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ANALYSIS: Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack and club’s board in last chance saloon with search for new manager

Aberdeen supporters patience' has been tested to the limit by three managerial sackings in two years and a bottom six finish last season. The Pittodrie board must get the appointment of the next boss right.

Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack at training complex.
Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack at training complex. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack and the club’s board are in the last chance saloon with the hunt for a new manager.

The Pittodrie hierarchy cannot get it wrong this time after sacking three managers in under two years.

Cormack and the Aberdeen board dismissed Derek McInnes in March 2021, with replacement Stephen Glass lasting just 11 months.

Glass’ replacement Jim Goodwin also lasted less than a year before the axe fell.

The result of all that chaos and uncertainty is that Aberdeen are further back now than when the Pittodrie managerial door started revolving two years ago.

Supporters’ patience has been tested with a bottom six finish last season and recent crash in form.

Aberdeen currently sit in the bottom six, are out of both cups and are searching for a new manager… again.

Supporters’ patience will run out with Cormack and the board if they do not get the next managerial appointment right.

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

If the next appointment isn’t a success and the board are forced to wield the axe again, it will reflect very badly on the club.

Aberdeen do not want to get the reputation of a club who burn through managers.

Which is why Cormack and the Pittodrie top brass are right to take their time to ensure they get the right man as successor to Goodwin.

The club have been inundated with applications for the vacant managerial post from the UK and Europe.

There are also potential targets for the Reds who have have not formally applied.

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder gestures on the touchline during the Premier League match at Bramall Lane. Image:: PA

Former Middlesbrough and Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder is out of the running to be new Aberdeen boss.

Aberdeen had a discussion with Wilder’s agent last week and it is understood the 55-year-old sees a different route back into management.

Landing Wilder, who led the Blades to a ninth-placed finish in the English top flight, would have been a major coup for the Dons.

Poland’s 2022 World Cup manager Czeslaw Michniewicz, 52, wants the Aberdeen job and is a free agent.

Michniewicz, who led Legia Warsaw to the Polish title in 2021, left the Poland international set-up at the end of December when his contract expired.

It is understood Aberdeen have yet to make contact with Michniewicz despite reports in Poland talks had started.

Manager Czeslaw Michniewicz of Poland with Robert Lewandowski at the World Cup. Image: Shutterstock

Former Hudderfield and Portsmouth boss Danny Cowley is also available.

Cowley, 44, was interviewed by the Dons when they were looking for a replacement for McInnes, but pulled out of the running to join Portsmouth.

Aberdeen chairman Cormack has returned to the United States, but will remain central to the search for a new manager.

The Dons have gone with inexperienced managers recently and it has not worked – this time they must appoint a boss with not only a wealth of experience at a high level, but a track record of success.

A manager who can stamp his authority and personality on the club and drive it forward.

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

Aberdeen took just six days between sacking Glass on February 13 last year and appointing Goodwin on February 19.

There was just 15 days between McInnes’ exit on March 8 2021 and Glass’ appointment as his replacement on March 23.

This time it will be more of a slow burn as the Dons take their time to look at all possible candidates before drawing up a short-list.

The appointment of Barry Robson as interim coach, along with Steve Agnew, has allowed the board the scope not to rush.

Aberdeen Interim Manager Barry Robson and Steve Agnew pass instructions on to Ylber Ramadani during the St Mirren defeat. Image: Shutterstock

Robson is a safe pair of hands and knows the club inside out.

He knows the players and what is expected of the Dons from the board and supporters.

Robson has already orchestrated an upturn in performances and fortunes, ending a five-game losing streak with a 3-1 defeat of Motherwell.

First priority for new Aberdeen boss

A pressing priority for Aberdeen’s new manager must be delivering a permanent defensive fix.

Recently-axed Jim Goodwin was ultimately undone by an unreliable, vulnerable back-line who leaked goals at an alarming rate.

Centre-backs Mattie Pollock and Angus MacDonald were brought in late in the January transfer window and have brought defensive stability.

However, they are a short term fix as both are only at Aberdeen until the end of the season.

Aberdeen defender Mattie Pollock heads at goal against Motherwell. Image: Shutterstock

Likewise centre-back Liam Scales’ loan deal from Celtic expires at the end of the campaign.

Signing Pollock on loan from Watford and MacDonald on a short-term deal are sticking plasters on a wound which will fester if left untreated.

Goodwin spent £1.5 million on transfer fees in the summer, but the rebuild was fatally flawed.

Under Goodwin, Aberdeen had just one permanently signed centre-back in captain Anthony Stewart, who was recently sent on loan at MK Dons.

The rebuild initially looked impressive with a free-scoring attack in the first half of the season, but was slowly sinking into the defensive quicksand.

Eventually it sunk under with the disaster at Darvel and horror shows in Edinburgh when losing heavily to Hibs and Hearts.

Aberdeen have leaked 47 goals in the Premiership this season – more than any other team in the top flight.

When a new manager is appointed, four experienced centre-backs must be signed on long-term contracts this summer.

That will give cover and competition in a role absolutely fundamental to any hope of success.

If the centre of defence is fragile, it inevitably spreads throughout the team – as happened in the disastrous final games before Goodwin was axed.

Aberdeen defender Angus MacDonald in action against St Mirren. Image: Shutterstock

The new Aberdeen boss, whoever that is, cannot repeat that mistake.

There must also be no more loan signings by Aberdeen from Premiership rivals in key areas.

Scales will not be available for Aberdeen’s next match, away to his parent club Celtic on Saturday, February 14, due to the terms of his loan deal.

Taking in a player from a rival is flawed and sends out the wrong message.

Aberdeen should be going all out to push these clubs, not taking their players on loan.

Liam Scales and Scott Pittman in action during the cinch Premiership match between Livingston and Aberdeen. Image: SNS

Scotland must back up England win

Scotland must back up their stunning Six Nations opening day defeat by seeing off Wales at the weekend.

The Scots secured a memorable 29-23 defeat of England at Twickenham to win the Calcutta Cup for a third successive year.

We have been here before.

Scotland beat England 20-17 in the opener at Murrayfield last year to spark much optimism of a Six Nations title bid.

However, they lost the next game 20-17 to Wales in Cardiff and ultimately finished fourth in the table.

There is a feeling, though, Scotland could be the real deal this year.

They have to prove it by beating Wales.