Aberdeen's Joe Lewis opens up on winter break, players not getting asked opinion and revenue loss
This is a frustrating period for Aberdeen.
Just as it looked like Stephen Glass’ men had turned a corner following a worrying start to the season, they went down 1-0 to Hibs three days before Christmas and dropped out of the top six in the cinch Premiership.
The Dons had won their previous three matches in the league, but were nowhere near their best at Easter Road. And now they have to lift themselves for their key clash with Dundee at Pittodrie in front of just 500 spectators.
The decision to put football behind closed doors for three weeks robs Aberdeen of bumper festive gates – they had predicted a windfall of £500,000 – and while the match against Rangers has been rescheduled for mid-January, the Dees’ visit goes ahead as planned.
Goalkeeper Joe Lewis understands the difficulties authorities face right now, but he found it hard to hide his disappointment at the situation Scottish football finds itself in.
“It’s so difficult,” Lewis said of bringing the winter break forward by a week. “Everyone is trying to make the right decision. Right now, it was probably best to wait. But the decision has been made. We don’t know what things are going to be like after the break. Hopefully, by that time, we have a better idea of what the new strain of the virus is doing and we can make a better, more-informed decision further down the road.
"I don’t want to play in front of 500 fans on Boxing Day against Dundee when there would have been a big crowd there. But we need to make sure we’re equipped, ready to approach the game properly and get three points."
When asked if players are asked what their preference is, Lewis replied with a blunt “no”. “Our opinions are no different to the supporters,” said Lewis. “Everyone wants to play in front of supporters. You have to assume they are making decisions based on the greater good for the league. You have to trust that’s happening. My opinion is no different to the vast majority of people. If we can get the games played in front of supporters at a later date, then we’ll try to do that.”
Lewis is aware of the financial implications on the Dons, with Pittodrie set for 15,000-plus attendances for each game. “Certainly, from Aberdeen’s point of view, Dundee on Boxing Day, Rangers on the 29th, they are big fixtures for us at home,” he continued. “I don’t know what everyone else’s fixtures are but I can’t imagine many other clubs will be much more affected than us financially. I’m sure the board and the chairman are disappointed probably with the decision that we can only get 500 fans in on Boxing Day. For the Rangers game, we’ll still get a big crowd but probably not as big as what we would have had on the 29th. As players, you have to get on with it. We’re not in control, we don’t get asked our point of view."
For now, it’s about rediscovering the winning feeling against James McPake’s team: “We’ve won three games out of four now, so it’s not a disaster,” Lewis added. “We’ve got one more game to set things right before we get to the break. We need to make sure we approach it with a better performance.”
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