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Aberdeen F.C.

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Title: Aberdeen F.C.  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: List of foreign Scottish Premier League players, History of Motherwell FC (1886–1945), List of Scottish football champions, 1982–83 European Cup Winners' Cup, List of Scottish Premier League hat-tricks
Collection: 1903 Establishments in Scotland, Aberdeen F.C., Association Football Clubs Established in 1903, Football Clubs in Scotland, Former Highland Football League Teams, Scottish Cup Winners, Scottish Football League Teams, Scottish League Cup Winners, Scottish Premier League Teams, Scottish Professional Football League Teams, Sport in Aberdeen, United Soccer Association Imported Teams, Unrelegated Association Football Clubs
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Aberdeen F.C.

Full name Aberdeen Football Club
Nickname(s) The Dons, The Reds, The Dandies, The Sheep
Founded 14 April 1903 (1903-04-14)
Ground Pittodrie Stadium
Ground Capacity 20,961[1]
Chairman Stewart Milne
Manager Derek McInnes
League Scottish Premiership
2014–15 Scottish Premiership, 2nd

Aberdeen Football Club (also known as The Dons or The Reds) are a Scottish professional football club based in Aberdeen. They compete in the Scottish Premiership having won four league titles and seven Scottish Cups, including a record three in a row during the 1980s, the only time a team other than Rangers has done this since 1882. They are also the only Scottish team to have won two European trophies, both in the same year, and have never been relegated from the top division of the Scottish football league system.

Formed in 1903 as a result of the amalgamation of three clubs from Aberdeen, they rarely challenged for honours until the post war decade, when they won each of the major Scottish trophies under manager Dave Halliday. This level of success was surpassed in the 1980s, when, under the management of Alex Ferguson, they won three league titles, four Scottish Cups and a Scottish League Cup, alongside the European Cup Winners' Cup and the European Super Cup, both in 1983. Aberdeen were the last club outside of the Old Firm to win a league title, in 1984–85, and also the last Scottish team to win a European trophy. The team has enjoyed less success since this golden era, but a 19-year wait for a major trophy was ended by winning the 2013–14 Scottish League Cup.

Aberdeen have played at Pittodrie Stadium since their inception. The ground currently has a capacity of 21,421 and was the first all-seated and all-covered stadium in the United Kingdom. Pittodrie was also the first football stadium to feature a dugout, an invention of player and coach Donald Colman. The club's colours have been primarily red and white since 1939; before this, they played in black and gold vertical stripes. Aberdeen attract support from the city and surrounding areas, as they are the only senior team within a wide area. Aberdeen have no geographically close rivals; their nearest neighbours at the same level are in the city of Dundee.


  • History 1
    • Formation and Early Years (1903–1939) 1.1
    • Halliday to McNeill (1939–1978) 1.2
    • Alex Ferguson era (1978–1986) 1.3
    • Post-Ferguson (1987–1999) 1.4
    • Late 90's/2000's (1999–2013) 1.5
    • Recent years (2013–present) 1.6
  • Colours and crest 2
    • Kit Manufacturers and Shirt Sponsors 2.1
  • Stadium 3
  • Supporters and nicknames 4
  • Honours 5
    • Domestic 5.1
    • European 5.2
    • UEFA Ranking 5.3
  • Coaching staff 6
  • Players 7
    • Current Squad 7.1
    • Out on Loan 7.2
    • Notable Players 7.3
  • Records 8
    • Individual 8.1
  • Managers 9
  • References 10
  • Further reading 11
  • External links 12


Formation and Early Years (1903–1939)

League history of Aberdeen from their first league appearance in 1904

The current Aberdeen F.C. was formed following the merger of three city clubs, Aberdeen, Victoria United and Orion, in 1903.[2] The new club played its first match on 15 August 1903, a 1–1 draw with Stenhousemuir.[3] That first season produced a win in the Aberdeenshire Cup, but only a third-place finish in the Northern League. The club applied for membership of the Scottish League for the following season, and were elected to the Second Division, rather than the First.[3]

In 1904, the club were managed by Jimmy Philip. At the end of that first season, despite having finished seventh out of twelve teams, Aberdeen were elected to the new, expanded First Division, and have been in the top tier of Scottish football ever since, a record shared with only Celtic.[4] From 1906, the club made steady progress, with a Scottish Cup semi-final appearance in 1908 and another in 1911.[3] In that season of 1910–11, Aberdeen recorded their first victories over the Old Firm, and led the league for a time, but finished the season in second place.[3]

Wartime affected the club as much as any other. Despite spending cuts and other economies, by 1917 the situation became untenable. Aberdeen dropped out of competitive football, along with Dundee and Raith Rovers. Senior football returned on 16 August 1919, and Aberdeen resumed with a fixture against Albion Rovers. Philip was still in charge, and continued to oversee a team capable of isolated good results, but never quite able to sustain a challenge long enough to win a trophy. In 1923, Aberdeen were drawn against Peterhead in the Scottish Cup, and posted their record score—a 13–0 victory.[5] Philip retired a year later, and was replaced as manager by Paddy Travers.[6] He presided over the team's first Scottish Cup final in 1937.[3]

Travers' trainer (first team coach in modern parlance) was former player Donald Colman. Colman was regarded as a brilliant and innovative thinker about football, and conceived the dug-out, a covered area set slightly below the level of the playing surface to better aid his observations. Everton visited Pittodrie soon after its introduction, and exported the idea to the English leagues, from where it spread throughout the football-playing world.[7] Travers left to become manager of Clyde in 1939.

