Feb 262014

Squeaky bum time for the duration, but a vital victory against an until now unbeaten Celtic side reports Voice’s Andrew Watson.

pittodrieThe wind blew through Pittodrie, and along with it came a rain which at times hailed horizontally.

The velocity of play was intense and made the mind boggle as to how it could be maintained throughout.

It didn’t take the crowd long to be up in arms.

The home support greeted Virgil van Dijk’s sending off as one would welcome a goal or a cup final. So after only 12 minutes, Celtic were down to ten men.

Although this somewhat evened up proceedings, Celtic managed to put Aberdeen under a lot of pressure regardless.

On the 41 minute mark, Niall McGinn found Jonny Hayes. The Dubliner took a chance from thirty yards and found the top corner, denting Fraser Forster’s clean sheet record.

1-0 Aberdeen!

Only 4 minutes later McGinn found on form Adam Rooney, whose diving header in turn found the net.

2-0 Aberdeen!

What proceeded in the second half was sustained pressure from the Parkhead men, and if I could blame anyone for what followed I would point to Alan Tate. His poor headed clearance handed Celtic a goal, and a way back into the game.

2-1 (James Forrest) after 62 minutes.

From where I was sitting, in the Main Stand, the Englishman could have made a pass back to Jamie Langfield, but opted to head out the box; which inevitably found Scott Brown.

Tate left the pitch on the 83 minute mark, with Joe Shaughnessy coming on. Shaleum Logan also came off to make way for Russell Anderson.

Peter Pawlett came off after 92 minutes to be replaced by Scott Vernon.

The Dons were definitely lucky to win this one, though it must be said that Celtic took for granted they’d eventually win the game.

Final score:  2-1.

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Jan 192014

The Dons finally bottled it today, raves Voice reporter Andrew Watson.

merkalndpic2With over 12,000 in attendance, it’s clear the Dons would be playing in front of an expectant crowd. A crowd expecting victory
It was a chilly afternoon, if not a little bit misty. Nothing the Pittodrie floodlight system couldn’t handle, though. This meant Barry Robson could arguably contend his early corner kick shot wasn’t just a wayward delivery that hit off the top of the crossbar and top netting.

Aberdeen dominated possession but did little with it, and they were to suffer the consequences for not being more clinical.

Thistle looked dangerous on the attack, particularly on the break. Their forward was generously gifted a shot from ten yards out and pounced.

0-1 (Danny Williams) after 22 minutes

Four minutes later, the home support broke out in rapturous applause. This was to mark the life – and death – of young Aberdeen fan, Cammy Smith.

This positivity starkly contrasted with the later frustration of the home crowd when the referee got in the way of play. He feebly ducked the oncoming ball unsuccessfully and got hit. He duly had abuse hurled at him for his trouble.

Unfortunately there was little worthy of a mention in the remainder of the proceedings.

Alan Tate was replaced by Joe Shaughnessy after 58 minutes. A minute later, Robson came off for Jonny Hayes.  At the 65 minute mark, Josh Magennis came on for Scott Vernon.

Of the last substitution, if was clear that Vernon had to be taken off. If I had the choice I’d have taken off Niall McGinn too. These two seem to be just going through the motions, these last few games.

The most bitterly ironic thing is thatf Gregg Wylde, who moved to St Mirren the other day, might have made the difference in this game; if only to take a point instead of none at all.

Final score:  0-1.

Jan 132014

Well, they do tend to bottle the big games but this time the Dons delivered, pontificates Voice reporter Andrew Watson.


Anytime Aberdeen are in the ascendency and give their fans the opportunity to pack ‘Todders’ to the rafters, and they duly comply, they disappoint and leave the Red Army irate at the whistle for full-time.

This time, however, was different.

A brisk air with little wind made for ideal weather conditions, especially considering the time of year.

I had my free press pass hot drink and pie to warm the cockles, but felt like a heretic ditching the famous Pittodrie Pie for a more salubrious gastronomical experience – ala steak pie; a shameless premium cut off of one of Angus The Bull’s pals. Sorry Angus!

