The 3rd of March marks the second anniversary of the infuriating sounds of the equally infuriating song echoing around me. “Oh Derek McInnes” was ringing out up Merkland Road East. This coming after drawing in the Scottish Cup with the new kids on the block. Yes, that is right, drawing with The r*****s was worthy of serenading the manager. To me it proved where we were as a club and as a fanbase (not all of us to be fair). It also signalled I was done for the season. Celebrating a draw is a no-hoper turn of mind if ever I have seen one (or heard in this case). This was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. Beating them in the replay a couple of weeks later was felt on the Richter scale as it was treated like a we won the fucking tournament. The pedestal this team had been put on was sickening. The thought of chucking it was not a new one. But it had now become reality. There were four games left at home, seven away and a semi-final against celtic remaining for the season. I just couldn’t find it within myself to be arsed anymore. Between my malevolent feelings towards the manager which had been gaining impetus for around a year and a half, the terrible football on show, offshore, my newfound love of watching neutral fitba with Wee Man and this acceptance of mediocrity within the club I decided enough was enough.
A year ago, I wrote about my fantastic first non-Dons year. I managed to amass 56 games, 55 new grounds, 199 goals and I also found a jobby in a urinal at a Falkirk game. My last game of that period was a bloody excellent affair between Vitesse and Heerenveen (4-2) and following this the world turned into a place full of “unprecedented”, “curve flattening”, “next slides”, lockdowns and Jason fucking bastarding Leitch. This second year was to be entirely different. For me it was different. For the Dons, it was the same shite in different season. In fact, thinking about it, really it has arguably been disparate shite down Pittodrie Street, this because Aberdeen are regressing into a slump and sleepwalking into the mire despite the protests of the most ardent of ordinariness embracers.
Since that sunny day in March ’19 the Dons have played 92 competitive matches across four tournaments. 39 have been won, 24 drawn and 29 lost. That’s a 42%-win record. Is it just me or is that not good enough? In this period, we have scored 110 and conceded 94. Our home form is wretched and currently sits at 22 wins in 41 games. Again 53% winning at home is another downright subpar stat, and surely must be to anyone with a brain. Some of the defeats include a shockingly bad 3-0 to Motherwell and pathetic 2-0 to Livingston this season. The latter’s first half being as bad as anything this century. Last season saw Ross County and St Johnstone beat us towards the corona cut off. These matches which were played in a dismal manner and were just simply deplorable. But there have been many more too, home, and away. Especially against the gruesomes. After chucking it in the aftermath of the much-celebrated draw with The r*****s we did go on to beat them in the replay yes, only to inevitably shit the bed in the semi v celtic. We did manage to grab a draw at Parkhead but then meekly allow them to win the league on our patch. A game where on doing the maths on the league I booked a trip to the Netherlands and Germany to avoid it at all costs as the outcome was only one going to be one thing. Last season we were whitewashed by celtic and were winless v sevco (inclusive of a 5-0 drubbing). This season it has been role reversal to date with the whitewash coming from the other side of Glasgow with us having nicked an undeserved point off celtic with 27% possession, at home. Our records versus the teams we are trying to catch are terrible. celtic is as expected, no wins, drawn 2, lost 8 scored 5, conceded 21. That’s right, 21 goals in 10 games. The two years against the newbies is not much better but we have a win as explained earlier, with 2 drawn and 5 lost. We have scored 5, conceded 16. Let’s not beat around the bush here, that is a pathetic output for the supposed “third best” club in the land but mystifyingly these are seen as “free hits” due to “budgets”, “referees” and other pathetic excuses to many. Away with that crap, it is because we don’t try and win these matches. We instead try not to lose. There is a huge difference in these two mentalities.