Halliday to McNeill (1939–1978)

Travers was replaced by

  • Official website
  • Gothenburg Greats
  • Inverness Reds Online
  • Aberdeen FC Supporters Trust
  • Red Army 12
  • Aberdeen FC News Hound

External links

  • Webster, Jack (2003). The First 100 years of The Dons: The official history of Aberdeen Football Club 1903–2003. Hodder & Stoughton, London.  
  • Smith, Paul (2007). The Legends of Aberdeen. Breedon Books.  
  • Stirling, Kevin (2008). Aberdeen FC On This Day: History, Facts and Figures from Every Day of the Year. Pitch Publishing Ltd.  
  • Ferguson, Alex (2000). Managing My Life. Coronet.  

Further reading

  1. ^ a b "Aberdeen Football Club". Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  2. ^ Webster, Jack (2003). The First 100 Years of The Dons: the official history of Aberdeen Football Club 1903–2003. Hodder and Stoughton. pp. 69–70.  
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Milestones & Records". Aberdeen F.C. Retrieved 2 April 2008. 
  4. ^ a b "Club Overview – Aberdeen".  
  5. ^ Grant, Michael (4 March 2001). "Peterhead ready to settle old scores with northern neighbours".  
  6. ^ a b c d e "Aberdeen's managers". Soccerbase. Retrieved 24 March 2008. 
  7. ^ Bauckham, David (2003). Dugouts. New Holland Publishers. p. 9.  
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Dave Halliday and George Hamilton profiles on "Queens Legends" on the official Queen of the South FC website
  9. ^ 1937–1955 Dave Halliday | Aberdeen | Football | Managers | Managers Detail
  10. ^ "Football and the Second World War". Spartacus. Archived from the original on 24 March 2008. Retrieved 28 March 2008. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h "Scottish Premier League & Cup winners". Tanked Up Imaging. Archived from the original on 28 April 2008. Retrieved 24 March 2008. 
  12. ^ "European Competitions 1955/56". RSSSF. Archived from the original on 15 March 2008. Retrieved 29 March 2008. 
  13. ^ "European Pedigree – Dons in Europe". Aberdeen F.C. Archived from the original on 22 April 2008. Retrieved 1 April 2008. 
  14. ^ "A Sporting Nation – The New Firm and the Dons' Cup-Winners' Cup glory in 1983". BBC. Retrieved 22 April 2008. 
  15. ^ "The greatest Euro final ever?". BBC News. 16 May 2001. Retrieved 30 March 2008. 
  16. ^ "Aberdeen FC: Come On You Reds!".  
  17. ^ "BFC Dynamo". Retrieved 19 January 2015. 
  18. ^ "Managers 1978–1995". Aberdeen F.C. Archived from the original on 30 April 2008. Retrieved 21 April 2008. 
  19. ^ "Scotland League Archive – 1994/95". RSSSF. Archived from the original on 30 April 2008. Retrieved 19 April 2008. 
  20. ^ Grant, Michael (19 May 2000). "Skovdahl helps Milne put his house in order". Sunday Herald. Retrieved 7 September 2013. 
  21. ^ "Cynics proved wrong as prudent Milne put in the frame for club role model". The Scotsman (Johnston Publishing). 4 May 2002. Retrieved 7 September 2013. 
  22. ^ "Aberdeen/Rangers scores".  
  23. ^ Webster, Jack (2003). The First 100 Years of The Dons: the official history of Aberdeen Football Club 1903–2003. Hodder and Stoughton. p. 13.  
  24. ^ "Exclusive: Steve Paterson – Being too hungover to attend Aberdeen match was most shameful incident of my life".  
  25. ^ "Aberdeen 2–0 Rangers". BBC News. 20 May 2007. Retrieved 1 April 2008. 
  26. ^ McGuigan, Thomas (4 October 2007). "Dnipro 1–1 Aberdeen (agg 1–1)". BBC News. Retrieved 24 March 2008. 
  27. ^ Linsay, Clive (20 December 2007). "Aberdeen 4–0 Copenhagen". BBC News. Retrieved 24 March 2008. 
  28. ^ "Aberdeen set Bayern Munich test". BBC News. 21 December 2007. Retrieved 24 March 2008. 
  29. ^ Miller, Stevie (21 February 2008). "Bayern Munich 5–1 Aberdeen". BBC News. Archived from the original on 25 February 2008. Retrieved 26 March 2008. 
  30. ^ "Dons Management Team Moves On". Aberdeen F.C. Archived from the original on 27 May 2009. Retrieved 24 May 2009. 
  31. ^ "SPL: Miller on McGhee".  
  32. ^ Dons Goalkeeping Coach Moves On,, 23 August 2009
  33. ^ "Mark McGhee sacked as boss of Aberdeen". BBC News. 1 December 2010. Archived from the original on 2 December 2010. Retrieved 1 December 2010. 
  34. ^ "Brown confirmed as Aberdeen boss". BBC Sport. 10 December 2010. Archived from the original on 10 December 2010. Retrieved 10 December 2010. 
  35. ^ New Management team RedWeb, 13 December 2010
  36. ^ "Aberdeen boss Craig Brown to retire to take up non-executive directors role".  
  37. ^ Burns, Scott (26 March 2013). "Aberdeen chairman backs new boss Derek McInnes".  
  38. ^ "FK Daugava Riga 0–3 Aberdeen (agg 0–8)".  
  39. ^ McLeod, Liam (24 July 2014). "Groningen 1–2 Aberdeen (agg 1–2)".  
  40. ^ "Aberdeen 2–3 Real Sociedad (Agg 2–5): Dons out".  
  41. ^ Davie, Scott (9 July 2015). "Aberdeen 0–0 Shkendija". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  42. ^ Davie, Scott (16 July 2015). "HNK Rijeka 0–3 Aberdeen". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  43. ^ Davie, Scott (23 July 2015). "Aberdeen 2–2 HNK Rijeka". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  44. ^ a b c d e f g h "Aberdeen". Historical Football Kits. Archived from the original on 17 August 2007. Retrieved 15 August 2007. 
  45. ^ Webster, Jack (2003). The First 100 Years of The Dons: the official history of Aberdeen Football Club 1903–2003. Hodder and Stoughton. p. 69.  
  46. ^ "Liverpool – Historical Football Kits". Historical Football Kits. Archived from the original on 17 December 2007. Retrieved 8 January 2008. 