The Easter Road men dominated early proceedings, but more or less slunk into anonymity, with occasional raids into the opposition’s penalty area. There were also sizeable claims for a penalty by the home crowd, gobsmacked that referee Craig Thomson waved play on.

On the face of it, the only other part of the game worth mentioning lies well into the heart of the second half, three minutes shy of full-time and four minutes after Scott Vernon came off for Calvin Zola.

Willo Flood picked up a seemingly innocuous clearance from the Hibees back four, and thundered it into the roof of the net from twenty-five yards out. Cue home crowd going absolutely bananas, considering they probably resigned themselves to settle for a dull, goalless draw.

1-0 (Flood) after 87 minutes.

Two minutes later, Jonny Hayes left the pitch to be replaced by Russell Anderson. At the 92 minute mark, Josh Magennis came on for Niall McGinn.

All in all, Aberdeen were almost frustrated by a stubborn and resolutely defensive Hibernian side. I dare say the timely introduction – almost too late – of Zola into the field of play changed the home side’s fortunes.

New boy Alan Tate seemed solid enough if not slightly ungainly at times. I hope to eventually eat my words, and that he goes on to be a worthwhile addition to a promising Aberdeen squad.

Final score:  1-0.

Nov 142013

By David Innes.

IMG_1383cThe AFC Heritage Trust held its fifth Remembrance Day commemoration on the 11th of November at the permanent memorial in the Richard Donald Stand.
First dedicated in 2009, this memorial is a popular stopping-off point for stadium tour parties, and on match days there are always fans who read its information and learn a little more about the heroism of past members of the Dons community.

As has become customary, the event was well-attended, by club staff, members of the armed forces and linked organisations, and by members of the public and trustees.

During a short, formal ceremony, the names of those who died in battle were read by trustees John Callander and Andrew Duthie, as a re-dedication of the memorial. That allowed us to muse on just how young these men were. The Last Post was sounded before silence descended on Pittodrie for two respectful minutes.

Reveille sounded to signal re-awakening, and Lawrence Binyon’s ‘For the Fallen’ was read, before wreaths of respect were laid by representatives of organisations wishing to pay formal tribute.

Club captain Russell Anderson laid the club’s wreath and Neil Simpson represented the Former Players Association by laying theirs. AFC Heritage Trust Chairman Allan McKimmie, who had organised and introduced the ceremony, did the honours for the Heritage Trust.

Floral tributes were laid by representatives of

  • The Gordon Highlanders
  • Royal Air Force
  • Royal Navy
  • Air Training Corps
  • Universities OTC
  • BonAccordSea Cadets – Bridge of Don Ship’s Company
  • Gurkhas
  • Royal British Legion, Scotland
  • Poppy Scotland – the Earl Haig Fund
  • Soldiers, Sailors, Air Force Association (SSAFA) and
  • North East Scotland Disabled Veterans Association (NESDVA)

Birkaji Gurung, a staff member at Pittodrie and a former member of the Gurkha Rifles read an Armistice Tribute in his native Nepalese.

IMG_1393A significant number of Aberdeen’s Gurkha community turned out to support Birkaji. They are always welcome guests.

Whilst this annual remembrance gives us cause to remember those who perished in war, thoughts of remembrance inevitably turned to recently-departed members of the Dons family. They and their families were, without doubt, in the thoughts of many who paid their respects on Armistice Day.

Lest we forget, says the memorial. We will not forget those members of the Dons community who died in both World Wars. Football is often talked of in terms of battles and skirmishes and war. These are insignificant compared to the action that took the lives of those commemorated.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them (Binyon)

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Nov 102013

It occurred to me how difficult it must be for managers to keep an entire squad of players happy, even when on the bench, muses Voice reporter Andrew Watson.

pittodrieSave a thought for Scott Vernon, for example. With Calvin Zola at the fore of the Dons’ attack, the former has had to fashion himself as an impact player and super substitute. He’s scored crucial goals in recent weeks, and still finds himself outside of the starting eleven.

This side, however, is Hard To Beat.

