Jan 192017
 

With thanks to Charlie Abel.

Joanna Lumley has become the first award recipients of the 2017 Scottish Samurai
awards.

Besides being a well known BAFTA TV award winning actress, former model, author and voice over artist, Joanna has been a great advocate for human rights for Survival International and the Ghurka Justice
Campaign. 

She is also a great supporter of Animal welfare charities such as Compassion in World Farming and Vegetarians International Voice for Animals.

Her recent documentary ‘Joanna Lumley’s Japan’ was a great hit with the Samurai Award’s membership and U.K. audience. 

The Scottish Samurai awards were founded in Aberdeen by Culter resident and international 9th Dan Karate instructor Ronnie Watt OBE, ORS to celebrate those who serve and excel. The award of Great Shogun recognises those who have reached the ultimate achievement in their field.

Joanna Lumley has said she is very proud and very humbled to receive the honour and she is:

“thrilled to be a Scottish Samurai.”

Ronnie Watt is delighted to add Joanna to the ever-growing list of Samurai.

Some of the previous award winners include Sean Connery, Billy Connolly, Alex Salmond, Aberdeen City Council, Sir Ian Wood, Lord Charles Bruce, Compton Ross, Tommy Dreelan and the current and former Japanese Consul Generals of Japan in Edinburgh.

Each year the Scottish Samurai awards grow and continues to encourage and recognise people from different walks of life for their positive contributions to society and those around them.

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Jan 192017
 

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

VisitAberdeenshire is teeing up for success by heading Stateside to showcase Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire’s world-class golf facilities to a global audience.

The tourism organisation will visit the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando from 24-27 January – one of the world’s biggest golf shows – where they will meet with key industry professionals in a bid to boost the region’s golf tourism trade.

The trip is the latest initiative in VisitAberdeenshire’s drive to increase golf tourism in the north east of Scotland, following sponsorship of the Northern Ireland Open last year.

Jenni Fraser (pictured), business development manager at VisitAberdeenshire, says,

“Golf has long been one of the biggest draws for visitors to the north east, attracting both leisure and business tourists throughout the year.

“Holidaymakers looking to play at some of the world’s most famous links courses, and business visitors using the fairways for networking and incentive travel, have lots to discover in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

“Golf is worth around £220 million to the Scottish economy every year, and it is estimated that golfers spend 120% more than other visitors. With such fantastic facilities in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, there is a real opportunity for local golf courses and tourism businesses to capitalise on and benefit from that income.

“By attending the PGA Merchandise Show – a major event in the golf world – we’ll be able to communicate the strength of the offering that we have here in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire to hundreds of key contacts.”

Research commissioned by Scottish Golf Tourism and VisitScotland shows that Scotland is third on a list of desirable golfing destinations across the globe (#1 Spain, #2 Portugal, #5 Ireland, #9 England).

Jenni continues,

“The north east of Scotland is home to over 50 top golf courses, including some of the sport’s most recognisable names: Royal Aberdeen, Trump International, Cruden Bay and Newmachar. But it also features some of the UK’s quirkier and more historic courses, including Britain’s highest 18-hole course at Braemar, and Fraserburgh where play dates back to at least 1613.

“Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire have something to offer golfers of all levels, whether serious enthusiasts looking to tick a renowned course off their bucket list or casual players seeking a friendly nine-hole challenge. From stunning links courses to incredible inland courses, the north east has it all.”

VisitAberdeenshire will be joined at the PGA Merchandise Show by tour company Bonnie Wee Golf, which creates exclusive golf trips to some of the most exclusive courses in Scotland – including many in the north east – and Meldrum House Country Hotel & Golf Course.

David Harris of Bonnie Wee Golf says,

“For a long time, golf has been a key attraction in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, and every year we see golfers coming from America to play some of the most famous courses in the world, right on our doorstep.

“The chance to visit one of the world’s biggest golf exhibitions with VisitAberdeenshire is a fantastic opportunity to network with industry professionals, discuss the sport’s latest developments, and show what we in the north east of Scotland have to offer the global golfing community.”

Andy Burgess of Meldrum House Country Hotel and Golf Course adds,

“We are delighted to be partnering with VisitAberdeenshire and Bonnie Wee Golf at the 2017 PGA Show in Orlando. We have been attending the show for the last seven years, and as a result have welcomed hundreds of American golfers to stay at Meldrum House to play golf around the north east.

“Attending events like the PGA Show sends out a very positive message and shows that we are serious in developing our international golf market, encouraging as many global visitors as possible to experience golf in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.”

For more information about golf facilities and in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, visit www.visitabdn.com/attractions-and-activities/golf

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Dec 232016
 

With thanks to Yvette Rayner, PR Account Manager, Frasermedia.

