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Aberdeen board need to back McGhee

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Jim Spence | 15:33 UK time, Wednesday, 23 September 2009

The Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne needs to dig deep to help Mark McGhee strengthen the current side.

That much is evident after a Dundee team, which has seen substantial summer investment, deservedly knocked the Dons out of the Co-operative Insurance Cup.

McGhee admitted his side's defensive performance was shambolic, while Pittodrie legend Joe Harper has accused the players of lacking the bottle for the big occasion.

Now chairman Milne must find the cash to allow his manager a fighting chance to compete in the Premier League.

donsdejected595.jpgDundee splashed the cash for Leigh Griffiths and Maros Klimpl. Both players were apparently on the Dons radar, but proved too expensive for their budget.

Griffiths striking prowess knocked the Dons out of the cup, while midfielder Klimpl has the kind of bite not seen at Pittodrie since the days of Neale Cooper.

And the man who provided the funds to bring those players to Dens Park, Calum Melville, is a multi-millionaire life-long Aberdeen fan based in the Granite City.

Before the current recession, Milne had an estimated worth of £500m, and while a few quid may have since been shaved off that figure, there is surely still enough in the kitty to give Aberdeen fans a glimmer of hope.

Without cash to spend, McGhee will have to fight with one hand tied behind his back to compete with Dundee United, Hearts, Hibs and Motherwell, never mind posing a threat to the traditional Old Firm dominance.

The late Dundee United chairman Eddie Thompson threw half of his personal wealth at trying to rebuild the Tannadice club, and while a fair chunk of that money was spent unwisely, he understood that personal commitment went with the territory of being chairman.

Milne is worth perhaps twenty times what Thompson was, and while chucking money at a football club is not a long-term solution, sometimes it is a short-term necessity to stabilise the side and push them forward.

In the long run the Dons need to produce their own talent through their youth ranks and scouting system.

And youngsters Peter Pawlett, Michael Paton and Chris Maguire all outshone their more experienced team-mates after coming off the bench at Dens Park.

However, as the economist John Maynard Keynes said, "In the long run we're all dead".

So, when the transfer window opens in January, the Aberdeen chairman needs to ask himself just how deep his commitment to his club and manager goes.

If he can't or won't find the money to give McGhee a chance to rebuild the squad, the Dons fans are likely to stay away in increasing numbers, further limiting the straitened budget available to the boss.

McGhee enjoys legendary status among the Pittodrie faithful, who are willing to cut the new man some slack, but they are fast running out of patience with those at boardroom level.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    So Jim as you live in dundee did you go to the game?I believe you must of as your about the only aberdeen supporter who is giving dundee where credit is due. After a shaky start we really got going and finished the game off before extra-time

  • Comment number 2.

    Defeat was NO surprise to those who have seen AFC play this season. WHY would fans expect Milne to put money into AFC - something he has refused to do for years.

    AFC are NOT a big time club, neither r Dundee, and past glories r all that remain for both. AFC fans need to vote with their feet - hit Milne where it will hurt by boycotting home games and he will soon find some cash - until then keep dreaming.

  • Comment number 3.

    For a number of years now we keep hearing the same things from
    managers/players at AFC.Things like we let our fans down or we
    must do better.Well i for one am sick of lame excuses.We have a MD
    who is not interested in investing in players.We get footballers who
    are injured or who no one wants.Why because they are cheap.
    If you went to a cafe/diner and the food was rubbish you would not
    go back so why do the fools who pay good money to watch a bunch of no hopers keep going back for more.The only way change will happen at AFC
    is if the team,manager,directors come out to an empty stadium.Stay away and see the change occur.Please spare me the true supporter thing.

  • Comment number 4.

    Joe Harper and Jim Spence have both hit the nail on the head on where the root of where the problem is!!

  • Comment number 5.

    In all honesty when Aberdeen Fans got Calderwood the sack, they shot the messenger. They have totally unrealistic expectations on their manager and players. What Calderwood had achieved they will not achieve under McGee, not because of McGee but because they are sinking down the table with the quality they sign.

    The fans have got their wish, no more Jimmy Calderwood. However the future might be lot worse with the quality of signings they are managing.

    However McGee has one chance left, have four good games against Rangers and the fans will be happy for the season!

  • Comment number 6.

    McGhee obviously feels he isn't getting anything out of his "senior" players if he starts an SPL game with a 16 year old in the centre of midfield. That to me tells you he's prepared to try anything as he has no other option.

    If McGhee gets the sack, I really fear for Aberdeen

  • Comment number 7.

