Dec 072016

dons-stjohnstone-pittodrieBy Red Fin Hall.

League business returned to Pittodrie on a wet and dismal

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.


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.


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.


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.


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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Dec 062016

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

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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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.


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.


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.


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.

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.


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 272016

ally-begg-bookBy Red Fin Hall.

What’s the connection between a failed football player, a member of a successful 90s boy band and a TV presenter turned TV producer? The answer: Ally Begg.

Ally was brought up in Newburgh, had trials with Aberdeen FC, was a member of Bad Boys inc, and worked as a presenter on various sports TV channels before landing his current position as producer on beINSPORTS in Qatar.

His book, Begg To Differ, is the fascinating account of his life where everything always comes back to football.

It is an absolute fans’ view of the game, albeit a fan with some notable connections. Like Sir Alex Ferguson.

It is the story of his childhood growing up in the outskirts of Aberdeen and his pestering of his father to go to watch his favourite team, a team that was always at the forefront of his mind, even when he was working for one the rival teams’ television station.

He expresses his dis-satisfaction of the way his music career was handled and his decision to quit the business altogether.

How he deals with a catastrophic leg injury and its long term effect on his life, makes you cringe. Not by the writing but by the excruciating pain he has had to suffer.

The book deals with the ups and downs in his life without asking you to feel sorry for him, and subsequently his contentment in life, being married with a child. 

All in all, it’s a fine read, a giant step away from the usual football related tomes. Well worth investing your money in.

More comments on Begg to Differ here.

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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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Oct 162016

afc1finhallBy Red Fin Hall.

With the unnecessary distraction of the current joke that is international football, out of the way, it is the return of the real thing: League Football, and the visit of Ross County.

Since today was also National Grumpy Day, the fans were hoping that there would be little celebrating of that kind today.

The rain soaked pitch looked ideal for playing good football with the chance of sliding tackles after fifty yard runs. Oh, if only they were still allowed.

After both  teams took part in the Show Racism The Card display, if  that is the correct word for 22 players holding up a red card with those words written on it, referee Craig Thomson got the game underway.

Derek McCinnes played his strongest team, with Ryan Jack being the only player missing through injury.
Adam Rooney started as the sole striker; this week he was quoted as saying that the pressure for him to score is off due to the goals being  scored from all other positions in the team.

The game was only 7 minutes old when Aberdeen defender, Ash Taylor, had to be taken off due to an injury. His more than capable replacement was Mark Reynolds.

With 13 minute gone, a free kick taken by James Maddison found Rooney at the back post, whose header went into the goal. The celebrations were cut short due to the attacker being flagged offside. 2 minutes later another free kick from The Dons kept the pressure up.

In 17 minutes a corner from Niall McGinn was knocked just over the bar by  Maddison.

MgGinn was busy shortly afterwards, putting in a great cross from the right side of the pitch, only to see Rooney heading the ball just over.
In the 20th minute the inevitable happened. Jonny Hayes picked the ball up on the left, drove into the box and hammered the bell into the net. It may have taken a slight deflection, but it made no difference.


The action continued when Ross County defender, Tim Chow, starting his first game since he moved to the Black Isle, was given a straight red card for a two footed tackle on Hayes. There was little protest from the ex Wigan player.
Hayes was proving too much from the men from Dingwall. Running in from the right, he put in a good ball. The recipient, Andrew Considine, made good contact, but it was cut out by ex-Don, Paul Quinn.

In the 28th minute, a Maddison corner from the left found Rooney, whose downward header, although on target, was stopped on the line by keeper Scott Fox. This was the first many times he was called into action from a very busy Aberdeen side.
On the half hour mark there was another fine ball into the area from McGinn, this time Graham Shinnie was on hand to head it over.

Hayes hit the cross bar in the 41st minute from another free kick. This time from just outside the box on the right side.
The home fans were fair enjoying this game as every player in red was getting to the ball first, supporting each other and fighting to get possession. This became relevant when some nice interplay between Considine, Hayes and Maddison, resulted in the ever willing Shay Logan being on hand to get the final touch on 32 minutes to score goal number 2 of the afternoon.


Hayes again was busy, when he tried another shot at goal, this time from the right, but it was weak and went well past the post. Then a few monetary after that Rooney headed another ball straight into the hand is Fox. Hayes then saw another effort hit the crossbar in the 41st minute.

Just on the 44th minute, Aberdeen keeper, Joe Lewis pulled off a crucial, but non too difficult save in response to County’s first real effort on goal.
The visitors were on a slight roll as half-time beckoned the visiting team were awarded their first corner which came to nought, and, just as the whistle blew for half time, they hit the crossbar from a shot from about 25 yards out.