An Aberdeen sports facility is urging kids to don their trainers over the festive break, following a report on child weight and obesity.
Aberdeen Sports Village (ASV), based in the city’s Linksfield Road, has a series of festive camps available for children from P1 – S3, to encourage youngsters to stay active and healthy during the Christmas break.

A new report from NHS Scotland, showed that almost a quarter of children starting school in Scotland are overweight or obese, sparking fears of long-term physical and mental health issues, including diabetes, heart disease and depression.

The body mass index of 92% of all 2015/16 primary one children was analysed, and results indicated that one in ten children starting school was already at risk of obesity, with a further 12% at risk of being overweight. The statistics, collected from all NHS boards in Scotland, also showed that NHS Grampian region had more overweight P1s than health boards in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

ASV, which was established in 2009, aims to provide world class sporting opportunities for everyone in the community, and the facility has a number of festive events during December and January, to keep Aberdonians of all ages fit and healthy.

ASV boasts a state-of-the-art gym, sports halls, indoor and outdoor athletics facilities, a range of exercise classes and indoor football pitches, as well as the Aquatics Centre, which includes an Olympic standard 50m pool and 25m diving pool.  

Two festive camps will take place, for children from P1 – S3, to give youngsters the chance to run off some steam after Christmas. The camps, the first from 27th – 30th December and the second a healthy start to 2017 from 3rd – 6th January, will ensure children go back to school feeling ready for the new academic session.

The ASV festive camps aim to give children the chance to try out a range of sports, from athletics to volleyball, as well as introducing some Christmas cheer with games of Quidditch and the famous ASV Aqua Run, an inflatable obstacle course in ASV’s 50m pool.

ASV CEO Duncan Sinclair, said:

“As adults we know we should exercise more, but for youngsters, particularly in winter when it is cold and dark outside, it’s all too easy to stay inside on the Xbox or watching YouTube.

“The Christmas holidays can be a long time for parents and so our festive camps will help the youngsters stay busy and entertained. Children from 4-15 will enjoy running around trying out new sports, and meeting new friends. Lifetime habits are learnt at a young age, so it is never too early for parents to introduce a wide variety of sports to their children.”

To book ASV festive camps, visit www.aberdeensportsvillage.com or call 01224 438900.

Aberdeen Sports Village (ASV):

ASV is the premier sports facility in the North East of Scotland and home to an array of first class sporting facilities and events.

ASV aims to deliver high quality sports services and opportunities for all at the home of sport in the North East. The facility, which opened in 2009, is the result of a joint venture by funding partners the University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen City Council and sportscotland.

For more information please visit www.aberdeensportsvillage.com

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Dec 162016
 

Stephen McCormick recently quit his role as AFC display organiser describing the club as “impossible to deal with.”

By Red Fin Hall.

Recently I wrote about the situation regarding the lack of respect and communication between Aberdeen Football Club, The Supporter’s Liaison Officer within the club, and fans/supporters trying to create a better atmosphere at games via displays etc.

It appears that in some cases they, or more factually correct, people within the club, have, at some point, been actively trying to discourage said displays.

To this end a group of supporters have written an open letter to the board of the club emphasising the need for better communication and co-operation with the supporters. The fans keep getting told, “You are the 13th man.”

Feelings within the supporters at large, is that there is not much confidence that this is true. Even with the prospect of a new stadium coming, Mr Milne only said that there: ‘may be a standing area built within Kingsford’ – not that there would definitely be one. Also there was still no mention of the possibility of there being a bar within, and not just one for the corporate guests, but a public one.

There seems, at this moment in time, a lesser dialogue between the club and the fans than perhaps is perceived.

Below is the open letter.

Dear Duncan George & Stewart

We are writing this to you regarding matters this season and seasons past involving, failure on part of AFC to adequately engage with Aberdeen supporters, treatment of Aberdeen Supporters and in more detail treatment of those in the Merkland Singing Section.

Issues such as, but are not limited to the following areas:

–    A reply to questions put to AFC as to why AFC were contacting other clubs in Scotland attempting to discourage match day supporter displays.

–   Why the club lied at recent AGM telling the floor they had been in contact with those responsible for the stunning League Cup Final display at Hampden and thanking them when this simply isn’t the case .

–    Appointinment of Community Trust chief executive as SLO just to appease UEFA competition guidelines.

–    Appointment of a Supporters Liaison Officer (SLO) into the Club without consultation with Supporters groups / Supporters Trust or wider fan base etc

–    Failure of said SLO to engage with supporters groups on a day-to-day basis in order to facilitate a more enjoyable and effective match day experience

–    Failure of said SLO to engage with supporters groups for major games and to facilitate smooth access to Pittodrie and other stadia to be visited

–    Failure of SLO to engage positively with Supporters groups and other clubs in order to facilitate a coordinated and organized approach to maximizing noise generation and fan displays at away games

–    Actively and physically segregating, pressurizing and marginalizing of fans in the Merkland Singing section from other fans through use of hostile stewarding, “dead zone” seating strips and general poor attitude shown towards supporters wishing to support their team in a positive manner.