I only just realised the irony of why they played Hard Fi’s 2005 hit during the pre-match build up; and not for the first time, either.

The song, of young lust, seemed a perfect perquisite to the wolf whistles accompanying the sight of Hearts’ female physio as she rushed onto the pitch, early on.

Women in the game struggle enough to be viewed equally even as referees, one wonders; so it’s maybe of little surprise that sexist pigs like myself found it rather amusing.

23 minutes into the game, workhorse Willo Flood left the pitch due to injury, to be replaced by Barry Robson. Only three minutes later, Robson whipped in a cross, which connected sweetly with Niall McGinn’s boot.

1-0 Aberdeen!

Not long after, there was a chance for Aberdeen to go two ahead, with a successful appeal for handball in the box. McGinn, though, failed to beat the keeper.

The Dons suffered a massive blow on 55 minutes as Barry Robson was ordered off for a second yellow card by referee Ian Brines.

Zola came off for Vernon at the 58 minute mark.  Then came the goal which turned the tide for the Tyncastle side.

1-1 (Jamie Walker). Keeper Jamie Langfield beaten after 66 minutes.

The pain was doubled eight minutes later, with a cut back exposing the Dons’ defence.

1-2 (Callum Paterson).

At the death Langfield then spearheaded an attack, running from his box to support the forwards during a corner kick. He was almost caught on the hop, and had to race back to his own goal.

Think of Peter Schmeichel in that 1999 European Cup Final. Just without the glory.

1-3 (Ryan Stevenson) after 90 minutes. Top corner.

I daresay McGinn scoring that penalty could have altered the outcome of this particular clash. Hearts came to life after the equaliser, and went onto comfortably beat a once rampant Reds side.

Losing Robson early in the second half certainly didn’t help.

Final score:  1-3.

Nov 052013

Perhaps it’s a good sign when not only do you expect a win for your team, but you also envisage a clean sheet, too, says fitba reporter Andrew Watson.


Aberdeen started the game brightly and on the attack, but with little end result.

A seemingly speculative free kick from Niall McGinn, though, saw Scotland call-up keeper Scott Fox pick the ball out of his net after 25 minutes.

1-0 Aberdeen!

Fifteen minutes later and Peter Pawlett was running at Thistle’s defence, posing a goalmouth threat for Calvin Zola to net from only two yards out.


11 minutes after the interval, the impressive Cammy Smith left the pitch, with ex-Celtic man Barry Robson coming on. Zola then came off to be replaced by Scott Vernon at the 64 minute mark.

Michael Hector, formerly of Millwall, rocketed an absolute wonder shot into the roof of the net approximately at the time of that latter substitution.


Only seconds later Partick might have pulled one back after a cheeky dink from the centre of the park, but the enquiring shot was beaten by Jamie Langfield’s crossbar.

Pawlett came off to allow for club captain Russell Anderson fourteen minutes after Hector’s goal, arguably to shore up the defence and earn a much desired fourth consecutive clean sheet.

Hector was also involved in a superb cross for McGinn to finish expertly after 87 minutes.


To be fair, the score belied the sometimes excellent efforts of the Firhill men, who besieged the Dons defence.  It’s just that they didn’t finish chances, unlike what was achieved at the other end of the field by a side more clinical in attack.

Final score:  4-0.

Oct 212013

merkalndpic2The spitting rain and low mist made for sometimes dull viewing on Saturday, though a Dons victory resulted nonetheless, says fitba reporter Andrew Watson, on his welcome return to the Voice team.

At least the away support appeared to make light of the weather, littering the pitch with orange and black balloons. They even shot rolls of paper from the stand when the whistle sounded for kick-off. The Tangerines had arrived in force.

Visitors Dundee United haven’t won at Pittodrie since 2009, and in some respects may feel cheated of at least a point after threatening goal on a handful of occasions. Having said that, neither team had many shots on target throughout.

If every player attacked the game with the same sense of urgency as Dandies’ midfielder Willo Flood, it would have been an entirely different spectacle.