    In recent seasons Aberdeeen have had the 4th largest budget in the SPL (not sure if that's still the case) and that budget was used to buy a mixture of senior pros and squad-fillers to supplement the meagre output of the clubs disfunctional youth system. From that lot, Calderwood was able to cobble together a team that would somehow struggle into 4th place, ie. where they should be based on budget. Cup-ties were a different matter however.

    Now that the revamped youth system is finally about to bear fruit once more, the decision has been made to go with these promising youngsters, and with a manager who will give them a chance. McGhee quite rightly doesn't rate the squad-fillers, and he is learning that many of the senior pros aren't up to much either.

    Last night was no surprise, just another bump in what will be a very bumpy ride this season.

  • Comment number 8.

    Was very sorry to hear that the Don's got dumped out of yet another Cup.......

    They seem to reaping what they sow.................the treatment of Alex Smith was an utter disgrace all them years ago. History repeated itself with Jimmy Calderwood. Calderwood was hounded out of Pittordrie the same way Celtic fans hounded Strachan out of Parkhead.

    Calderwood hit the nail on the head when he first went to Aberdeen - he correctly identified that the team was full of young lads who were too nice to play in the SPL.........he took a few years to sort that out, but he did. He got those boys playing with a nastier streak that brought benefits (higher up the league and a good European run). Sure the football wasn't always pretty, but he got them 'winning ugly' as McLeish used to say during his reign at Rangers.

    Aberdeen have never had a problem motivating themselves to play against Rangers, but struggled to find teh same motivation to play to the same standard against Celtic..........they cheated the fans for years, but in truth the fans liked that...........pathetic really, both the fans and the players in accepting this. It took Calderwood to sort that out, finally turning out an Aberdeen team that wanted to beat Celtic just as much as they wanted to beat Rangers..........

    Feel sorry for McGhee........but you have to question his judgement on one main issue...........what was he thinking in accepting the Aberdeen job????!

    Haper, McKimmie and Allan have been mouthing off for years in the Aberdeen press, but even i couldn't find much fault with what Harper said today......fair comments.

  • Comment number 9.

    I think it is all going to come to a head this season. JC was a good manager for Aberdeen no matter what the results were like, just because he moved the club forward in the background. The youth system is now starting to show that investment - both in time and money - will give rewards greater than an SPL team can buy in the "open" market. I say "open" as the money in the English leagues skews the market.

    It was the right time for JC to go though, and I think MM will push us to the next step - and that is real investment in the club. SM is doing nothing, WM seems to be doing nothing too - its all about speculating to accumulate. We don't need to do a Man City and spend millions - but freeing up a couple of million over the next 2-3 years for decent investment would make a massive difference.

    The Dundee result shows that a little bit more money can make a big impact at a time when there is little of it flowing into the Scottish game. Dundee are a SPL side sat in the 1st division and yet the press and to some extent the fans seem to see the result as a shock. That is wrong and should not be held against MM - they are an improving side playing against a side which has suffered a lack of long term investment which is now being exposed by the frailties of ur defence.

    As I say, I think this will be the season where it all comes to a head and will go one of two ways. Pressure on SM to an extent of which has not been pressed on hime before will end up forcing him to relook at why he is with Aberdeen he'll either (a) sell up or (b) put a bit of cash in.

    Either way I think MM will be the catalyst for change this season. I know we might have a rocky road, but I am willing to put up with that if I think progress is being made.

  • Comment number 10.

    Not Galbraith, Jim. Keynes. But good context. Most Aberdeen fans today will likely be dead by the time the team have a cup run. About time Milne spent something. Not much, but something.

  • Comment number 11.

    I think we have to stick with Mark McGhee, although I for the life of me can't imagine why any ambitious capable manager would want the dons job !!!.

    I have followed the dons for 40 years and this has to be the most worrying time ever. Even in the late 60's and 70's when a draw against the old firm at home was considered a great result, we were at least able to stand tall amongst the rest of the teams. I fear now that a penny pinching , short sighted Board, is holding back the club and not allowing it to achieve the potential it has shown over the years.

    I'm not saying we should be back to the glory days of the 80's, but even a modest level of investment in the club and a little financial risk taking would certainly reap dividends.

    Even if we could bring in some decent experienced pros, with some desire to win, while the younger lads mature and improve, I honestly think McGhee would have enought to work with.

    I don't doubt Stewart Milne's commitment to the club, but I do think he needs to raid the piggy bank a bit more regularly.

  • Comment number 12.