  47. ^ a b "Aberdeen (A) 94/96 (Large)". Football Shirts. Retrieved 2 April 2008. 
  48. ^ a b c d "Aberdeen". Football Archived from the original on 24 August 2007. Retrieved 19 August 2007. 
  49. ^ "An Leabhar Mor" (in Gaelic). Leabh Armor. Retrieved 2 April 2008. 
  50. ^ "new home kit available today". Aberdeen F.C. Retrieved 2 April 2008. 
  51. ^ Aberdeen – Historical Scottish Football Kits
  52. ^ Forsyth, Roddy (2 December 2005). "Pittodrie built on rotting foundations". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 1 April 2008. 
  53. ^ a b "History of Pittodrie Stadium". Scottish Premier League. Archived from the original on 5 March 2008. Retrieved 19 April 2008. 
  54. ^ Murdoch, Jamie (13 December 2007). "Aberdeen ready to ditch Pittodrie". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 19 April 2008. 
  55. ^ a b "Projects – Richard Donald Stand, Pittodrie".  
  56. ^ Inglis, Simon (1996). Football Grounds of Britain, third edition. CollinsWillow. pp. 424–426.  
  57. ^ [Aberdeen City Council press release], 6 April 2006
  58. ^ Aberdeen stadium move plan on track, BBC Sport.
  59. ^ New Aberdeen stadium plans backed, BBC News, 20 May 2009.
  60. ^ "Aberdeen Football Club wants 'glow-in-dark' new stadium". BBC News. 12 August 2010. 
  61. ^ "New Aberdeen FC stadium recommended for approval". BBC News. 16 February 2011. Archived from the original on 17 February 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2011. 
  62. ^ "Aberdeen stadium a step closer with preferred bidder". BBC News. 18 August 2011. Retrieved 18 August 2011. 
  63. ^ "Aberdeen FC move to new stadium delayed by a year". BBC News. 25 May 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  64. ^ "New Aberdeen FC park 'killed off', says Stewart Milne". BBC News (BBC). 23 August 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2012. 
  65. ^ "Aberdeen FC: 'Fresh negotiations' over new stadium as loss reported". BBC News. BBC. 26 November 2013. Retrieved 10 December 2013. 
  66. ^ "Aberdeen: Stewart Milne wants new stadium by 2017". BBC News. BBC. 11 August 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  67. ^ "Aberdeen FC: Dons in talks to build training ground at Bridge of Don". Evening Express. EE. 26 November 2014. Retrieved 26 November 2014. 
  68. ^ "Supporters". Aberdeen F.C. Archived from the original on 15 January 2008. Retrieved 8 January 2008. 
  69. ^ "Red Ultras Aberdeen – About". Red Ultras. Archived from the original on 5 December 2007. Retrieved 8 January 2008. 
  70. ^ "Ultras in Britain are wrongly persecuted".  
  71. ^ "Population of Scotland, Statistics of Scottish City population". Archived from the original on 28 December 2007. Retrieved 8 January 2008. 
  72. ^ "Scottish Premier League".  
  73. ^ "Aberdeen Statistics". ESPN Soccernet. Retrieved 19 April 2008. 
  74. ^ McCafferty, Gavin. "Calderwood: We're Walking In The Air".  
  75. ^ Didcock, Barry (8 May 2005). "Casuals: the lost tribe of Britain". Sunday Herald (Herald & Times Group). Retrieved 7 September 2013. 
  76. ^ Allan, Jay (1989). Bloody Casuals. Northern Books from Famedram.  
  77. ^ Rivers, Dan (2007). Congratulations, You Have Just Met The Casuals. John Blake Publishing Ltd.  
  78. ^ "Dundee United A – Z ( D ) – scroll down for the 'Dundee F.C' entry".  
  79. ^ McGivern, Mark (23 January 2012). "Ibrox mayhem as police charge brawling football thugs at subway station". Daily Record. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  80. ^ Grant, Michael (20 January 2002). "A Fight in the North; Riot police move in as hooligans force players". Sunday Herald. Retrieved 7 September 2013. 
  81. ^ Rae, Derek. "Rae's Say: Coming Home". ESPN. Retrieved 29 January 2008. 
  82. ^ Webster, Jack (2003). The First 100 Years of The Dons: the official history of Aberdeen Football Club 1903–2003. Hodder and Stoughton. p. 91.  
  83. ^ Entering the Field: New Perspectives on World Football, Gary Armstrong, Berg Publishers, 1997, ISBN 1-85973-198-8
  84. ^ Loxton, Rachel (13 March 2014). "Come On You Reds!".  
  85. ^ Marjoribanks, Brian (30 January 2015). "Aberdeen were hammered 4–1 last time they faced Dundee United in a League Cup semi-final... but Derek McInnes insists that will not happen this time around at Hampden".  
  86. ^ "Aberdeen FC Inspire Sheep Are On Fire Pies". Evening Express. 5 March 2014. 
  87. ^ "UEFA coefficients".  
  88. ^
  89. ^ "Reds Hall of Fame". Aberdeen FC. 1 February 2007. Retrieved 6 December 2010. 
  90. ^ "Hall of fame dinner". Aberdeen FC Heritage Trust. 29 March 2004. Retrieved 6 December 2010. 
  91. ^ "Hall of fame dinner". Aberdeen FC Heritage Trust. 6 November 2004. Retrieved 6 December 2010. 
  92. ^ Percentages have been rounded to two decimal places.
  93. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Webster, Jack (2003). The First 100 Years of The Dons: the official history of Aberdeen Football Club 1903–2003. Hodder and Stoughton.  
  94. ^ "Roy Aitken". Soccerbase. Retrieved 31 March 2008. 
  95. ^ "Alex Miller". Soccerbase. Retrieved 31 March 2008. 
  96. ^ "Ebbe Skovdahl". Soccerbase. Retrieved 31 March 2008. 
  97. ^ "Steve Paterson". Soccerbase. Retrieved 31 March 2008. 
  98. ^ "Jimmy Calderwood". Soccerbase. Retrieved 25 May 2009. 
  99. ^ "Mark McGhee". Soccerbase. Retrieved 26 November 2010. 
  100. ^ "Craig Brown". Soccerbase. Retrieved 4 February 2013. 
  101. ^ "Derek McInnes". Soccerbase. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 