He was the proverbial bull in a china shop, the colour of his own jersey acting like a Reds rag as he launched into every tackle. One can only hope this is a regular feature of his performance, and that he wasn’t inspired by the fact he’s an ex-Arabs’ man battling with his ex-teammates. There were boos for him from the away crowd for the duration.

It was only fair that he was awarded Man of the Match, as his work ethic almost singlehandedly propelled the Reds’ engine room in the centre of the park.

Despite this, Dundee United dominated the first half.

However, after the interval Peter Pawlett rushed through the United defence, passing to Niall McGinn, who found Calvin Zola. The man from Zaire slotted an easy ball into the back of the net on 54 minutes.

1-0 Aberdeen!

Joe Shaughnessy left the pitch eleven minutes later, with another ex-United man, Barry Robson coming on. Zola then came off, replaced by Scott Vernon after 77 minutes.

Michael Hector, a promising 21 year old on loan from Reading, was the last of the substitutes in 80 minutes, with Ryan Jack coming off.

The only other incident of note was the booking of Jamie Langfield. It was initially quite hard to figure out quite what had happened. Apparently as time was ticking away, and a United equaliser was threatening, the keeper urged the first aid man to take his time, and let him take the ball himself.

Admittedly, Aberdeen rode their luck in the closing minutes. Some blunders, made by a usually rock- solid defence, nearly cost them points.

Yet, on the other hand, it’s forcing the opposition’s hand, through winning ugly when there are few clear cut chances that accrues league points in the long term.

What do Aberdeen lack right now? Consistency. Results like this, against tough opposition like United, though, are telling proof of the Reds’ potential.

Final score:  1-0.

Aug 272013

In August 2013 a momentous milestone in the history of local publications was reached. Sadly, it went unnoticed by all local media. No flags were waved and no bunting displayed, unless we lay claim to the bunting already in place in Union Street. Alas, no, Aberdeen City Council is not that foresighted. No TV crews sought sound-bite quotes and no fuss was made, apart from mutual backslapping by the editor and several of the contributors, reports Fin Hall.

RedFinalFootballRattleNow this publication may have passed many of you by, but the Aberdeen FC fanzine, The Red Final, is celebrating twenty years of existence. Before the home match against Glasgow Celtic on 17 August, Issue 108 hit the streets and was sold out within fifteen minutes of kick off.
This itself was a bit of a record, allowing vendors, for once, to get into the ground well before the referee blew his whistle to start proceedings.

Perhaps I should explain to the uninitiated what a fanzine actually is, and a bit about their history.

Their roots can be traced back to the heady days of punk when one Mark Perry, not the ex-Aberdeen defender, published a monthly fanzine Sniffin’ Glue. It only lasted a year, was generally badly-written with atrocious grammar, but the energy was there, and over the years fanzines generally moved away from music and popular culture into the realms of football.

Nearly every club’s fans have produced a fanzine at some point, but few have survived. The ethos of a fanzine, a magazine for and, more importantly, by the fans, is to say and report what in many cases the regular papers and magazines don’t print. In the case of a football fanzine, it is without fail an irreverent alternative to match programmes and officially-sanctioned club magazines sold before games.

This is not to say that all programmes are poor, in fact our own local club’s effort is regularly voted Programme of the Year. It really is an informative and excellent read. The Red Final editor contributes a regular column and also writes a Fans View after each game in The Press & Journal, but we don’t hold the latter against him.

Suffice to say, the language and criticism in football fanzines can be ripe and sometimes extremely harsh. But as yet, none has ever been sued or shut down. This is probably due to the fact that its readers are generally in agreement with much, if not all, of the content. Also the people that may be the target of fanzine contributors, are probably unaware of their existence.

The subject of this article, The Red Final incorporating The Granite Kipper, to give it its full and proper title, was born way back in the mists of time, on 18 August 1993, at the club’s friendly match against FC Hamburg, on the occasion of the official opening of the Richard Donald Stand, the huge, overbearing edifice which replaced the well-loved Beach End.