    All Mcghee needs in this League to achieve a high league position and good cup run is half a million tops. The SPL is a very poor league at present and half a mill would allow Mcghee to buy 3 or 4 decent SPL standard players. Get the cheque book out Mr Milne or stand down. Willie Miller stop being lazy in your cushy number and get out there and get investment, you are paid a massive wage now go and earn it or get back to running failed chippers. You were once a success somewhere along the line it seems you have lost that hunger for success. How you can just sit there and take a wage whilst this club falls further and further is shocking!

  • Comment number 13.

    As a United fan living in Aberdeen I can listen to what's being said up here without being biased.

    The biggest problems are the lack of investment (god bless Eddie when it comes to United) and the role of some people within the club - what does Willie Miller do?

    I go to Pittodrie from time to time and there are too many players on that pitch just going through the motions - personally I'm pleased about that as it gives United more of a chance of europe but you have to question why these guys were bought in the first place?

    Lee Miller is the least mobile forward I think I've ever seen (unless he's in a car...) and there doesn't seem to be a midfield just now.

    Finally some of the fans do seem to think aberdeen are a bigger club that they currently actually are - but that's the same with most fans.

    If Stuart Milne is serious about being a fan then a couple of million wouldn't hurt him and he could start to turn the club around, how long before McGhee has had enough?

    The old firm are as weak as they have been in years but none of the rest of us can get our act together to challenge them.

  • Comment number 14.

    The board at AFC need to take a long hard look at themselves. I am sick of a club of Aberdeen's size and history looking like a second division outfit. Do they actually employ a marketing manager? The amount of stories that have come out of Pittodrie since MM took charge is verging on embarrassing, Yes there is money and no we wont be affected by the Setanta deal and No there is no money. What should have been said is there is money but you will be lucky if it gets you a couple of trialists. I know a number of people who bought season tickets off the back of the MM signing and the initial sounds that came our way was that there would be cash for a number of reasonable players. NONE of this is MM fault.

    A couple of seasons ago when the Dons beat Rangers on the last day of the season to qualify for the european run a number of our better players contracts were due for renewal, including HART, CLARK and NICOLSON, I understand that they would have signed anything after that game for no major increase in salary, were they asked? Nope. It was left as usual until the last minute.

    Since the season began there hasn't been alot of positive information flowing out of Pittodrie and I assume that this isn't just down to the club and Willie Miller. The press seem to have not forgiven AFC for punting JC and co. For example, Aberdeen GET the manager of their choice but the celtic connection is wheeled out at every given opportunity, Celtic get their...err, their 5 or something choice but that is not mentioned.

    Please somebody tell me that Stewart Milne is not just waiting for the Pittodrie stadium deal when we will effectively be left looking like a red version of St johnstone and no real home.

  • Comment number 15.

    SkigerstaBear9, explain this to me, if we only ever try against Rangers and not against Celtic, why have we not won at Ibrox since 1991 and in that time have won a Parkhead around half a dozen times?

  • Comment number 16.

    I think most Red fans are past the 'we should be successful just because we were!' stage. However if you look at Scottish football and the size of the city and potential fanbase we have in comparison to most teams there is no doubt we should be doing better. The question then is why aren't we?
    Mark McGhee is really in the hot seat and in charge at a pivotal point in afc's history. It could go either way. Youth is all very well but if they aren't led by example from senior pros then the future won't be rosy. JC did well enough and attracted decent players so too did McGhee at Well. Has the budget dropped so much? MM must feel like he's been led up the garden path. Everyone else has been hit by the TV deals but most added to their squads. The squad is paper thin and you get the feeling if the heads go down we could be in real trouble.

    I feel a pivotal moment came after the Copenhagen game. There was a real feeling that AFC could be back and what happened next- Hart and Clarke were out the door and Zander wasn't sure if he would stay. The whole momentum was lost and it's been a slide ever since. I don't ever doubt Willie Millers passion for the club but Milne seems to just hope that success will fall on his lap without being pro-active. It all comes from the top and he doesn't lead by example and sell AFC as an ambitious, attractive proposition. Anyway I've blethered enuff!

  • Comment number 17.

    Skigerstabear wrote

    "They seem to reaping what they sow.................the treatment of Alex Smith was an utter disgrace all them years ago. History repeated itself with Jimmy Calderwood. Calderwood was hounded out of Pittordrie the same way Celtic fans hounded Strachan out of Parkhead."


    the irony is just to much to handle - Alex Mcleish anyone?? what, did he not win you enough trophies?

    Now go and read your Daily Ranger and then come back and post up some more ill informed clichés about Aberdeen.

  • Comment number 18.

