Last night Derek McInnes got the dreaded vote of confidence from chairman Dave Cormack.
Having been at the helm now for eight years and being the Dons third longest serving manager could there be a monumental shift in the powerbase of North-east football?
The Reporter weighs up the pros and cons of McInnes and whether he should be given his marching orders.
Context – up and down season currently on a downer
Following a disappointing opening day defeat to Rangers, Aberdeen bounced back strong with eight wins from ten in all competitions and did the double over Hibs to take a stranglehold on third place.
Aberdeen were doing so well back in August and September, combined with Celtic’s dismal season, there was talk at Pittodrie of splitting the big two for the first time since 2018.
However this hasn’t materialised. The Don’s first blip came after the 2-0 win over Hibs at Pittodrie in the beginning of November, then, after a wee rally in an undefeated December, the January blues kicked in.
So far 2021 has been horrific for the Dons. One win in eight, six points from a possible twenty-four. Not scored in five games. Hibs have retaken control of third place sitting five points clear of the Dons, and Livingston have been eating up the ground on Aberdeen after a run of fourteen games without defeat.
Statement from Aberdeen FC, Feb 8th 2021
The board met today and are fully behind Derek getting us back on track, as he’s demonstrated countless times over his eight year tenure. We’re at the business end of the season and we still have 33 points to play for. It’s critical that we all get behind Derek and the team as we strive for the best possible league finish and qualify for European football once again.
Bad news first – what is going against McInnes and justifies perhaps a change of leadership at Pittodrie for the first time since 2013?
Two results stick out in Aberdeen’s poor run – a 4-1 loss to Ross County in the middle of January, the first time Aberdeen had lost to County in 5 years, and, more pertinently, the terrible showing against Livingston at Pittodrie two weeks ago which saw the Dons succumb to Livi for the first time in fifteen years.
The loss to County can be put down to a bit of bad luck and one side taking their chances over the other in what was an even and open game in Dingwall, while the game against Livi really was a worrying sign at the toothlessness of this current Aberdeen team.
There is a tricky question over style hanging over Aberdeen, with Dons supporter’s frustrated about a side that is sitting fifth in the table in the scoring ranks behind both Livi and Hibs as well as the usual suspects and, even though they have accumulated twelve more points than St Mirren, have only scored seven more goals.
The biggest stat against McInnes is the time he has been at Pittodrie, with many feeling he’s been there too long and the club is turning stale because of it.
While the knives might be sharpening for McInnes he also has credit in the bank.
McInnes has got Aberdeen into Europe on six consecutive occasions whilst he’s also won trophies with the Dons and produced good showings in cup runs.
McInnes has also had a tough time this season with injuries and departures. His original front three have been decimated. Sam Cosgrove could never get going this season due to injury. Scott Wright did get going and as a result was pinched by Rangers, whilst Ryan Hedges is now out for the rest of the season with a shoulder problem.
McInnes has had to try build an attack based on loanees and chops and changes. The latest set of loanees to come in – Hornby, Hendry and Kamberi, who all leave at the end of the season again – McInnes has had one training session to work with them.
Finally, in these unprecedented times form is being thrown out the window in all disciplines. It’s very difficult to come to terms with what is happening right now and, with circumstances being so awkward – who is Aberdeen realistically going to replace McInnes with?
Verdict – McInnes should stay
Certainly till the end of the season. Aberdeen has always been a club where one of the most difficult tasks is to manage expectations.
Dons supporters should realise what they have with McInnes. Good opportunities to get into Europe and stability. Something nearly all clubs in professional football can only dream of.