Tag Archives: Pittodrie Stadium

The McInnes Merry-Go-Round. 

30 Oct

As everyman and his dog seems to have an opinion then maybe I should put the collar on and join in.  Derek McInnes is not only the Main Candidate for Rangers Manager he is the only Man for the Job.

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The Pedro Caixinha experiment has failed Rangers need a sure steady and as close to sure-fire Stalwart as possible and Derek McInnes is the prime candidate.

It is by no coincidence that in Old Firm terms the only Managers remembered as a success have been from three Countries; Scotland, Northern Ireland and The Netherlands.  From Struth to Stein, Waddell to McNeil, O’Neil, Lennon and the two Dutch Lads Advocaat and Jansen.  Paul Le Guen, John Barnes, Tony Mowbray and now Pedro Caixinha all confined in the forgotten failure files.  Managing the Old Firm is not just another Football Job it involves a quick understanding of the Pressures of winning.  The Men who have done well have either been brought up within the Environment or have very quickly got the picture.  Le Guen and Barnes for example looked at Managing in Glasgow’s pressure cooker as purely Soccer exercises and spectacularly failed.  Even Kenny Dalglish schooled in Glasgow forged as a player at Celtic, Shinning like a guiding star at Liverpool, Tempered Mentally by witnessing three Football disasters struggled to come to Terms with Managing the Old Firm.  So even when all the ingredients look to be there sometimes they never seem to be in right qualities.

McInnes has taken The Dons from Bottom Six looking over their shoulder at Relegation to top two looking over their shoulders at the rest of Scottish Football bar Celtic.  All done to a strict Budget and Wage Cap.  League Cup victory and succession of Semi Finals and Finals have brought the feel good Factor back to the North East.

Using smart signings and Loans McInnes has worked miracles and gained Cult Hero Status among the Dandies.   For three years now Derek could walk from Footdee to Torry across the harbour and not get wet.

There lies the dilemma for Derek, can he given the limited resources at Pittodrie take The Dons any further? No victories against Invincible Celtic in last seven games, not even a draw.  Rangers, Saint Johnstone, Dundee, the relegated Inverness Caledonian Thistle and most recently Kilmarnock have all arguably sneaked a Draw from Brendan Rodgers’ Men yet Aberdeen have not. Given the resources available to McInnes can anyone see any kind of increased ability for Aberdeen to mount a sustained bid for silverware.

That is not to say the Pittodrie Board are not doing everything they can to finance an increased Push for success.

Hampered by a solid steady fan base seems an unusual confinement but it is exactly what Aberdeen are.  Despite success on the field and publicly advertising for an increase in Home attendances, the Pittodrie average home crowd year in year out does not break sixteen thousand.  With “Debt Free” rules in place the options for Stewart Milne to back his Manager are severely limited if not bordering on impossible.
Aware of this Derek McInnes must consider at least that he has taken The Good Red Ship as far as possible.  A glass wall of achievement may not have been hit but it’s certainly on the Horizon and with little chance of being smashed.

Sunderland’s Summer interest was respectfully met with a polite “No Thanks” given the Basket Case Board Room on Wearside and the promise of New Stadium, Training Facilities and retention of Kenny McLean in Scottish North East then you can’t fault Derek’s logic.  Sadly for Dons fans a week is a long time in Politics and a quarter Season is a lifetime of changes in Football.

Kingsford Stadium Planning Submission stalled mysteriously and Kenny McLean indicating like Nial McGinn and Johnny Hayes last year his desire to seek higher wages elsewhere.  Joining a list of top players McInnes has lost for no sale value on Bosman’s.  That is a double blow, to lose a top player but to lose an Asset and not receive any funds to identify a replacement is Treading water of the highest standard.  Nor can you blame Players on AFC maximum wage seeking a wage rise after delivering success.  In any work if you as an employee work hard and bring accolades to your employer then of course you would expect an increase in your top line.  In addition to Loan Players at mercy of recall (Danny Ward & James Maddison) from parent Club or ineligible for over 10% of your League Games (Ryan Christie).

So on to Rangers.  Well the Ibrox Club have not their Troubles to seek.  From a standing start having been ripped apart Rangers have at least formed a resemblance to a Top Flight Football Club.  Make no mistake Dave King’s Chairmanship is staked on this appointment,  the loyalty and gratitude of the Ibrox Loyal will not last another failed Manager.  The stakes are high for King, get this right be a Hero get it wrong and Craig Whyte will have a Cell Mate in the eyes of the Coploan Road.

