Billy Stark was at Aberdeen when the club’s greatest manager left and saw the expectations placed on his successor.
And, while there are targets for new Dons boss Stephen Glass to meet, he insists they don’t compare to the past.
Stark was at Pittodrie when Sir Alex Ferguson departed after winning 10 trophies in eight years for Manchester United in November 1986.
Ian Porterfield was appointed as his replacement and tasked with continuing to deliver silverware, however, he was unable to do so.
Porterfield, who died in 2007, did come close – with the Reds losing the 1987 League Cup final 5-3 on penalties to Rangers following a 3-3 draw at Hampden – before he resigned in the summer of 1988.
Stark says it was always going to be difficult for whoever followed Ferguson at Aberdeen after his success.
Although new Dons gaffer Glass is following someone in Derek McInnes who qualified for Europe every season he was in charge and won a trophy, Stark says the expectations don’t compare to what Porterfield experienced in 1986.
The former midfielder, who is now Scotland Under-19 coach, added: “I was at Aberdeen when Sir Alex left, but I don’t think you can really compare that to any other manager, apart from in the sense that one manager has left and another has come in.
“Alex Ferguson’s success with Aberdeen was unparalleled.
“It was always going to be difficult for Ian Porterfield to follow that and he was a bit unlucky and did reach a cup final.
“I didn’t experience his cup final because I’d left, but from memory they were a bit unfortunate.
“But it shows the credentials he was being measured against, because getting beat on penalties in a cup final is a bit unlucky, but that’s management.
“Unless he was able to continue to win trophies as Sir Alex did it was always going to be difficult for him.
“I don’t think Stephen Glass is in the same situation.
“There are expectations from the fans, but they’re not the same as when Ian Porterfield came to the club.”
The Aberdeen job is Glass’ first as a permanent first-team manager.
Since retiring from playing, he has served as assistant manager at Shamrock Rovers, coaching director at Triangle FC and Carolina Rapids and as an academy coach, reserve team manager and interim first-team manager at Atlanta United.
Stark says there is a significant difference between being a coach and stepping up to manage in your own right.
The former Scotland Under-21 manager said: “I always viewed myself when I finished playing as a football guy, I wasn’t thinking I had to be a manager or I had to be this or that.
“I just wanted to continue in the game I loved. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to work under Tommy Burns at Kilmarnock and Celtic.
“After that I got opportunities at Morton, St Johnstone and Queen’s Park as a manager.
“When you’ve experienced both sides, you can understand the difference – and there is a huge difference.
“Any manager needs to have a strong constitution to withstand the criticism that comes.
“Unfortunately you can’t win every game and criticism does come, even when you have done well – look at Celtic as an example after winning nine titles in a row.
“There is a big difference, but Stephen has had experience as a coach and it’s not like he’s just stepping out from being a player.
“You can look at someone like Steven Gerrard as a good example. He had less experience and had only worked with youth players as a coach.
“His stature as a player has stood him in good stead and his recruitment in terms of coaching staff and then players has helped.
“For me the biggest things for a manager are recruitment and man-management once you get those players in, motivating them to get them to the point where they go on to the pitch every week expecting to win.”