By Greg Taylor
It’s very rare in football for a player with nearly 500 appearances to not be considered a club legend. Currently sitting fifth in Aberdeen’s all-time appearance list, Andrew Considine still seems to be fighting to cement his place amongst his peers that surround him on a list of Aberdeen and Scottish football greats. Willie Miller, Alex McLeish, Bobby Clark, Stewart McKimmie, and Jim Leighton are the only names ahead of Considine in appearances. Not the worst company. However the question still remains, why is he not held in the same regard?
Born in Banchory, 30 minutes from Aberdeen, Considine would follow in the footsteps of his Dad, Doug by playing for the Dandies when he made his debut in 2004. He has gone on to have an great career with the Dons. From European nights under the Pittodrie flood lights against FC Copenhagen and Bayern Munich as well as the Dons first cup win in 19 years in the League Cup. However there have been equally dark moments during his playing career including a dreadful Mark McGhee tenure and a leg break in the 2012-13 season. He has certainly been through it all. He now sits comfortably in the starting 11 where he continues to stake his claim as possibly be one of the most underrated centre backs in the country.
If you were to look at the available centre backs the Dons have this season and were to guess who the £8 million rated player was, you wouldn’t have guessed Scott McKenna. Despite a revolving door of injuries that Aberdeen have endured this season, the rock of that backline so far has consistently been Considine. Despite this he arguably still fails to get the recognition he possibly deserves from many.
A large factor in this will undoubtably be the perseverance of various managers to play him at left-back for a number of years, favouring other centre halves along the way. Fans have constantly asked for a left back to be signed, their prayers only really being answered these past few years with Max Lowe and now Greg Leigh. Derek McInnes signing a left-back has been a saving grace for Considine who can now finally play centrally where he is best suited. Considine’s strengths were never going to flourish at left back with neither pace nor creative ability at the top of the big mans credentials. What he is exceptional at is being a big centre half who can control a defence. A traditional Scottish defender and a dying breed of a one club man.
If you were to ask a Dons fan who their favoured starting pairing would be, it would be hard to guess how many would favour Considine ahead of the highly rated Scott McKenna and Mikey Devlin. Possibly McInnes’ favoured starting duo, McKenna and Devlin have only started a handful of games together with one or both of them being injured. This has resulted in a permanent place for Considine, who over the years has continuously found a way to stay in the starting 11 where many may not have expected him.
Thanks to his 15 years at the club Considine now has a wealth of knowledge to add to his game and comes across as a well-spoken and knowledgeable player during interviews and press conferences. Although his current game can consist of a frustrating side-wards passing mentality or a big punt up the pitch he still puts in a power of a shift at centre back. Much like the Kenny McLeans, Ryan Jacks and Graeme Shinnies of recent years, his efforts may only be truly appreciated when he does part ways as a player or hangs up his boots.
At the start of the season Joe Lewis was definitely the favourite to take the captains arm-band following the departure of Shinnie to Derby. However, it could be argued that Considine should have the role having now seen how the season is playing out. The discussion of should goalkeepers be captains is one for another day, but at the moment it doesn’t seem to be working on the pitch. Lewis seems to unable to affect the play as other captains can. Being stranded 30 yards away from the action doesn’t seem ideal for a captain. A Dons man through and through, Considine would arguably be a better option at this moment. If you look down the current list of the starting 11 who else is there? Devlin is injury prone, McKenna you would assume will leave soon and Ferguson may still be too young and inexperienced. Considine seems to have been the perfect forgotten candidate.
A general comparison could be made with Russell Anderson, who is undoubtably a club legend of the modern era. What differentiates him from Considine? Certainly not big moments as both have their share in Pittodrie’s history books. Both seem quiet, composed personalities. Both have the same number of major trophies for the team with both playing in that 2014 League Cup win. The potential difference could be Anderson’s return to Pittodrie took the centre back roll Considine may have otherwise filled. Those years where Anderson came back to the North-East may have been the coming out party Considine needed and deserved.
To answer the initial question of why isn’t the big centre half recognised as he possibly should be comes down to a number of factors. A lack of silverware perhaps, played out of position for a large chunk of his career, lack of recognition at international level, other players overshadowing him and a quieter personality all seem viable contenders as to why. Maybe it will take him taking a step back before fans can appreciate him as a player and then will finally be recognised as the cult hero he deserves to be.