Hamburg’s an important club in the annals of AFC, as the Dons beat them over two legs to win the European Super Cup, which isn’t a cup, but a plaque, of course, ten years before the birth of the fanzine.

TRF was not the first fanzine produced by fans of the club

TRF was originally helmed by Chris Gavin, or Old Beach Ender (OBE), who would be seen sporting his trusty, well-worn, brown leather jacket whilst selling said publication outside Pittodrie. He continued in this role until he became a club director in 2001.

Although no longer on the board, he can still be still found at the club fulfilling either his fans’ liaison role, or as one of the Aberdeen FC Heritage Trust’s mainstays, the charity whose purpose is to collect club items of historical interest and set up a permanent museum in the new stadium, wherever and whenever that may be.

TRF was not the first fanzine produced by fans of the club. It was preceded in December 1987 by The Northern Light, which ran to 22 issues, before completing its run in October 1992. This came about after conversations between Chris and a certain Dave Watt. An A4 format was chosen and the contents were often, allegedly, printed out, page by page, on their workplace Xerox machines. They adopted a sheep motif dubbed Flossie.

TRF’s format remains the same, but printing is done more professionally by outsourcing. The front cover nowadays is usually in colour, red and white naturally, featuring a cartoon by either Gordon Reid or Gareth Giles, and a quote from history re-interpreted to match the current state of affairs at the club.

Inside the front page one will find the editorial, The Editor’s Bleat. Another nod to Flossie the Sheep.

Thereafter follow contributions of various lengths styles from writers with one thing in common, that they are fervent fans of Aberdeen FC, even if not all still reside in the NE.

As is the wont of such publications, real names are rarely, if ever, used although by-lines are a requirement on submission of articles. The Shepherd, Fray Bentos, Neptune Lodger and The Man In Red, are just some of the regulars who feature.

you can now purchase the latest issue online

Two further Dons’ fanzines have been published during the years of TRF’s existence – The Paper Tiger, published twelve issues from May 1993, ten years after AFC beat Real Madrid to win the European Cup-Winners Cup, until December 1996, and 10 Men Went To Mow, which appeared sporadically in the mid-90s.

Although there is no strict timetable for publication and sale, there tends to be an issue at the beginning of the season, one near the end and one or two during the season. Since the demise of regular, loyal stockist One Up Records last February, TRF has been looking for another similar outlet.

This search has been in vain, and moving with the times, you can now purchase the latest issue online. The intention is to get as many back issues up online, but to date the only one available is number 107. TRF can also be followed on Twitter.

The cover price, quite remarkably in modern times, remains static at £1, the same as it always has been during its twenty year history.

Breaking with tradition though, when the first issue hit the streets two decades ago, it did so, with the giveaway Issue 0. So in reality, the anniversary publication is Issue 109, but let’s not be pedantic whilst celebrating the fact that, although relatively un-noticed The Red Final has surpassed all other fanzines in the country and reached this landmark.

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May 022013

By David Innes.

As every Dons fan knows, 11 May this year will be the thirtieth anniversary of Aberdeen’s historic, memorable and emotional capture of the European Cup-Winners’ Cup in Gothenburg. I think my jacket may be dry now after three decades in the airing cupboard.

It wis an affa nicht o rain. And beer. Even at Swedish prices.

We’re the fans who celebrate success, you see. There are others who mark the jubilee of losing, yes losing, a European final by arranging a dinner. Then again, we’ve never lost a European final.

We’re the last Scottish club to win a European trophy and are the only Scottish club to have a 100% record in winning European finals.

It was Real Madrid who we cuffed too – European fitba royalty, Franco’s team, dumped on its Iberian arse by a team of swaggering Scots loons who played with pride and passion, fuelled by oatcakes and Aitken’s rowies.

Proper mannies’ fitba, if you will.

Never desist from making that known to our critics and foes. It’s your duty. Go to it.

We reviewed Richard Gordon’s marvellous commemorative Glory In Gothenburg when it was published at the end of last year. Some lucky readers won copies in a Voice competition at the time.