    Northhighlander wrote

    "In all honesty when Aberdeen Fans got Calderwood the sack, they shot the messenger. They have totally unrealistic expectations on their manager and players. What Calderwood had achieved they will not achieve under McGee, not because of McGee but because they are sinking down the table with the quality they sign."

    So, you are clearly well clued up on what the Aberdeen fans want. So can you explain to us what our expectations are and why they are n fact, too high? I await your response my good man.

  • Comment number 19.

    To comment #1 - Spencey's no an Aberdeen fan - abody ken's he's an Arab!

  • Comment number 20.

  • Comment number 21.

    I was unfortunate enough to see the performance in the Czech republic, that was easily the worst performance by a Scottish side in Europe I have ever seen (there have been a few), the team looked unprepared for the start of the season which is unforgivable. Aberdeen were 3rd best in every department and soundly thrashed by a side that were in turn soundly thrashed in the next round. Agree with the post above re: Calderwood, Aberdeen fans didn't understand what a good job he was doing.

    P.S. when I first read the title I had assumed it was called "Aberdeen board need to SACK McGhee", The team are awful at the moment.

  • Comment number 22.

    I think AFC fans expectations have nothing to do with what is happening at this moment in our history. Is it because fans from other clubs still remember us having a laugh in their own backyard, not just Fergie's era but right into the nineties?

    I was present at the previous cup games when it went horribly wrong (not Dundee game) and the thing that struck me the most about the teams at that time was that apart from two or three players the rest looked and acted like they didn't give a monkey's. What is wrong with expecting a club of our size to be hammering sides from lower divisions?

    Aberdeen must do better. I expect nothing less.


  • Comment number 23.

    Spency, I remember having a conversation with you just before the Copenhagen game about the amount of investment going into Aberdeen from our chairman, and the amount Eddie was putting into your team. How far are we on from then, and nothing has changed. Eddie was a true Arab who wore his heart on his sleeve when it came to his love affair with Utd - Mr. Milne is awaiting an end-game - the selling of Pittodrie for the lining of his own pocket. The mantra 'minimum input, maximum output' was invented by Milser - allegedly.

    You may, or may not have noticed that I am not in my usual seat at Pittodrie, Spency. The reason? After following my team through a few highs and many lows, my appetite for the Milser Regime has waned to the point that I no longer view spending my cash on a product with as much quality as a knock-off job from Del Trotter.

    Nope - it's Buckie Thistle for me - we're flying just now!

  • Comment number 24.

    Spency, I remember having a conversation with you just before the Copenhagen game about the amount of investment going into Aberdeen from our chairman, and the amount Eddie was putting into your team. How far are we on from then, and nothing has changed. Eddie was a true Arab who wore his heart on his sleeve when it came to his love affair with Utd - Mr. Milne is awaiting an end-game - the selling of Pittodrie for the lining of his own pocket. The mantra 'minimum input, maximum output' was invented by Milser - allegedly.

    You may, or may not have noticed that I am not in my usual seat at Pittodrie, Spency. The reason? After following my team through a few highs and many lows, my appetite for the Milser Regime has waned to the point that I no longer view spending my cash on a product with as much quality as a knock-off job from Del Trotter as 'cushty.'

    Nope - it's Buckie Thistle for me - we're flying just now!

  • Comment number 25.

    every time a transfer window comes about the board promise us funds to sign 3-4 players & then only sign 1 .
    The time for Milne is now up & the fans have had enought however the problem is would anyone else but the club & spend the money that is needed to improve this once great club;

    I beleive that if the club bought 3/4 players of real quality, along with some of the hidden talent in the scotish 1st & 2nd Division to add to the young boys coming through & got rid of the dead wood, Mcghee might have a chance but until then the current board are giving Mcghee no chance.

  • Comment number 26.

    I agree with most of the previous comments - the supporters have really had enough.
    I can understand and appreciate that we cannot compete with the Old Firm or even Championship English sides, but I have a hard time understanding why we play second fiddle to the likes of Motherwell and DUNDEE when it comes to buying players.
    The time has come for Mr Milne to inject some of his fortune into acquiring a few DECENT players - not 80MM Ronaldo types - but just some good footballers who can make a difference to the side.

  • Comment number 27.

    its time for Mr Milne to stump up or stand down and let someone who is willing to help come in///

  • Comment number 28.

    Don't know why getting beat from us is such a shock to Aberdeen. First Division clubs consistantly beat SPL clubs in the cups, it's not really a big thing anymore. Considering the amount of money we've put into our team and from watching the game, Aberdeen should be pleased to have comeback and pushed the game into extra time.

  • Comment number 29.

