20 Years On Part 2 - The Mistakes, Misshapes and Misfits
Anyways, in chronological order, and without the use of a premium rate phone line, those facing nomination are...
Iain 'Portaloo' Porterfield (Nov 1986-June 1988)
Iain f*ckin who? was the response fae many to his appointment. His reign was short and quickly glossed over as it was a truly awful time to be a Red as the guy dismantled a side that had got to the European Cup Quarter Final a few months earlier and replaced them wi lower league English players...with the inevitable results you'd expect from a very cheap and nasty version o the 'Souness Revolution' occurring in Govan at the same time.
Anyone who was at 'Gothenburg Re:Live' thing at the AECC for the 20th Gothenburg celebrations would agree with the 'tired and emotional' Peter Weir's opinions on the man...obviously I cannae repeat them on a 'family' website but the words f*cking and c*nt were used an awful lot...and nae wonder – out went the flying winger and in came nonentities like Gary 'Cannae F*ckin' Hackett, Keith Edwards and Tom Jones.
As the chant that went round Pittodrie at the time had it...
'The Duke o Portaloo he had 11 men,
he marched them up to the halfway line,
then he marched them back again'
The insipid woeful performances at the time made the negativity we've seen from the Cuprinol Coated one in recent months look like the free flowing Dutch-style Total Fitba he thinks he's playing. Apathy killed this regime...a sub 8K crowd for the season closer wi Well meant Portaloo was a goner...officially it was a mutual parting of the ways but the overriding suspicion was that he was the first manager to ever be sacked by Aberdeen FC.
The Co-Managership (Scott-Smith) (June 1988 - August 1991)
Our most successful post-Fergie managerial set up paired former Red Jocky Scott with Alex Smith. In many ways a good cop-bad cop combo which had great results with Scott the tough disciplinarian and tactician, Smith the media face and coach.
Out went the English lower league nonentities and round the remnants of the Fergie era in came Hansy the Pansy and T.O. and we played some cracking stuff on our way to the Cup double in 89-90 and provided the only challenge to the Buns in what would turn out to be the dark ages of Scottish Fitba as they racked up 9 in a row.
Unfortunately it all came to a head on that fateful other May 11th at Ibrox...now as ye ken we dinna deal wi rumour and possible Urban Myths on this site but...
Facing a patched up Buns side Jocky wanted to go for the jugular and go with the attack minded formation that had dragged us back into the race from seemingly being dead in January...Smiffy wanted to go cautious and get the point we needed...a stand up row developed in the dressing room and Dick Donald had to be summoned to resolve the matter...tragically he sided with Smiffy...the rest is history as with the assistance of an unpunished assault by Hateley on Mickey Watt the Buns won 2-0 and darkness descended on the Scottish game.
By all accounts Jocky Scott never spoke to Smith again. Obviously none of us were there so how much of that is true we don't know but it does go a long way to explaining Scott inexplicably deciding to commit managerial suicide by leaving us to join the Pars (think Brewster's Pikeys...only worse) and the best management set up we had post-Fergie came to an end.
Alex 'Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh' Smiff (Aug 1991-Feb 1992)
Ah, the Sainted Martyr of Pittodrie according to Chick Young, Bill Leckie and any other opinionated arsehole who kens nothing and care even less about our club...harshly ran out of Pittodrie by the fans blah blah blah.
Smith's period in SOLE charge of the team was, and there no other way of putting this, disastrous. With the same side that narrowly missed out on the title months earlier he had us out the title race before Bonfire Night...got us papped out of all 3 Cups in the first round...but hey, we were being unrealistic!
Reds of my generation no doubt noted the fate that befell Eck last season wi the Buns and noted the Weegia's double standards...obviously fans of the OF can lynch a manager who's actually won the title and it's perfectly acceptable...anyone else like, say, Reds doing it and it's being 'unrealistic'.
Now I don't subscribe to the revisionist view of recent years that Smith was harshly treated....he had a side packed with internationals and was at a club that had spent the previous generation splitting the OF and challenging for titles and silverware...the fact is he was a lower league manager who, once he was left to his own devices, was found to be way out of his depth.
I wonder how Rangers' fans for example would have reacted if, like Smith, Eck had informed them...'Love Streets a hard place to go and pick up points'...I some how doubt they would of gone...'Well, aye, he's right. Expecting a win against by far the worst team in the league...och we're just being unrealistic there'.
That Smiffy, following his departure, went and replicated the mess he created at Pittodire at Clyde, Raith, United and Ross County came as no surprise to Reds who witnessed his gutless sides at Pittodrie yet this has strangely been ignored by his cheerleaders in the press.
He may well be a very nice chap and all that..........but lets be honest Alex Smith is/was a f*ckin shite fitba manager.
Willie 'God' Miller (Feb 1992 - Feb 1995)
There was an inevitability about the Divine Tache's appointment...with hindsight he should have gone and cut his teeth somewhere else first (Montrose were rumoured to be sniffing about when he was running the reserves during Smiffy's reign) but initially it all went so well.
