With thanks to Red Fin Hall.
In recent years, there have been various splendid displays at Aberdeen Football Club matches, most notably perhaps, at the 2014 and 2016 League Cup finals, arranged by one man, Stephen McCormick, aka Mezzanine.
The finances for undertaking this mammoth undertaking came totally out of his own pocket and from fan donations.
The last one, the stunning 20,000 red and silver flag waving display at November’s final, arguably the only positive thing about the match, cost in the region of £10,000.
AFC, like all clubs, have a Supporter’s Liason Officer (SLO). The one at Aberdeen is Ally Proctor. He is also the CEO of the Community Trust. Despite this, he has never, ever gone to any SLO roadshows, or communicated anything to help with the final display. His title just seems to an obligatory one to appease UEFA.
The so called ‘family club’ are now taking on the appearance of being anything but.
Here, in his own words, are Stephen’s reasons for his decision to discontinue putting on displays at Pittodrie.
“I spoke with a few folk involved in the display project and family and friends in the weeks leading up to the Final. Sunday’s final will be my last involvement with displays and those I spoke to fully understand why.
“The club held its AGM on Monday and a shareholder asked Milne, Yule and Fraser about those behind the display and a vote of thanks was agreed, Im not sure what that means but Milne said they had been in touch with the organisers. I can assure you now we haven’t been thanked by any of them. So he blatantly lied to a room full of shareholders.
“They had an opportunity to put some money towards the display as well but we had a deadline to meet to place the order. We had to go through the Operations department, they were meant to relay info to our chief exec to keep him up to speed as to where we were at with the funds, I received an email at 9 pm on a Saturday night from him asking where we were at despite telling Operations on a daily basis.
“They dragged their heels so we had to look elsewhere, the DST lent us £2500 which we paid back. Production of 20,000 flags takes time. I asked our chief exec if he would still like to donate something like a bus for volunteers. I never got a reply but the DST did and the club said they couldn’t do a bus as they would all be booked.
“I called Central Coaches, same firm the club use and got a bus straight away, the DST offered to pay half of that which was a lovely gesture.
“The club are impossible to deal with, they hate me that’s for sure because I stand up to them and won’t allow them to treat those giving up their spare time like dirt. How can I work with a club that contacts Ian Low at Dundee United, or the operations Manager at Inverness Caley and try and talk them into banning us from doing display at their grounds?
“When we did a foil display in the Shed at Tannadice I was taken aside and told they (DUFC) would do anything they possibly could to make sure our display was a success, which it was. DUFC and ICT both couldn’t understand why any club wouldn’t want their own fans to add as much colour to the games.
“The League Cup final at ParkRed for example the club did absolutely nothing to assist us. I had to deal with the SPFL, Celtic,and the police and all were very helpful.
“The club were quick to sell framed pictures at £70 a pop in the club shop of the display, I was never offered one.
“This display was a huge task and thankfully I had a great team to share the load, some of them will continue Im sure but after witnessing how I’m treated they will probably do future displays away from home.
“At Hampden, Motherwell, Celtic, Inverness, Ibrox, Tannadice, I have always been made welcome and always get a glowing report of how organised we were. Its just our club that make life extremely difficult to do anything and I’ve had enough.
“We also have a SLO at our club, a role given to someone in the community trust just to appease UEFA, a SLO should be someone that is known to the support and is helpful to the supporters, ours didn’t even get in touch leading up to the final, Im not even going to mention his name but another ex-cop who nobody within the support knows. Im in regular contact with SLOs at other clubs as well as Supporters direct etc and kept up to date with matters.
“It was very humbling for the support to put so much faith in me at the last 2 finals and to donate such an incredible amount was just staggering, I had several sleepless nights leading up to this game but I knew as soon as I knew the materials we would use what I was going to do. Without the supporters kindness and participation I’d never have been able to do any of them.
“Thanks also to those that helped me make it happen, you know who you are.
“Thank you all once again and good luck to those who want to try and add some colour in the future. Time to spend some time with those that are far more important than football, my amazing family.”
To say that the fans I have spoke to are annoyed at this situation is an understatement. He went on to say,
“A SLO is someone who the support have known for years, someone they have faith in. I have proved over the years that the fans have faith in me, fundraising, centenary celebrations, loads of displays, football competitions, set ups, social media. Been in touch with them for best part of 20 years.
“I also never lie to the support, that’s the one thing that winds me up about our club, I could tell you some stories like.”
Independently, another fan has set up a petition to replace the current SLO with somebody who has more interest in fulfilling his position that the title suggests.
Let’s hope that the club is taken to task over this and things change in the future.
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