Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Danny Law: Heartening to see the Gothenburg Greats lauded by the next generation

The city and the Dons deserve credit for hitting the right note with 40th anniversary celebrations.

The Aberdeen fans enjoy the Gothenburg celebrations at Pittodrie. Image: Darrell Benns/DC Thomson
The Aberdeen fans enjoy the Gothenburg celebrations at Pittodrie. Image: Darrell Benns/DC Thomson

When you mention the Bayern Munich game at Pittodrie, some younger Aberdeen fans may momentarily think of Josh Walker, Sone Aluko and a memorable 2-2 draw in 2008.

For those who weren’t around at the time of Aberdeen’s greatest moment in 1983, the thought of the Dons scaling such dizzying heights can be hard to fathom.

The past week’s celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the Dons’ European Cup Winners’ Cup success will have helped bring some fresh perspective of a well-told story to the younger section of the Red Army.

For Aberdeen to defeat the mighty Bayern Munich and Real Madrid on their way to lifting a major European trophy is the type of footballing fairytale a father might tell his young child while putting them to bed.

But this actually happened.

It was right to mark the milestone in an appropriate manner and the city and the Dons deserve enormous credit for a fitting celebration of a wonderful achievement.

It was also heartening to see the Gothenburg Greats reunited and clearly loving every minute of being back together again at their old stomping ground.

They joked and giggled their way through the Freedom of the City ceremony which gave a great insight into what that group would have been like in their heyday.

Alex McLeish and Willie Miller with the European Cup Winners’ Cup at Pittodrie. Image: Shutterstock. 

It was easy to see which of the players would have been the quiet ones in the dressing room and who would have been the chief mischief makers.

Perhaps there would have been a slightly different tone to proceedings had their old boss, Sir Alex Ferguson, been able to attend – although I’m not so sure.

The togetherness of the squad was still clear to see – and this was a very young group of players who achieved greatness in Gothenburg early in their careers.

The sad absence of Neale Cooper appears to have only strengthened that close bond between this unique band of individuals who did something that will not be surpassed in the history of Aberdeen Football Club.

A display paying tribute to the Gothenburg Greats ahead of Aberdeen’s meeting with Hibernian. Image: Shutterstock. 

His contribution to the team was rightly remembered and the sight of the ‘Cooper 4’ shirt draped on an empty chair during the ceremony was a poignant and touching moment.

The emotion felt by Dougie Bell when he finally received his medal was also evident.

The midfielder played a pivotal role in helping the Dons to the final only to miss out on Gothenburg due to injury.

It is likely many day didn’t go by without Dougie contemplating how different things could have been if a broken ankle hadn’t robbed him of the biggest game of his career.

But the medal may underline to him the importance he played in turning a dream into a reality for the cup was not just won in Gothenburg but on all of those ties on the way to the final.

There is a perception that such a gigantic and incredible triumph has acted as a millstone around the necks of current Aberdeen squads.

This was undoubtedly true in the years that followed Ferguson’s departure from Pittodrie as well as in the difficult stretch in the 1990s when the Dons flirted dangerously with relegation from the top flight.

But 40 years on from Gothenburg, the footballing landscape has changed so dramatically there can be no comparison between 1983 and 2023.

These periods must instead be assessed in their own contexts – in a world before and after television money changed football so enormously.

The glory in Gothenburg should act as an inspiration to the current and future Dons teams of what can be achieved through hard work, self-belief and unity.

Reunited: The Aberdeen schoolkids who won a ‘once in a lifetime trip’ to Gothenburg to cheer on the Dons

Conversation