Half-time 2-0.

The second half continued in the same vein as the first 45, with a free kick awarded to The Dons in the 9th minute, but it was easily dealt with. Kenny McKean was involved in the next move of note, when he passed to Logan who beat his man then forced Fox to make another save. Relentless is the only word to describe the onslaught on the Ross County defence.

14 minutes into the second half, The Dons had another shot on target as the ebullient Irishman, Hayes crossed the ball to Considine who only had the keeper to thank (sic) for pulling off another save to stop him getting a third goal for the home team. Maddison then took another free kick, which troubled nobody as the ball went well wide.

The Highlanders then were awarded their second corner of the game; a move which ended with Aberdeen breaking upfield and the keeper picking the ball up from the feet of Rooney who was desperate to get on the score sheet.

Next came a dipping shot from the eventual man of the match, Logan, but it went just over the top of the goal.

The constant pressure continued and even a slip from Anthony O’Connor, when surrounded by County players, came to nothing but the home side moving back into the opposition half. Minutes later Maddison received a yellow card.

The fans were desperately waiting for the third goal to come, and in he 26th minute of the half, the waiting was over. Logan performed a great run downfield, put the ball into the box and McGinn was on hand to get the Don’s’ third goal, and his well deserved first.


In the 27th and 28th minutes of the game Hayes was at it again, first shooting straight at their keeper, then putting the goalie to work again saving another goalbound shot.

With 16 minutes left to play, Derek McInnes decided it was time to make a substitute, or, as he has been in the habit of doing this season, bringing on two. Rooney made way for Jayden Stockley, whilst McGinn was replaced by Peter Pawlett. The effect was seen immediately as Stockley’s first touch was to get on the end of a ball from a corner kick. He was unfortunate to see it go just over the crossbar.

Persistent play from the tall Englishman paid off when he made it 4-0 in the 36th minute.

It has been a long time since I have seen such a one sided game in The Dons’ favour at Pittodrie, and it showed no sign of letting up as Hayes led the way in causing the opposition problems. The pace and trickery of the game was not, as often happens, altering the flow of the game at all. As was evident three minutes after he scored, Stockley headed another ball towards the goalie.

There was still time for Hayes to have another go, this one going well over, and Maddison having one held by the hard pressed keeper.

Just as Craig Thomson blew the final whistle, Considine directed a cracking cross right across the front of the goal.

Final score; 4-0

Aberdeen travel south to Hampden next Saturday for the League Cup semi-final against Greenock Morton, who, themselves had a good win today, beating Queen of the South 5-0.

Footnote. Due to typically bad and thoughtless planning by the SFA, Aberdeen Ladies play Celtic Ladies in the under 17’s Scottish Cup final next Saturday at more or less the same time as the aforementioned league cup semi. Their match will take place at Lesser Hampden.

Sep 262016

It was back to league business today as Glasgow club, The Rangers, travelled north for their first game in the Granite City. By Red Fin Hall.

merkland-crowdfinhallThe one o’clock kick off didn’t stop a sell out, with queues forming early. There was a high police presence and a media encouraged frenzy of panic.

This exaggerated situation compounded itself when everybody was searched before being allowed through the turnstiles.

When I say everybody I mean everybody. OAP’s, kids, people with learning difficulties.

Over the top.

Aberdeen made three changes to their starting line up with Jonny Hayes, Peter Pawlett and Mark Reynolds replacing James Maddison, Jayden Stockley and Ash Taylor.

Referee John Beaton started the game on a sunny day where everything was pitch perfect, including the fans as they sang along to The Northern Lights.

The Rangers earned their first corner with just two minutes gone, which keeper Joe Lewis dealt with very comfortably. Aberdeen got their first a moment later.

The home team were allowing the visitors too much possession culminating in an incident between Anthony O’Connor and Joe Garner in the eleventh minute.

As anticipated, the home fans started the minutes applause in a humorous celebration of the demise in 2012 of the company formerly known as Glasgow Rangers FC. The authorities expected this to be a flashpoint, but obviously, it passed without incident. Apart from an attacking run forward by Peter Pawlett, which ran out of steam.

The Rangers were knocking the ball about better and in 17 minutes they headed over Lewis’ goal. Pawlett then won a free kick, but it too came to nothing. The game followed a similar pattern to Thursday’s cup quarter final, with the Dons not anticipating where their teammates were putting the ball.

The first booking came in in 21 minutes when the aforementioned number 7, Garner was the recipient. The Glasgow team were awarded another free kick, this time just in front of the Aberdeen goal at the Richard Donald Stand, but Lewis wasn’t troubled by it, although a moment later he made a top class save which he deflected on to the crossbar.