–    Misleading information regarding occupancy of Merkland block seating in order to undermine the success of the initiative and prevention of other fans joining the section throughout the game.

–    Failure to plan effectively for League Cup Final to ensure effective noise generation in order to back the team effectively by refusing to allocate area for vocal fans .

–    Failure of AFC across internal departments (General management, Stadium Access, Ticketing, security etc in order to facilitate an organized and structured and most importantly a respectful approach to AFC supporting individuals working on an unpaid  volunteer basis in order to encourage the team positively and to enhance the matchday experience for many people.

The recent League Cup Final showed that AFC has little regard to its fans wider match day experience and even less for creating a spectacle and that the Cup final atmosphere would “look after itself” as one AFC official was quoted as saying.

Anyone who witnessed the Cup final was that those that made the effort and expense of travelling to Glasgow to set up the pre match display done a fantastic effort given that there was no input nor even the respect of reply from AFC from requests from fans made to make the day a spectacle and an positive atmosphere for the duration of the match.

The lack of Aberdeen supporter positive atmosphere generation, particularly after going a goal down (and then more) was very evident.Had there been an area for vocal fans this could have helped create a louder backing for the team.

No doubt AFC will be using footage and photography from the matches with flags, card displays etc for future marketing material, all the while actively discouraging it and disregarding the fact that positive fan interaction does make a difference to the team on the park is wholly unacceptable.

We request the following:

–    AFC immediately engage with their staff & AFC fans representatives in order to stop these negative aspects reoccurring
–    Appoint a fan elected SLO – one that has a wide understanding or proven background in match day supporter participation, supporter liaison, match day display management.
–    Empower the SLO to form a positive working relationship with the Aberdeen support and other clubs respective SLO’s to ensure that the team, the supporters (the customers) are all given the correct priority support to ensure forward progress is made on all levels.
–    Ensure that the SLO is meeting the reasonable expectations of the Club, AFC support and wider regulatory bodies such as the Police and other Football Clubs etc.
–    The SLO is active in meeting with AFC fans to gather detailed information on future stadia requirements from the “in game” perspective.

We have a supporter in mind, someone who has engaged with the support and more importantly is respected by the support .The same fan has put on many a spectacle at Aberdeen FC games at home and away for the best part of 20 years .He has organised some of the best displays in the UK, helped add colour to AFC centenary events.Always paid tribute to fans who have sadly passed. He is great with the kids and young fans and always gets them involved .

The fans trust him and he’s known throughout the support as he’s always present .

We have a petition that hundreds of fans have signed asking that the club appoint Stephen McCormick as our Supporters Liaison Officer. With the amount of work he has done over the years, dealing with clubs up and down the country, having to deal with the SFA and SPFL he has already proven he has a vast knowledge of modern day football and its supporters.

We look forward to hearing from you in due course.

Signed

Dons fans voice collective.

Also, in my last article regarding this, I mentioned that Stephen contributed out of his own pocket. It has since been pointed out to me that the displays have been fully funded by fan contribution. He is the organiser, and has only contributed as a fan. He wished this to be clear.

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Dec 072016
 

dons-stjohnstone-pittodrieBy Red Fin Hall.

League business returned to Pittodrie on a wet and dismal
evening.

8,195 supporters turned up, most of whom were hoping to see a vast improvement in the performances of the last two games.

There were a couple of changes in the lineup, with Peter Pawlett making his first start for ages, and Niall McGinn also starting the game.

The Dons started off very sharp as within the first couple of minutes, first Graeme Shinnie then Jonny Hayes breaking down the left wing, and the home team winning three free kicks and a corner in the first 8 minutes. The visitors were giving a reasonable account of themselves, with a couple weeks of attacks , around ten minutes.

All this changed in twenty minutes, with Aberdeen in control, Shinnie hit a sweet shot from just outside the box, a shot that keeper Jamie Mac Donald may have managed to get a hand to were it not for Pawlett sticking out a foot and deflecting the ball past him and into the net.

1-0

The Dons were playing some bonny stuff and playing it with confidence, epitomised when McGinn received a fine ball from Adam Rooney, but its acute angle shot was cut out by the Killie defence .

With 25 minutes gone, referee Stephen Finnie booked James Maddison for diving right on the edge of the Kille box. There seemed to be no argument from the young man.

Number 16, Pawlett, was repaying his manager’s faith in giving him a start, by putting his fast and tricky style to good use, making the Killie players work hard.

There followed a claim for a penalty when a Shay Logan touch came off the hand of a defender. It would have been a soft one if it had been given.