    What some people need to appreciate is that during the dark days when the dons debt was at its highest point, Milne was there and met these payments when the bank came knocking. For that I am grateful because had he not, we would be in far worse position than we currently are now. What I cannot understand however is that if he is not prepared to invest in the club a bit further, he should now do one of the following:

    1. Sell his shares
    2. Go out and seek fresh investment
    3. Look into possible avenues of making money

    Callum Melville is no Aberdeen fan. As a true Dons fan, there is absolutely no way that I would invest in any club bar the Dons. This is a man on a publicity stunt, trying to generate interest in the business opportunities that he is currently involved in, as well as generate interest in himself. There are bound to be more examples of him out there who have the financial clout to not only buy the shares from Stewart Milne, but put a bit of money towards strengthening the squad. I am not expecting them to throw money at the manager because that would just be suicide but if the manager can justify spending money on a certain player, a chairman who is even willing to listen can only be better than what we have at the moment. Granted the Dons have failed badly here before (Paul Bernard and Robbie Winters spring to mind) but there has never been a better time to try and solidify on third and even (not unrealistic) break the Old Firm stranglehold that has been on Scottish Football for the last 20 years.

    It is an absolute disgrace that Aberdeen have not made an attempt to try and "tap" into the oil market in the North East. I seem to recall one fans forum when Willie Miller said he would not go chapping on doors looking for money - this was someone else’s job. As much as this person is probably is good at their job, they just would not have the same appeal. If Aberdeen were serious about wanting to attract investment, they would have an entire department dedicated to it. This would involve a few "business and marketing minded" people in the background, with the campaign fronted by a club legend. They could be paid a base salary, with a performance related aspect written into it, based on how much investment they attract. A person like Joe Harper would be ideal for the job because he is the all-time top goalscorer, combined with the fact he seems to be a good entertainer.

    Another avenue they could attempt is to tap into its image. For years, we have been labelled with the sheep tag – most of us are proud of this – why do the club not take the same stance? Design a few different t-shirts based on the sheep element and I am fairly certain that they would sell pretty well. Charge £8-£10 a t-shirt and that’s income that can be put straight back into the club. It doesn’t have to stop there and other items of clothing could be designed as well. It seems that AFC employ a lot of staff who sit there by day doing nothing and by night bask in the glory of working for the football club – another drain on wages!!

    I am not a business minded person but in a few short paragraphs, I have come up with these ideas – just imagine what a person with a business mindset could do!

  • Comment number 30.

    Why do the media make such a huge deal of Aberdeen getting beaten in the cup? Dundee look to have better quality than a few SPL sides, Hamilton, Falkirk, St Mirren etc. The guy Harkins looks a really good player. I guarantee if The Pars had managed to hold onto their lead against Hearts the other night the same fuss wouldn't have been made, i would also say that Hibs losing at home 3-1 to St Johnstone is a worse result. Not much has been made of that & Hibs have heavily invested in the squad compared to AFC this season. Everybody loves to see AFC do poorly & they remind us how we supposedly expect it to be like the 80's, maybe it's more of a bitterness because of what we achieved in the 80's, opposition fans seem to speak about it more than us. I for one am backing McGhee & we seem to have a decent group of youngsters coming through so i'm not going to get too distraught over the cup defeat. I understand it's going to take time to build up the team again & get rid of the journeymen type footballers that JC brought to the club.

    By the way RosemountArab, a Yinitit fan not liking Lee Miller? Shockeroonie!!!! Agree with you final comment though.

  • Comment number 31.

    I walked past Jim Spence today.

  • Comment number 32.

    Aberdeen are so cheap that they only had 1 turnstyle open for the away fans when I went to see them, missing the first 15 mins of the game. Still charged full rice of course. They only have 1 ball boy at each end of the pitch, so no free games for the youngsters. If they can't even spend money on the most basic elements of running the club, how are they ever gonna afford players?

  • Comment number 33.

    I completely agree that the AFC Board need to provide the cash for Mark McGhee, but where does it come from?
    Could it be Sir Ian Wood, Scotlands wealthiest man? Maybe, but doubtful.
    Why not Douglas Craig? A lifelong Dons fan, and with one of the largest corporate boxes at Pittodrie. He might.
    We need local but big, investment in the club and Aberdeen the city has the potential to provide the investment.
    We wont get rid of Milne, let's remember that the club finances have been restructured and I don't think he's going to give up on developing Pittodrie.
    A hostile takeover of the club with new owners having the interests of the club first and foremost, might be the way to go.

  • Comment number 34.

    Too many of our clubs have chairmen who want to be seen as the "Bigshot" and who talk-the-talk.

    Well it's time some of them justified that and splashed the cash.

 

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