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‘Fearless leader of men’ Jim Goodwin will get Aberdeen back on track with summer rebuild, insists former Don Richie Byrne

Aberdeen manager Jim Goodwin has rebuilt the squad this summer.
Aberdeen manager Jim Goodwin has rebuilt the squad this summer.

Former Pittodrie defender Richie Byrne has hailed Aberdeen boss Jim Goodwin as a ‘fearless leader of men’ who will get the club back on track.

Byrne played in the Republic of Ireland under-21s and B squad with Goodwin and is confident his former team-mate can revitalise the Dons.

Goodwin has secured six new signings in an extensive summer rebuild which has cost close to £1 million in transfer fees.

More signings are set to come as Goodwin overhauls a squad who finished a lowly 10th in the Premiership last season.

Aberdeen kick-start Goodwin’s first full season in charge with a Premier Sports Cup group game at Peterhead on Sunday.

Byrne is confident Goodwin’s summer reconstruction will make the Reds a force again.

He said: “Jim Goodwin has the attitude you want as a manager because he is a leader of men.

“He is also fearless. I saw that when I played with Jim for the Republic of Ireland B squad and also the U21s.

“I can’t remember where we were playing, but there were a couple of guys who were bullies on the pitch. But Jim was straight in amongst them.

“Once you see someone is with you like that, you are ready to go as well.

“I have known Jim for  long time and he is a great character and was a great player to have in your team.

“I think Jim will do very well with Aberdeen.”

Aberdeen boss Jim Goodwin has lost out in the race to sign Tobias Lauritsen, but landed Bojan Miovski.
Aberdeen boss Jim Goodwin landed a bargain in signing Bojan Miovski for £535,000.

Six signed and still more to come

Aberdeen concluded their pre-season preparations with a 7-1 friendly defeat of Highland League Brechin City on Wednesday.

Four of Goodwin’s six signings featured at Brechin – Jayden Richardson, Anthony Stewart, Kelle Roos and Liam Scales.

Right-back Richardson was secured in a £300,000 transfer from English Premier League new boys Nottingham Forest.

Aberdeen’s Jayden Richardson during the pre-season friendly defeat of Brechin City.

Celtic left-sided centre-back Scales signed on a season-long loan from Celtic.

However, Goodwin recently confirmed he aims to move to secure Scales on a permanent deal in the January transfer window, if as expected, the defender impresses.

Right-sided centre-back Stewart (Wycombe Wanders) and Dutch keeper Roos (Derby City) were both secured on frees following the expiration of their contracts.

Aberdeen also secured striker Bojan Miovski for £535,000 and midfielder Ylber Ramadani for £100,000, both from Hungarian club MTK Budapest.

Both have yet to arrive in Aberdeen due to Brexit red tape with Visas and passports.

Bojan Miovski Aberdeen FC
Aberdeen striker Bojan Miovski training with his new team-mates in Spain. Supplied by Aberdeen FC

It is understood Miovski and Ramadani will not be available for Sunday’s clash with Peterhead at Balmoor.

Goodwin recently confirmed up to four more summer signings could be secured.

Positivity after summer rebuild

Byrne, who played for Aberdeen from 2005 to 08, reckons Goodwin’s summer signings will resurrect the Reds.

He said: “There has been good recruitment so hopefully the season will be much better for Aberdeen.

“Last season Aberdeen’s form dipped and they had to change the manager.

Richie Byrne in action for Aberdeen against Dundee United in January 2007.

“They have a great guy in Jim. He was a huge help to me on and off the field.”

Absence of European football – which Byrne knows importance of to Dons

Goodwin has rebuilt a squad who failed to secure European qualification for the first time since 2014.

Instead of starting the season with European action, the Reds kick-off the campaign in the Premier Sports Cup.

It is the first time since the tournament was revamped Aberdeen have featured in the group stages.

Clubs in Europe do not play in the League Cup groups.

Aberdeen’s Vicente Besuijen celebrates after making it 3-0 during the pre-season friendly against Brechin City.

Goodwin has stated his target is to immediately get Aberdeen back into Europe for the 2023-24 season.

Byrne, 40, understands the importance of continental action to both the club and supporters.

The former Pittodrie defender enjoyed memorable European nights with Aberdeen.

He played in UEFA Cup group stage games against Spanish giants Atletico Madrid (2-0 loss, away) and Denmark’s FC Copenhagen (4-0 home win) in 2007-08.

It was the last time Aberdeen qualified for the group stages of Europe.

The defeat of FC Copenhagen ensured the Dons, managed by Jimmy Calderwood, progressed to the knock out-stages.

Aberdeen would memorably draw 2-2 with German giants Bayern Munich, before losing the return leg 5-1.

Byrne said: “Some of the best times of my life were at Aberdeen as we had some big games.

“It was a great time to be at the club.

“The 4-0 win against Copenhagen was unreal and, even though we lost 2-0 at Atletico Madrid, it was a great experience.

“With Atletico Madrid, we came up against players like Sergio Aguero, Diego Forlan, Luis Garcia, Maniche and Thiago Motta.

“They had a very strong team and we had a great turn out from our fans.”

In that memorable season, striker Darren Mackie netted the ‘£1 million goal’ to secure group stage action.

Mackie netted a diving header in a 1-1 draw with Dnipro in Ukraine to seal the Reds’ progression to the lucrative group stages.

Aberdeen faced Atletico Madrid, FC Copenhagen, Panathinaikos (Greece) and Lokomotiv Moscow (Russia).

Aberdeen’s Christian Ramirez celebrates after making it 1-0 against Brechin City in a pre-season friendly.

Byrne said: “A lot of things have to go your way to finish high in the league and do well in European competitions.

“European competition is very tough as you are playing against top players and teams.

“You have to be very rigid and know how to defend very well.

“That game where Darren (Mackie, Dnipro 1-1) scored with the header, your man hit the crossbar and they peppered our goal and we got away with it.

“You have to be lucky as well as good.”