Date: 28th March 2009 at 10:30pm
Written by:

A week has passed since our embarrassing Scottish Cup exit at the hands of Dunfermline. All involved with Aberdeen Football Club have had time to reflect on events and consider Jimmy Calderwood`s position. It appears now those involved with the Club have formed into two camps ‘The Jimmy Out` camp and ‘Jimmy must stay` camp.

First to declare their allegiances were much of the regular fan base, angered by the constant under-achievement in the domestic cups and the lack of progress now apparent under Jimmy Calderwood. Fans` forums were inundated with those calling for Jimmy`s removal. The ‘Jimmy Out` camp suddenly swelled, giving a sturdy base for what happened next……

This was a letter sent, publicly, to Willie Miller by the AFC Supporters Society, formerly the AFC Trust, and among the most recognised supporters` bodies. The society is made up mainly of shareholders and has been less vocal in the past few years. In this case however they have been vocal, placing themselves firmly in the “Jimmy Out” camp; with the letter reading:

“Although it will be costly to move the entire management team, we must bite the bullet. Action is required now.”

It is well written and rational throughout, putting forward a strong argument for Calderwood, and his coaching team`s, dismissal:

“There is no evidence of progress, rather the reverse.”
“Calderwood appears to be tactically inept, continually changes team layout, players and tactics, creating confusion on and off the pitch and appears to be incapable of motivating the team for crucial games. “

The letter sparked a predictable reaction from the club. The evening express the following day read: “Aberdeen FC Won`t Sack Jimmy”. The article saw Aberdeen legend, and now “Director of Football”, Willie Miller, disappointingly but predictably back Calderwood:

“Fans are entitled to express their opinions but we have made our position clear on this.
“We are all focussed on supporting the manager and his team in their bid to secure a top six place and qualify for Europe.”

Miller went on to criticise the society he himself is a part of:

We have an open door policy and would have been happy to meet with the Society to discuss their concerns.

“We have met them regularly in the past to discuss various issues, so I`m disappointed they made no effort to talk to us this time.”

Miller was therefore first to commit to the “Jimmy Must Stay” camp along with a minority of “Jimmyists” within the support who argue there is no one who would do a better job than the controversial Glaswegian.

Wille Miller was swiftly joined in this camp, funnily enough, by the man himself: JC. This time the Evening Express headline read:

“I`m Still the Right Man for Aberdeen FC”
Calderwood went on to defend himself in his usual fashion:

“I can assure them (the fans) I`m as disappointed and angry as they are at what happened.
I spoke to Willie Miller about it and we agreed it would be wrong to criticise the fans.
It is their club and they are only highlighting their passion and desire to see us enjoying success.
What I will say to them is that I`m proud of the fact I have never been sacked as a manager.
I plan to maintain that record at Aberdeen and know I`m the right man to manage this club.
Despite all that has happened, I`m still proud to be the Aberdeen manager. We`ve done poorly in the cups over the last three years but I know this club has a bright future and I aim to be a part of it.

From this it is clear, not that it was ever in doubt, that Jimmy is never going to have the decency to resign.
He was backed today further. This time by former boss Alex Smith, who spoke in the Evening Express:

“Making a snap decision regarding Jimmy would be a big mistake that could backfire.
“Fans are calling for him to go, but there needs to be some perspective at Aberdeen because their season is far from over.
“The cup defeat to Dunfermline was a setback, but the Dons can still qualify for Europe.
“It is important the fans and club let the situation settle for a while and see what happens.
“Hopefully they will give Jimmy more time.”

Alex Smith`s opinion will hopefully not count for much however, ditto the next person to join the “Jimmy Must Stay”camp: Steve Tosh. He spoke to the Evening Express:
“The players should feel a responsibility and it should not be one-way traffic all directed at the manager.

“I`d ask the fans to take a step back.
“With the budget Aberdeen have to attract players, who would do a better job than Jimmy Calderwood? Who would the club replace him with?
“Other clubs pay players on a par with Aberdeen, but buying a house and the cost of living where they are based are cheaper than the Granite City.
“If it`s hard to get players, then it will be hard to attract a top class manager up there.”

What Steve Tosh has to do with the situation is beyond me. Playing 57 games for Aberdeen in an unsuccessful spell, 4 years ago, surely doesn`t qualify you to analyse the situation or tell the fans that nobody better than JC would want to come to Aberdeen.

As a current player Jamie Smith`s opinion held a little more importance. The winger told the Evening Express:

“For people to be calling for the manager`s head is ludicrous
“Jimmy Calderwood is the manager of Aberdeen and that is the way the players want it to remain.
“The players are 100% behind the gaffer.
“All we can do is make sure we win our games when we go out on the pitch.
“Unfortunately, that did not happen against Dunfermline which was disappointing

Smith gives a fairly sound backing for Calderwood but it is hard to determine whether or not he is truly speaking on behalf of the whole dressing room.
The only people yet to reveal where they stand are Milne and the board but I am confident they won`t reveal their hand unless they really have to.

Calderwood will survive. Again. He will welcome this weekend`s international break, it will give him a chance to let things settle. He knows his position is safe. For me the only thing that will change the situation is a couple of bad results in the next few games and for Aberdeen to be lying outside the top six or detached from European qualification. Only then in my opinion will we see a shift in the balance of the two camps or see the powers within the boardroom awaken.