hignett)

 

That was half a decade before the 2-2 huns match ... as I said!

 

budget comparisons with Ebbe and Calderwood. Deary me, Calderwood has had buttons compared to Ebbe.

 

I speak of the tightening of the pursestrings following the collapse of the SPL TV deal (infact pretty much every TV deal) which lead to us running on pennies. Ebbe was forced to let go of so so many decent players that had taken us into Europe on merit. If the sort of budget that JC has had to play with was available to Ebbe in his final season with us, I've no doubt he would've done AT LEAST as good a job as JC

 

Under Ebbe we were a joke, for quite some time. I never went to Glasgow thinking we would get anything under him, there was never any sign of consistency and top half finishes year after year.

 

I liked the guy at the time and certain things about his character I look back on fondly but ultimately his time in charge of Aberdeen was probably one of our worst spells ever.

 

I really beg to differ. It took a long long time for Ebbe to hault the alarming fall from grace that was instigated by Messrs Aitken and Miller. Four years of ripping the very heart out of Aberdeen FC both financially, pride, heart, and any form of decency. It took two years for Ebbe to hault this freefall, and another year to bring us back up to anything like respectable. Remember, in his final season we gained access to Europe because of our league position! It's not Ebbe's fault that the board didn't do anything to keep ahold of the very same players who got Ebbe's side into Europe. His hands were very much tied.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...