When McInnes was last mentioned in regards the Office atop the Marble Staircase, Edminson Drive was shrouded in the Fog of Merchandise deals, Court Cases and Board Room bedlam.  The Simmering Sports Direct Standoff was resolved in the Summer immediately prompting an Income Boost for Rangers and Puma Factories all over the world to look out Rangers merchandise Patterns.

Is there money at Ibrox for a new Manager to spend? I believe there is.  The War-chest promised to Caixinha in Summer still has a few Million Pounds in it only because of the Queues outside the Rangers Megastore.  That income was not budgeted for when Pedro Caixinha took over or even in the begining of the last Transfer Window.  That cash is still floating and that along with additional funds will be earmarked for Squad development in January.

Derek McInnes must consider moving back into his Family Home full-time.  Having a fully built Stadium attracting crowds of forty-seven thousand, world-class training Facilities all within thirty minutes drive of your Family simply must be a tempting offer.  Rangers rarely ask twice and for first time ever are asking the same question in less than a year.  It’s now or never for McInnes.

If and it’s still an If McInnes heads down the M90, M9 and M8 then his ideal replacement should pass Him coming North.  With Craig Brown in Non Executive Role at Pittodrie then Jack Ross is the ideal replacement to continue the stability of the Dons while enjoying working with an increased Wage Cap , Better Players, similar ethos and sea views.  He might even bring the Hot Young Prospect of Stevie Mallon with him.  It would pay even the most dissapointed Don’s Fan to remember the last Manager they took from Paisley worked out rather well for them.

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Kingsford Stadium Aberdeen’s Last Hope

17 Aug

I have real issues with Anti Kingsford protesters. I have lived within a mile of Ibrox for 22 years. Never have fans rioted past my house. 

Traffic congestion is manageable and predictable. Rangers Games keep the area vibrant and functioning. If you look around Ibrox you see many more thriving small businesses ran by Local People than anywhere else in Southside. As a Former Westhill Academy Pupil I understand the local area as good as any. I am not a Dons fan but I do believe that Kingsford is an ambitious project that will benefit Aberdeen Football Club, enhance Scottish Football and give the area the kind of Profile it deserves.

Strikes me that the people who complain actually do not like any football probably visit Westhill Golf Club thinking this counts as Sport or support Sir Andy Murray as long as he didn’t bounce a Tennis Ball in their Street. Everything by Proxy. 
It’s a Strange fact that no one complained when a Post Box in Westhill was painted Gold to reflect Tim Baillie’s Gold Medal. Snobbery is not an excuse; Elitism is not a valid Planning concern. 

Infact the only concern I would pass on to the ANTI stadia folk is not football related. By far the biggest issue with having a stadia and events on your doorstep is not to worry about football it is strangely the other events that can appear. The biggest hassles living in this area with events that have impacted on Freedom of Movement, Noise Pollution, security, litter and property crimes has been; Pope’s Visit, Commonwealth Games Rugby, Glasgow Sessions, Great Scottish Runs, 10ks, fun runs. Eminem is playing next week in Bellahouston Park and I am already worried. History says it will be carnage. 

It is a disgrace not unexpected as AWPR NIMBYs have caused many deaths due to their holding up a Bypass. As a City Aberdeen wants to looked on as Modern Metropolitan City yet is dragged back into dark ages by small minded. 

Not since 1903 when Football Authorities had to invite Orion FC, Aberdeen Victoria FC and Aberdeen FC to form a Senior Football Club has the rest of Scottish Football looked on the North East as a special case. The decisions took in 1903 have arguably lead directly to Aberdeen’s greatest days. Gothenburg in 1983, league Championships, Scottish Cups and League Cups. Days of Unity.  Not to mention Aberdeen being seen as a valid venue for Scottish international matches in both Football and Rugby. Putting Aberdeen firmly on the Sporting Atlas. 

Just as the AWPR will reduce congestion, lower inner city pollutants; reduce injuries and deaths, improving The City.  A new home for the Dons will drive Aberdeen FC, The City and Shire from the machinations of Edwardian times into the 21st Century. 

As a last point why are the property values going to drop with the infrastructure of an area receiving hundreds of Millions of Pounds of Investment then any estate agent would tell you that unless the investment is a nuclear power plant House prices will only rise.
Aberdeen and the Shire have to wake up the specter of Aberdeen Football Club playing European Fixtures out with the City and Shire even in the Central Belt this defies reason. Pittodrie is a stadium in need of demolition it is simply uneconomic to bring up to specification and in fact given its location it is simply impossible to expand. Following the shambles of the Lorrison planning application and now the Kingsford complaints the impression that Aberdeen is not open for inward investment and development is a real possibility that will directly harm Jobs and all so that some locals do not have to drive past a Facility. 

