Jim Goodwin defends decision to tell Aberdeen players they are getting released amid 'five or six' new identifications

Jim Goodwin has defended his decision to tell players they were not being given new contracts amid doubts about Aberdeen’s own top-flight future.

Aberdeen manager Jim Goodwin.
Aberdeen manager Jim Goodwin.

The Pittodrie manager stressed that it is better to be honest with players and give them time to speak to their agents and fix up another deal elsewhere.

He revealed the club are already well down the line of replacing the out-going players.

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“Obviously the players who are out of contract and who are leaving, we will look to try and replace all of those,” said Goodwin. “I have had conversations with the recruitment team. We have identified five or six really good players. Hopefully we can get all of those ones done and add some good, fresh faces to the squad.”

In recent times, the normal practice at football clubs has been to reach the end of the campaign before making any big decisions on players staying or otherwise.

Perhaps the most memorable recent case of a manager letting players know earlier than this came when Terry Butcher took over at Hibs during the 2013/14 season. The Easter Road side endured a late season collapse and ended up being relegated after losing a play-off to Hamilton Accies.

Aberdeen still have work to do to avoid finishing in 11th place, the position currently occupied by St Johnstone. The Perth side are only five points behind Aberdeen, who have won just once in the league this year and host bottom club Dundee tomorrow.

But Goodwin has no regrets about having already informed players they are not in his plans. Skipper Scott Brown and striker Jay Emmanuel-Thomas have left Pittodrie and it has been confirmed – rather messily it must be said – that long-serving defender Andrew Considine will depart at the end of the season. He has been on the bench in recent weeks after recovering from a serious knee injury. Dylan McGeouch and Funso Ojo, meanwhile, are also set to move on but remain in the manager’s plans for now.

Goodwin explained that he always respected managers who did not leave players and their families hanging on where the matter of their futures was concerned.

“I think the boys have appreciated my honesty," he said. "I have had managers who do it differently but the ones I had the most respect for were upfront and gave me time to sort out my future.

“None of the players I have spoken to have downed tools and no fans will be able to say the players don’t care and aren’t committed. We haven’t had much luck, you only need to see the Livingston game to notice that.

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“I can’t fault the players’ efforts and the players I have spoken to have all appreciated the honesty," he added.

“I have given them time so they can sort their futures and that of their family for next season.

“People make a big deal of it but what is better to lie to the players and kid them on and tell them I will let them know at the end of the season? Or give them a few months to speak to their agent and put feelers out.

“The players aren’t stupid, if it goes to the end of the season without saying anything they would know they weren’t getting a contract.

“It is better. We are all grown men. I don’t pull the wool over their eyes when you know they won’t give them a deal.”