Keeping the pressure up, a Pawlett shot was knocked in at the back post by Anthony O’Connor for Aberdeen’s second goal in the 30th minute. It was also his second for the club.

2-0

Killie weren’t lying down, and a long shot in was easily cleared by O’Connor. There followed a great solo run by Hayes, after a pass from AdamRooney, when he cut past the Ayrshire men’s defence and slotted the ball in at a tight, low angle at the near post. So with five minutes left of the first half it was 3-0 – and deservedly so.

The Dons were still trying to score more, with a Maddison shot, after a pass from Hayes, going well over. Aberdeen’s second yellow card was given to Andrew Considine for delivery obstruction. The team as a whole was showing more fight and strength than they did in the last couple of games.

Just before the break Rooney was tripped while heading for goal, but the ref waved play on.

Half time: 3-0

Kilmarnock made two substitutions at the start of the second half when Iain Wilson replaced Jordan Jones and Nathan Tyson coming on for Adam Frizzell.

Five minutes into the second half Aberdeen carried on where they left off before the break, when McGinn shot over from the right side. The fans were certainly enjoying the display that the players were giving.

McLean escaped a booking for speaking out of turn after Killie were awarded a free kick in their own goalmouth. He instead was given a long and stern talking too. Pawlett had to go off for a minute at this incident due to taking my a knock.

Derek McInnes decided to take off Maddison and replace him with Mark Reynolds in the 54th minute.

McGinn set off on a cross field run, he passed the ball to Hayes who was coming in from the left. His shot was easily dealt with. The midfield were linking well, with McGinn back to his best, exemplified by another good cross from the left just to high for Pawlett, and cleared by the Killie defence.

Kenny McLean is more involved than in previous games.

63 minutes in, a corner was taken by McGinn who controlled the return ball wonderfully, but woefully skied the ball over. A few moments later, Logan fed a long cross field pass to Rooney whose first touch was classy. Sadly his second touch was not.

In the 67th minute a fine flick on header from Considine to McGinn only ended up with Killie making a break away, but the finishing shot by Tyson was well over.

McGinn added a well deserved fourth goal when his left footed shot went in at the right corner.

4-0

Pawlett was the next player to be substituted when he was replaced by Wes Burns. The substitute picked the ball up in his own half and runs into the opposition goal mouth, passes to McGinn, whose shot went over. Kilmarnock made their final change when Charlie Adams came on for Souleymane Coulibaly.

Rooney then beat the offside trap and tried to chip the keeper, but is was well saved for another corner to the home club.

The visitors got a consolation goal when, in the 77th minute, McKenzie, with an assist from Tyson, put the ball past Joe Lewis.

4-1

Rooney became the last change for Aberdeen, when Jayden Stockley replaced him.

With 10 minutes to go, Reynolds conceded a soft foul on the edge of his own box, but the resultant free kick came to nothing.

The Dons were not sitting back, and were trying to get a fifth goal. This came along with just a few minutes left to play, when after more good play from the Dons, was finished off by Hayes when he nipped in front of the keeper for his second of the evening. Needless to say he was named Man Of The Match, although nobody could argue if several others were given the title.

The one minute stoppage time awarded was of little consequence, and when the final whistle did blow, Aberdeen moved back up to third place in the league on goal difference over Hearts.

A deluge of rain and a deluge of goals under floodlights. Scottish Football as it should be.

Final score: 5-1

Next game, at home to St Johnstone, Sat 10-12-16.

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Nov 282016
 

img_4847By Red Fin Hall.

A visit to Hampden for  Aberdeen’s second league cup final appearance in two years, after winning it in 2014 at Celtic Park.

The current holders, Ross County, have only held the trophy for 8 months, due to the changes to format the SPFL introduced.

Despite most people thinking Aberdeen would start with the same winning line up, with maybe Niall McGinn in for Jayden Stockley, the manager surprised us all yet again as he left both of the aforementioned players on the bench, and gave young James Maddison his first start against Celtic.

As the teams ran out onto the pitch to tumultuous applause, the players were greeted by a spectacular display from both sets of fans. The Celtic fans’ one was predominantly green and white cards with the number 100 in the middle representing the 100th trophy the hoped to win, whilst the Aberdeen display was made up of alternate red and silver foil flags, arranged as usual by Stephen ‘Mezzanine’.

Celtic kicked off and immediately started they way they meant to go on, by keeping possession and bossing the game. In 3 minutes they were awarded the first free kick of the game which Jack conceded.

Celtic continued having control of the game for the first 7 minutes, with James Forrest claiming a penalty when he slipped on the wet pitch as Shay Logan challenged and cleared the ball.

Moments later Aberdeen were awarded their first foul when, in a rare moment of having the ball, Kenny McLean was fouled, only to relinquish the ball straight away.