The problems are more than just against those two. Derek McInnes record in Europe is dire and has continued in my absence with us having went out to Rijeka with very little fight shown. This season we were sent packing from Estadio Jose Alvelade by a team recovering from corona and without a competitive game under their belt in Sporting Club de Portugal. This coming after another toothless big game performance was put in under McInnes. The League Cup defeat to St Mirren was a shocker too. Exiting the cup at the first hurdle to a man who seems to have McInnes sussed out. Something a lot of teams seem to have got the hang of.
Prior to the corona cut off the Dons were dogshit. P19, W6, D7, L6, F21, A20 were the figures for the final for months of the abridged season. Fortunately for the manager this was quickly forgotten due to the state of the world. What seemed to be swept under the carpet and largely went unnoticed was the manager was saved from his worst season in the Dons hotseat. He was on course to beat his previous seasons effort. As the league was curtailed on Friday the 13th of March, the Dons were sitting on 45 points in fourth. There were 24 left to play for meaning every game had to be maximum points to avoid a worse point tally than the preceding seasons 67 which also saw us in fourth. The form at the end of last season has an eerie air of familiarity about it as this seasons current garbage has been as equally bad points wise. But overall, it has been appalling. To eclipse last season, we have managed to throw 575 minutes without a goal int the mix, setting a new club record in the process. Also, to be noted is dropping points on seven occasions to bottom six clubs and the cup defeat to the Buddies also found themselves in this run making this season radically impermissible.
That’s just on the fitba side of things, what about incomings? In the past two years the Pittodrie reception has seen Funso Ojo, Greg Leigh(twice), Dylan McGeough, Matty Kennedy, Craig Bryson, Jon Gallacher stroll in. Ash Taylor and his incredible story of how he returned and of course the bizarre/shady Roland Hernandez deal have also taken place too. None of these have set the heather alight. Ryan Hedges and Tommy Hoban have pass marks and McCrorie still has the jury out on him as his form has dipped since the start of the season. Jonny Hayes is also nowhere near the player who left us. Anyone else is too early to judge or I have just forgotten about them entirely.
Staying on the incomings, the chairman has appeared. Suspicions were raised when he vainly named the training facility using his own moniker. That set alarm bells off in my head from the get-go. My views have not altered any since. The beggar bowl was out almost immediately once the pandemic was official. It worked, the fans rallied, and season tickets sold, DNA was taken out as we were promised attacking football and to become a “challenger brand” (whatever the hell that is). Looking at where we are currently it is laughable to think these words were uttered and many people have shelled out for a season of dirge. We have seen the had a few sherries twitter videos, talking about “transparency”, “innuendo” and setting the facts straight. Inevitably this is still to be seen. We have also heard him having a go at the Scottish Government which backfired as we are currently in lockdown, showing he was barking up the wrong tree. Although I agreed with the sentiment, he has just ended up putting the clubs name in a bad light. Then came the Q&A. No question would be too much, this organised during a horrific run and promptly binned or “postponed” for now. This being a serious PA faux pas. Also, during this hideous run of form the manager was backed as if this was just a bad spell, this cementing the new chairman as not much better than his predecessor. He had obviously missed last season. Nothing more than narcissism and monkey shines is the story of his tenure to date.