Kingsford is not in any Westhill Back yard it’s not even in the same Postcode. It is time that sections of the Oil Capital of Europe sucked it up and realised that money won’t just bubble out of the ground anymore. Aberdeen needs to become a Modern City with a Modern Outlook or it will become a DRY COUNTY of Despair. 

  

City’s only get one chance in a generation failure this time round will cut Aberdeen (shire) adrift in North Sea for many years.

Ladbrokes Premiership Predictions 2016-17

30 Jul

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It’s that time of the year where fools go and the devil fears to tread simply put its prediction time.  Season 20016-17 can not be understated.  The return of Rangers and the massive additional fan base this gives the league generates interest in every game every week.  Only time will tell on how accurate this prediction is but anyway here goes.

 

Ladbrookes Scottish Premiership Predictions

1 Celtic
2 Aberdeen
3 Rangers
4 St Johnstone
5 Hearts
6 Ross County
7 Dundee
8 Kilmarnock
9 Partick Thistle
10 Inverness CT
11 Motherwell
12 Hamilton
Bren Rog

           Brendan Rodgers               ( © Belfast Telegraph)

 

 

 

 Can’t really be a surprise to pick Celtic to win this season.  Brendan Rodgers simply has to win or be judged a worse failure than he was at Anfield.  There can be no slip ups.  Interesting signings belay the fact that there is simply too many Players on Celtics books. The Wage Bill is enormous and even reopening areas of the Stands and the new still to be tested Standing area will not reduce the pressure of paying wages for no return.  The embarrassment of Lincoln Red Imps shall be the fired at Rodgers if his Hoops lose in Any Match.  Celtic to win but not by Much certainly not more than 10 Points.

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Derek McInnes   (© Ronny Davies)

 

 

Aberdeen in Second seems an easy pick too.  Oh how every Dons Fan wants to forget October 2015.  The usual Consistency Question Mark sits over a soon to be demolished Pittodrie.  The Squad seem to take their eyes off the ball for long periods of the season.  Draws at Home to Partick and Inverness seem to compound the maintaining of Standards set so High by Derek McInnes who has to be attracting other Clubs wishing a vibrant Manager to reverse their Clubs Fortunes.  A Massive season for Aberdeen they simply have to impose themselves as valid Championship Contenders on the Field before as you would expect the Old Firm begin to resume pass the Cup across the Clyde Game they play so well.  In addition Aberdeen’s Board have to not focus so much on the New Stadium In Westhill so that they lose sight of the actual business of Playing Football.

New AFC Westhill

New Aberdeen Stadium Plans          Westhill Aberdeenshire              (© http://www.afc.co.uk)

 

Rangers in Third seems like a newly promoted clubs Dream but Rangers are not really comparable to the usual promoted Teams.  Rangers have a Squad littered with International Class Players,  have a well-respected and feared manager in Mark Warburton.  Also lets mention the Elephant in the Room have more than a point to prove against Clubs whom in the eyes of Rangers Fans and Board were heinous in their victimisation of Rangers in last five years.  As Criminal Proceedings continue it would be unwise to comment but as the dust settles most fair-minded Commentators realise the fervour that was aimed at Rangers and placing the club in the lower divisions was short-sighted and fuelled by Jealous and Hatred.  Almost Every Game Involving Rangers in the Premiership will have this edge.  The Important things for Rangers Fans is to curb this enthusiasm so its channelled positively and not into any Rod Petrie Style Exuberance.  Dave King has Talked the Talk its time he Walked The Walk.  The stage is set for him to back himself and his words the question is will he?

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Mark Warburton 

(© Ronny Davies)

Saint Johnstone in Fourth seems a push but I like Tommy Wright,  he has a workmanlike Managerial style that is displayed by His team week in week out.  Perth is blessed with a good tried and tested Squad that can easily spring surprises in the league and should unspectacular hit fourth with no real sparkling individual displays but a great team ethic.  To my mind it’s really that short and sweet.