The 1992/93 side was in my opinion the greatest side never to win a title and was certainly the best footballing side we've had post-Fergie. Rico and Scouse Mason running the midfield, and a frontline that just oozed goals, permed from King Dunc, Mixu 'what a f*ckin signing' Paatelainen, Scotty Booth and a seemingly Serie A-bound Eoin Jess...7-0 against Partick and Airdrie...6 against Hearts...they were simply class.
Their only weakness/misfortune was to run into a Rangers side having arguably their greatest ever season It was said at the time that we were the better footballing side but they had the better team, and when they didnae they at least had the officials to help them oot...ultimately we only beat them once that year in an end of season bounce match it wasnae good enough.
The following season was an anti-climax as we became the pools banker, running up far too many 1-1's and recording a new record of 21 draws from 44 games (I think - research is fer fannies ASC). If even a handful of them had been turned into wins we would have easily passed the woeful Huns side that won the league that year...but then if yer auntie hud baws etc etc etc
Determined not to be beaten for a third time, Willie set about reconstructing his side with tragic results and an abortive attempt to change to a 352 had us bumping along at the bottom. By all accounts he tried to resign after being beaten at Ibrox by the Tims (a night famous/infamous for that Judas pr*ck Robertson deciding sitting with the Aberdeen fans he'd betrayed was a wise move...perhaps the only recorded incident of a Rangers player being moved into the Celtic support for his own safety)...but the axe finally fell after a soulless defeat at Killie almost 3 years to the day he took the job.
Contrary to the Weegia myth, we never turned on Willie as the chants of 'Theres only one Willie Miller' at the following two games showed. As with Brewster at the Pikeys recently, many Reds couldnae stomach the idea of calling for the head of one of their (if not THE) greatest heroes and wanted to believe (perhaps unrealistically) that he could and would eventually turn it round.
Mind you signing John Inglis as a replacement for Eck was almost unforgivable even for God.
Roy A*tken (Feb 1995 - Nov 1997)
In many ways what lay in store for us under Rhoy the Bhoy was laid out in his first 6 days...a win against the Buns followed by the horror of Ochilview. But in the euphoric atmosphere following the Great Escape of May '95 most Reds would have happily let him bum them without even the decency of a reacharound.
In many ways A*tken's reign was the most disastrous and its effects are still being paid for today. Spookily the club's current debt is approximately the gross spending Rhoy the Bhoy was allowed to make.
He was given more money than any Aberdeen manager in history (and indeed will ever be allowed to spend) and he created the most expensively assembled pub side in history. We had a side that was International class in boozing and could probably have thrashed all comers at snooker or pool...it's just they were f*ckin dire at what they were actually paid to do.
Brian O'Neil...Tzanko Tzvetanov...Kiriakov, and too many more. I suppose in time we'll be able to laugh about them in a kinda post-modern ironic kind of a way...but a decade on I'm still trying to find the funny side.
1997 was our annus horribilus, it began with a 4-0 at the Pikey Dome and only contained 3 wins (all against the side that were relegated or would be relegated) and it reached a horrible nationally televised climax in a 5-0 skelping once again at the Pikey dome with Deano setting a Scottish All-Comers record for sendings off in a single game.
The black humour of Reds chanting for A*tken to give them a wave and when he responded to them waving back whilst singing 'Cheerio! Cheerio!' was obviously lost on the guy as he gave a typically upbeat post match interview which suggested he'd either overdone it on the Prozac or he was indeed from another f*ckin planet.
And yet some in the Weegia were mystified as to why we turned on a guy who brought us a Tin Pot Cup two years earlier? Once again it came as no surprise to see him practice his reverse Midas touch with a soul mate and similarly gormless free spender of other people's money in David O'Bleary.
Alex 'that F*ckin C*nt' Miller (Nov 1997 - Nov 1998)
My therapist says I'm not to mention this guys name...so I won't in fact I'll cover the nightmare 12 months under him with an anecdote.
On the day of his appointment me and a couple of Stoney Reds drowned our sorrows and got unfeasible drunk (we actually had a genuine excuse/reason for once) and dug out the 'Team of the Decade' video and reran and reran and reran the bit where he gets skinned and goes down crocked in comical fashion in the 82 Cup Final and said...'Lads this is the only entertainment we'll get out of that f*cker'....I take no pleasure in reminding you we got that spot f*ckin on.
This is the same gormless arrogant pr*ck who tried to justify bringing all 11 men back for corners with the line 'If it's good enough for Brazil'....presumably the pr*ck failed to notice Brazil had Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos whilst we were relying on Nigel effin Pepper and f*ckin Nuke Mule.
It comes as no surprise that since his arrival at Anfield, Liverpool have put up a decent case for being the most sterile and boring team on the planet.