From To Name P W D L Win%[92] Ref
1903 1924 Philip, JimmyJimmy Philip 644 221 172 251 34.32% [93]
1924 1937 Travers, PaddyPaddy Travers 474 214 106 154 45.15% [93]
1937 1955 Halliday, DaveDave Halliday 371 165 71 135 44.47% [93]
1955 1959 Shaw, DavieDavie Shaw 148 66 20 62 44.59% [93]
1959 1965 Pearson, TommyTommy Pearson 180 66 42 72 36.67% [93]
1965 1971 Turnbull, EddieEddie Turnbull 216 101 43 72 46.75% [93]
1971 1975 Bonthrone, JimmyJimmy Bonthrone 143 67 46 30 46.85% [93]
1975 1977 MacLeod, AllyAlly MacLeod 61 24 19 18 39.34% [93]
1977 1978 McNeil, BillyBilly McNeil 36 22 9 5 61.11% [93]
1978 1986 Ferguson, AlexAlex Ferguson 288 167 71 50 57.99% [93]
1986 1986 Ferguson, AlexAlex Ferguson
Knox, ArchieArchie Knox
15 7 5 3 46.67% [93]
1986 1988 Porterfield, IanIan Porterfield 71 35 27 9 49.30% [93]
1988 1991 Scott, JockyJocky Scott
Smith, AlexAlex Smith
117 63 35 19 53.85% [93]
1991 1992 Smith, AlexAlex Smith 23 7 7 9 30.43% [93]
1992 1995 Miller, WillieWillie Miller 124 53 45 26 42.47% [93]
1995 1997 Aitken, RoyRoy Aitken 124 50 31 43 40.32% [94]
1997 1998 Miller, AlexAlex Miller 43 11 13 19 25.58% [95]
1999 2002 Skovdahl, EbbeEbbe Skovdahl 159 54 37 68 33.96% [96]
2002 2004 Paterson, SteveSteve Paterson 68 23 13 32 33.82% [97]
2004 2009 Calderwood, JimmyJimmy Calderwood 227 94 60 73 41.41% [98]
2009 2010 McGhee, MarkMark McGhee 62 17 13 32 27.42% [99]
2010 2013 Brown, CraigCraig Brown 113 37 33 43 32.74% [100]
2013 Current McInnes, DerekDerek McInnes 112 62 25 25 54.95% [101]
List of full-time managers, as of 25 December 2014. Only competitive matches are counted. Caretaker managers are not listed.


Top goalscorers
Rank Name Career Apps Goals Average
1 Joe Harper 1969–1973, 1976–1981 300 199
2 Matt Armstrong 1931–1946 231 163
3 George Hamilton 1933–1946 280 152
4 Harry Yorston 1947–1957 277 141
5 Drew Jarvie 1972–1982 386 130
6 Benny Yorston 1927–1932 156 125
7 Willie Mills 1932–1938 211 114
8 Jack Hather 1948–1960 305 104
9 Mark McGhee 1978–1984 250 100
10 Dave Robb 1966–1978 345 99
Most appearances
Rank Name Career Apps Goals
1 Willie Miller 1972–1990 797 32
2 Alex McLeish 1978–1994 693 30
3 Bobby Clark 1965–1982 595 0
4 Stewart McKimmie 1983–1997 561 9
5 Jim Leighton 1977–1988, 1997–2000 535 0
6 Russell Anderson 1996–2006, 2012–2015 407 20
7 Willie Cooper 1928–1948 392 3
8 Drew Jarvie 1972–1982 386 130
9 Brian Irvine 1985–1997 384 40
10 Eoin Jess 1987–1996, 1997–2001 379 94

All players are from Scotland unless otherwise stated.