Now, courtesy of Black and White Publishing, we have a further two copies, this time of the paperback edition, to give away. We’ll set the prize question during the week leading up to the anniversary celebrations, so look out for it.

Those who can’t wait that long and who are pessimistic about their chances of landing one of our giveaways, can get their hands on a signed copy however. Author Richard Gordon and The Best Penalty Box Defender In The World, according to Sir Alex Ferguson, the blessed skipper and sweeper Willie Miller, the man who held the trophy aloft in cool, gallus trademark one-handed fashion as the bedlam ensued, will be signing copies of the book at Waterstones, Union Bridge, Aberdeen on Thursday 9 May at 1830.

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Feb 112013

The game was so drab that not even a proper match reporter would trouble themselves to dissect it minute by minute.  I’m only here to give you the general gist, says Voice reporter Andrew Watson, and the most I can say is that only refereeing decisions conspired to make this game even remotely as noteworthy as the goalless draw against Hibs the other week.

I can’t help but feel that the pitch, badly cut up from the Scotland game on Wednesday, was little excuse for the poor fare served up to fans.

The state of the pitch equally hampered the efforts of a high-flying St Mirren side, not just the Dons, and passes, both on the deck and in the air, were so off-target it beggared belief.

Just about the only player that merits mention, for the right reasons, is Buddies’ captain Jim Goodwin.

When Aberdeen were applying one of their few genuine periods of pressure, an incoming ball was swatted away by his diving header. A stunning sight to see. Talk about putting your body on the line. Even shoplifters wouldn’t evade his capture.

Immediately he was on his feet, castigating his defenders, urging and leading with an all-or-nothing attitude that no doubt inspired his teammates.

Unfortunately, Osbourne, the only Don showing a scintilla of that passion, was booked for his troubles. The fans were up in arms when he was shown yellow for an excellent tackle. He was deservedly declared man of the match.

It was hard to sympathise with Reynolds’ reckless shirt-pulling, for which the team would later pay a heavy price.

After the interval, Magennis replaced Robertson to spruce things up in 67 minutes. Hughes left the pitch at the 71 minute mark, with Vernon coming on. Reynolds was dismissed a minute later for deliberate handball.

Pawlett was then taken off for the equally youthful Smith, 75 minutes into the game. One questions the wisdom of replacing a relatively inexperienced youngster with another after losing an experienced player through a red card.

I kind of feel for Brown. Maybe he thought fresh young legs would inject the necessary urgency to nick a late goal. I sometimes wonder if he’s suffering as McGhee did, in that perfectly capable players just aren’t playing for him?

the team were last to just about every ball, shoved off it when in possession and outfought in the air

Anyway, it seemed that only refereeing decisions were uniting the fans behind the team. I don’t know if this is fans’ short-sightedness in ignoring poor form, or a level of loyalty unacknowledged by the press – quick to point out fair-weather support and poor Pittodrie attendances.

Referee John Beaton was pedantic in his pursuit of soft fouls and continuously stopped the flow of play. The best referees, as they say, strike a balance between letting play flow and maintaining discipline, but, hand on heart, he made bizarre decisions that angered both sets of fans throughout the 90 minutes

That is beside the point, though.  If the referee’s performance highlighted anything, it would be Aberdeen’s complete inadequacy against a very physical St Mirren side.

Although he did a bit to protect McGinn, the team were last to just about every ball, shoved off it when in possession and outfought in the air. They weren’t imposing in the box, and that’s why they didn’t score. Our players weren’t tall enough!

Would Goodwin’s last gasp dive to put the ball out for a corner earlier really have prevented a genuine goal scoring opportunity? At least he took no chances, unlike our favourite goalkeeper.

Credit to Jamie Langfield, though. He saved blushes late on with superb save, even enjoying a little bit of defensive luck when a teammate cleared the rebound. He then proceeded to try his damnedest to undo this, fluffing a pass back and nearly letting it roll over the line. Typical Dons!

He then got sarcastic cheers for actually making a connection, minutes later. Typical Red Army!

They were booed off the pitch, and quite right too.

Final score:  0-0.