Aberdeen next manger: Dave Cormack faces biggest decision, box office choice, names exciting fans and not

Aberdeen are on the hunt for a new manager after Jim Goodwin's departure. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)Aberdeen are on the hunt for a new manager after Jim Goodwin's departure. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
Aberdeen are on the hunt for a new manager after Jim Goodwin's departure. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
While Hibs boss Lee Johnson eased into his chair in the media lounge after the 6-0 win over Aberdeen, savouring “when a plan comes together”, Dons chairman Dave Cormack faced an uncomfortable wait in the corridor outside, merely metres away from jubilant Hibees kicking off a celebratory evening in hospitality.

When he swapped places with Johnson, he chose to stand rather than sit. The plan was to address the written press a statement without any questions. His standing only added to the unease. The emotion was clearly visible, put through the emotional wringer over the past week and beyond. Both professionally and personally. Only minutes previously the club issued a statement confirming Jim Goodwin’s exit as manager. He apologised and while fans understand his desire to do the best for the club, what happens next is so crucial.

With Barry Robson, Steve Agnew and Scott Anderson will leading the team in the interim, the club and the infamously-branded ‘football monitoring board’ will be required to ruminate and pick apart the pieces of what went wrong and why. Not just with Goodwin but Stephen Glass before him. After all, Aberdeen are now on the lookout for their third manager in 12 months. Make no mistake, since becoming chairman this is and perhaps will be the biggest and most important decision Cormack will have to make. He plans to extend his stay in Scotland for at least another week but they can't afford to rush the decision and risk getting it wrong.

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McInnes revisionism

There may be those who look back to the decision to replace Derek McInnes as being foolish. It wasn’t. The Dons were regressing under a manager who had done and given so much to the club, had lifted them back to the point of respectability, finishing consistently in the upper echelons of the table. The mistake was the choices afterwards. An inexperienced manager in Glass was appointed when the structure to support and aid him, such as a head of recruitment, was in its infancy. There could be an argument that Glass was dispensed with too quickly, his underlying stats much more encouraging than those of Goodwin’s. The former St Mirren boss can have few, if any excuses as to why it didn’t work out. The backing, both in support and finance, was there.

That is why it is an appealing job for the next incumbent. Dons fans suggest Goodwin was the tip of the iceberg when it comes to issues at Pittodrie. And while there will likely have to be a look at all areas of the football department, it is a situation where the correct appointment can be transformational. Who should it be? Who will it be?

The ones fans want and don't

The bookies’ shortlist did not stir excitement amongst the Red Army. Taking the temperature via social media, it appears that the likes of Neil Lennon, Jack Ross and Paul Lambert would not be welcomed with open arms. Watching the insipid nature of Aberdeen performances, whether it was the 5-0 loss to Hearts, the shock Scottish Cup defeat by Darvel or the Hibs humping, they suggested a playing squad which required some tough love. Lennon would certainly provide just that and, especially in the short term, it is easy to imagine him turning it around. Yet, he is a divisive character within Scottish football while more time is perhaps needed for Ross between his Dundee United spell and getting back into one of the bigger jobs in Scottish football. Tam Courts is an interesting candidate and ticks plenty of boxes. Young and familiar with the modern day set-up within clubs but equally the judgement is still out on how good a head coach he is.

Dave Cromack has the biggest decision to make in his tenure as Aberdeen chairman. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)Dave Cromack has the biggest decision to make in his tenure as Aberdeen chairman. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
Dave Cromack has the biggest decision to make in his tenure as Aberdeen chairman. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

England presents some more appealing candidates in the eyes of fans. Chris Wilder has had success and longevity at Oxford United, Northampton Town and Sheffield United. Chris Hughton would shore up the Dons defence in no time while a younger option presents itself in Danny Cowley, searching for the same influence he had when overseeing Lincoln City. But let's face it, fans want to be excited by a new manager. They are intoxicated by the unknown, by someone with an accent in their name, the managerial equivalent of a headband. There is something alluring and uplifting about someone you are not overly familiar with. Someone fresh, a shiny new toy. The suave, scarf-wearing Spaniard Martí Cifuentes has been pushed by supporters. He has a more than respectable record in Norway, Denmark and Sweden with well-known clubs. Lillestrom boss Geir Bakke has been doing the rounds and so has Kjetil Knutsen, the FK Bodø/Glimt manager linked with plenty of big roles in the past. Graham Arnold would have piqued plenty of interest. The Australia boss knows the Scottish game very well and has displayed interest in the Hibs job previously yet he is on the verge of signing a lucrative new deal to carry on as Socceroos boss.

The box office choice

Now, if Aberdeen are happy to park their new stadium aspirations and speculate to accumulate, they could funnel their cash towards an ambitious effort to tempt Marcelo Bielsa. It would be the ultimate box office move, even if highly unlikely. It was reported recently that the Argentine had talks with Everton over their vacancy but wanted to manage the Under-23s until the summer, where he would then take over the first-team. He plays direct, quick, intense and exciting football, he improves players, develops youngsters. If it works, the Dons can make their money back through player sales. If it doesn't? Well, it would be incredibly fun and isn't that the most important thing?

Back to being more serious. It is both a captivating and critical juncture for Cormack and the club. The fact there is no obvious candidate and little margin for error makes the decision all the more fascinating. All is left to sit back and watch it all unfold once more.



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