Date: 13th October 2007 at 12:18am
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Who`s Your Favourite Dons Legend?

In the past Aberdeen Football Club have had some truly great players that will definitely never be forgotten. Being an Aberdeen fan speaking to other Aberdeen fans I find that a certain conversation always arises. The conversation of who is the best ever Aberdeen Football Club player.

I personally find this question an impossible one to answer, simply because there has been so many magnificent players that have played for Aberdeen and that have all be magnificent in their own way. So I have dedicated this article the players names who always come up in the conversation of who is the best ever Aberdeen player?

So starting at the back, who is the best ever Goalkeeper that has stood between the posts wearing the home colours at Pittodrie? Well this was a hard one to call as when ever you think of an Aberdeen Goalkeeper from the past Jimmy Leighton is always the name that comes up first. But, there`s also another ‘keeper who people I have spoke to in the past seem to prefer to Jim Leighton and that`s Freddie Martin. Fred Martin had 206 appearances for the Dons as well as a few caps for Scotland.

Martin started off his career Aberdeen in 1949 where he initially started as a forward for the Dons but soon found his place in between the posts at Pittodrie where he remained until he retired in 1960. Another keeper who people think that was better than Leighton is Dutchman Theo Snelders who came to Aberdeen in 1988 from Dutch club Twente Enschede as the old Trafford bound legends` replacement. Snelders also played more games than Martin with a very healthy 227 appearances for the Dons before leaving to play at Ibrox in 1996.

But looking at the statistics the best Goal Keeper to ever play in red has to go to Jim Leighton. Jim Leighton first came to Pittodrie in 1978 from Darly Thistle and after having 300 appearances for the dons Leighton left Aberdeen in 1988 to play for other teams including Manchester United. But in 1997 Leighton found his way home to Pittodrie from Hibernian play another 82 games for the Dons before retiring in 2000 to become the goal keeper coach at Aberdeen. So in total Jim Leighton played 382 games for the Dons and also had more caps for Scotland than Fred Martin. During his time at Aberdeen Leighton also brought back more titles and cups with Aberdeen than Snelders and Martin which makes me think that Leighton is the best keeper to stand in between the posts wearing the home colours at Pittodrie.

Now, moving onto defence and this time I found it impossible to narrow it down to just one player. It really is between two players at the back. First of all we start with Willie Miller. Willie Miller started his career off with the Dons in 1972 when he came to Pittodrie from Eastercraigs. Miller played and astounding 558 games for the mighty Dons and eventually retired to become the assistant manager of Aberdeen in 1990.

Secondly, a Don that will definitely never be forgotten, Alex McLeish. McLeish started off his career at Aberdeen a few years after Willie Miller when he came from Glasgow United in 1977 where he served with Aberdeen until 1994 when he went to Motherwell where he was player manager.

Personally I find it impossible to call who the better player was. Simply because Miller and McLeish were a team. When they played you couldn`t think about one of them without the other. They played aside each other in 1983 when the defending duo kept Spanish side Real Madrid at bay when John Hewitt headed home the winning goal for Aberdeen in the Cup Winners Cup in Gothenburg.

So I feel it is impossible to pick one between the two as I feel that they were both as good as each other and will always be remembered as two of the best defenders to ever keep strikers at bay on the green grass of Pittodrie.

Moving on to midfield but there`s nothing to really think about in this case. The best midfielder to play in red at Pittodrie has to be “Wee Gordon Strachan”. Gordon Strachan brought his pace and truly tremendous skills to Aberdeen when came from Dundee in 1977 and was again amongst those who took the Cup Winners Cup to Aberdeen in 1983. Strachan is mostly remembered from a game at Parkhead against Glasgow Celtic when a truly frustrated fan ran on the pitch and chased Gordon Strachan trying to punch him simply because Strachan`s sheer skill was making the Celtic players look bad.

After the game in the studio one of the well known football faces at that time said as a Celtic fan he himself felt like running on the pitch and punching Strachan as his pace and talent was too much for them to handle.

If having to be compared to any other midfield player the player that most people think comes close to matching Stachan`s skills would be Hungarian midfielder Zoltan Varga. Varga came to Pittodrie from the German club Hertha Berlin in 1972. Varga only played one season at Pittodrie showing 26 appearances before leaving for Ajax in Holland in 1973. But in that season he brought true class and skill to Pittodrie that nobody at Pittodrie had ever seen before. But back then and even today people say that he still didn`t have the pace and skill to outplay Strachan.

So now last but most defiantly not least the forwards. In the past Aberdeen have seen some truly great forwards that will always be remembered players like Jackie Harther, Mark McGhee, Peter Weir and Eric Black who were all truly great players for Aberdeen. But, there is one forward in particular that everyone that I have spoken to in the past says outshines the rest, Joey Harper. Joe Harper first lit the fuse at Pittodrie in 1969 when he came from Greenock Morton. In this first spell at Pittodrie Harper scored an amazing 68 goals in 102 appearances for Aberdeen. Harper then unexpectedly left the Dons to play for other clubs including Everton in 1973. But then in 1976 Harper came back to Pittodrie from Hibernian to continue making himself a true Dons legend. When Harper came back it was obvious that he hadn`t lost his goal scoring touch as he scored a further 57 goals in 105 appearances before becoming player manager of Peterhead football club in 1981. After scoring in total 125 goals in 207 appearances for Aberdeen Joe Harper to this day holds the record for scoring the most goals for Aberdeen. It is obvious why his name is always the first one to come up whilst talking about Aberdeen legends.

It is definitely safe to say that all of these player`s that I have written about, none will never be forgotten.

All of them are truly great and talented in their own way. All of which deserve to be spoken about to this day. I truly hope that in the future there will be more and more players that play for the mighty Dons that will make names for themselves and be considered legends by the Aberdeen fans.

Written by Nicci Thompson

Let`s have your opinion on The Greatest Don of all by choosing your favourite on our new poll which has been inspired by this article or by giving us your who and why on the Vital Aberdeen Forum.