The home fans were getting restless, the referee didn’t help as he kept stopping the game for seemingly nothing. And Aberdeen carried on not using the wings enough, not closing down and not utilising the spaces. The first real shot from Aberdeen was on 30 minutes when Kenny McLean was tipped over the bar.
The players were arguing with each other as passes kept going awry.

Next, a neat ball was played in from the wing by Graeme Shinnie, but neither Adam Rooney nor Pawlett got to it.

As the first half was drawing to a close, Hayes was tackled from behind by Halliday, but mysteriously the referee gave the decision the other way. The first half finished when Niall McGinn played a ball in which was easily held by the keeper.

Half time 0-0.

How would the second half fare? Would the Dons keep making a poor opposition look good, or would they step up to the plate and give the capacity crowd something to rouse them from their slumbers?

As the players returned to the pitch, Maddison replaced Pawlett, who had put in a good shift.

From the restart the Dons were upfield, but then the ball came back to Lewis who cleared it forward; Rooney headed it on to Hayes who raced onwards and shot the ball into the net past Wes Foderingham.


A minute later there was a second booking for The Rangers after a cynical foul on Hayes, and from the resultant free kick, 19 year old Maddison
shot just past the goal.

The second half was livening up, with Reynolds the next to be booked, then Lee Wallace for the visitors shooting well over the bar, and then Maddison doing the same at the other end.

The Dons’ defence looked strong dealing with everything that The Rangers tried, although if truth be told, it wasn’t that much.

The ref continued his erratic performance by booking O’Connor in the 64th minute and then not booking Halliday when Hayes was chopped down yet again.
Aberdeen were showing a lot more positivity, but still allowing The Rangers too much space in midfield. Shay Logan was fouled close to the corner flag, and the free kick, taken again by young Maddison, was cleared for a corner. Another poor set piece.

More substitutions followed with Wes Burns coming on for McGinn. Kenny Miller also came on for the visitors.

On the latter’s first foray forward, his pass to Lee Wallace saw Jonny Hayes caught out of position and bringing down The Rangers number 5 to give away a penalty. Andy Halliday scored from the spot kick.


The action continued with McLean being booked and Burns being brought down in the Glasgow Team’s penalty box, but Beaton waved played on.

In the 90th minute Hayes was brought down, yet again, this time by Andy Tavernier. This time the young player on loan from Norwich City made no mistake when taking the free kick as he powered the ball well past Wes Foderingham and into the net to claim victory for Aberdeen.


Taylor was then brought on to bolster the defence moments before the final whistle was blown leaving the home fans deliriously happy. Although the game and atmosphere wasn’t the blood and thunder affair as most had anticipated, the victory meant the end of a tough run for Aberdeen.

3 games, 3 victories, two of which came in 90 minutes, resulting in the end of a great week for Aberdeen, who have now climbed back up to second place in the league.

Footnote: A special extended print edition of The Red Final, brought out for today’s game, was all but sold out by the sellers around the ground.

Sep 232016

By Red Fin Hall.

donsfansfinhallSince Aberdeen won the League Cup in 2014, their success in cup competitions has been non existent.

Tonight’s quarter final game against the team that they have had scant success of late, had the fans hoping that after their slow start to the season, they would follow up their away victory against Dundee with another emphatic victory.

A fine sunny day made conditions ideal for football. Aberdeen had planned lining up with two changes; with Stockley and Burns starting, and McGinn and Rooney on the bench, both of whom have been looking a bit tired in previous games.

But Hayes injured himself during the warm up giving McGinn a start.

Craig Thomson refereed this game, a game that was always going to be a close run thing.

Throughout the game Aberdeen tried their best to break down the resolute St Johnstone defence without giving keeper Zander Clark any saves to make. Saying that Joe Lewis in the home defence had nothing to do either. The first shot came from Shinnie after a Stockley cross, but it went well wide.

A crowd of around 9,000 saw four first half bookings, two each side, as both teams fairly evenly matched each other. Loan signing Maddison continued his flair playing as seen in the game against Dundee at the weekend, despite not getting enough of the ball.

Cup games under floodlights are the stuff that little boys, and girls, remember into their grown up years. This one however will not be one of them.

The tousy first half ended leaving the fans feeling a tad nervous, with the game having a no scoring draw written all over it despite a great ball in from Maddison to McGinn on the right wing, who crossed it to Burns who was running in. His shot went just past the post.

The visitors made their first substitution only three minutes into the second half, and they started off by going forward towards the Aberdeen goal, to no avail. The home team then set off on the attack, but that too petered out when a very poor Stockley ball fell woefully short of Logan and was easily tidied up the Perth men.