Aberdeen inaugurated a Hall of Fame as part of the club's centenary celebrations in 2003. At the launch, it was suggested that over a five-year period, around 50 players and staff would be inducted.[89] Six players were inducted following the initial dinner in March 2004,[90] and a further six were included in November 2004.[91]

Notable Players

No. Position Player
30 GK Danny Rogers (at Falkirk)
No. Position Player
25 FW Lawrence Shankland (at St. Mirren)
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

Out on Loan

No. Position Player
2 DF Shay Logan
3 DF Graeme Shinnie
4 DF Andrew Considine
5 DF Ash Taylor
6 DF Mark Reynolds
7 MF Kenny McLean
8 MF Willo Flood
9 FW Adam Rooney
10 FW Niall McGinn
11 MF Jonny Hayes
14 FW Cammy Smith
15 MF Barry Robson
No. Position Player
16 MF Peter Pawlett
17 FW David Goodwillie
18 DF Paul Quinn
19 GK Danny Ward (on loan from Liverpool)
20 GK Scott Brown
21 DF Ryan McLaughlin (on loan from Liverpool)
22 MF Ryan Jack (Captain)
23 MF Craig Storie
24 DF Michael Rose
27 MF Scott Wright
32 FW Josh Parker (on loan from Red Star Belgrade)
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
As of 29 August 2015

Current Squad


Position Name
Manager Derek McInnes
Assistant Manager Tony Docherty
Goalkeeping Coach Gordon Marshall
Under 20s Coach Paul Sheerin
Head of Sports Science and Fitness Graham Kirk
As of 24 June 2015[88]

Coaching staff

Rank Country Team Points
283 FC Naftan Novopolotsk 4.650
284 FC Torpedo-BelAZ Zhodino 4.650
285 Aberdeen FC 4.580
286 IF Brommapojkarna 4.545
287 FC Dacia Chisinau 4.500
As of 25 April 2015[87]

UEFA Ranking




Aberdeen are known as "The Dons", a name that has been in use since at least 1913. This comes from the word 'Don' meaning 'teacher', given Aberdeen's history as a university town. It may also be a reference to the River Don. Before the popular adoption of "The Dons", the team were variously known as "The Wasps" or "The Black and Golds", both names a reference to the yellow and black striped shirts of the time.[82] As with many teams that play in red, Aberdeen may also be called "The Reds", and are referred to by some supporters as "The Dandy Dons" or "The Dandies".[83] Most rival clubs call Aberdeen "The Sheep" and their supporters "The Sheep Shaggers". The term was eventually accepted by the club after Aberdeen fans started singing "the sheep are on fire" at games, in reference to their good fortune on the pitch.[84][85] This in turn led to merchandise being sold by the club claiming "the sheep are on fire", and led to local bakeries selling themed pies.[86]

In the early 1980s, owing to the success both domestically and in Europe of Aberdeen and Dundee United, the pair were known as the New Firm; however, Dundee United have their city neighbours Dundee as close rivals,[78] and the antagonism was not always reciprocated to the same degree. The same situation applies to Aberdeen's rivalry with Rangers, in that Rangers have their own much older and well-known Old Firm rivalry with Celtic. Aberdeen's rivalry with Rangers arose after a number of incidents in matches between the two clubs in the 1980s, namely Willie Johnston's stamp on John McMaster's neck in the 1979–80 Scottish League Cup and Neil Simpson's tackle on Ian Durrant in 1988, as well as Aberdeen's dominance in Scottish football throughout the decade. There are still often violent clashes between both sets of supporters within and outwith the stadium to this day, with major disturbances outside Ibrox at the most recent game between the two clubs.[79][80][81]

Aberdeen have rarely played in the same division as their geographically closest rivals: Peterhead, Brechin City, Montrose, Arbroath, Elgin City and Forfar Athletic, so rivalries have tended to come from further afield. Currently, Aberdeen have a minor rivalry with Inverness Caley Thistle, due to the fact both Aberdeen and Inverness are the two largest settlements in the north of Scotland. This is known as the North derby and has arisen since Inverness were first promoted to the SPL in 2004.

In the 1980s, a minority of the club's supporters had a reputation as one of Britain's most prominent casuals groups, the Aberdeen Soccer Casuals.[75] The rise of the Aberdeen Casuals coincided with the most successful period in the club's history, and has been chronicled in more than one published account.[76][77]

Aberdeen are the only senior team in the third largest city in Scotland,[71] a city which is relatively remote, geographically, from other large population centres, and as a result have a large catchment area of potential supporters. However, attendances in recent years have not reflected this situation, with the club having the fourth largest average attendance in the SPL in 2008–09,[72] with 12,928.[73] Important games still see Pittodrie sold out.[74]

Aberdeen's supporters, known as the Red Army, are listed in the team squad list as wearing the number 12 shirt.[68] In 1999, a group of supporters founded the Red Ultras group with the express aim of improving the atmosphere at Pittodrie.[69] However, it was decided that this particular group was to disband at the beginning of 2010.[70]

Supporters and nicknames

In August 2014, Stewart Milne announced that because of the plans being rejected by the Labour-led Aberdeen City Council, the training facilities and new stadium would be built on two separate sites. Milne confirm that the training facilities would be announced in the coming weeks and that negotiations were on going with the local authorities over the stadium.[66] In November 2014 it was announced that Aberdeen would build its long awaited training facilities at Balgownie, on land owned by Aberdeen University.[67] After further complications the Balgownie project was scrapped.

