After a wretched run of injuries, veteran Russell Anderson is doing it for the kids
IT IS only the chance to play in front of his kids that has given Aberdeen captain Russell Anderson the motivation to carry on. And after years battling injury, the former Scotland defender is ready to hang up his boots completely if he suffers another setback this term.
Anderson, 33, has endured a series of physical problems since he moved away from Pittodrie five years ago to sign for Roy Keane’s Sunderland in a £1 million deal.
In his darkest days, a succession of long-term injuries to his hamstring, groin and knee led to him to contemplate quitting the game and becoming a financial adviser – an area he’s been studying.
Having rejoined the Dons last season as Aberdeen limped through another miserable campaign, Anderson could have been forgiven for asking himself whether it was worth putting himself through more pain and misery. However, he’s decided to give the SPL one last crack and looked like his old self during Aberdeen’s pre-season tour of Germany.
But ask him what his motivation was for returning and Anderson replies without hesitation. “Seriously? It’s my kids,” he admits. “We left Aberdeen when they were five and seven and they were just starting to get into it.
“They’ve had five years down the road where they have not really seen me play that much and they are at that age now where they love watching football.
“They are 10 and 12 now and they enjoy it so I’d like them to see me play for a full season rather than see me play two or three games.
“I kind of said that this is my last opportunity. If something was to go again, I’d just knock it on the head because I can’t keep doing the rehab and I wouldn’t want to take advantage of the club.
“If I stay fit and play, great, if not then I think that would probably be it. I’ve come home too many times sulking, and the kids and the missus could do without it to be honest.”
Anderson made his Aberdeen debut in 1996 in a team that included the likes of Billy Dodds, Scott Booth and Ilian Kiriakov. He’s seen the glory days of the SPL where he played against Henrik Larsson and Brian Laudrup.
After a seismic summer of change and turmoil in Scottish football this summer, Anderson admits the league has now changed beyond all recognition. And he has plenty of ideas as to why things must change in Scotland. He said: “The SPL has just changed immeasurably from what it was previously.
“I don’t want to go into the Rangers thing because enough’s been said about that. It is what it is, they are where they are and people and clubs have just reacted to the situation that they now find themselves in.
“Look at the boardroom. Teams have got less money to spend, crowds are down and I think there is a real opportunity now for the people in charge to try to restructure the game. I know the recession’s had a lot to do with the dwindling attendances but I also think that, maybe, people got fed up with just watching the same thing year in, year out.
“I would like to go a bigger league but I’m not in charge of all the facts. I can see why clubs have been reluctant to do it over the years because they have wanted the big attendances against the Old Firm at home and that has probably been a huge part of their budget. But, when you look at it now, they don’t have Rangers and they won’t have those attendances for possibly three more years and they’re missing out on it anyway so I think someone has to do something.”
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Friday 24 May 2013
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