Who has taken Aberdeen FC, and who are these imposters?

Written by Andrew Southwick.

Okay, own up. Who has taken my football club?

I left them in May, and said I'd be back in August to pick them up. Instead some chancer has swiped them and left some outfit that looks nothing like the one I used to support.

With the Aberdeen of the past 15 years, you knew where you stood with them. You could act like a football expert and impress opposition fans by gloomily predicting defeats when they had been bought in by false dawns.

Now? Well now it's just embarassing. I'm trying to pretend I'm a know-it-all on the Dons, scoffing at talk of us racking up wins, patronising those daft outsiders who think “This might be Aberdeen's year.”

We have no full backs. A lightweight midfield. Strikers who have lost their scoring touch. A goalkeeper nicknamed Clangers. A manager punted by Bristol City.

Derek McInnes said he wanted Aberdeen to be feared. I thought that was odd, because for years I've been petrified of what they'd conjure up next.

Yet, the Dons had three season defining games over the past fortnight. An on-form Dundee United team and away to a Hibs side who hadn't lost in eight. Then a trip to Motherwell in the cup, a tie that doesn't get much tougher.

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Aberdeen have treble problem to deal with

Written by Andrew Southwick.

THERE was a frustrating element of routine to Aberdeen's defeat at Tynecastle.

So often the Dons start games in gorgie at lightning pace, dominate the opening exchanges, then find themselves a goal down before the 20 minute mark.

It's one ground Aberdeen appear unable to defend at. Whether the opposition is George Burley's table toppers, or a virtual U20 side languishing on minus points, you can bet your house on a home goal.

If truth be told, I wasn't too surprised at Saturday's defeat in the capital. I felt when the fixtures were announced that the first four games would be a serious test, and I never expected to get through them all without defeat.

The Hearts game was winnable, especially against ten men, but going to Tynecastle convinced it would be a stroll? Will we ever learn?

We have players within the squad who could have improved that performance. The sooner Barry Robson is back in midfield the better, while getting Andrew Considine into the centre of defence will make us more solid too.

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Aberdeen don't miss Rangers but they do miss success

Written by Andrew Southwick.

IN his Aberdeen Now column last week, David Preece ruffled a few feathers by admitting he misses Rangers being in the SPL.

I can’t say it’s a feeling I have had over the past 12 months but I do understand what he was saying.

When the Glasgow giants used to visit in the past, the atmosphere at Pittodrie did have an edge.

We all wanted a win a little bit more than we normally do on a Saturday, and few things are more satisfying than silencing the Gers’ vast away support with a good Pittodrie hiding.

There is a part of me that would love a trip to Ibrox on the fixture list. You tell me a ground where the Aberdeen fans celebrate a goal like we do when we take the lead in Govan?
Dons fans still back the club in huge numbers despite lack of success

Big players come alive in big games. Eoin Jess lived for those days, and some of his best memories in a red shirt were watching him tear Rangers apart.

Likewise, current Dons stars Niall McGinn, Jonny Hayes, Barry Robson and Willo Flood I’m sure would all love to sample an Aberdeen-Rangers clash.

But am I wishing them back into the SPL? Not even a little bit.

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Peter Pawlett will now be a marked man by referees

Written by Andrew Southwick.

IMAGINE the scenario. Derek McInnes has led Aberdeen to a Scottish Cup final in his first season. For 85 minutes the Dons have had Neil Lennon's Celtic on the ropes, but they just can't quite get the ball over the line.

Peter Pawlett picks up the ball in midfield. He skips over Scott Brown, dances through the challenge from Victor Wanyama, jinks past Joe Ledley, and bares down on Fraser Forster's goal.

He's one on one with the goalkeeper. He steadies himself, ready to pull the trigger, send 20,000 Dons fans into ecstasy, and end 19 long years of hurt.

Charlie Mulgrew barges into him, knocking Pawlett off his stride, and sending him sprawling to the deck. To you and me it's a penalty, but all eyes are on the referee.

What if that referee is Craig Thomson, who has twice been in charge when Pawlett has tried to con him into awarding a penalty?

Perhaps it is John McKendrick, who has already booked Pawlett for diving when in the colours of St Johnstone. Or Alan Muir, who may have had to explain himself to Scottish FA beaks this week after deeming Pawlett's swan dive at Dens Park worthy of a penalty.

With five minutes to go in a cup final, knowing the criticism that would come your way for wrongly pointing to the spot – especially when it's Celtic and Neil Lennon you're awarding it against – can anyone say with confidence the referee would award the spot kick knowing Pawlett's reputation?

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Neil Lennon has shown a lack of class over player awards

Written by Andrew Southwick.

NIALL McGinn and Neil Lennon. Two men with much in common.