In the 8th minute Jonny Hayes broke down the right side and managed to win a throw in. A very poor ball thrown by Logan gave the Glasgow club the ball back.

Minute 11, a great ball through from the ever willing James Maddison was just too long for Adam Rooney.

In the twelfth minute a Joe Lewis pulled of the first save of the match in Celtic’s first attack. A mere minute later Maddison was fouled just outside the box, but the resultant free kick was totally wasted by Kenny McLean.

The Don’s were getting a wee bit more into the game when a Maddison shot was well blocked by the defence. Celtic went straight into attack mode, and, in the 16th minute, number 18, Tom Rogic scored after after working his way easily through the Aberdeen defence.

0-1

On 18 minutes, Maddison was brought down yet again, and his free kick made Craig Gordon pull off a decent save. Then, Anthony O’Connor was easily robbed of the ball, sending the Hoops off on another attack, which was cleared up by Ash Taylor.

With 20 minutes gone, Aberdeen were finding it hard to get any purchase of the game. Maddison was the victim of yet another two consecutive fouls, with Scott Brown being the perpetrator of the second one. Yet again this came to naught.

cup2a The first corner of the game came in the 27th minute of the game for Celtic, who are well in control. Hayes meanwhile is barely getting on the ball, and in the 31st minute he was heavily bagged in the back, but no booking was forthcoming. Celtic are fouling Aberdeen all over the pitch.

The Dons comfortably break up another attack, but Hayes’ effort was easily held by their keeper. Aberdeen were not utilising the wide open spaces of the National Stadium.

Forrest, at this juncture, found the Aberdeen midfield posted missing again as he ran past them all and put the all easily past Lewis for the second goal.

0-2

The Dons’ first corner of the match came to nothing, and when the ball found its way back to Taylor who proceeded to punt the ball forward into an empty space.

The Dons weren’t lying down though, and in the 41st minute a neat pass from Maddison found Rooney. But, summing up the way the game was going, he skyed the ball well over the bar.

The third corner of the game was awarded to Aberdeen. A decent ball in found Andrew Considine, but his header went straight into Gordon’s arms. Another free kick was given to the men in red, this time in the centre circle, was well worked into the danger area, but the defenders were it in the slightest troubled.

Bang on 45, the half time whistle blew, with the second best team in Scotland by far the second best team in the park.

Half time: 0-2

AFC returned to the pitch first after the break with no changes to the line up. Celtic followed, likewise unchanged.

The Dons kicked off attacking towards their own fans. Whatever the manager had said in the dressing room, seemed to have worked as they were looking a but more positive.

Barely two minutes had passed when when Scott Brown became the first player to be booked for a cynical foul on Maddison, who kept trying to create something. But the fact is, that playing both him and McLean in midfield wasn’t working.

The pattern continued when another free kick by the men from the North East, nearly fell to Rooney. Then Maddison was not in quick enough to collect a ball from the Irish international.

The second half was looking better and it appeared that Aberdeen finally wakened up  to the fact that they were here for a reason. The Don’s had another corner given, but Maddison was carelessly caught offside.

Just as they were getting into the game, O’Connor conceded a penalty

With 57 minutes gone, Celtic had their first real attack of the half, but it petered out.

As the Dons pushed forward after a McLean free kick, an attempt from O’Connnor went right across the front of the goal. Another opportunity gone a-begging.

Although they were the better team overall, Celtic knew they had a game on now, and when a Celtic player handled the ball in the Aberdeen goal area, they were given yet another free kick.

Young Maddison was still involved in most things, and the team were making more use of the full pitch, but still not enough. The seemed reluctant to try and get down the wings and try and get beyond the Celtic defence.

Just as they were getting into the game, O’Connor conceded a penalty, by bringing down Forrest.

Moussa Dembélé stepped up to score their third goal, and his fourth of the competition, thus putting the cup well out of Aberdeen’s reach.

0-3

O’Connor was immediately substituted to be replace by Stockley. Celtic likewise decided to make a change too, with Patrick Roberts leaving the field, and Nir Bitton coming on. Stockley was keen to get involved in things straight away, and a pass to Rooney was received well, but the soft shot in from the latter went right into the Celtic keeper’s hands.

Celtic got a corner in the 66th minute.

Aberdeen attacked again, when great running by Hayes, a rare occurrence this afternoon, was spoilt as, under little or no pressure, he ran the ball hopelessly over the by-line.

Manager, Derek McInnes, showed we was not at all pleased by this error, as he decided to take Hayes off and put McGinn on.

A second yellow card was issued to a Celtic player for yet another foul on Maddison. The shocking free kick went straight to the keeper.

The Dons kept trying but to no avail. The fans kept getting behind the team and the singing continued. In saying that, the team leading the match weren’t resting on their laurels, and were keen to get goal number 4.

