Dave McKillop still remembers the time he was given an unexpected mince pie at Pittodrie.
It was during the festive period in the early 1980s, but this wasn’t a pleasant experience for the Alford man.
On the contrary, as he recalled after reading about other fans’ memories of watching Aberdeen FC over the Christmas and New Year period, he has always worn a hat since his unexpected encounter with a flying hot pie.
As Dave said: “It was a snowy afternoon and we were all huddled together inside the stadium.
“The weather gradually got worse, but we didn’t really care about it when John Hewitt scored a brilliant goal early in the second half.
“Everybody stood up and cheered and I was in the thick of the celebrations when, suddenly, there was this big thud and something landed on my head.
“I thought at first that somebody had thrown a snowball at me, but then I noticed this mince and grease and pieces of crust seeping down my face and it was a bit disgusting.
“I looked behind me, but nobody was taking any responsibility for it.
“Obviously, someone had got a bit carried away when Johnny scored and haf thrown their pie into the air.
“It was just a bit unlucky it landed on me.
“But it did and what a mess!”
From the Suez Canal to old Brockville
Kenneth Colville is a lifelong Dons supporter and he contacted us with his recollection of a superb performance from his heroes, stretching back 64 years.
In fact, it was the season after Dave Halliday steered Aberdeen to their first-ever Scottish championship title and the team was brimming with burgeoning talent.
Kenneth, who is based on the Isle of Bute, said: “It was December 1956 and I was just back from the Suez crisis and staying with relatives in Larbert when I attended a thrilling match at the old Brockville between Falkirk FC and my beloved Dons.
“What a game it was, with Aberdeen eventually winning 5-2.
“This was an excellent Falkirk team with the great Bobby Brown in goal and, arguably, Scotland’s finest full backs Alex Parker and Ian Rae in their ranks.
“This, however, was the time of Aberdeen’s greatest-ever team inspired by their greatest player in Graham Leggat, and where goals came from every part of the outfield team.”
Not everybody will agree with his assessment of the respective merits of the club under Halliday compared with the European Cup-Winners Cup-winning side managed by Alex Ferguson, but Kenneth clearly thinks the world of that special 50s collective.
When the Dons played on consecutive days
Nowadays, one often hears managers complaining about fixture congestion and the strains it puts on their squads.
Yet Aberdeen aficionado Mike Rennie pointed out that, in bygone days, it was common for teams to take part in matches on consecutive days in the run-up to New Year.
As he recalled: “There were so many memorable festive fixtures.
“A lot of them were during the New Year period when clubs played two games in two days.
“I can recall my father taking me to games on January 1 and 2 in 1971 when the Dons beat Dundee 3-0 at Pittodrie in the first and St Johnstone at Muirton Park 1-0 in the second.
“There was a combined attendance of 45,500.
“Imagine that nowadays.”
Folk were glad to get out of the house
Mike continued: “Then there was a top of the table joust with Rangers at Pittodrie on Christmas Eve in 1977 which ended 4-0 to the Dons in front of a full house.
“Living in Perth in 1969, I suffered the usual disappointment of a 3-1 defeat to St Johnstone at Muirton on Jan 2 and then, just two days later, went through to Tannadice to see us beat Dundee United 4-1.
“The festive fixtures back in those days always had something special about them.
“There was a great atmosphere and bumper crowds wherever you went.
“Yes, it was often bitterly cold, but the game was inexpensive and folk were glad to get out of the house after all the festivities.”
Even the reserves played to packed crowds
Several supporters pointed out how Aberdeen, in common with other Scottish cities, shut its doors completely for most of the holidays – not that many people had the luxury of a two-week break in the decades after the Second World War.
To that extent, football had a captive audience and commanded huge attendances.
So much so that it wasn’t just the first team who enjoyed life on centre stage.
Graeme Wilson, another stalwart Dons supporter, recounted the story of when he and his father were looking for some sport to watch in the Granite City.
He said: “I remember going to a reserve game with my dad in the late 50s. It was at New Year and, at that time, Aberdeen closed completely on New Year’s Day.
“There was absolutely nothing to do.
“As a consequence, the reserve team found themselves playing in front of a full stadium at Pittodrie.
“I can’t remember much about the result, other than the look on the players’ faces when they emerged from the tunnel to this almighty roar from the stands.”
Gulls just want to have fun
Aberdeen supporters gave their team the bird during the Dons’ meek capitulation on the Europa League stage in 2019.
But, even as the club’s fans were grousing about their side’s display against HNK Rijeka, the press pack at the contest were involved in a close encounter with an irate gull inside one of the stadium’s executive boxes.
In scenes reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, there was more drama around the assembled journalists than during the game itself, with the north-east club continuing to find European competition an albatross around its neck.
The Dons opened the executive boxes in the Main Stand for press use due to the healthy contingent of journalists from Croatia who were covering the fixture, but while Aberdeen Journals staff decided to stay outside at the back of the stand, the national media representatives chose to go indoors and were soon sent scarpering for cover.
One of the feathered locals had followed the media into the stand to see what all the fuss was about and it soon made its presence felt.
It was not clear which party was more frightened – the gull or the sportswriters – but John Greechan of the Scottish Daily Mail emerged as the hero of the hour, swiftly draping a jacket over the bird before it was released back into the Aberdeen skyline.
Another attack from the skies
There have been plenty of other occasions when the gulls have caused problems for those brave or rash enough to sample hot food during a match at Pittodrie.
Dave Anderson, from Newmachar, was one of the unfortunate people to have a close shave with one of the formidable feathered creatures while he watching a New Year’s Day match at Pittodrie in the mid-1970s.
He said: “There were four of us at the Beach End and we had all brought some leftovers from the festive meals.
“We thought it would fill a hole and we had turkey and a bit of steak pie and other assorted treats.
New Year resolution: don’t feed the birds
“Well, it soon turned out to be a bad idea. The gulls were swarming around Pittodrie that winter – it was unseasonably warm and there hadn’t been any snow – and I saw one of the birds steal a crisp packet out of a youngster’s hands.
“That was quite scary for the wee lad, but then my mate, Rab, unwrapped a bit of steak pie and had no sooner started eating it than this massive gull was in about us and causing havoc.
“You don’t realise how big they are until they are close up to you, but this blighter wasn’t going to let us be. We eventually threw it a roll, and it picked it up and flew off with it, but it was only then we noticed that it was a turkey roll.
“I still wonder to this day whether that bird ended up eating another bird.
“But we had learned our lesson after that.
“We always ate before we travelled to Pittodrie.”
Not too many New Year resolutions last that long! But this piece started with a pie and finished with a turkey, so it shows that Dons fans love their nosh.