Date: 18th July 2008 at 6:22pm
Written by:

I think many, not all, negative posters are more likely the kind of folk that sit on the fence so they can come back if things don’t go well and say – told you so, told yo he would be crap.

Positive posters however don’t have the sit on the fence as much, they are optimistic and hopeful and why not? Let’s consider which other SPL sides are signing outwith the Old Firm at the moment…do we really have anything to fear from Dundee United, Hibernian or Hearts? I think their fans will be more worried that Aberdeen are looking positive, settled and stronger. We lost 3 first team players in Clark, Nicholson and Hart…we’ve replace them all barring a new right back.

We’ve stopped rotating managers, (now Hibs, United and Hearts suffer the problems that come with constantly sacking managers) definitely something that destroyed us in the past. We’ve got a settled management team, a board that’s trying to redeem itself for past errors and not just walking away from it all, we’re looking into improving our facilities, we’ve increased our scouting network and are ploughing a lot of cash into the youth team, more than most with the possible exception of Hibs who have a great youth system, yet some people are not looking at the bigger picture.

We’ve improved drastically since Jimmy Calderwood took over, amazing how short memories are; remember the days when Celtic and Rangers would put 5 past us easily? Well they can’t do that now, not unless it’s a freak result. We can beat any team in the SPL on our day and I firmly believe our side is stronger than last season’s. With 2 or 3 decent additions we’ll have as good a squad as any SPL club, again out with the Old Firm.

I’m possibly one of the more positive supporters you’ll come across, but that’s because I’m 37 and seen the best and worst of AFC. Believe me, we’re in good shape since Willie Miller arrived and sorted the mess out. Compared to the days we got hammered even by Livingston, Dundee, Killie and Motherwell, we’ve came a very long way in a very short time. We might not all like Milne, but he did plough a lot of cash into players like Bernard, Windass, Kiriakov, Tzvetanov, some worked and some were total disasters, that’s football the world over. Milne got dogs abuse for it and still does for being tight, but he’s hung in there and helped drag us back into being a good side, we now have fortress Pittodrie back and not many sides enjoy going there now because they will get a real game.

We’re also worrying about players taking time to settle, that did not seem to stop Hearts when they had Skacel and co running riot. They got good momentum early on, confidence grew, their support grew and I still feel they could have taken the league that year had that rocket of a director not interfered with the team selection. That alone proves that it’s possibly to have a great season with some good fortune and good players. For us to think though we should be finishing 3rd every year is not realistic, take into account injures, dip in form, transfers…there’s so many things that can hamper even the best sides. I do expect us at the very least to be a top 5 side, avoiding injuries we could take 3rd and a cup, maybe more if lady luck was with us.

Additionally, looking at the overall progress of AFC on and off the park, surely we must be pleased. We got a great new sponsor and were given more cash by this sponsor than anyone previous company, we also made more cash last season than ever before, JC is not wasting the cash but spreading it out wisely, keeping the team strong and the books balanced. We’ve added a great height threat to our game which I have been dying to see since JC arrived because height certainly benefited side like Utd & Falkirk, so we have more ammo in our arsenal now to cope with set pieces. We’ve got rid of that rubbish Byrne and got a good full back in Mulgrew, Clark’s been replaced by Duff or Kerr and Nicholson replaced by McDonald, we have either replaced lost players with as good as if not better ones. Also we tied down young Maguire on a 3yr deal and are looking to do the same with Considine, we kept Miller which was amazing; the cash we made last year is making all this possible.

Now we have Tommy Wright replacing Lovell, let’s face facts he surely can’t be worse than Lovell, Wright brings even more height and strength to the side than Lovell did and Lovell was also a waste of money at 250k. I thought Lovell was gonna be a real hit when he arrived, but injuries and the fact JC was not into him stopped that, so why go out and pay another 250k? Everyone has said why can’t JC take a chance on a lower league player…well now he has and some people are already saying he’s a reject at only 23 yrs old. Big Brewster did good for us, as did big Whelan (certainly made Mackie a better player) and Miller was a slow starter, so why can’t this big lad Wright who’s younger and quicker than those 3 not be just as good? Wright had the potential and lost his way, even world class players can lose form, but if he finds that potential and confidence again we’ll be the ones laughing.

To summarise:

1. Biggest sponsorship deal ever

2. Ploughing more into the youth system than ever, apparently 500k

3. Made more cash last season than ever before

4. Replaced crappy Byrne with the talented Mulgrew, maintaining his height as well with the addition of a great left foot

5. Replaced utility man Clark with Duff, who’s looking like a steal in midfield compared to the disaster he was at UTD

6. Replaced Nicholson with a taller, younger, quicker McDonald (on the verge of the Scotland squad at one point)

7. Brought in a solid holding player in Mark Kerr (Levein did not want him to leave and we always say Levein has an eye for a player)

8. Replaced Esson with a monster of a keeper BOSSU who Leighton rates (we’ll see), puled off a world class save against Man Utd

9. Sammy Stewart is a highly rated young midfielder, JC’s took a chance on a possible gem, again we’ll see how that works out

10. Injury prone Lovell who also seemed a bit lazy, with a poor attitude replaced by a big young lad who people had high hopes for a few years ago and JC rates highly

11. We’ve increased our scouting network to try and tap into the same areas Hibs and the old firm do

12. Plans are being drawn up for a new stadium which will seemingly clear our debt (again time will tell, but a sign Milne is sorting his own mess out)

13. JC has stated we do need a couple more 1st team players, which all us fans agree with, but he’s waiting for the right ones. We moaned at him for filling the squad with nobodies last season, but we needed some of them due to injuries and Europe. Now he’s taking more time and getting a good standard of footballer. It took Fergie nearly over 4 yrs to turns a huge club like Man Utd around, JC’s now getting to that same stage. His demands on the board are being met, he would not have stayed if his ambitions had not been met, another positive sign that AFC is looking to securing the future of the club, both on and off the park.

14. Just added 14 so I did not finish on an unlucky number…but I’m very pleased with the way AFC is moving and long may it continue. My opinions are not all based on fact, I can’t possibly know AFC finances, its my thoughts from watching AFC since 1979, following them and doing what I can financially to help raise funds. For arguments sake let’s say the figures are correct.

It’s about time we seen the good in AFC and stopped ripping into the manager, director and players…they’re doing a great job restoring our pride and they have made me proud to be a Don’s fan again. Have faith people, think positive and give the new players a chance, especially the young lads that don’t need to hear people shouting abuse at them.

C’mon the Dons, a cup final appearance will be great, it’s long overdue.