Balmoor Stadium, Friendly, 3/7/19
Nickname; The Blue Toon
Honours; League Two – 2013–14, 2018–19 Highland League, 1946–47, 1948–49, 1949–50, 1988–89, 1998–99 Highland League Cup, 1962–63, 1965–66, 1967–68, 1980–81, 1988–89 Scottish Qualifying Cup Winners, 1946–47, 1975–76, 1977–78, 1978–79, 1985–86, 1997–98
Current Division; SPFL League One
Random Fact; The Blue Toons highest defeat of 13-0 to Aberdeen in 1924 is also Aberdeens highest ever victory
No pre-season goes by where I don’t head to an Aberdeen match v a lower league opponent. We seem to play a “local” one every year, Arbroath, Brechin City, Huntly and the like. This year Peterhead at Balmoor beckoned for us. No pre-match entertainment before this one as it was a night time game. I had always wanted to take junior to Balmoor. Not sure the reason why but it may have something to do with the locality (35 – 40 minutes in the car), the fact my old boy has a wee soft spot for them as he worked his only job for forty years in the town or it might even be down to the fact Balmoor was my home ground when I played for the districts during my school years. I do not really know but this was the chance to do it and he was up for it and spoke about it in the days leading up to it.
The night started on a good note as after seeing the traffic the game had generated and lack of parking, I parked up on the driveway of my lovely ladies’ parents’ house as they were out for the night. Conveniently their house is directly across the road from Balmoor. If this wasn’t the case, we would have had to face a fair trek to get to the ground as were running a bit late. Instead it was two minutes and in the queue. Giving us means of a quick escape if this turned anything like the last friendly, I watched up there. The one where Bobby Mann scored a hundred-yard free kick past Betrand Bossu in a truly despicable 4-0 defeat.
With a Euro tie against Finnish side RoPS looming I was hoping the Dons were to field a reasonably strong team to get sharpness in order. Turned out the main boys were shared out between the halves. A starting xi of Lewis, Logan, Leigh, Considine, Taylor, Ferguson, Campbell, Hedges, Wright, E Ross, Cosgrove took to the field giving us and the other two thousand present the chance to see if new boys Hedges and Leigh were of any use. After wasting my life queueing up for a juice and a coffee for half an hour, we were subjected to what can only be described as dirge. With the season away to start in a week there seemed to be far too many off the pace. There was a lack of conviction, a lot of unforced errors and some players such as Lewis Ferguson (who I am a huge fan of) and Scott Wright were non-existent. Despite the latter setting up the opening goal he did nothing else of note. HT 1-0 through Balon D’or Cosgrove after some unselfish play from Wright, led to the ball being laid on a plate for the big striker.
Second half was not much better. Especially with the introduction of Stevie May who proved why he needs moved on as soon as possible. Possibly Derek McInnes’ worst signing. This in my eyes due to the financial aspect, he has dropped a serious bollock on that one. Wasted transfer fee and wages must tally up to a decent figure that could have been better spent elsewhere. I have seen better players at much lower divisions. At one point he skied an effort over the bar from close range and it went out the ground. Junior piped up telling me “it almost hit the Aberdeen bus” as it was parked behind the goal. I claimed “it almost hit Grandmas house in Ellon” which raised a chuckle to all within earshot. The game was killed off by Aberdeens best player on the night Shay Logan who struck a cracking shot across the goal into the bottom corner. A very well taken effort. People say you can’t take much from pre-season games. I would still say that the Dons with only a week to go were very poor. It wasn’t all negative though, positive points were Greg Leigh and second half sub Jon Gallacher looking like useful additions to the team with his incredible pace. Youngster Dean Campbell will also hopefully get a chance to shine this season. Jury is out on Hedges who seems decidedly one footed. Overall poor stuff to watch even if the ever fluffing club website claimed, “New Look Dons Impress in Peterhead”. Easily pleased, very easily pleased. This season will be a chew to watch thats a guarantee.
Me still 150, Wee Man 26