Then to the manager, the credulous one. His football is abysmal, his signing strategy is abysmal, and his interviews are abysmal. He is the king of bullshit bingo. Will he blame the injuries, the decisions, the conditions, the pressure, ignore the negatives? Or will an interview contain them all. He is unlistenable now. He opens his trap and brown noise emanates. You feel dumber after hearing his drivel. But most worryingly he doesn’t seem to register the fact we are terrible just like his tactics. We took four of Ross County and he was not the slightest bit perturbed by it in his post-match interview. Not once did he say it was unacceptable or something of the sort. He went off on a tangent and ignored the lamentable elements of the match. The Livi game at home in February was similar. The first half was as bad as anything under McGhee, Patterson or whoever and we were well beaten by half time. He talked about the second half being good and “more like ourselves”. His mentality is all wrong and is the reason we are regressing. Talking about “securing third” early doors in the season. We would be as well pack it in if we are beaten before the schools are back. But he is continually talked about third as the season has progressed inclusive of “if third is not good enough then so be it” bollocks. This reeks of the “no-hoper turn of mind” mentioned earlier and to make things worse, he was quoted in saying “I have to remind the players that they are the fourth best team in the country” in his Kilmarnock pre matcher. Is it now sufficing to be fourth? He lacks ambition and testicular fortitude. He also has developed a habit of stating “we take the point” as if drawing games is satisfactory. The aim of fitba is to score more goals than you concede. I.e bloody win for fuck sake. His interviews are becoming more absurd and more arrogant and to me he comes across as a man who is deliberately being obtuse to provoke reactions. Either that or he just sees a completely different game than everyone else barring his cult followers. Surely the balderdash highlight of this period for me is and lets never forget it. The time he proclaimed, “I love this club more than any other supporter out there”. Delusions on the grandest scale.
To answer the question in the title- yes, I have missed something, an omnishambles gradually unfolding. An omnishambles far too many are willing to accept because “who could do better?”.
You may think I am a doomsayer after reading that, you would be entirely correct when it comes to Aberdeen under Derek McInnes. There is enough evidence above to say its stale and we need change. However away from the mundaneness of McInnes ball and AFC I have had a blast with the little fitba I have managed to view. Eight games were all it was to be in year two for obvious reasons. Six in another country, one by breaking the tier system and one from a bush. I could maybe have doubled or trebled the tally if it was not for a terrible period of weather which affected many plans on various occasions when home and elongated trips to Angola also scuppered things. Fitba wise closer to home I watched a Scottish Cup tie at Princess Royal Park between Deveronvale and Camelon. The visitors running riot and claiming a 4-1 win which flattered the Vale in all honesty. This was watched from outside PRP from pretty much in a bush. Wee Man and I headed up to Alness to pop our North Caledonian League cherries as we took on Alness United v Inverness United at Dalmore Park. The hosts winning 2-1 via one of the best OGs I have seen in the flesh. But in all honest they were good for their win and didn’t need assistance. The “foreign” games were just a hop skip and a jump away. Carrying on with the cherry popping subject, the Northern Football League was found. With fitba sacked off in Scotland by the government the Northern League came to Wee man and I’s aid and we are extremely grateful it did. Documented in its own blog piece(Inane Ramblings #10) our trips to Easington Colliery, Carlisle City, Tow Law Town, Consett, Ryton and Crawcrook Albion and Esh Winning were all fantastic in their own way and got us hooked with this cracking set up. Hebburn Town, Birtley Town, Willington, Crook Town, Redcar Athletic and many more await next season. However, hopefully the proposed cup competition after Easter comes to fruition. Wee Man and I will be there with bells on. Our season may not be over quite yet………………..
The second year may have been strange for many due to corona reasons, but I loved it. Lockdown may not have been for everyone, but it suited me down to a tee. Cosy weekends in with the lovely(x infinity) Banks o’ Dee-er, with old films, cooking, copious drink, walks in the back of beyond, strolling around Ferryhill. It was serene and blissful. Then there was fitba in the backie with Wee Man. The general playing, baking, walks and just being with him in general. It was every bit rewarding as it should be. I may have been stuck at work for a couple of long periods but I more than made up for it with my loved ones. Even when lockdown has buggered off whenever that may be, I fully intend to live as similar a life to lockdown as possible. Schools are back yes, and furlough is over for the lovely lady which changes things a bit, but the cosy weekends and hanging out with Wee Man will continue. But surely, I can add in a bit more fitba into the blend to make a perfect hybrid of my first two non-Dons years. So here is to year three Aberdeen free, incoming are quiet weekends with a Hitchcock film and a bottle of wine, kick abouts in the backie and visits to Durham, Tyneside and Teeside with Pittodrie on the backburner indefinitely. I can’t bloody wait.