Two more substitutions were made. First in the 76th minute when Rogic was replaced by Calum McGregor, then in the 78th when Rooney came off and Wes Burns went on.

Another Aberdeen free kick was wasted, much to the frustration of the fans, as McGinn was offside when he received the ball

The action continued when in the 80th minute Celtic caused more problems for Aberdeen, but Taylor, who was having a decent game, put the ball out for a corner. Up at the other end of the park, a poor ball from Burns, meant for Stockley, was easily intercepted by Gordon.

On 90 minutes, man of the match, Forrest came off to great applause from the victorious supporters, and Leigh Griffiths entered the arena.

With only 3 minutes left, good  play and a shot at goal by Maddison, but again, it was routine for the keeper to hold it.

Although 3 minutes stoppage time was awarded, nothing much happened within that time, as the Celtic fans celebrated noisily, and the Aberdeen fans were already making their way out of the stadium.

When the final whistle blew and the referee indicated that the game was officially over, although from an Aberdeen point of view it was well over about 35 minutes before that.

niall-mcginn-cup-finalThe dream of a second trophy in 3 seasons lay shattered and in shreds, much like the remnants of silver and red foil flags which lay on the steps and floor of Hampden Park.

They say ‘money can’t buy love’, but that was proven wrong today when money bought the love of the Celtic Fans – money that bought the players that other teams in Scotland cannot, even remotely, afford. This is proven as Celtic have now gone nine games since a team from Scotland has managed to score a goal against them.
 
Full time: 0-3

Footnote: The match finished at 16.48pm. Due to the ridiculous situation of The National Stadium, we didn’t manage to leave the vicinity of Glasgow until 18.50pm. Two hours. Ridiculous.

Nov 222016
 

martinford-kintore-crossing-tallWith thanks to Martin Ford.

Aberdeenshire’sDemocratic Independent and Green Group of councillors (DIGG) is arguing the consultation on alternative service delivery models for sport and cultural services agreed at their council’s Education, Learning and Leisure Committee should form part of the expected wider consultation on budget options due to start later this year.

Aberdeenshire Council has agreed to follow a revised budget setting process for its 2017/18 budget in line with the decision taken at the Council’s budget meeting last February and in accordance with the provisions of the confidence and supply agreement between the DIGG and the Council’s coalition administration.

Draft budget proposals are to be published in November giving time for public consultation and to allow discussion on proposals between the various political groups on the Council ahead of formal budget decision making in February.

Cllr Martin Ford (pictured) said:

“I’m really not keen on the charitable trust proposal for future delivery of sport and cultural services. If it was not for the potential financial benefits – possibly betterment in excess of £1 million per annum – I don’t think the option would be under consideration. As it is, given the financial pressures on the Council and anticipated need for future savings, using a Council-owned charitable trust to deliver sport and cultural services has to be given serious consideration.”

Aberdeenshire Council is expected to have to make significant savings in its revenue budget for 2017/18 and in subsequent years. At this stage, before the Scottish Government grant settlement is known, there is considerable uncertainty about the amount the Council will have to save to balance its budget for next year.

However, based on reasonable assumptions, additional spending cuts or other savingstotalling over £10 million are expected to be required, over and above thesavings already identified in the draft 2017/18 revenue budget published last February.

Cllr Martin Ford said:

“In setting its revenue budget for 2017/18, Aberdeenshire Council is going to have to take a range of decisions driven by the need to save money. Moving to a Council-owned charitable trust to deliver sport and cultural services is one option that could be adopted.

“Deciding what to do to balance the revenue budget means comparing all the potential savings options and trying to identify the least damaging and disruptive way of achieving the spending reductions required. Public consultation on those savings options that would affect the Council’s public services should also allow simultaneous consideration of the different proposals, so their relative acceptability can be gauged.

“Including alternative models for the delivery of sport and cultural services in the Council’s budget consultation process is the logical way to proceed,”

Cllr Paul Johnston said:

“As part of consideration of alternative delivery models for sport and cultural services, I would want the Council to look at options for local control, not just a single Aberdeenshire-wide charitable trust.

“As a group, the DIGG aim to have a range of draft budget proposals ready for the November full council meeting, and will welcome the opportunity to get feedback and comment on these before the Council sets its revenue budget for 2017/18 next February.”

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Nov 102016
 

With thanks to Gemma Setter, PR Account Executive, Frasermedia.

sports_hall1A leading Scottish sports facility is celebrating after being the first company to be awarded with Developing the Young Workforce’s Quality Accreditation at silver level. Aberdeen Sports Village received the accolade for its youth and volunteering programme, Village Volunteers, which provides young people with the opportunity to start a career in sport.

The world-class venue has been running its Village Volunteers programme since 2012.

