ANOTHER year, another cup humiliation. This is happening with such regularity that it should be printed into next year’s official AFC calendar, with a fold-out manager’s “worst result of my life” quote and pop-up directorial statement of support.
Embarrassing losses to lower-league clubs Queens Park, Queen of the South, Dunfermline and Dundee join 4-1 humblings by Dundee Utd and Hibs in a tale of cup catastrophes that stretches back to the start of Jimmy Calderwood’s reign. But things were supposed to be different this season...
So what went wrong this time? How can the team that scored six goals against two of the top three clubs in the SPL within the previous seven days fail to put a single ball past a struggling First Division club, missing key players and whose keeper shipped four at the weekend?
Most dumbfounding is how Aberdeen can have a complete revolution of management staff and a fair dose of player changes from the defeat to the Pars in the same competition 11 months ago, yet exactly the same has happened.
Both times we have had 180 minutes to dispose of a First Division team – no disrespect is meant here; anything can happen in a 90-minute cup tie, but an SPL team should be able to dispose of a lower-league team once they’re taken home for a replay.
So what has remained the same? Aberdeen’s board of directors for one. They recognised last summer that Calderwood could not take the club forward in a way acceptable to them and the fans. Good, well done. They got a manager in who they felt could. Fine. However, they have failed to back that manager with money.
They refused to open the purse in summer, preferring to basically let McGhee work with what he had including the products of Willie Miller’s revolution of the youth system. OK; not ideal, but possibly neither is giving loads of money to a man who has yet to prove himself at the club.
The board did open the cobweb-riddled safe in January; unfortunately it was to put £600k from the sale of Lee Miller IN rather than fund any new permanent players.
Mark McGhee must get a public assurance from the board of directors NOW that he will have serious cash to spend in summer. If he does not get that, then what does that say about the board’s lack of confidence in the new man? How can he continue without the board’s financial support?
Without this assurance, and instead merely the bland platitudes and non-specific ‘support’ for McGhee that Stewart Milne gave when interviewed yesterday, expect to see more fans drift away and season tickets go unrenewed.
A fellow long-suffering supporter frequently tells me after occasions like Tuesday night’s that he signed a pact with the Devil on the evening Aberdeen beat Bayern Munich in 1983, when we were 2-1 down. In return for us winning that game, he has to endure a lifetime of humiliating dross. Time to renegotiate that contract, mate.
See the published version of this piece, along with more articles on Aberdeen FC's traumatic week, in today's Scotsman newspaper, and at: http://www.scotsman.com/sport/Stewart-Milne-backs-Mark-McGhee.6082663.jp