The full council approved the project in May 2009, subject to planning permission.publisher[59] In August 2010, a planning application for the new stadium was submitted to the Council,[60] which was approved in February 2011.[61] It was announced in August 2011 that Barr Construction Ltd will be the contractor for the construction of the stadium, which was scheduled to begin in 2012.[62] However, in May 2012, it was announced that the move had been delayed by a year due to problems with land ownership.[63] The project suffered a serious setback in August 2012, when Aberdeen City Council rejected a joint application by Aberdeen FC and Cove Rangers FC to build a community sports centre at the nearby Calder Park.[64] Aberdeen FC chairman Stewart Milne said in November 2013 that further negotiations had taken place between the club and the City Council.[65]

The club are examining a move to a new Aberdeen Stadium, which if given the go ahead, will be placed on the Loirston Loch and will seat around 22,000 but could be increased to 30,000–35,000 should a major event require a stadium of that size in Scotland. Plans for a new stadium began when the club indicated that further development of Pittodrie Stadium was not possible due to the age of the ground and the restrictions from surrounding land.[57][58]

Pittodrie Stadium from the away section of the South Stand.

The stadium consists of four stands. The Main Stand, which houses the club offices and players facilities. The Merkland Road Stand is primarily for families. The South Stand is opposite the main stand and holds the largest amount of spectators. A quarter of this section is used to accommodate travelling supporters. The newest element is the Richard Donald stand at the East, or Beach End, of the ground, and is named after former chairman Dick Donald.[55] This is a modern, two–tier design, completed in 1993, containing hospitality suites which is significantly taller than the other structures at the ground.[55] In 1978, Pittodrie became the first all covered, all-seater stadium in Britain.[4][56]

Aberdeen have played throughout their existence at Pittodrie Stadium, the name of which comes from the Pictish for "place of manure".[52] The ground was first used by the original Aberdeen F.C. in 1899, in a 7–1 win over Dumbarton;[53] when they merged with two other teams in 1903, the new club took over the old Aberdeen ground. On 15 August 1903, 8,000 spectators turned up to watch the new Aberdeen draw 1–1 against Stenhousemuir, the first game played at Pittodrie by its amalgamated tenants.[3] The club initially rented the ground, but subsequently bought it in 1920.[3] The stadium contains 20,961 seats,[1] but due to the directors' boxes, some sources place this figure at 22,000.[54] The record attendance occurred on 13 March 1954, when 45,061 spectators turned up for a Scottish Cup match between Aberdeen and Hearts.[53]

Pittodrie Stadium's granite facade viewed from outside the Merkland Road stand


Period Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor[51]
1976–1977 Bukta none
1978–1979 Admiral
1979–1987 Adidas
1987–1990 Umbro JVC
1990–1993 Abtrust
1993–1994 A-Fab
1994–1996 Northsound Radio
1996–1997 Living Design
1997–1998 Puma
1998–2001 Atlantic Telecom
2001–2004 Le Coq Sportif A-Fab
2004–2006 Nike ADT
2006–2008 Apex Tubulars
2008–2011 Team Recruitment
2011–2014 Adidas
2014–2017 Saltire Energy

Kit Manufacturers and Shirt Sponsors

The club did not have an official crest before 1972, but several variations on the letters AFC had from time to time featured on the shirt, usually in some kind of cursive font. In November 1972,[48] the club unveiled an official crest or logo, designed by Aberdonian graphic designer Donald Addison.[49] The design represented a capital letter A as the side view of a football goal, with a ball forming the crossbar of the letter. This ball was crosshatched in such a way as to depict it as being inside the net, signifying the scoring of a goal. The logo was completed by the letters FC in smaller type at a level with the ball element.[48] This badge was used on the shirts from around 1978, with no significant alterations until the mid-1980s when the words "Aberdeen Football Club" were added in a circular border, and the date of the club's founding, 1903, was added under the goal element.[48] The current version of the crest, which retains these elements in a unified design, was introduced at the start of the 1997–98 season.[48] Two stars signifying the winning of the two European trophies in 1983 were introduced over the badge in the 2005–06 season.[50]

Shirt sponsorship began in 1987, and the initial shirt sponsor was JVC.[44] Since then, with the club making fewer appearances on the international stage, shirt sponsors have tended to be more local—they have included one of the local commercial radio stations, Northsound.[47] With the local economy being dominated by oil companies the Club have tended to be sponsored by oil service companies. For the next 2 years Team Recruitment will be the Club's sponsor. Change, or "away", strips have tended to be either white, often with black shorts, or a combination of yellow and black, referring back to the black and gold strips of the pre-war era, although for a time in the 1970s, Aberdeen sported an all-blue change strip with white socks.[47] For the 2007–08 season, the change strip was all-white, with a third kit of yellow and black halves available if needed for European games, or in the event of a clash involving both red and white.[44]

In March 1939, Aberdeen changed the black and gold colours to red and white, reflecting the silver and red colours of the official City of Aberdeen arms.[3] The first red strips were worn with white shorts, with either red or white socks from 1939 until the 1965–66 season.[44] In 1966, Aberdeen adopted red shorts, making the official kit all-red, similar to that of Liverpool, who made a similar change at around the same time.[46] This arrangement has continued to the present day, with several variations in design, in common with most senior clubs as the replica shirt market has expanded. In the late 1970s an Admiral strip featured five vertical white stripes on the left side of the shirt and shorts, and the early 1980s shirts—as worn at the 1983 European Cup Winners Cup final—featured white vertical pinstripes. Later design changes included significant amounts of blue,[44] and a one season reversion to white shorts, although the all-red scheme returned in 1997.[44] For the 2012–13 season, Aberdeen once again reverted to wearing white shorts. In 2013–14, the all-red kit was reintroduced.