Both hail from Northern Ireland and have achieved great personal success in Scotland this season. For different reasons, both will also be the names on everyone’s lips this weekend at the PFA player of the year awards.

Dons hitman McGinn has been nominated for the top prize by his fellow pros. Even if he doesn’t lift the award at the Glasgow bash, the Red Army are rightly proud of him.

Celtic fans on the other hand should cringe after their manager’s embarrassing and disrespectful reaction to none of his players making the shortlist.

Instead of accepting the result of a democratic vote with good grace, Lennon and his players threatened to boycott the awards in protest.
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Aberdeen: Thank you for not standing

Written by voicesinfootball.

EVEN for a man with the statistical spin and ‘co-company drum banging’ etiquette of current outgoing Aberdeen boss Craig Brown, the average attendance figures at Aberdeen FC are a statistically damming insight of the quality of fare on offer.  

Sure to form though come February 2013 - ignoring the Armageddon prophecies of doom that Doncaster and Regan reeled out at the start of the season - Brown had a go at spinning a positive light on the ‘jump’ in fans attending at Pittodrie:

“Alongside Hibernian, we are the only SPL side who have experienced a jump in those attending week on week compared to last season.” Craig Brown, February 2013  

This ‘jump’ has to be seen with the same context as Browns ‘we won more corners than them’ speech so often trotted out after another 0-0 home draw. That is, the man was purely putting a shine on something very muddy – something he has made a career out of doing.

During the 2011-2012 season the Dons had been watched on a weekly basis by an average of 9,297 fans at Pittodrie.  That statistic in itself hides a number of sub 8,000 attendances both pre and post the SPL split.

During the current 2012-2013 campaign average attendances so far at Pittodrie have risen to 9,727.  In effect then the ‘jump’ that Brown speaks so enthusiastically about amounts to a mighty rise of ‘430’ (four-three-zero) fans per game.

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How Derek McInnes can win over the Aberdeen support

Written by Andrew Southwick.

THE last time I wrote for this column, I was comparing the managerial styles of Craig Brown and Derek Adams. Brown's conservative approach was being undermined by the brash confidence of his Dingwall counterpart who was steering Ross County up the table. The younger of the two had just led his side to a 3-2 win over champions elect Celtic, and Brown was preparing for his own date with the Parkhead side.

The article made the point that Adams was moving closer to the manager's job at Pittodrie, through Brown's inability to outshine the man working a minor miracle at a smaller club. The former Scotland boss had to produce a performance at Celtic Park to restore confidence in him.

He did. With 20 minutes to go Aberdeen were leading 3-1, and arguably should have had a penalty for their troubles too. That Aberdeen ultimately lost 4-3 after doing away with the habit of the season and not defending was neither here nor there. On day one of the season they had lost 1-0 without barely a shot on target. This time, they had rattled Neil Lennon's side in a thriller.

Of course, that performance will not make a jot of difference to Brown's Pittodrie career, for he had already announced he would retire at the earliest opportunity before the trip to Glasgow. He had sent his men out with an attacking mentality not to save his job, but to go out on a high.
It was 90 minutes that was fitting of this season under his tutelage. A good side capable of playing if given the chance, but with a bad start and a bad end, the good stuff they at times managed in between ultimately meant no prizes.

With Brown on the way, it seemed inevitable that Adams would be the successor. A man the Dons board have had their eye on for the past two years, all bets were off with regards to him returning to the club he served twice as a player.

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Derek Adams putting pressure on Aberdeen boss Craig Brown

Written by Andrew Southwick.

THIS weekend Aberdeen return to Celtic Park for the first time since the opening game of the season. It has been interesting how the months since then have panned out for both sides.

Celtic created less chances in that game than they have done in defeat against the Dons. They looked uninterested, lacked ideas, and it took a horror mistake from Jamie Langfield to gift them the three points. There was little doubt they would go on to win the league, but it appeared to be the beginning of a long, boring season for them.

Yet, they've gone on to make the last 16 of the Champions League, and are still on course for a League and Cup double. Even if crowds are dropping as the Celtic board continue to charge sky high prices for a league that was won before a ball was kicked, they've not exactly had a season in the doldrums.

Aberdeen were solid defensively that day, but didn't really offer much at the other end. This was something fans were promised would be ironed out as the season progressed, but Niall McGinn and - for a small amount of time - Ryan Fraser apart, there's been little evidence of that.
Aberdeen fans have had little to celebrate this season

Aberdeen seem to do nothing but draw 0-0 or lose 1-0. Now and again they win 1-0. It's not often.

Fans coming down from the North-east may have half-wanted Celtic to win the recent League Cup semi-final with St Mirren, meaning this game would be a midweek fixture. There's a good reason for that.

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