Hearts in Fifth,  the Gorgie Club flattered to deceive last year poor in cups and disappointing in the games that mattered.  Letting Neil Alexander go seemed fuelled by either lack of ambition or an unwillingness to Pay a seasoned Professional the going Rate.  The loss of some experienced players in Tynecastle’s home dressing room will only be exposed in the games when Craig Levine And Co can’t walk onto the Pitch during games and look out for Graeme Hogg style targets.  The Fan ownership model and Ann Budge have yet to display that no matter how ethical everything financial is at Hearts it’s yet to deliver anything notable in terms of pure footballing success.  Winning the Championship in 2014-15 will not keep Jam tarts fans happy for much longer.  A long season ahead for the Maroon Legions.

Ross County In Sixth again much like Saint Johnstone the Dingwall side just seem to consistently be there or there about. Mid Table far from mediocre more secure in knowledge they are safe might interfere with European places might change the destination of the Title and might be the team that pushes a Club mathematically into the Championship or play off place.  They will do all this without actually being the club in any of the places neither at top or at bottom.

The  City of Discovery’s only representative in the top league in Seventh place.  Following James McPake’s horror injury the Dark Blues seemed to be in shock for most of the season afterwards.  I witnessed Paul Hartley in a Post Match Press Conference looking like a Crime Watch Victim reliving a Mugging.  Too many times last season Dundee were Mugged, robbed of valuable points and the sparkling performances from Gary Harkins shall not be so easily done with the loss of the Highly talented Kane Hemmings.  I imagine a tight race for seventh place in a league within a league  with Kilmarnock and Partick Thistle.  The lack of Dundee Derby’s will give the Dens fans the chance to lord it over their City Rivals in Pubs and Clubs and at work but the missing sparkle and excitement of the rivalry will detract from the feeling with in Dens Park.

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Paul Hartley post Match

(© Ronny Davies)

 

 

Kilmarnock in Eighth. It is a punt in the dark. Lee Clark has signed a whole new starting eleven!  How quickly they gel and how easily they are accepted is of paramount importance to The Rugby Park faithful.  With their own Celebrity You tuber ready to fire off vitriol from the Rugby Park  Car Park even before the final whistle its very much up to Lee Clark and Co to silence the uneasy dwindling masses who have more than enough to throw at everyone at Rugby Park.  Kilmarnock are a club on precipice of Board room troubles and Player Revolts hand in hand with a Fan Base that is near the end of its tether.

Partick in Ninth for me the best organised team in the league. Alan Archibald has no star players he has a well-drilled squad that collectively is greater than the sum of its Parts . How no Club from down south has whisked Alan away to  pastures new is beyond me. Quietly Spoken and intelligent When you look at the Firhill Teamsheet the twelfth man is listed as head Coach because you play twelve when you play Partick. Hard to break down but the rest of the Clubs have seen chinks in the Harry Wraggs armour the question is has Thistles brilliant manager identified them too and filled them with his excellent organisational tactics for the new season.

Inverness  Caledonian Thistle in Tenth for no other reason than the departure of the vibrant John Hughes and the installation of a Player direct from the Dressing Room as Manager Rarely works  even the Great Kenny Dalgleish struggled and he was the only real successful transition from Pitch to Dug Out in recent times . Saint Mirren suffered Humiliation and relegation two seasons ago following this route, and it is only the bottom twos making better cases to be in these positions that to my notion prevents Inverness following out of the Premiership.  I very much doubt Calley will be out the bottom Six past September and will flirt with Playoff and Relgation all season sure they will still spring a surprise result here and there but not in a way that will propel them up the league.

Will deal with Eleventh and Twelve together or the Lanarkshire derby Hamilton look like their Luck has run out with no new Wonder Kids coming out of their usually Prolific Academy the season looks like a journey back to the Playoffs for The New Douglas Park Club where their Playoff History makes them a force to be reckoned with. Motherwell have the same feel as Dundee United had last term no new blood same old same old for Mark McGhee to pick from and like their Neighbours across the M74 no real exciting Youth prospects to display or even some one in the pipeline.  The New Ownership Model seems to strangle Scotland Assistant Coach McGhee’s ability to raid the transfer market and from disappointing survival last season to automatic relegation seems the most likely outcome in May 2017.

Community Camouflage

16 Oct

I have a few strings to my bow.  I am a jack of all trades and master of none. I am proficient at most I would say modestly.

As you know I am a keen observer of life and events and recently I have became very concerned with the Public Persona of a Football Club.

It’s hard to describe as anything more than arrogance personally I put it in the venn diagram of where stupid meets arrogance meets conceit. 