For the 1904–05 season, Aberdeen adopted a black and gold striped shirt, which led to the team being nicknamed "Wasps". This strip, with only minor variations, was worn until just before the start of the Second World War. The blue shorts lasted until 1911, and then were replaced with white ones. Socks were black with gold trim, either as stripes or as a solid bar at the turndown.[44]

For the first season of the club's existence, the team played in a predominantly white strip.[44] This is variously reported as all-white, or as white shirts with blue shorts and socks.[45] This colour scheme was the direct descendant of the colours worn by the precursor Aberdeen club, but lasted only one season before being replaced.[44]

Colours and crest

Aberdeen progressed through the first qualifying round of the 2015–16 UEFA Europa League by defeating FK Shkëndija on the away goals rule.[41] Drawn against HNK Rijeka in the second qualifying round, Aberdeen produced an excellent 3–0 away victory in the first leg.[42] A 2–2 draw in the return game put Aberdeen through to the third round, against Kazakh side FC Kairat.[43]

Aberdeen started the 2014–15 Scottish Premiership well by coming through the early rounds of the Europa League, winning 8–0 on aggregate against Latvian side Daugava Riga and securing a 2–1 win against FC Groningen in the Netherlands.[38][39] Aberdeen then came up against Spanish side Real Sociedad where they eventually went out of the competition losing 5–2 on aggregate.[40] The club ended the season in second place, their best league position since 1993–94 and were once again eligible to enter the first qualifying round of the 2015–16 UEFA Europa League.

Derek McInnes was announced as the successor to Craig Brown in March 2013.[37] In McInnes' first season as manager, Aberdeen won the 2013–14 Scottish League Cup after defeating Inverness 4–2 on penalties, their first trophy in 19 years. Aberdeen finished third in the Scottish Premiership, securing a place in the first qualifying round of the 2014–15 UEFA Europa League.

Recent years (2013–present)

Aberdeen approached Craig Brown, who was working without a contract at Motherwell, to replace Mark McGhee. Brown initially rebuffed an offer made on 8 December 2010; but after further discussions with the club Brown resigned as manager at Motherwell to be announced as the next manager at Aberdeen on 10 December 2010.[34] The first act of the new management team of Craig Brown and Archie Knox was to re-instate Jim Leighton.[35] Aberdeen failed to produce better results under Craig Brown's tenure, although some crucial first-team signings were made such as Niall McGinn, Jonny Hayes and the re-signing of former captain Russell Anderson. Craig Brown announced his retirement in March 2013 to take up a non-executive directors role on the club's board.[36]

Mark McGhee of Motherwell was appointed as Calderwood's replacement on 12 June 2009.[31] McGhee controversially dismissed Aberdeen legend and goalkeeping coach Jim Leighton in August 2009 and replaced him with Colin Meldrum.[32] Aberdeen suffered a 9–0 defeat to Celtic on 6 November 2010, their heaviest ever defeat. Mark McGhee and his assistants were eventually sacked on 1 December 2010.[33]

Jimmy Calderwood took over in 2004 and Aberdeen posted more consistent results than in previous seasons. In the 2006–2007 season, the club finished in third place in the league and entered the final qualifying round for the 2007–08 UEFA Cup.[25] Aberdeen defeated Dnipro on the away goals rule to progress (the first time Aberdeen had won on away goals in European football for 40 years).[26] They went on to beat FC København 4–0, which was the biggest margin of victory and one of Pittodrie's biggest crowds since the 1980s.[27] This set up a meeting with German giants Bayern Munich,[28] which they lost 7–3 on aggregate[29] after a 2–2 draw which saw Aberdeen lead twice in the first leg. Calderwood was sacked by Aberdeen on 24 May 2009, hours after he took the club to a fourth-place finish and back into Europe. Poor domestic cup performances were thought to be the reason for Calderwood's dismissal.[30]

Steve Paterson was appointed to replace Skovdahl but lasted only two seasons. Paterson's tenure with Aberdeen was marred by his abuse of alcohol. In March 2003 he failed to attend a home game against Dundee F.C. due to being too hungover after a night of binge drinking prior to the match.[24]

Aberdeen's first (and only to date) non-Scottish manager, Ebbe Skovdahl, was appointed in 1999[3] and his time in charge coincided with some of the heaviest defeats in the club's history.[22] The low point of the club's history came in the 1999–2000 season, when they finished last in the Premier division. As the SPL was being expanded to 12 teams, there was then a three team play-off. However, as Falkirk's stadium did not meet SPL requirements, Aberdeen retained their status in the top flight.[3] Subsequent to this, and with the club in debt for the first time following the construction of a new stand at one end of the ground,[23] a policy of trying to live within their means has meant that the club has not approached the heights of the 1980s.