The scheme allows young people, from the age of 14 and up, to volunteer at ASV events and activities, ranging from one-off sporting events to assisting with kids camps.

As well as this, the sports facility works closely with Aberdeen City Council and local schools to offer work placement opportunities to secondary school pupils. The placements give pupils the chance to gain and develop their skills whilst working in different areas of the business.

ASV also runs a number of youth development programmes, which aim to give young people, with little or no skills, the chance to gain qualifications that will improve their employability and prepare them for the workplace.

Swim Free at ASV is a free of charge initiative that is open to young people currently not in employment, education or training, as well senior school pupils. The course gives youngsters the chance to gain swim teaching and lifeguarding qualifications and, on completion, allows them to volunteer at ASV, to further boost their experience and development within a sporting environment.

Alison Shaw, sports development executive at Aberdeen Sports Village, said:

“ASV is dedicated to attracting and training young talent, so we’re honoured to have been recognised by DYW for our commitment to providing young people with the opportunity to gain additional skills through our Village Volunteers scheme.

“It’s not uncommon to see Village Volunteers, who start with ASV at a young age, eventually become paid members of the team. We’ve also had a few work placement pupils who have gained full-time employment with us.

“As part of our Swim Free at ASV programme, we also provide free swimming lessons to primary six and seven pupils who can’t swim yet. This is an extremely important initiative, as not only does it provide life-saving skills, but it also introduces young people to a new sport and helps improve their confidence in the swimming pool.”

Rachel Elliot, manager at Developing the Young Workforce, said:

“It’s very inspiring to see such a large business working hard to provide further opportunities for young people in the North-east. ASV has been recognised by DYW for its dedication to helping young people enter the workplace and the whole team should be very proud of its efforts.

“The Quality Accreditation has been introduced to increase the number of business engaging with schools. It gives employers, schools and pupils an assurance that a particular organisation, initiative or programme meets a minimum set of requirements.

“Young people are the workforce of tomorrow, so it’s incredibly important that employers do all they can to train and educate their volunteers, employees and apprentices. There are many benefits to utilising the talents of young people, as they often bring enthusiasm, dedication and unique thinking to any business.”

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Oct 302016
 

image1By Red Fin Hall.

A plague on the powers that be for these lunchtime kick offs. They seem to be getting earlier and earlier. 

The league cup semi-final last week was 12.15pm; this game was scheduled for 1200. What next? breakfast time?

Aberdeen lined up without Adam Rooney and James Madison who were on the bench, much to the mystification of the fans, although it was good to see captain, Ryan Jack back.

The manager was obviously looking go stifle Celtic. 

Two minutes in Jonny Hayes stole the ball and broke upfield but was fouled. The free kick only resulted in Celtic breaking upfield. 

In the 7th minute Hayes went down injured, but recovered to carry on. A couple of minutes later Niall McGinn tried to get forward, but Celtic were too strong for the Northern Irishman.

Next, Andrew Considine, concedes a foul on the edge of the box. Even this early, referee Steven McLean, seems intent on not letting the game flow. 

Back up in the Celtic box, a great interception from McGinn forces a corner for the home team. The short corner was totally wasted.

As the Dons pushed forward, a strange offside decision was given as McGinn passed the ball forward, then ran onto it himself. At this point it was relatively end to end, fairly entertaining stuff.

In the 24th minute a poor clearance from Shay Logan, falls to Tom Rogic, who fires the ball into the net past Anthony O’Connor.

0-1.

Three minutes later another Celtic attack is easily dealt with. Not long after that, a careless touch by Hayes, thankfully came to nought.

At this point, with a quarter of the game gone, the visitors were seeing a lot more of the ball; the Dons weren’t closing them down enough, with some slack play from some players, Kenny McLean being the prime culprit.

Some good interplay between Logan, Hayes and McGinn on the left side resulted in a decent ball into the box where Considine made contact, but his header went over the bar.

On the 41st minute, Hayes played a fine ball into the area where Jack got a touch, but it only ended up as a goal kick for the, so far, untroubled Craig Gordon.

Only one minute later the home team had their first shot on target when McGinn swept a good ball in, and that man Considine struck the ball well, causing Gordon to make his first save of the match.
 
The referee continued to be a tad picky, but ignored a claim for a hand ball by a Celtic player in the Aberdeen goal box and awarded a goal kick instead. Celtic were in possession as the first half ended.

Half time. 0-1.

No changes were made by both teams as the second half commenced, and Celtic continued in the same vein as the did before the break. As were The Dons, with poor passing and second to the ball on occasion. Five minutes in Graham Shinnie was booked for, what appeared to be an innocuous foul on a player in green and white.

With 7 minutes gone in the second 45, Derek McInnes made his now trademark move, but instigating a double substitution. Jack, just back from injury, was replaced on the field by Rooney, and McGinn saw on loan player, Maddison come on in his stead.