Meanwhile the signing section kept up their vocal encouragement to the accompaniment of their solo drummer.

In the 68th minute Wotherspoon had the ball in the back of the net, but, much to the relief of The Dons fans, he was clearly offside.

Aberdeen then made a double substitution, replacing Burns and Stockley with Pawlett and Rooney. The latter ‘s running in the opposition half made their defence work harder.

Five minutes from the end, St Johnstone were awarded a free kick 30 yards out. The same player who had the ball in the net, Wotherspoon, took the kick, which went over the wall and was heading for the net were it not for a remarkable save from Aberdeen’s number one, who deflected it onto the crossbar. The ball bounced back into play, and Ash Taylor cleared.

On the 90 minute mark, Shinnie made a run down the left, all but ignoring the three defenders covering him, he crossed the ball into the box in front of the home fans in the Richard Donald Stand to find the head of Rooney who directed the ball into the net.


The resultant jubilation was tinged with a fair dose of relief. The visitors pressed hard in the couple of minutes added on, but the men in red fought even harder to hold onto their lead.

St Johnstone, up until that point were seemingly content with a draw, and were totally deflated when the final whistle blew denying them extra time.

Aberdeen now go on to play Morton in the semi final,who incidentally, were the first professional club that manager Derek McKinnes played for.

Two footnotes from the game.

Before the game Willie Miller was pulling into the club car park to do his Radio Scotland duties. The lady on duty, trying to be helpful, asked him,

“Have you been here before? Do you know where you are going?”

After the whistle had gone and the teams were in their respective dressing rooms, some of the away team took exception to the loud, celebratory music emitting from the home dressing room, ( the door was open), and went and shut the door. Some home players took exception to that, and a minor altercation took place.

The next match is Sunday 25th with The Rangers being the visitors.

Sep 162016

image1aBy Fin Hall aka The Man In Red.

Some time ago I wrote about the fanzine, The Red Final. First published in May 1996 on the opening of The Richard Donald Stand at Pittodrie.
Now as the club stands on the verge of moving to to Kingswells, and the new Kingsford Stadium, the fanzine, stands on the precipice of disappearing from existence.

The publication which has been run wholly on a voluntary and non profit basis for the whole of its lifespan has, in all that time, had only two editors. the first being Chris Gavin.

Known by many as Old Beach Ender, or OBE, Chris could always be seen sporting his well worn, brown leather jacket as he stood outside the football stadium, selling the latest issue of the fanzine he started, for only £1.

When he was offered a position as a non-executive director on the board of Aberdeen Football Club, and the fans’ representative therein, he relinquished his editorial position to a younger and very keen contributor, Chris Crighton – aka ‘Merkie’.

The moving of OBE onto the board was a sign that fanzines were valuable voices of the fans, and were to be taken into consideration.

Merkie has taken this acceptance a step closer. He has a column in Aberdeen’s award winning matchday programme, and writes a post match opinion piece in the Press and Journal also.

Some of the contributors have been with the Red Final since it’s early days, and even contributed to it’s predecessor, The Northern Light which is still fondly remembered by those of us of a certain vintage.

Twitter, Facebook, and online Blogs may have given the fans more options on voicing their opinions, but this has not had too much of an direct impact on sales. It still sells around 2,500 copies when it hits the streets, which in itself is reasonable enough readership.

It has also been available for years via subscription and, more recently, online as a download. After all these intervening years it still sells for the same price – £1.

No, the problem comes not with sales nor with articles, although the editor’s inbox is never as full as it used to be, or as he would like; but with actually getting it onto the streets and into the hands of the ever keen public.

As I stated previously, some of the contributors have been with it since the nineties, and are not getting any younger. Ill health as well as age keeps some of them off the street corners, although with this latest issue, number 125, some have come back out to lend a hand.

Not all of the writers live in the city. The Editor himself, who usually has much more than one item in, lives in the central belt. I know, I know, we feel sorry for him, but it’s his choice. One even lives in Germany. So it has been down to just two sellers in recent times.

Despite numerous, pleading requests from Merkie via the aforementioned online vehicles, no fresh blood has volunteered to get down Pittodrie way on match days to help sell it.

When the move to Kingswood comes about, it would seem the logistics of distribution may well be impossible. It’s difficult enough at times as it is.

It may well be that when the remaining copies go on sale at the St Johnstone cup game next week, and the first ever game against The Rangers on the 25th, (if there are any left) it will be for the last time ever.

The final decision has yet to be ascertained. It is Scotland’s longest running fanzine, and, as far as I am aware, the only one in the country still going – but not for long. I personally will mourn it’s loss, being one of the older writers on it.

Sad days indeed.

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