A display by Aberdeen fans in the Richard Donald Stand

Late 90's/2000's (1999–2013)

Aberdeen signed new co-managers in 1989, pairing Alex Smith and Jocky Scott.[6] A number of foreign players were signed, including Dutch internationals Theo Snelders and Hans Gillhaus. In the 1989–90 the club won both the Scottish Cup and the Scottish League Cup. In the 1990–91 they lost the last game of the season, and the league title, to Rangers.[11] Willie Miller took over in 1992 and presided over two seasons where Aberdeen came close to winning the title. However, he was sacked in 1995 after a bad season, and the club had to rely on a play-off victory over Dunfermline Athletic to retain their Premier League status.[19] Aberdeen replaced him with Roy Aitken. Despite a Scottish League Cup success beating Dundee in 1995, the club continued to struggle.[11] Alex Miller and Paul Hegarty had spells in charge in the late 1990s,[6] but with the financial burden of a new stand putting the club into debt for the first time in its history, the directors turned to Stewart Milne, a local businessman whose firm had built the stand, to bring business acumen to the running of the club.[20][21]

After Ferguson moved south of the border to manage Manchester United in November 1986, Aberdeen struggled to compete with Celtic and a resurgent Rangers.[18]

Post-Ferguson (1987–1999)

Aberdeen reached the semi-finals of the 1983–84 European Cup Winners' Cup, before losing to Porto 2–0 on aggregate. In the first round of the 1984–85 European Champion Club's Cup Aberdeen lost to East Berlin side BFC Dynamo in a dramatic penalty shoot-out 4–5, following a 3–3 on aggregate in regular times. Today, both clubs enjoy friendly relations.[17]

In the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1983 Aberdeen beat FC Sion, Dinamo Tirana and Lech Poznań to face the German Cup winners Bayern Munich. This game was won 3–2 at Pittodrie after a goalless draw in Germany, John Hewitt with the winning goal. They then faced now defunct Belgian club Waterschei in the semi-final. Aberdeen beat them 5–1 at home, and lost for the first time in the tournament, 1–0 away, resulting in an aggregate victory which sent Aberdeen to the final. On 11 May 1983, Aberdeen beat Real Madrid 2–1 (after extra time) to win the Cup and become only the third Scottish side to win a European trophy.[3][14][15] The club released a song, "European Song", to coincide with the appearance in the final.[16] This was followed up with the capture of the European Super Cup in December, when Hamburger SV were beaten over two legs.[3]

Under Ferguson's guidance, players such as Jim Leighton, Willie Miller, Alex McLeish and Gordon Strachan became the backbone of the team. Aberdeen's second League title was won in 1979–80, and this initial success was built on, with Scottish Cup wins in three successive seasons from 1982 to 1984,[11] and two more league titles in 1983–84 and 1984–85.

Under Ferguson's guidance, the club won three league championships, one Drybrough Cup, four Scottish Cups, the European Cup Winner's Cup, the European Super Cup and a League Cup – all in the space of seven years.

Alex Ferguson era (1978–1986)

The Aberdeen side of the 1970s regularly challenged for domestic honours. However, they rarely won trophies, with the exception of the Drybrough Cup in 1971 under Jimmy Bonthrone and the League Cup in 1976, under Ally MacLeod. During this decade, Aberdeen had five managers, Eddie Turnbull, Jimmy Bonthrone, Ally MacLeod, Billy McNeill and Alex Ferguson.[6] They reached two more national cup finals—the Scottish Cup in 1978 under Billy McNeill and the League Cup in the following season under the new manager Alex Ferguson.[11]

Alex Ferguson, the most successful manager of Aberdeen, pictured at former club Manchester United

Aberdeen first played in Europe in the 1967–68 Cup Winner's Cup, qualifying as runners-up to Celtic in the Scottish Cup final. Their first tie was a 14–1 aggregate victory over KR Reykjavik, although they lost the second round tie with Standard Liège 3–2 on aggregate. As Scottish Cup holders in 1970–71, Aberdeen once again qualified for the same competition, but were eliminated in the first round following a 4–4 aggregate tie with Honvéd. This tie, level after extra time and also level on away goals, was decided by the first penalty shootout in UEFA competition history, Honvéd winning the shootout 5–4 in Budapest.[13]

Halliday and Hamilton left at the end of that championship-winning season,[8] Halliday replaced by Davie Shaw. Aberdeen won the League Cup under his guidance, beating St. Mirren in 1955–56, and reached another Scottish Cup final in 1959.[11] However, Shaw stepped aside for another former favourite player, Tommy Pearson in 1959. Pearson's time in charge coincided with a high turnover of players, and yielded no trophies. He retired in 1965, making way for Eddie Turnbull.[6] Turnbull led Aberdeen to two Scottish Cup finals against Celtic, losing in 1967, but gaining revenge three years later.[11]

Halliday's place in the Aberdeen Hall of Fame was secured after the war when he became the first manager to bring national trophies to Pittodrie. Aberdeen, now playing in red, won the Southern League Cup in the 1945–46 season defeating Rangers 3–2 at Hampden. They then reached the 1947 Scottish Cup final, defeating Hibernian 2–1 with the inspirational Hamilton scoring to gain the club's first major trophy.[8][11] From this early success, Halliday's side reached two more Scottish Cup finals, in 1953 and 1954, although both were lost.[8] Halliday's team were not to be denied, however, and the following season, 1954–55, Aberdeen won their first Scottish League title.[8][11] Though league winners, the club did not participate in the first European Cup competition—Scotland's place was awarded to Hibernian, who took part by special invitation.[12]

[10][8] halted competitive football in the United Kingdom.Second World War However Halliday had barely begun his work when the [9][8]

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