Jump to content
  • entries
    125
  • comment
    1
  • views
    5,317

Aberdeen have gone stale under McInnes


hislopsoffsideagain

211 views

Back in the olden days, when everything was in black and white - or maybe it just felt like that in Aberdeen at the start of the 2000s - I was a regular visitor at Pittodrie. One season under Ebbe Skovdahl the Dons finished fourth in the league; later on under Jimmy Calderwood they came fourth three times and third once. Other league finishes in the early years of the twenty-first century include eighth, eleventh, ninth, ninth, ninth, eighth. And of course there was Skovdahl's first campaign, where they were spared relegation only because Falkirk's ground was at risk of falling down at any moment.


Leon Mike, Laurent D'Jaffo, Leigh Hinds, David Zdrilic, Lubomir Blaha, Dyron Daal, David Bus, Jerel Ifill...doubtless Aberdeen fans will remember plenty more duffers from that era, but these were names that jogged this particular memory, and not in a nice way. It does no harm to remember that things could, and have been, a heck of a lot worse.


However, that does not necessarily mean that Derek McInnes should get a free pass.


Times have changed during the seven years that Deek has managed the Dons. Expectations are higher, and should be. Part of that is down to his own success - four consecutive second places (which would have been five but for a missed foul on the keeper in the final match of the 2013-14 season) - but also investment in the club is rather higher than it was in the dog days of Skovdahl, Steve Paterson and even Craig Brown. The club have the third highest wage bill in Scotland, and by that measure alone coming fourth in each of the last two seasons behind Steve Clarke's Kilmarnock and Stephen Robinson's Motherwell respectively is an underachievement. And there has been just one trophy, a League Cup.


There is a school of thought that after a few years under the same manager football clubs often become stale, and that is the perfect adjective for how things feel in the North-East. Arguably the peak was the 2016-17 season where they reached both cup finals and went toe-to-toe with Celtic's invincibles in the Scottish Cup Final. Four years later, six of the fourteen who played that day are still at the club, but only keeper Joe Lewis (who has not had a great season by his standards) is really anywhere near that level any more. Shay Logan is rarely trusted now, Andrew Considine's Scotland cap feelgood story shouldn't distract from the fact that he is past his best, and Jonny Hayes, Ash Taylor and Niall McGinn - each of whom left and then came back - appear to be very much on the decline. 


Rebuilding the team has not gone to plan. In three and a half years, one could argue the only unequivocally successful signings have been Gary Mackay-Steven (now long gone), Lewis Ferguson, Ross McCrorie and Sam Cosgrove (sold for good money last week). The list of duds is rather longer: Michael Devlin and Ronald Hernandez in defence, Greg Tansey, Chris Forrester, Stephen Gleeson, Craig Bryson, Funso Ojo and Dylan McGeouch in midfield as McInnes used up significant resources trying to replicate the Jack-Shinnie-McLean trio in the centre of the park; Curtis Main and James Wilson up front.


Worse, the club's youth system has not exactly come up trumps, with the exception of Scott McKenna. Scott Wright only shone in fits and bursts, while we're still waiting for Connor McLennan to put it all together and beginning to wonder if Bruce Anderson ever will.


It's not just personnel that are the problem. Aberdeen's philosophy has not evolved at all since McInnes first arrived. This is especially noticeable when they are out of possession, with a focus on man-to-man marking all over the pitch and immediate pressing of the ball when it is lost. This previously worked well when the overall quality of the team was higher and when they played so much of the game in the opposition half, but now most opponents have them worked out. Teams who are good enough in possession to beat that initial press find space between the lines, and players who are clever enough to switch position (especially coming off the wing) can easily cause havoc with the shape of the team.


In attack there continues to be a focus on getting it wide and sticking it in the box, which is simply not the most effective way of scoring goals in the modern game. Neither the wide players nor the forwards have been consistently dangerous for months now; Cosgrove had scored only twice from open play in twenty-seven matches before his departure, while Main is a player who can only be effective in nineteen-eighties hoofball. To make matters worse the one impressive forward, Marley Watkins, got injured during his loan spell and returned south. Their leading assist providers, Hayes and Ryan Hedges, are averaging one assist every eight league games. Hedges is now out for the season.


The deadline day wheeler-dealing in strikers felt very un-McInnes, a throw of the dice from a manager who generally seems risk-averse. Given everything else, such unorthodoxy is probably not a bad thing. The odds of one or more of Fraser Hornby, Callum Hendry and Florian Kamberi proving their worth are probably decent, but it feels like an act of desperation than a cunning plan. If it turns out as a double six, revitalizes the place and drags the Dons back into third place with some momentum, then maybe, just maybe, there is still a future at Aberdeen for the current boss. But it does feel like too little to late, like change is inevitable.


Lawrie Spence has whinged about Scottish football on Narey's Toepoker since September 2007. He has a life outside this blog. Honestly.

