Why Aberdeen fans should be allowing themselves to get excited about the future

For football fans, contentment can be far less appealing than the excitement of something new, of the unknown.

Aberdeen's transfer business is expected to ramp up in the coming weeks. Picture: SNS

Those feelings only increase when a significant change is made. One which comes after years of the same faces, the same ideas.

That is the case at Aberdeen.

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After eight years of consistency and success under Derek McInnes, the Dons are making their first few steps, filled with both anticipation and trepidation, under Stephen Glass.

As soon as it was confirmed in November 2019 that Dave Cormack was to succeed Stewart Milne as the club’s chairman there was the feeling that a new manager could be on the horizon.

Familiarity was already breeding contempt with regards to McInnes. Aberdeen, despite constantly finishing in the upper echelons of the league, were becoming increasingly difficult to watch.

It didn’t marry up with Cormack’s on field mission statement: to play entertaining, attacking football.

The businessman's desire was to engage fans. Towards the end of McInnes’ spell, not helped by the pandemic and watching games on laptops, supporters were disengaging.

It made complete sense, with the view that this would be the long-serving manager’s final campaign, to dispense with his services early, allowing a new man to get his feet under the table and assess the playing squad ahead of the summer.

The not knowing fun

Enter Stephen Glass.

There was an understandable sense of unease amongst some with regards to the appointment and the recruitment process around it, due to the Glass-Cormack-Atlanta United connection.

It will be down to Glass to prove those doubters wrong and he has got to work already, looking to instil his ideas and style within the squad.

Before touching on his work with the team so far, for fans, especially those who have watched the same man lead the team for a number of years and heard the same voice, the not knowing is part of the fun. You are able to think differently, it perhaps increases interest. Those early months, especially with the new manager about to enter his first transfer market, there is that sense of wonder, of what may be about to transpire.

These are the times to allow yourself to be a fan, to be – whisper it quietly – optimistic.

We’ve all been there, getting swept up in something new, allowing ourselves to believe it is going to be a roaring success. No matter how many times we’ve been bitten we always come back for more. ‘This time...’

That’s what stage Aberdeen fans should be at. Allow yourselves to get carried away.

Moves off the park

Despite Cormack’s presence around the club for the last couple of years, only now does it feel the whole project is moving forward as one.

With his overly convincing style, the Dons chief has a volcano insurance salesman from Family Guy vibe about him. His comment back in March about the ‘Aberdeen way’ had this writer scratching his head but you have to give him credit for talking so positively and aspirationally about the club.

Listening to him in a recent update with the club's YouTube channel, there remains a giddiness about him. A fan with a front door key to the club he grew up loving.

Both Cormack and commercial director Robert Wicks offered a lot of positives about what is happening off the park. New catering, external and internal renovations, pre-and-post-match entertainment, improvements to RedTV.

Everything seems geared towards communicating with the fan base, growing it and engaging with lapsed supporters, including some excellent social media content. The long-term aim is to get to 15,000 season ticket holders. A “tall order”, Cormack admitted, but they are at least being proactive.

More than 1,500 season tickets have already been sold despite the uncertainty of when fans are getting back into stadiums and Aberdeen have one of the more interesting initiatives.

Fans earn cashback depending on how many briefs are sold. For example if 10,000 are sold, fans get 10 per cent cashback.

On the pitch

That being said. Clubs can have all the bells and whistles, do all the small things right, but what really engages a fan base and grows it is a winning team, even more so when it is enjoyable to watch.

Which brings it back to Glass.

Like so many managers have in the past, he has talked a good game since coming in. On the whole his start has been decent enough with some positive signs.

The team looked really uncomfortable and easy to play against when they lost to Dundee United in the Scottish Cup, but wins over St Johnstone and Livingston, plus a draw with Celtic, has given the club a glimmer of hope that a third-place finish is still possible.

But Glass’ appointment is about the longer-term, part of a “clear strategy for the club”.

That strategy involves an “attacking, entertaining style of play” with a team which blends experience with the young talent and academy graduates.

Straight away there has been game time for the likes of Jack McKenzie and Calvin Ramsey, while Dean Campbell’s role appears more defined.

The “attacking, entertaining style of play” will be a longer process. Again, there have been some signs of fielding more attack-minded players.

Cormack has suggested signings will be announced in the coming days and weeks. To help propel Aberdeen forward quickly, recruitment will need to be on point with key areas, namely the striker position, needing revamped.

Celtic, Rangers, Hearts, Hibs and Dundee United are all in the Premiership next season, making it the “most competitive season we’ve seen in a long time”.

"We need to be ready for that which I think we will be,” Cormack told fans.

Whisper it, but it is an exciting time to be an Aberdeen fan as they step into the unknown.

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