Paul Hegarty (Caretaker Nov 1998- June 1999)
Another from the 'nice chap/shite manager' school. He was only ever gonna be a 'caretaker'...yet somehow convinced himself he would get the gig full time, despite the board publicly looking for a long term replacement.
To be fair, in the immediate post-Lexo Miller honeymoon period there was a feel good bounce about both the players and support, but once again this came to a crashing halt with another Ne'er Day massacre on Tayside...4-0 to the Saintees this time when 7000 Reds (and another thousand or so locked out) had taken the leap of faith to attend....not since the Zulu kicked ass has an army of Reds been so routed and demoralised.
It got no better...papped out the Cup to Livi...5/6 goals humiliations to the OF and Yams meant the only person shocked to see him go was apparently Hegarty...and his cheerleaders in the press who reckoned he deserved a chance....but who really wanted to see our suffering and discomfort extended.
Ebbe Skovdahl (June 1999 - Nov 2002)
Ah the Cara-zshe Dane...chain smoking and eminently quotable. Ebbe proved that as long as the manager is honest with them and they can see what he's trying to do the Red Army will back them to the hilt. As I've said before if we really were this foaming bunch of fanatics who turn on anyone not delivering titles and silverware then Ebbe wouldnae have lasted a fortnight.
His first 2 months were a nightmare of Dante-esque proportions...last senior British side to score a goal....7 games in and truly, truly woeful. But he kept us onside as he knew what he had to do...clear out the overpaid piss artistry and pray his kids came good. It's hard to put into words just how bad we were in his first season other than to point out Andy Dow became a terrace (if somewhat tongue-in-cheek) Red Army legend.
Our patience (much to the frustration of the Weegia who couldnae understand why we weren't wanting to lynch the guy) paid off as year on year we got better...11th to 7th to 4th. He never got to finish the job as he fell on his sword (though I suspect he was pushed) six weeks after we were narrowly beaten by Hertha Berlin in our first legitimate Euro excursion in five or six years.
The pretext being supporter unrest, though anyone at Tannadice in the game immediately after he tendered his resignation would have seen that this 'unrest' was virtually non existent and our self styled 'Number 1 fan' and all round media hoe was almost lynched when he entered Tannadice that day for claiming to speak for Dons fans when he panned Ebbe on the telly.
Ebbe wisnae without his faults, his tactics particularily away to the OF were indefensible, but I and many Reds I know consider him to have been absolutely crucial in stabilising the club....we may not have been showing any signs of moving in the right direction when he left, but it was Ebbe who made sure we were at least pointing forward.
Steve 'Pele' Paterson (Nov 2002 - June 2004)
This was a tragedy on so many levels it almost hurts. Paterson was, and indeed now he's had a spell in the wilderness still is, one of the best young Scottish managers. Unfortunately for us and him he took the Aberdeen job too early. There was always the sneaking suspicion that it was King Dunc who was the prime catalyst in making him move from the Sneck (where he could have had a job for life) to Aberdeen.
Paterson couldnae handle the pressure and attention required to run what even in its run down state is still one of the top jobs in the Scottish game, and whilst having a few jars of a Friday night wi the fans may have been unworthy of comment in the Sneck it was big news in Aberdeen.
The embarrassing and public confession to a drink problem turned many of the doubters more firmly against him and merely speeded up the spiral of decline more and more he seemed helpless and powerless as the world swirled round him.
He wisnae helped by the fact when he arrived the cost cutting was at its height and he was made/forced to gamble on First Division journeymen...all of whom went on to show exactly why they were First Division journeymen. [apart fae Tosher min! – Ed]
Then Wiggy (perhaps to deflect critiscm away from himself) went and appointed Willie Miller DoF, and one of Willie conditions was that Paterson, who he didnae rate, had to go....and so the most personally painful management came to an end in typical poignant way with Paterson smuggled out of Todders in a car boot.
The Fat Twat (June 2004- ??)
You've probably gathered my opinions on the Fat Cuprinol Coated twat...yes, he's better than what went before but I have reservations about how much further forward he can take us. I hope more than anything he proves me wrong but sadly I doubt he will. [see Monday night – Ed]
So there ye go...as far as I can tell, all the above wouldnae have lasted at any club for any longer than they did at Pittodrie. The 'poisoned chalice' nonsense is just that. and it should be pointed out that our contemporaries at Tynie, the Pikey Dome and Easter Road have gone thru many more managers than we have over the same period.
Of the managers we've had, only Smiff, Aitken and Miller were forced out by fan protests, Ebbe and Jocky Scott quit and the rest were punted by the board without any real pressure from the fans.
Anyway, that's Part 2 over...usual plug for Stan.D Fred's Malibu Beachhut if you've got ony opinions on what I've just written, and so on to the last part o this 'After Fergie' Trilogy and I reveal the man who was a far greater loss than Fergie back in '86.
As Rolf would say.....'Have ye guessed who it is yet?'...and no it's no Frunkie McDougall!
The Red Avenger