WILLIE Miller has added his voice to calls for the Aberdeen board to offer Craig Brown and Archie Knox new contracts.
The Pittodrie management team’s current deal expires at the end of the season, and speculation has grown that Ross County manager Derek Adams will be invited to take over, with Brown and Knox possibly moving upstairs. But Miller believes the continuing uncertainty is not in the club’s interest, and urged his former employers to end it.
“You give him a new contract,” he said when asked how the speculation over Brown could be ended. “That’s the simple answer. If the club want to move on and give the fans clarity, and give the manager clarity, then start talking about a new contract.
“If his contract is up at the end of the season, which it is, and there’s not a new offer, then you’re going to get that rumour mill going. The fans wonder what’s going to happen.
“I think it can affect the players. I know Craig, and I know Archie particularly well, and I know that they’re experienced enough to be able to handle that situation.
“I think from a club point of view it would be good to get clarity, whether they’re staying or not. But certainly from my point of view I think they’ve done a very good job in bringing the club back together again. One of the targets that the club always had was to introduce young players into the first team, and that’s what they’ve done. So from that point of view I think they’ve done an excellent job.”
Miller, the former Aberdeen captain and manager, was removed from the Aberdeen board last summer and relieved of his post as director of football development. New executive vice-chairman George Yule has made it clear that the board expect success to return to Pittodrie, but Miller warned that such ambition, while necessary, should be tempered by realism.
“He’ll have his own thoughts on where the club should be going,” he said of Yule. “But my experience is if you don’t have an awful lot of cash to work with and you can’t go out and bring in the players that you want, it’s a difficult situation.
“You’ve got to be wary of the demands that are put on a club like Aberdeen. They have had a fine history. Some people say it brings the club down a little bit – I don’t look upon it that way myself. I think it’s a challenge for any manager with the players that are involved at this moment in time to win a trophy or two.
“But it’s not easy. Aberdeen have always been well run financially. They’ve never overspent. There’s no chance of them going into administration. But you’ve got to be realistic in the demands you give to a manager.
“I would have liked to have a clearer picture in my mind before a result like Sunday. But if there is any doubt, now is the time to focus.
“It’s a brand new board, there’s a lot of new businessmen on the board that perhaps don’t have a lot of experience in football, but a lot of experience in business. They’ve got to bring the business side to it, they’ve got to be guided by the chairman, and they’ve now got to focus on where the club’s going and where the future of the management team lies. But certainly from my point of view I hope that they will be staying. And I hope they will continue to give the youngsters an opportunity, because I think that’s the way forward for most clubs in Scotland, but particularly Aberdeen.”
Miller was at Easter Road on Sunday to see his old club lose 1-0 to Hibs in the fifth round of the Scottish Cup. He argued that the result, while disappointing, should not be allowed to obscure the progress made by Brown and Knox.
“After Hibs scored, Aberdeen had three or four good chances to score and at least take it to a replay. Maybe the finishing wasn’t as good as it should have been, but [Hibs had] an inspired goalkeeper, and the penalty save was a good one. Williams had an outstanding second half.
“It’s always a blow when you go out of the Scottish Cup. But they can now focus on the league and try to get themselves into a European position.”