Red Sky at Night, Shepherd’s Delight
The only response I have to Aberdeen sacking Mark McGhee: what took you so long? His jacket has been on the proverbial ‘shoogly peg’ for most of 2010, and giving him a vote of confidence after the Inverness Caley defeat after the 9-0 game was just another in a long line of mistakes by the club’s management.
I’ve said it before, and Aberdeen pie-eating legend Joe Harper said it again recently: what does Willie Miller do to earn his £150,000 per year salary? I would happily be a “Director of Football” for a lot less (well, a bit less) if all it involved was hiring a fresh diddy every couple of years and having to watch Aberdeen every week. Hang on – no, I wouldn’t.
Two headlines in the Scotsman this week: “Strachan the favourite to replace McGhee at Pittodrie” and “Billy Stark favourite to take over as Mark McGhee is sacked by Aberdeen.” Which is it, boys? The bookies have Stark as strong favourite at 6-5, and they also have Dean Windass at 20-1 which they must surely be listing for a laugh. Willie Miller says he’ll take his time – I’m shocked they’re letting him have a hand in the decision.
Aberdeen’s long-awaited “New Pittodrie” stadium (which, mark my words, will never happen) was supposed to be ‘lit by a red glow at night’, according to a BBC report in August. Maybe if they settled for an orange glow, and swallowed their pride to invite back perma-tanned Jimmy Calderwood, they could kill two birds with one stone – surely an appealing solution for frugal Aberdonians.
“SPL Chief Hints At Winter Break,” reports the Sporting Life this week. What, two weeks of cancelled games isn’t already a break?
As part of a wider review, the re-introduction of the winter break is being considered. I thought it was an excellent idea when it came into being when the SPL was born, and I thought it was a bad idea when they dropped it a few years later, so I’d be happy to see it come back.
It would mean starting the season earlier: a good thing, because our teams competing in Europe will all be involved in preliminary rounds starting in mid-July. Having competitive games earlier will give our teams a better chance (and also the national team – remember our game in Oslo last year?). And it’ll mean more games in better weather – surely a good thing, especially since we’ve let the likes of Inverness Caley Thistle and Ross County into the league.
It will also allow players and fans to get a welcome mid-season break… I don’t know about you but I’ve enjoyed having a wee respite from the game, and players could do with some recovery time mid-season to allow those niggling wee injuries to clear up.
And for us overseas, we might get to see our teams a wee bit more – back when we did have a break, teams would often take a wee trip to the sunshine, be it Spain or Florida or wherever. Can’t be a bad thing.
Yes, the usual complaints will be heard: “the weather in January might be fine”, “we don’t want summer football”, and so on. But the problems are manageable and if it helps our teams play better football, domestically and in Europe, we should do it. The fact it separates our calendar a bit from other leagues is no bad thing, either – it might entice a few more people to shove the SPL on their Sky+ box.
One caveat though: can we keep the New Year’s Day derby fixtures please? I think they would make a great finale to the first half of the season.
Part two of the McLeish report on Scottish football – covering the professional game. Wasn’t it due by now? Just asking, that’s all.