View the full article

0 Comments


Recommended Comments

There are no comments to display.



  • Upcoming Events

    No upcoming events found
  • Topics

  • Posts

    • Lewis Hyde off on loan to Rothes: https://ictfc.com/lewis-hyde-joins-rothes-on-loan-2
    • HT: 0-0. FT: 1-2. 1st Scorer ICT: Sutherland. 1st Scorer Pars: Todorov. Crowd: 2133.
    • HT:                           0 - 1 FT:                            0 - 2 1st Scorer ICT:         Duku 1st Scorer Pars:      Toddy Crowd:                     2400
    • Great to see the goals again and there are a few belters there 
    • Surprise Surprise   East End Park is the venue on Saturday as surprise Championship leaders Inverness visit the Kingdom of Fife to take on surprise packet Dunfermline Athletic. I say surprise packet, as that is exactly what The Pars have become under the guidance of former Alloa Athletic manager Peter Grant. I fully expected the Pars to be challenging at the opposite end of the table given their financial backing and the assumed quality of their squad. Unfortunately for them they find themselves languishing at the foot of the table and winless after four games with only a draw against Morton  to show for their troubles. They do have a Fife derby to come against Raith Rovers, but that won't be easy either. They have shipped three goals against Partick, Arbroath and Ayr United and their fans are now talking boycotts in an attempt to use fan power to force the board to act now before their season is completely ruined. Look out for the mass exodus on the hour. However, beware the scalded cat! In stark contrast, Inverness are on a winning run of five games on the bounce in the Championship, have the manager of the month in Billy Dodds, and sit top of the table having already beaten three of the favourites in Raith, Kilmarnock and Partick Thistle. What could possibly go wrong? PPV Stream @ ParsTV £12 OFFICIAL PREVIEW ROBBO BOOK VIDEO WATCH SUPPORTERS BUS Stat Attack First Competitive Meeting Aug 7th, 1999 League (A) 0 - 4 Most Recent Competitive Meeting Mar 20th, 2021 League (Championship) (A) 1 - 0 Last 10 Competitive Meetings 1 - 0 (A) 1 - 1 (H) 1 - 3 (A) 2 - 1 (A) 2 - 0 (H) 1 - 0 (A) 1 - 0 (H) 0 - 1 (A) 2 - 2 (H) 3 - 0 (A) Biggest Victories Jul 26th, 2016 League Cup (Group C) (A) 5 - 1 Heaviest Defeats <ouch> Aug 12th, 2017 League (A) 1 - 5 Aug 7th, 1999 League (A) 0 - 4 Highest Attendance Apr 10th, 2004 Scottish Cup (Semi-Final) (N) 13,255 Head 2 Head Venue Pld Won Drn Lst For Agst + / - Home 21 9 8 4 27 19 +8 Away 22 9 8 5 28 25 +3 Neutral 2 0 1 1 3 4 -1 Total 45 18 17 10 58 48 +10 Overall stats sway in our favour with the last ten meetings showing that Inverness have been more dominant in recent years. A far cry from the 4-0 thrashing dished out on our first venture into the Championship back in August 1999 when the Pars brushed aside the upstarts from the Highlands who dared to move up through the leagues to challenge the central belt dominance. In our defence we were reduced to ten men and conceded two late goals.       Pld W D L F A +/- Pts 1. Inverness CT 5 5 0 0 7 1 6 15 2. Kilmarnock 5 4 0 1 6 1 5 12 3. Arbroath 5 3 1 1 12 4 8 10 4. Partick Thistle 5 3 0 2 11 8 3 9 5. Queen of the South 5 2 0 3 7 8 -1 6 6. Raith Rovers 4 1 1 2 6 6 0 4 7. Ayr United 5 1 1 3 5 8 -3 4 8. Morton 5 1 1 3 5 9 -4 4 9. Hamilton Academical 5 1 1 3 6 12 -6 4 10. Dunfermline 4 0 1 3 3 11 -8 1 Other fixtures this weekend, all 3:00pm Saturday Hamilton v Ayr United Morton v Raith Rovers Partick v Kilmarnock Queens v Arbroath LATEST TEAM NEWS Michael Gardyne missed out last week having picked up a knock in training prior to the Buckie Thistle cup game. Looks like we are mostly free from injury with Billy Mckay and Lewis Jamieson champing at the bit as they remained on the bench last week. Look for a relatively unchanged squad this weekend. If it's not broke, don't fix it! We have also recruited someone to watch videos. Good work if you can get it. Dunfermline will have Owain Fon Williams, Nikolay Todorov and Kai Kennedy in their squad as they look to get off the bottom of the table.   Aaron Doran will make his 300th appearance this weekend. Let's see if he can add to his 50 goals he has scored for the Caley Jags     View full article  
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. : Terms of Use : Guidelines : Privacy Policy