As the clocked ticked into the 11th minute of the half, McLean missed a ball meant for him, giving the opposition a chance of increasing their lead, but Joe Lewis brilliantly saved the shot from the dangerous Scott Sinclair.

A mere minute later Moussa Dembélé, for probably the first time in the match, was causing the Aberdeen defence problems.

Aberdeen then went forward. A neat touch by Maddison found Considine who crossed to Rooney, but his attempt at goal was off target.

With 16 second half minutes gone, Celts’ number 18, Rojic created another chance for the visitors, but the ball just went past.

Aberdeen then had possession of the ball, and Dons’ right back, Logan, dribbled the 3 or 4 players before bring tripped by Stuart Armstrong.

At this juncture it was fairly one-sided in Celtic’s favour, but the score remained the same. However, with Maddison on the field there was always a chance he could make something happen.

The Dons were causing slight problems for the Celtic defence, nothing too serious. The atmosphere at this point was quite subdued.

Dembélé showed some tricky foot work at the edge of the box, but the close proximity of the defence hampered his shot and another attack came to an end when he shot high over the bar.

A good clearance by O’Connor to Hayes on the left wing, but before he could set off, he was bundled to the ground. Another non -foul.

Considine was looking strong and ever willing.

On minute 33 of this half, there was a bit of a stramash around the half way line involving Scott Brown and Hayes, none of which were involved in the preceding foul. Brown ended up on his back on the ground. The referee handled the situation swiftly and properly, and the two players ended up going in the book and receiving a yellow card apiece, along with another Celtic player who’s foul started this situation.

Hayes took the resultant free kick, but totally wasted it by hooting it hopelessly past the by-line. Set pieces today were particularly woeful.

Not long after that there came one if the strangest clearances I have ever seen. Logan kicked the ball high into the South Stand for a Celtic throw in. It was so high it went through the open window of the T.V. gantry, missing the cameras a sound equipment therein.

Play carried on with a replacement ball and with only 7 minutes remaining of the game to play. Wes Burns, who had been pretty ineffectual, was taken off. He was replaced by Jayden Stockley.

The closing minutes had the home fans literally on their feet as the Dons pressed to get the equaliser, with Gordon at one point snatching the ball off the feet of Shinnie, Maddison taking a couple of free kicks from around the same spot he scored the winner from against The Rangers last month and a call for a handball as Aberdeen kept the pressure up.

The decision was made to add 5 minutes stoppage time. Maybe if there was 10 minutes extra they would have broken through, but the game ended with Aberdeen going down to their second 1-0 defeat in a row. This coming after having 6 victories in a row.

It looks like the tactics didn’t work out as McInnes had hoped, but despite the huge financial gap between the two clubs, the battle on the pitch was a lot more equal.

Many say Celtic could have had a few more goals, but they didn’t. Our defence coped well enough to help prevent that.

In a little under a month the teams meet again in the League Cup Final at Hampden; hopefully the outcome will be different.

Oct 212016
 

With thanks to Yvette Rayner, PR Account Manager, Frasermedia.

graham-findlay-ceo-nessAberdeen Football Club legends are reuniting from across the globe at a charity lunch in Aberdeen this month.
Eleven of Aberdeen Football Club’s 1976 Scottish League Cup winning squad will reunite for the first time in 40 years at a sell out event in aid of North East Sensory Services (NESS) on 28th October at the Chester Hotel, Aberdeen.

Legends of the exciting campaign, whose final took place on 6th November 1976 at Hampden Park, including international star Arthur Graham, Stuart Kennedy, Willie Garner and Joe Harper will join teammates to reminisce over the historic cup win.

The AFC heroes are travelling from as far afield as Australia for the reunion, which is the second fundraising football lunch for NESS.

NESS, which is based in Aberdeen, with centres in Dundee and Elgin, supports over 5,000 people who have vision or hearing loss. The charity has been helping people in Aberdeen since 1879 and is the only organisation that supports both deaf and blind people.

BBC sports presenter, and AFC fan, Richard Gordon, who was born and bred in Aberdeen, will compere the afternoon, and squad members will discuss the thrilling cup-winning run and take part in a question and answer session.

Guests will have the opportunity to get autographs and photographs with the team members, and some players have generously donated unique items for auction on the day.

Graham Findlay (pictured), CEO for NESS, said:

“We are delighted that 11 players of the AFC legendary 1976 squad are taking time out to join us in our celebration. With George Campbell coming from Australia, and others traveling from England and across Scotland, this will be a truly unique event.

“For fans like myself who just about remember the game in 1976, this is a real treat. We have some pretty incredible auction prizes which cannot be found anywhere else, and so we hope to raise some much needed funds for deaf and blind people in the North-east.”

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