The Derek McInnes hokey-cokey: in or out?

By Greg Taylor

Over the past few years the growing unrest amongst Aberdeen fans towards Derek McInnes has been consistently downplayed. The McInnes in/out argument seems to be an internal civil unrest that the media out with the Aberdeen bubble doesn’t seem to comprehend.

However, there is currently the biggest cry for McInnes to head for the door following the 4-1 thrashing the Dons received from Ross County. To say there are several issues with Aberdeen’s style of football at the minute would be understating the problem.

On the pitch it looks incredibly flat, a lack of creativity and no real desire to do anything about it. Off the pitch there seems to be an acceptance of where the Dons currently sit. This completely contradicting Dave Cormack’s promise of attractive football and pushing for more. For the past few years the club seems to have stalled in its push to better itself.

The standard seems to be set; third/fourth place, a trip to Hampden and get to the third round of European qualification. These have been the standards for a few years with no aspiration to achieve more. There have been golden opportunities in this time to better previous seasons, but failure to capitalise in big games has led to consistent anger from fans.

To accept one trophy and go no further in Europe than the third qualifying round during McInnes’ tenure has been frustrating. Any serious ambition to push the club on seems to be met by having a stubborn manager stuck in his ways. Over time Aberdeen fans have had to come to accept the fact that McInnes is a man who cares more about results than the style of football played.

This might be more acceptable if during his near 8 years in the North-East he had won more than one trophy and progressed further in Europe. However, the football the past couple of seasons now matched with a lack of good results adds to the pressure coming from the Aberdeen faithful.

A regular argument brought up on the “McInnes in” side is ‘who would replace him?’ This is a valid point to an extent. Nobody would argue against how far the club has come in the past few years. However there are most definitely options out there to take the current team and make them play a more attractive style of football and possibly push the Old Firm domestically and go further in European competition.

In terms of replacements, the Crowley brother who gained two promotions with Lincoln in three seasons would be an exciting prospect. Other names thrown around include the outlandish shouts of Roy Keane to the more realistic, and possibly likely, of Stephen Robinson. The general consensus would be a management team who can take what is currently there and make them an exciting watch.

This wouldn’t be particularly difficult given the creative sparks there with players like Ryan Hedges and Johnny Hayes who only need the freedom to play a style that suits their game. What is not needed is to take a pick off the Scottish merry-go-round of managers, avoiding the likes of Tommy Wright, Paul Hartley and Owen Coyle couldn’t be more important. The board must show aspiration rather than acceptance.

The team currently is only a few signings away from being an exciting watch. The priority is almost definitely a right back and a striker. Although the current formation using Matty Kennedy/Connor McLennan as wingbacks is okay but the need to fill that void is clear. A lead striker is also an essential. Sam Cosgrove holds himself as a man who knows he’s done enough to earn a move back down South. He looks constantly disinterested and it probably would be best for everyone if he was moved for a decent monetary value. Curtis Main will never be a striker who gets 20 plus goals a season with many not being bothered if he was moved on as well.

Hopefully with money coming in from a Cosgrove deal soon, this could be used to sign a decent striker that will hopefully be a long term and suitable replacement. This could also give Bruce Anderson a chance to get a decent run in the team, something that many of the Red Army have been clamouring for.

The Dons have been fantastic for producing young talent through their academy like the aforementioned Anderson. This would be something the next manager will have to continue and hopefully give a youthful bench a greater chance to shine on match days.

Overall, the need for a serious shake up has become increasingly obvious for all to see. The product on the pitch is incredibly stale and looks very unlikely to change under the current management regime. Either a big decision needs to be made on the boards side or McInnes will need to put his ego behind and make the right decision for all. This hokey-cokey of McInnes in or out doesn’t look set to end any time soon but for the club’s sake they need to aspire for more and put growing unrest to bed once and for all.

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