I’m disappointed that Derek McInnes and Tony Docherty didn’t get the chance to finish the season with Aberdeen.
But the decision made by Dons chairman Dave Cormack and the board to remove them from their positions does not come as a surprise.
With the Reds still in the hunt for third place in the Premiership and the Scottish Cup still to be completed I would have liked to have seen McInnes given until the end of the season to try to achieve those targets.
But for all managers when results aren’t going your way and scoring goals is a struggle – the Dons have won just twice in 13 games and netted only five times in that period – the chairman and board of directors come under pressure and they had a decision to make.
I didn’t think the decision would be made now – I felt the end of the season was the best time to assess things and potentially make a change – because it has been a good spell under McInnes and Docherty.
In my opinion McInnes had enough credit in the bank to be given the opportunity to finish this season, but it hasn’t panned out that way.
Maybe that would have just been delaying the inevitable, but for the work McInnes has done during his eight years I would have liked to have seen him get the chance to finish third and win that elusive Scottish Cup.
That was what I hoped for, but I’m long enough in the tooth to know in football that what you think might be the best course of action doesn’t always transpire because of performances, results, fan pressure and the expectations of the chairman and directors.
There are a host of reasons why a decision like this is made and Cormack has decided to make this call, but I am disappointed McInnes didn’t get the chance to see the season out.
Assessing the McInnes era
McInnes and Docherty have done a lot of good work at Pittodrie, they’ve built good teams had them dismantled and then rebuilt again.
There have been some good cup runs and they delivered the first trophy in 19 years with the League Cup in 2014 and in the league they showed consistency finishing second four times, third once and fourth twice, qualifying for Europe every year.
Aberdeen are currently fourth this season and that is now seen as a bad season, I think ultimately it has been a good spell for Aberdeen under McInnes’ management.
But there is expectation there and Cormack as chairman may have different expectations to predecessor Stewart Milne.
And recently the results have been poor, the performances lacklustre and the goals have dried up.
That has led to the fans becoming restless and they have been for some time now, I think eventually that had a toll on the chairman and the board and their expectations and they’ve made the decision.
McInnes and Docherty in their eight years have put their own stamp on Aberdeen and although I’m disappointed to see them go I can understand Cormack’s thoughts and why he’s made a change.
Who next for the Dons?
Paul Sheerin has been placed in interim charge for the rest of the season and will be assisted by Barry Robson and Neil Simpson.
The three of them all know the club inside out from playing and coaching at Pittodrie.
It’s quite an important period of the season and a big call to go with an interim team that has been put together quite quickly.
With McInnes and Docherty going I thought there might have been a more permanent appointment made imminently.
There’s a lot of responsibility being asked of Sheerin, Robson and Simpson and I think they will also have to rely on the experienced players in the squad to help support them as well.
I don’t see any of the trio of them being serious candidates to be McInnes’ permanent replacement, it’s simply a case of helping out and possibly not knowing what their future may hold when the new manager comes in.
I wish them well but I am slightly surprised that an interim team has been put in place for the rest of the season when there is still third place and the Scottish Cup to play for.
Pressure on Cormack to get next appointment right
There is always pressure on chairmen and directors of football clubs and now the pressure is on Cormack to make the right appointment.
It has been a year of pressures for the Pittodrie supremo because of the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
He now has the pressure of finding a better management team than McInnes and Docherty which won’t be easy.
For whoever comes in next if the expectation is to finish at least third and win trophies then funds will have to be found to support the manager in trying to do that and patience may also be required if there is no instant success.
There is pressure on Cormack, but he has put that pressure on by making the decision to change manager.
I hope he gets it right but McInnes will be a difficult act to follow given his consistency.
The chairman may be looking for a different style of play from the new manager with a slightly less cautious approach perhaps and I wish him well in pursuit of that.
It will be interesting to see what Cormack comes up with in terms of the next appointment.
It’s always an important time for the chairman and the board when they have to bring in a new manager and I hope they can get it right.