Firstly cast your mind back to Aberdeen Versus Celtic at Pittodrie.  Aberdeen won two one the referee was Craig Thompson and he made a couple of possible errors.  In fairness Craig got 98% of the game correct and 2% open to debate.  Post match the gathering of press in the media room deep within the bowels of corner of the main stand and Richard Donald Stand waited for the usual one player and the Manager from both sides to provide reaction and the run of the mill cliches we all devour from football officials. 

The room bustled with Print and broadcast Press chattering and confirming facts.  For anyone who has been in this area it was the usual atmosphere.  There was a buzz of Aberdeen stretching a lead and setting a record as well as a few incidents discussed.  A door on the far side opened and the atmosphere changed in walked a player.  Seething full of anger and retribution the atmosphere changed very quickly.  In walked a moody, unrepentant Lee Griffiths he sat on his seat and began with little prompting to buy himself a SFA punishment. Fresh from being in Court over singing Offensive songs specifically about a fellow Professional Griffiths let rip.
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No mention of the Celtic strikers glaring failure to score a equaliser into a empty net in the final moments. No conceding that ten man Aberdeen actually showed more desire to defend and counter than the Hoops. Simply put it was a assassination of SFA Referee Craig Thompson’s professional standards. Now to be honest Thompson is not the beat whistler ever but he is even handed on his dealing with all teams. He is equally bad to all.
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On this occasion he (Craig Thompson) did not deserve the public roasting the Scotland striker gave him. And a glance at the Celtic PR led me to believe that Griffiths was speaking with full club approval. No shaking head no “Shhh”, No intervention, no shame! And I say shame because out of the fourteen players Ronny Delia used that day any of the other thirteen would of came in said nothing much and got out without any fuss. Celtic Public Relations put the worse possible Player into the couldron that day. Griffiths would of been better taking his seat on the Parks Of Hamilton Bus and quietly getting out of town. Surely the Celtic PR’s first job is to protect the image of both players and club even if it’s from self inflicted wounds. At best surely the job of Public Relations at Celtic Park is to prevent where possible any of the club’s players being punished (possibly suspended) for talking out of turn at Press Conferences. Strikes me that is priority number one of the PR Department at a football club. I know that at Aberdeen the players are well drilled by a excellent Media Department in the way to conduct a interview. I know that at other clubs this is a major part of the education of players and key in their development.

A couple of days later a Letter appears on the Daily Mirror concerning a Corrwspondamce sent out to a Celtic fans personal hygiene. Once again I will admit I seen a photo of this letter weeks before and assumed it was a PhotoShop joke. Now this photo emerges onto a deal at the daily mirror and a journalist decides to phone into the PR Dept at Celtic to ask if the latter is genuine. To be fair Celtic PR were totally honest and confirmed the letter was genuine.
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How no one on this department thought for a second hang on Headlines of Smelly Celtic Fans is not going to be a positive on the club’s image I do not know. They are a million ways to deflect the letter from simply refusing to comment on what is a private and confidential correspondance between Club and a Patron(s). This was not a sign screwed onto a wall within the confines of Celtic Park after all. If like doctors the hypocratic oath affects Public Relations Officers then first do no harm suddenly seems to be erased from Public Relations at Celtic Park.

You have to wonder who is protecting the image of the Club Gerald Ratner!
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The increasingly standard defence from Kerrydale Street is that is a conspiracy against the Club. Where from within!

Recently I had to engage in a email marathon with lots of football clubs. As I said I have many strings to my bow so sometimes there is a cross over. I was representing a Community Media outlet who were trying to gain some small non rights holder access to press areas at games etc. Of the many emails I sent put only one Club sent back a condescending denial.
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Yes the Club that was built on Community Values now does not allow Community programs a seat at it’s Table. I thought how Brother Walfrid must be spinning in his grave. How far removed has the great Club of Celtic became from it’s founding values. How arrogant how conceited and how divorced from the values of it’s fans.
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To put this into context the only club out of the top 20 in Scotland to flat refuse any interaction was Celtic even the much derided SPFL welcomed the request. Glasgow City Woman’s team, Braehead Clan, to name a few all agreed to simple no real time spent requests. Even the other half of the Old Firm Rangers a club apparently short staffed and in turmoil welcomed the interest and gave a positive response.

If there is a conspiracy to devalue Celtic then it’s became obvious in last few months that it’s coming from withing the ivory towers of Celtic Park.

Something Stinks at Celtic Park and it is not just elements of the customer base.