Date: 22nd May 2007 at 12:17pm
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There was a time, not so long ago in fact when fans were calling for the head of Jimmy Calderwood after his team had been dumped out of the League Cup by Billy Stark`s lowly Queens Park part-time outfit.

The Dons lost on penalties and were out of the first tournament of the season before it even really began which prompted the supporters to hound the phone in radio shows and bombard the papers for Willie Miller to get someone else in immediately.

But Willie Miller is not that easily swayed and instead of cowering to public opinion he rose above the anti-Calderwood masses and promptly handed the man he knew was the right man to be in charge a contract extension.

illie said, ‘You could say it was a symbolic gesture to extend the length of the manager’s contract.

There were a lot of doubters after the result against Queen’s Park and I expected the speculation about Jimmy’s future because we had suffered a major hiccup by going down on penalties at Firhill.

Jimmy needed my support on a personal level and I had to show the football world in general that I’d lost none of my faith in his capabilities.

The first building block that had to be put back in place when I agreed to go back to Pittodrie as chief executive was a solid management team. I was delighted to get Jimmy from Dunfermline and I knew he would improve the quality of our squad.’

omparisons are made between Glaswegians Calderwood and the Dons and indeed Britain`s most illustrious manager Alex Ferguson in the light of the weekend`s spectacular European qualification and Dons legend Miller notes ‘They’re both football orientated and know all about a player’s mentality. Their dressing rooms are also full of humour and good characters.

I’ve gone out to watch Jimmy take a training session and I like his coaching methods with their emphasis on high tempo and keeping the players upbeat.

They’ve made Pittodrie a place where players want to come and enjoy themselves. They’re certainly not with Aberdeen because of money because they could get more elsewhere.’

I sincerely hope getting into Europe for the first time in five years is a catalyst for yet more change at the club.

We want to look at strengthening the first-team squad but I can’t promise a spending spree over the summer months.

What I can say is if we were to go through the qualifying stage into the UEFA Cup proper and had bumper season-ticket sales at the same time there would be money to re-invest in the team.

At the moment the club has 8500 season ticket-holders and that’s money in the bank that any club would be delighted to have. A sharp upturn in those figures would mean we’d be able to look at helping Jimmy out on the player front.’

illie wants to the club to keep looking forward and not back to the glory days of the 80`s and wants the players to be inspired by those years and not be intimidated by them.

e said, ‘I know that Gothenburg is constantly brought up by the Dons fans. But players today must realise they have to manage history and expectation without crumbling under the weight of either.

Aberdeen’s history is to be treasured but not to the extent that the players of the present day feel overshadowed. That was a special time and a special team when we beat the mighty Real Madrid.

But we’re in decent shape as we look ahead to next season. The prospect of the UEFA Cup is there and we’ve added a quality player like Jackie McNamara to our squad.

I’m highly optimistic because I think there have been excellent playing performances along the way. Our last three games against Hearts, Celtic and Rangers were outstanding to my way of thinking.

On Sunday I believed I was watching a team go from boys to men. There’s a lot of homegrown talent in our team along with players like LeeMiller and Barry Nicholson who’ve been brought in.

It was like watching a team grow up when they dominated Rangers.

I know where we were when I took over three years ago and the position then was a concern to me. I also knew full recovery would take time but I had no doubt it could be done with the right manager.

Aberdeen have improved season upon season thanks to Jimmy and his assistants, Jimmy Nicholl and Sandy Clark.

unday was another step forward.

And it also justified my decision to extend the manager’s contract when some people wanted it terminated.’

Were you one of those who called for Jimmy to walk?

hat do you think now that the season has ended with Aberdeen in 3rd place?

o you still not believe Calderwood is the right man and who would you rather see take control?



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