It was my first ever visit to Pittodrie Stadium, the first all seater in British football and home of Aberdeen FC 'The Dons'. Do you know THE ONLY Scottish club to win TWO European trophies? Well, it's not the Old Firm, Rangers or Celtic, but The Dons, under the legendary young coach Alex Ferguson, BEFORE fame, fortune and a knighthood at Old Trafford.
In the first half of the 2010-2011 season Aberdeen had a horribly time, including a 9-0 defeat to Celtic in November AT HOME. To stop the rot they brought in The Elder Statesman CRAIG BROWN, and his trusty sidekick Archie Knox, who had come out of retirement to revitalise The Steelmen of Motherwell FC.
The were going to be relegated, and Brown, the most successful ever Scottish team manager in history, found a demoralised and weak squad of players and very worried fans. It has not been easy and although they won't go down to Division One from The Scottish Premier League it will take time to get into the top 5-6 and into Europe as he did with 'Well.
We had a short welcome chat in The Director's Lounge prior to entertaining The Saints. St. Johnstone from Perth before I took my seat in the stand. Within 3 minutes they were one down to an own goal by Derek Smith past his startled goalie Jamie Langfield- and it never got much better.
"No excuses. The Saints were much better", we were outplayed"' he stated at the post match press conference. "We are a very proud club. We had 10 injured players but we can't compete at the top with half a dozen youngsters, without experience around them".
The fans started going home as early as the 65th minute when Jamie Adams doubled the score and there seemed no response from the players in red, either emotionally or physically. Even a seagull that came to perch on the fence behind the goal got bored and took off for the North Sea a hundred yards or so away.
I arrived very early and was looked after by Betty, a 22 year veteran, in the lounge, with cups of tea, Walkers Belgian chocolate and shortbread biscuits, steak pies, sandwiches, and at full time waiting for Craig, THE BEST creme brulee I had ever tasted.
"I'm loving the job here", says 70 year old Brown. "At this time of my life I'm here purely and simply because I still enjoy it. I am here because football is my hobby as well as my work". Many years ago when I was managing Clyde, Alex Ferguson called me up when he was here. He had a young Glaswegian called Ian Ferguson that he was about to release, and wondered if I would give him a chance. I signed him, later sold him to St. Mirren and he became a million pound player at Rangers and won nine titles with them" Many players will have to be replaced here, and Craig uses this story when he has to let players go, to give them hope.
Aberdeen is the oil capital of Britain, with the biggest heliport, serving off-shore oil rigs. Lots of fishing, tourism, local Angus beef, and service industries, and called the Granite City, because of the local building material. On the team jerseys is TEAM, a local recruiting company andsponsor. Perhaps they can find some football talent as well in time for next season