Date: 10th October 2007 at 12:24am
Written by:

Bring in more young Dons?

Last season Aberdeen`s progress was there for all to see as a hard to beat side built on spending of only £500 000 in three years finished “best of the rest”. And even after a shambolic tour of Egypt and the sale of Russell Anderson this summer the fans remained optimistic about this campaign and understandably so. The thought of European football at Pittodrie for the first in five years, two fresh cup campaigns to have a crack at and a “best of the rest” title to defend why should the mood around Pittodrie be anything but optimistic?

However at the start of this campaign we seem to have taken a couple of steps in the wrong direction with Jimmy`s six summer signings having little or no impact. Three of these signings you won`t even have seen yet unless you have been watching the reserves or the first team bench. Of the others Jackie McNamara`s signing looks like a shrewd bit of business but for me Derek Young is not the calibre of player who will take the team to the next level. That leaves Dutchman Jeffery De Vissher; the man who Calderwood claimed would bring the crowds streaming back to Pittodrie with his exciting football.

So with no money to spend what else could Jimmy do but hunt for free agents and loan singings (in the case of Sone Aluko)? There seems to be only one more option, which is to grow our own talent. Around the country there has been a definite increase in the number of young Scot`s breaking into the SPL`s first teams and the national team`s recent success is undoubtedly related to this.

Take Hibs for example, over the last few years their youth system has produced countless talented young Scot`s such as Scott Brown, Kevin Thomson and Steven Whittaker to name just three. If Hibs had managed to keep this team together I have no doubt they would have been able to mount an attack on the Old Firm`s stronghold at the top of the SPL. As it is the team has slowly moved on, most to Glasgow, others elsewhere. However Hibs could not force them to stay and have benefited from it financially, raking in £10.2 million in the space of a few years.

Another example, Manchester United, in the summer of 1995 Alex Ferguson outraged the supporters by selling key players and replacing them with players from the clubs youth team, who nobody had heard of like David Beckham! Their defeat on the opening day of the season led to Alan Hansen`s famous quote: “You don`t win anything with kids” They won the double that year.

So what if something like this was to happen at Aberdeen? It seems to me the only way anyone could rival the Old Firm short-term – a “golden generation”. As things stand at Pittodrie over the last few years there has been the slow process of young players like Diamond, Considine and recently Maguire forcing their way into the team but not the continuous flow of talent required. Does this mean our youth system is inferior to that of say Hibs? Or is Calderwood not trying hard enough to introduce the youngsters to the first team? What do you think?