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Joe Harper: Chris Wilder the standout name linked with Aberdeen job so far

Chris Wilder celebrates at full-time
against Norwich City whilst manager of Sheffield United.  Image: Shutterstock
Chris Wilder celebrates at full-time against Norwich City whilst manager of Sheffield United. Image: Shutterstock

Former Sheffield United and Middlesbrough boss Chris Wilder is the stand-out candidate linked to the vacant Aberdeen job.

Of course, it is very early days yet and the Pittodrie hierarchy are rightly willing to take their time to get the right manager.

I am sure there are many more strong, potential candidates to look at as replacement for Jim Goodwin.

However, of the managers so far linked to the Pittodrie hotseat, Wilder, for me, is the strongest.

Poland’s 2022 World Cup manager Czeslaw Michniewicz, who is interested in the vacant post, is also a strong candidate.

Both are experienced,  much-respected managers who have operated at a very high level.

Manager Czeslaw Michniewicz of Poland celebrates with Robert Lewandowski after a World Cup match against Argentina. Image: Shutterstock

Wilder and Michniewicz are the level of experienced manager Aberdeen need.

I don’t want to see the Dons jump on to the Scottish managerial merry-go-round, where the same managers are sacked and then quickly end up in another job in Scotland.

It goes round and round and round – which is why Aberdeen should look outwith Scotland to someone like Wilder who has managed in the English Premier League. Or Michniewicz, who only three months ago led Poland to the World Cup knock-out stages where they eventually lost to France.

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder on the touchline during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. Image: PA

Aberdeen may be struggling for results at the moment, but the club is still an attractive proposition for managers.

After sacking three managers in two years, Aberdeen need stability, and success.

They need a manager with a record of success who can lead the club forward over at least a five-year period, and it would be a real statement by Aberdeen to get a manager of Wilder or Michniewicz’s calibre.

Or to go for another candidate with a similar standing and track record.

They cannot go for another young, inexperienced manager as that route didn’t work out with the previous two appointments.

Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack at Pittodrie during the Premiership clash with St Mirren. Image: SNS

Wilder led Sheffield United to two promotions in three years, taking them from League One to the Premier League.

Michniewicz has managed at the biggest stage of all at the World Cup with Poland and also led Legia Warsaw to the Polish title in 2021.

Whoever is eventually appointed, the manager will face a rebuilding job in the summer.

Former manager Goodwin was given the backing to splash out £1.5 million in transfer fees to rebuild last summer.

Another reconstruction will be needed as the Dons have a lot of loan players at the moment.

Jim Goodwin quickly leaves Easter Road after losing his job as Aberdeen boss in the wake on Saturday’s 6-0 loss to Hibs. Image: SNS

There was a reaction from the Dons under interim manager Barry Robson in the match against St Mirren.

Although they lost 3-1, the Reds did fight for the cause.

Robson as interim manager is a safe pair of hands as the Dons board search for a new manager.

Having him in the dugout and taking training gives them the breathing space to take the time to appoint the right manager.

This is one they must get right and it cannot be rushed.

The main priority is to stop this concerning losing streak. As once you go on a losing free-fall, it becomes very difficult to haul yourselves out of it.


Aberdeen supporters have suffered an horrific time in recent weeks.

My message is that it will get better – however, it could take a rebuild in the summer by the manager to really get them back on track.

Right now Robson and the squad have to concentrate on ending the losing streak.

That must begin against Motherwell at Pittodrie on Saturday.

Aberdeen interim manager Barry Robson during 3-1 loss to St Mirren. Image: Shutterstock

Wrong call with McCrorie red card

The dismissal of Ross McCrorie in the 3-1 defeat by St Mirren was shocking as the Aberdeen defender should never have seen red.

I initially thought it was a foul to Aberdeen as Charles Dunne stood in front of McCrorie to block his path.

He made no attempt to move out of the way and was clearly impeding McCrorie.

It meant McCrorie had to run past him and he put his hand out to stop a collision.

Aberdeen’s Ross McCrorie after his coming together with St Mirren’s Charles Dunne. Image: SNS

To then red card McCrorie following a VAR review is a terrible decision.

You could see how frustrated McCrorie was about that decision, and I don’t blame him.

Referee Grant Irvine left Aberdeen with a mountain to climb by reducing them to 10 men so early in the match.

Hopefully Aberdeen will decide to appeal the dismissal, because, for me, it was never a red card.

After suffering such an early setback, the Dons could easily have crumbled in light of everything that has happened in the last few weeks.

Referee Grant Irvine consults the VAR monitor before sending off Aberdeen’s Ross McCrorie against St Mirren. Image: SNS

They didn’t. Aberdeen kept fighting.

The two new centre-back signings Angus MacDonald and Mattie Pollock both produced solid performances.

Considering it was the first time they had played together they did well, especially in light of going a man down.

Aberdeen’s Ross McCrorie (centre) appeals to referee Grant Irvine after he is sent off against St Mirren. Image: SNS

Shinnie can lead Aberdeen forward

I thought the captaincy would be between Graeme Shinnie and Ross McCrorie when Anthony Stewart moved on loan to MK Dons.

Midfielder Shinnie may be on loan from Wigan Athletic, but he is the logical choice.

Aberdeen’s Graeme Shinnie (R) speaks to referee Grant Irvine. Image: SNS

He has captained the Dons before and is a leader who can drive the Dons forward and out of their current slump.

Shinnie is passionate and leads by example.