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Steve Tosh on why he thinks full review of Aberdeen football operation is not needed

As the search for a new Dons manager continues, Tosh admits he is perplexed by the root-and-branch review of the club's football department.

Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack, right, and chief executive Alan Burrows during a Premiership match.
Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack, right, and chief executive Alan Burrows during a Premiership match. Image: SNS.

Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack is leading the search for his fifth manager in three years – but ex-Don Steve Tosh isn’t convinced a review of the club’s whole football operation is required.

Stephen Glass and Jim Goodwin failed to last a calendar year in charge, while Barry Robson made it past the 12-month mark by a couple of days.

Following three failed appointments, the Dons have turned to 75-year-old Neil Warnock to steady the managerial ship while they undergo a review of the football operation and appoint a new boss.

Former Dons midfielder Tosh knows stability is needed, but finds himself questioning whether an internal review is warranted.

The 50-year-old said: “We’re changing managers far too often.

“Is that because fans are unhappy and making their voices heard?

“I’m not saying the three guys we’ve gotten rid of should have been kept.

“But particularly from Barry’s perspective… this season has been poor, but are we forgetting about last year when we qualified for the (European) group stages for the first time since 2007?

Former Aberdeen manager Barry Robson at the side of the pitch
Former Aberdeen manager Barry Robson during the 2-0 win against Eintracht Frankfurt. Image: SNS.

“We’ve done that for the first time in 17 years and we’re now saying we have to look at the whole football operation?

“It’s clear we’re taking stock and looking at the whole model, but from what I understand, it’s in good shape.

“The youth academy is in a very good place – hey are bringing young players through and the under-14s and under-15s are doing particularly well across tournaments in Europe.

“Something is obviously working.”

Aberdeen’s entire operation is not broken – Steve Tosh

Tosh, who played for the Dons from 2003 to 2005, does not dispute the season has been an underwhelming one for his former club.

But he believes former boss Robson came mighty close to meeting the targets expected of an Aberdeen manager in his time in charge – and has questioned what his successor’s remit will be at Pittodrie.

Tosh said: “The question I find myself asking is what is the board looking for? What’s the end result they are looking for?

Former Aberdeen midfielder Steve Tosh
Former Aberdeen midfielder Steve Tosh. Image: SNS.

“I see last season as a success. The club finished third in the league and qualified for the group stages of Europe.

“Are we looking to reinvent the wheel here?

“I believe a consultancy firm is being brought in to look at everything… but what are they looking for?

“Unless you are putting in £100million, you are not going to compete with Celtic or Rangers over the course of a (league) season.

“Without a real influx of money, which isn’t going to happen, the expectation is not to win the league. It’s to finish third, have a run in Europe and try to win a cup.

“I don’t think it’s as broken as certain people maybe think it is.”

Tosh: Managing Aberdeen is not an easy job

Dons chairman Cormack accepted responsibility for the turbulent period after describing the managerial upheaval in recent years as “exhausting”.

Tosh believes an understanding of the size of Aberdeen Football Club and its stature is imperative following the raft of failed appointments.

He said: “Since Dave has taken over from Stewart Milne, he’s made some big decisions.

“He decided Derek McInnes wasn’t the man – and we can all look now and think Derek would be fantastic just now.

“But if you look at how his team was playing towards the end, he was ready to get away and have a new challenge as well.

Stephen Glass was a gamble – he was a fantastic footballer who knew the club very well and knew Dave from Atlanta United.

Ex-Aberdeen manager Stephen Glass about to shake hands with Scott Brown
Ex-Aberdeen manager Stephen Glass (left) with Scott Brown. Image: SNS.

“He wasn’t a bad appointment and I could see the logic with (Glass’ coaching staff) Scott Brown and Allan Russell, who by all accounts had a fantastic reputation from his work down south, but after a few bad results it was clear it wasn’t working and a change was made.

“Dave then made a move for an up-and-coming manager who has worked in the Scottish game in Jim Goodwin.

“I was sceptical of his appointment, only due to the fact managing Alloa and St Mirren is a totally different ball game to managing Aberdeen.”

‘The model is working’

Tosh points to the fate of his former Dons boss Steve Paterson, who lasted 18 months at Pittodrie, as further evidence of just how big a job being Aberdeen manager is.

“Steve would openly tell you he struggled with the magnitude of the club when he was at Pittodrie,” Tosh said.

“He came from Caley Thistle to a huge club in every aspect.

“Jimmy Calderwood came from Dunfermline, but he had experience from his time in Holland.

“I did fear Aberdeen would be a bridge too far for Jim and that proved to be the case.

“But that’s not to say he won’t go on and have a good career with Dundee United. I hope it’s not this year of course, given I’m a Raith Rovers fan.

Jim Goodwin
Jim Goodwin in his final game in charge of Aberdeen at Easter Road. Image: SNS.

“I said to people to be careful what they wished for.

“Barry had to think long and hard about whether to take the job as he was enjoying the job he was in with the under-18s.

“But if you had done a poll of season ticket holders last season, the vast majority would have said give the job to Barry for the job he did in steadying the ship, getting results and pushing the team through to third.

“Unfortunately for Barry, it has proven to be another big step up from what he was doing.

“I hope people don’t forget we finished third last year, had a fantastic run in Europe and reached the League Cup final.

Aberdeen manager Barry Robson with his arms in the air
Aberdeen manager Barry Robson during the Viaplay Cup final against Rangers at Hampden. Image: SNS.

“I just hope the board don’t try to reinvent the wheel.

“There’s a working model which needs to be tweaked, but we need a realisation that we can’t be panicking and changing manager every year.”

Tosh ‘slightly alarmed’ by boss shouts from ‘further afield’ and believes knowledge of Scottish game vital

Ebbe Skovdahl
Ebbe Skovdahl was in charge of Aberdeen between 1999 and 2002.

Tosh has been following the speculation about who will be the next Dons manager on social media – and would not be surprised to see Aberdeen opt for a new face in Scottish football.

However, he believes an assistant with knowledge of the club and the Premiership will be vital if the Dons decide to appoint their first continental boss since Ebbe Skovdahl in 1999.

He said: “I don’t see anyone in the Scottish game currently working who they will be looking to appoint, but who knows?

“We might be shocked. It might be a left-field appointment, someone we all know or a totally random appointment. Time will tell.

“I’m glad there hasn’t been a knee-jerk reaction, but I am slightly alarmed when I see some of the comments on social media and some people are throwing out names from further afield.

“If you are going to go for someone from abroad then having someone who knows our game needs to be involved somewhere in that team.

“Knowing how the club is run, what it means to the people of the city and the shire, and the mechanics of Scottish football, is important.”